The Free and Easy, or The Difficult
Life on the Go
LIFE WITHOUT A PERMANENT ADDRESS
When people encounter a situation that seems weird there's usually a perfectly good reason. For example, how many people have no permanent address? For homeless people there's a good reason. But what about the rest of the human race? Is it possible to be a nomad and still live a life that requires money and social contacts? For one thing, it seems impossible to live without receiving mail, and yet much of what comes through the mail can be viewed instead online, or in the case of junk mail doesn't have to be viewed anywhere, anytime, at all. Everyone wants personal transportation, which means having a drivers license, another requirement for an address. Applying for a job and filing taxes are further examples of when someone will by frustrated without an address.
By now the answer is starting to look like using a friend or a family member who lives in a regular, permanent house or apartment as your permanent address while you move along from rooming house to rooming house, or if finances permit, from apartment hotel to apartment hotel or tourist quarters to tourist quarters, whatever the case may be, even if it's from sidewalk to sidewalk.
People who pay for a “commercial” mailbox can avoid the stigma of a post office box, which tips off everyone that you don't have a personal address. The commercial mailbox will allow you to use the box number as if it were an apartment number at a specific street address where the commercial building is located. This appears devious but it's legitimate.
Cell phones have solved the problem of not having a home phone number. In fact there's a big trend to do away with the home phone and just have a cell. The funny thing too is that some documents people feel are mandatory just become effortless or unnecessary. That's true of a passport, which has no address on it, or a drivers license, which becomes unnecessary when someone makes the wise choice to avoid driving, a choice that could save thousands in car payments, maintenance, and insurance, and also could save on stress that comes from the danger of driving.
In the end it looks like having an agreeable friend or loved one who can take some mail for you really is the key to effortless living on the run, on the rim, or on the go, whichever sounds right to describe not having a permanent address. Assuming you're not homeless and you do have money, the best thing is to pay your loved one for the trouble on a monthly basis, almost like rent for the service of posing as your permanent roommate who shares the house or apartment.
Living this way isn't as outlandish as it seems at first blush. For example, retired people may want to travel around the country in a mobile home or camper for two or three years. But that comes back once again to having a drivers license, which in turn brings the matter full circle back to the old stand by necessity of having cooperative loved ones who do have that illusive permanent address.
Because post office boxes are more secure than home mail delivery, and because the US postal service now is talking about everyone having a box in order to economize the operation of the postal service itself, it makes it all the more reason to get with the trend of living without a permanent residence, home phone, or other traditional trappings that slowly but surely will be one day gone with the wind.
A lot of the ability to lead a nomadic existence stems from the technological revolution that allows people to have cell phones and computers to remain in contact with friends, families, and people who can lead to jobs and income. Things are moving rapidly into the future of even more gadgets that will make electronics of today seem like child's play.
Already, people can find "telecommuting" jobs and get their paychecks through PayPal. They can sit in a park or coffee shop and work offline or online on their computers, attaching documents to emails and receiving direct deposits to their accounts.
What's more, many full-time jobs will require a person to do a lot of traveling throughout the work week. The man or woman already committed to a nomadic existence has no trouble answering a question on a job application that asks, "Are you willing to travel...25% of the time, 50%, 75%?" In fact, he or she could write in "100%"!
This sort of work, however, is generally of the intellectual service category, and does not involve the delivery of finished merchandise or goods that had to be produced. The nomad would have difficulty creating objects of art and mailing them to a set location where they would be received and credited to his or her account. Yet, even that kind of work is practical and possible.
Communication through electronic media makes the nomadic life a reality and even desirable for some. A single lifestyle seems reasonable in these circumstances because marriage and raising children does require some stability and permanence.
For anyone else, however, it's exciting to be a fish out of water, always trying on new places and meeting new people. While a nomadic existence sounds daunting and dangerous, and while the old expression "a rolling stone gathers no moss" sounds very ominous and confusing, the truth is that life without stimulation can become boring. Those who are forced to keep moving, usually are happier than others. It's the correlation to a regular exercise regime, except that instead of daily swimming or walking, it's more like daily work of traveling. Work is good for the soul, the heart, and the mind. Nomads are prehistoric in one sense, and futuristic in another.
Abandoning a sense of permanent residence is as radical as it is logical, but only for some whose circumstances allow it to happen to their benefit without interfering in the lives of anyone else such as children and family. It can be done legally, but not without a great deal of courage.