No. I’m in one of the many places I call home. I came back to the States nearly a month ago. The first two weeks were mostly spent hugging friends and answering the top FAQ such as what my favorite country was and did I ever feel in danger. Being “home” in California has turned into an exciting practice of making myself feel at home in a number of places.
I plan on being in California only for the summer, so, I am not in a position to commit to the “real life” that some define by signing leases, getting full time jobs and adopting pets. But I am happy to say I have no shortage of animals, projects or housing. Thanks to the sharing economy, I have been cat-sitting my way through Northern California. I embraced the sharing economy years ago when I rented out a room on airbnb.com and let people drive my car through getaround.com. This kind of communal mentality has become a normal part of life for me and for many people in the United States.
After that, I helped a couple of strangers from nextdoor to take care of the beautiful (and very old) Avalon while they were away.
Today, I am writing from the comfort of an artist loft I found on craigslist and I am renting from a couple that’s moving to Seattle. Zazie and Movillette also come with the house.
Being able to live rent free (thank you, friends!) is not always possible. But if you are creative and willing, there are many ways to enjoy great value out of what you can afford. Up until now, I have paid low prices for living in beautiful places because people feel comfortable opening their doors to strangers. Strangers willing to pet and feed their cats. Some do it because they cannot afford pet-sitters and others do it because they prefer to have someone around the house. Whatever the reason, I realize that I am helping them as much as they are helping me.
The ‘Sharing Economy’ (which Bits, from the New York Times dedicates a section to) seems insane to my family in Venezuela but in Northern California many are used to sharing their goods in order to minimize bills that come from living in one of the most expensive states in the United States. Despite the annoyance of having a mild allergy to cat hair and having to move every few weeks, there is something wonderful about exploring different neighborhood around the East Bay and San Francisco. It sort of feels like I’m still traveling! A feeling that I hope to hang on to for life.