I sat down and very carefully planned out how I was going to write a post explaining why I’m living in my car. Then I wrote 3/4 of it, stopped, said, “What the fuck,” and scrapped it. For me, it seems there are some posts that should be strategically planned, and then some that should be written on impulse. In the heat of the moment. Free form. Emotions and thoughts flowing like an open faucet.
This is one of those types of posts.
So, in case you couldn’t tell from the title, I’m currently living in my car; specifically, my Jeep Patriot. Not exactly the most spacious vehicle, but compared to my Kia Spectra, it’s practically a mansion. And, I know–some of you may gasp, some may sit in wonder, some may even be envious. Most, though, probably scrunch their face and say, “Why?”
In this post, I’ll be explaining the three main reasons behind why I started living in my car.
So, as I sit here scribbling these thoughts down in this rather busy Starbucks in West Knoxville, I look back and can see it’s almost as if every (major) choice I’ve made in life has lead to me making this decision. Ever since my early years, I’d always been obsessed with camping and adventures. When I used to spend the night at my grandma’s, I’d bring a tent and set it up in the living room of her tiny 350-square-foot apartment. I even had one of those electric s’mores machines. God, how she must’ve hated that.
I remember this one time in particular: my stepdad was about to move us from TN to TX, and I just wasn’t having it. I was 12, and had just gotten into my first “real” relationship with this beautiful girl–Kayla, was her name. So, what did I do? My friends and I made a plan to sneak out one night and runaway. We’d found this long country road surrounded by acres of farms and decided that was it. I said I’d runaway, start a new life, and live off-the-grid for the remainder of my days. The thought was so exciting. Intoxicating. We did end up sneaking out and at least starting down the road… until my friend turned on his phone, heard a message from my dad and got spooked.
And even though I never ran away (except for half a day), I’ll never forget the doorway that opened as I stood on that desolate road in the middle of nowhere, staring down it and wondering where it lead to.
You know that feeling of restlessness? That feeling that’s like an itch you can’t scratch, fueling you with an overwhelming urge to get up and go–somewhere, anywhere–but you don’t know where? My mother told me I first started walking when I was only 8 months. Apparently, it’s usually the younger siblings who learn to walk so early when they’re trying to keep up with the older siblings. I’m the oldest. I like to believe my need to get up and go was present even at such a young age.
After I moved out of my parent’s at 18 and started living on my own, I quickly developed a reputation as being someone who can’t sit the f#@k still. My friend once told me I “moved more than someone in the mob.” And, it was true. I had developed this habit of moving somewhere, loving it for a couple of weeks (months, if I was lucky), then growing bored with it and moving again as soon as I could. It was during this time when I started traveling a LOT, sometimes making 13-hour road trips for only a night just to get away. I just always felt like I was looking for something, you know? A place where I could feel comfortable and like I actually belonged.
There’s this word I discovered sometime at the beginning of this year–a Welsh word I happened upon while doing research for my other blog. The word–or, concept–is Hireath. While the word doesn’t have an exact definition, in general terms, it means, “A homesickness for a home which does not exist.” I immediately fell in love. I thought back over my whole adult life: how I was constantly moving (sometimes just down the street), how I was constantly breaking leases, changing jobs, constantly growing bored and restless, and how the only time I ever felt alive was when I was on the road with the world at my feet. A journey beneath me, and infinite unknowns ahead.
A poem called I wrote called, “The Wanderer:” https://mrhushhush.com/2019/05/12/poem-the-wanderer/
As far as I can remember, I’ve never understood society. It’s always felt like a box. Like a straight jacket. It’s a paved road that we’re marched along, taught never to stray from or we’ll sink. I’ve always hated it. I’ve always hated being told what I can and can’t do, and I’ve hated the mediocre expectations. The feeling of being an enslaved robot. When I was 12, I began my rebellious teenager phase (in case you couldn’t tell by my little story above), and promised myself I’d never live a life like everyone else. Not because I wanted to stand out, but because I refused to grow and resent every waking moment from work to alimony payments.
I’m positive enough we all have those moments where we look around at our lives and wonder what we’re doing with the little time we have. Toward the end of the summer in 2017, one of those moments hit me harder than ever; I suddenly realized I was trapped in the life I had always promised myself I’d never live. I was tied down by a 9-5, an apartment lease, a growing pile of bills, and even my then-girlfriend who only made things much worse.
In a way, I felt like I’d hit a dead end. I was extremely depressed and genuinely didn’t know what to do with my life. So, after minimal consideration, I broke up with my girlfriend, quit my job, broke my lease, sold everything I had, and, yes, started living in my car. Some may call it a temporary moment of insanity. Me? I call it an early-onset midlife crisis.
Just like that, I cut the ties and freed myself from everything that weighed me down. Just like that, I stepped off the beaten path and made my own. Closed one chapter and opened the next. I’ll never be able to explain how freeing it felt to make that leap. But maybe–just maybe–you’ll be able to experience that freedom with me.
If you made it this far in the post, then you’re at the end, and I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read. There will definitely be many more to come, so long as the journeys continue–which, with me, they always will. 😉
If you liked the post, please do like, share, and follow along. I also invite you to checkout my other blog, www.jordanantonacci.com
(This post was originally posted on jordanantonacci.com but I haven’t yet been able to build up my follower list for that site, so I figured I’d just post this one on this blog.)