brighter skies: tips for living in your car

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When we are in our storms, it may become hard to see. We become blinded by our need for life to turn out a certain way.

Living in our Durango for close to two months has taught us a lot:

1. People will judge you, so its better not to mention you live in your car ie librarians, employers, anyone who requires an address. Better to have a mailing address or even an old one locally to refer to. If you can afford a PO box at a local storage facility, its much cheaper usually than Canada Post.

2. Friends and family may also judge you, so be prepared. You may need to explain yourself over and over again. Well, not so much to the ones who don’t require explanations.

3. Gyms with 24 hours access make it convenient for showering and keeping up exercise. Who says you can’t be buff.

4. Storage facilities help keep your stuff organized and your new mobile home free of clutter. 24 hour access also great, bonus if they have washrooms.

5. McDonald’s for breakfast, Costco for dinner. Gas station restaurants with WiFi and washrooms 24/7 make life easier, especially if they welcome car dwellers like us.

6. Keeping a case of bottled water handy makes it easier for brushing teeth or access to water when we need it.

7. Stay hydrated. Gatorade at Walmart has been best price so far.

8. Walmart parking lots are vehicular homeless havens, unless you come across the Alberta ones that have bright neon obnoxious signs for no overnight parking in big capital letters. Some casinos also welcome us travellers. Gas station restaurant types may too. You can easily tell when driving in if others like yourself are parking lot campers.

9. Be clean. Don’t litter. It only ruins it for others. Live in style I say.

10. Plan ahead. Money saved from not renting can definitely be put towards bills in advance, budgeting for food and gas, alleviates stress.

11. Have fun! Beach trips once a week! Enjoying this long term road trip.

12. Laundromats, we visit twice weekly to keep our bedsheet for the backseat where I sleep fresh. Keep hangers to ensure shirts don’t wrinkle as you can still rock the threads for work. Keep towels to cushion down wind seeping in from doors. Hygiene maintenance will make you feel human.

13. Be romantic. These terribly stressful times may find relief in positive attitudes. Things do get better as we found employment eventually comes our way hopefully, which would help with Winter months.

14. For cold nights, you can leave the car running, doors locked, and slight window gap to avoid exhaust building up in car possibly.

15. Keep blankets and pillows handy for comfort. Makes it more cozy.

16. Eye mask works wonders for bright parking lot lights. Dollarama rocks!

17. Laundry baskets keeps things organized. For instance, laundry pile versus new clothing pile. Keeping a few days to a week’s worth of clothes makes life easier for cleanliness in between laundry loads.

18. Plants can thrive in the trunk, much like a sunroom effect. Just remember to water them.

19. Wipes are your best friend. Walmart has best deal with Great Value brand, especially for germophobes like me.

20. Washing your car, vacuum interior, clean out garbage twice a week. Smaller space can make even light storage challenging so keeping up the home makes for clarity of thought too.

21. Organizers that can be hung behind passenger seat etc makes keeping things tidy a lot easier. Dollar store had a jewelry organizer with tons of pockets that I strapped together with two bungee cords from Canadian tire for $5. Much cheaper than other ones selling for four times as much.

22. Makeup wipes help when you can’t go to washroom as well as travel sized everything for toiletry bag.

23. Wearing glasses instead of contacts saves lots of money and reduces worry of where to send next box that runs out soon as well as how to take them out at night.

24. Shifting your perspective from “I’m homeless” to “We are gypsies” or “We have freedom!” really helps.

25. Mini trailers are always an option once money is saved. We saw a Sportsman 15 foot trailer and loved how cute and compact everything was.

26. You might need to add more data to your cellphone plan, yet its still cheaper than paying for WiFi at home we found. Go figure. Saskatchewan definitely has the best rate plans of like $70 for 8 to 12 GB of data. Keep up your cellphone payments. My partner didn’t realize upgrading his phone with Rogers meant contract changes and therefore treated as a new customer with no history and so even after he called about payment delay, they still cancelled his contract and sent him to collections. Telus for me on the other hand was quite understanding as I have been with them for years, but I also refuse to miss payments.

27. Pay your bills. If you can’t, call them. But try super hard to keep on top of this. I definitely don’t wanna miss my consumer proposal payments as my $77k debt would come back. Bills only snowball so do your best to be a month ahead of them if you can in terms of savings.

28. And on that note, this city totally rocks, and we love it here. People are super friendly, and makes previous cities seem like the twilight zone… Definitely feeling human again though its quite slow job market wise but still good opportunities and great vibes here. Except for gym creepers and many creepy guys here in general.

And lastly, the true measure of our relationship not only with ourselves and our partner but also with God is tested during these dark and stressful times. There are nights that I have cried in despair because it seems hopeless. Many moments that I have wondered why am I alive, what have I done to deserve this.

But when you look up, and see next to you someone with pillows and blankets blocking all the windows in their car, vibes of distraught and defeat welled up inside, you realize, this does not define you. Societal expectations and markers of success do not determine your worth. And above all, to God and His universe we belong, and to Him we return. Ease. Success.

Ameen.

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