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I would like to ask if any one out there has experienced what I will describe.
The “adventure” I am about to embark upon is a journey that is unusual in that typically the pilgrims on this voyage are alcoholics, drug addicts or mentally disturbed.
Some may claim I am mentally disturbed but as practicing painter and photographer, it is a kind and gentle way of being but I feel I am in complete control of my facilities.

In the interest of brevity, I will keep the story to simple facts and save the juicy stuff for a novel. Two years ago, my Long-term partner/girlfriend and I had what most would call the American dream. Each of us earned over six figures, received bonus’s and due to our children in school, we never felt wealthy. Perhaps we were more than comfortable.
We had a great-shared ski house in Whistler, are children were either out of college or soon to enter and doing well. Our jobs required skills and specific knowledge of technical processes. We saved some of our earnings; we had 401K retirement funds, we worked incredibly hard. I like working hard and always have.

Fast forward to unexpected death, a closing of my company, twins starting college and the bottom falling out of the real estate market followed by the stock market. I have experienced a few layoffs in my life. Prior to attending college, I learned a few trades such as Carpentry, painting, and drywall finishing. I do all very well. I assumed I would just get a few painting or carpentry jobs. This time was different. What was different?
The people in my area who usually have the homes requiring upkeep were crushed by the market crash. They were in trouble as serious as what I was wading into. There where shrinking construction opportunities with all my unemployed brethren fighting for scraps of work until the reality of the situation set in.

Ok, I have had a couple short-term consultant positions, since my long-term job evaporated, but the bills keep mounting and downsizing in a dropping market wasn’t working well. I collected unemployment for over a year with all the extensions.
I have borrowed, as much money as I was comfortable doing knowing repayment was questionable. I have explored family, friends done the networking route then government agencies as a last resort. I have hit the wall. No income, late rent, late car payments
Realizing I cannot continue like this and I now reach out to see if others have faced this before.

I am planning on getting my REI dome tent, store my belongings, bring enough supplies to paint, a couple of guitars, and my laptop and a big cooler? I don’t know what is really important. I have a cat who is my friend and partner. I don’t know what I can do with him as I love him.
My inclination is to point towards Jackson WY or Bozeman MT so at least I could ski after what? Instructing? Dishwashing? But OMG, its too cold!

I believe there is a growing group of educated, talented wonderful people who may feel discarded by our society. From watching the numbers of the unemployed grow and knowing that those who have expended benefits would or could be homeless.
This is the adventure I am embarking upon. Urban camping is not attractive. What are the real pioneers doing?
I never thought I would be in a situation like this.
When I was young, I didn’t have the bills and defaults that nag me, nor the family and friends who empathize but are so horrified by my situation (knowing it could be them with one bad stroke of luck) that I make them uncomfortable. I lived dirt poor in America as a young naive hippie renouncing my parents middle class values. I was the equivalent of a homeless person in 1970. I know how the downward spiral proceeds. I understand how appearances are so very very important to instill confidence in others.

I want to get some feed back. I need answers.
Please let me know as some times I wonder if when a normal person hits the skids due to no fault of their own, is that when one starts drinking?
I don’t want to…Are there options?

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Hi Jeffrey,

I'm new to CoolWorks myself, I think you will find some incredibly refreshing support, advice, stories, and lots of options to ponder !

My story is nothing like yours, but yet, a lot of similarities.

I am in a quandary with my life. In the last year or so I have gone through my second divorce (married ten years to someone I Loved for over 30 years!), voluntarily walked away from an eleven year teaching career in Indiana so I could move to Tennessee to be close to my young adult children and grandson...I had no job lined up when I moved. I did not land a permanent teaching position for this school year, so I have begun substituting. I believe this experience has confirmed what I was already feeling; although I have a deep passion and respect for young people and education, it's no longer what I want to do on a daily basis!

For me, I just don't know what I want to do with my life ! Every time I think there's a "plan, path, schedule..." something comes up and it changes !!! SO...for me...I'm accepting it, going with it, (working every day) to embrace it, and FUN is what I try to focus on ! I'm viewing this time in my life as my early 20's...which, in a way, IS how I thought it would happen! I had my children in my early 20's, now I'm 49 and I'm ready to explore, be footloose, not be tied down ! I truly believe that everything happens for a reason...I'm about this ___ close to NOT being tied down :)

It's MY time ! And I'm blessed that I have my children's support !!

I read a book that has been of immense help to me, I keep it close and refer back to it often, I highly recommend it ! Happy for No Reason, 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out written by Marci Shimoff (coauthor of 6 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

I hope I haven't rambled too much! It's comforting to communicate with people that are going through situations that are somewhat similar.

Hang in there, things will get better! Keep me posted!

Thanks Marie
We all have our own path.
Believe it or not, lack of a job/income with all that that entails are my only complaints. As a painter, I derive my sense of self from other sources other than the company who provides me with an arena to make both of us money. I feel exceptional, but in this world, often others measure us by what we have.
Where do I get my shopping cart for clothes and books? :) that was supposed to be a joke (the cart anyway... I'll use a golf cart!)
I have no easy answers for you there are many paths you may choose to go. I have but a few suugestions as you embark on your journey and a prayer. one is that you embrace the beauty that is your life. Two is to get out of the box and serve. Three is to be thankful for every day. share a smile with someone and a prayer that you may choose the right path. I hope this didnt sound convenient.
Hi Roger
My writing skills are failing me as your advice , I believe has saved my sanity. All three of your sugestions have been embraced and used as a daily navigation markers. I believe and try to practice those suggestions of yours for a few years now. Yes yes yes....
My issue is going from yuppie to monk in two years
My soul is willing, my flesh is weak.
I am looking for a monastary in Jackson WY or Whistler BC this winter to comune with nature and powder with the 77 virgins before meeting the creator....
No. Really,
Life is wonderful
Transition from a materialistic society (and one I once enjoyed as I equated the lifestyle with toys and freedom of choice) to humility, giving of myself and trying to maintain a sense of dignity as in the eyes of my nieghbors , I go down the symbolic drain.
I am OK still but ,man some days are so difficult only from not having control anymore of the very basics.Hot water? Man I wish I had some..... heat too, as New England is getting a little chilly.
The path is fine , its just needing a homeless mentor to show how to take care of practical aspects of a desk jockey learning to live in American from a shopping cart rather than a six bedroom farm house/pool/PTA /kids still on college (thank god for scholarships and work ethic) with all the "junk"
My mind is at peace for the most part but I wanted to hear how to "do it"

Thanks though,
I do appreciate you taking the time to reply

Use the KISS principle; Keep It Simple. The more you own, the more complex things become.
"I feel exceptional, but in this world, often others measure us by what we have"... This will always be a problem until you measure yourself by what is inside of you, not by what you have. Ask yourself, "What can I take to the grave with me, my belongings or my experiences in life?" You never own anything, you just have temporary control over it. Ignore how others measure you for it how you feel about yourself that really matters. When you feel good about yourself and what you do, it shows. Give a child a hug, smile at someone who is sad, lend an ear,... these actions will do more for you than a trip to your favorite store. Again, it is what is inside that matters...
I have been essentially "homeless" since 1999 when I started seasonal work and it is deliberate. I try to own not much more than I can carry in my seabag; The important documents are stored at a sisters' house. I enjoy sleeping out of a tent in the summer (Homer 2008 was a great year doing that). Imagine, if you really need $$$, working two tipped positions and living out of a tent. With almost no expenses, you can save a lot.
It helps that I grew up in the South Pacific by living off of the land. That teaches a person what is essential and what is "gravy"; Too many forget what is important in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Gravy becomes a "need" instead of a want. Going seasonal was a blessing.... Coolworks is one of the best things that can happen to a person. In the past I have owned businesses and found that it was not a good life; It is better to be free. Having "more" does not mean life is better...
I don't intend to be "homeless" forever, but it is a great way to stock the bank account while living a free and unencumbered lifestyle. When I do decide to settle, I will be ready and will have the $$$ needed for my "cabin in the woods" and a retirement. Why work hard for 30+ years to pay a mortgage when your home can be bought with cash saved while exploring the country and the world? Just use your imagination to make a living; Many here in Alaska have been doing that for years.
The biggest thing is what attitude you go into this simple way with; If you look at it as a "downward spiral" that is what it will be. If you look at it as a gift, an education, simplicity, an opportunity to see the country while putting away $$$, that is what it will be.
I hope you see it from the positive aspect... This seasonal way is NOT homelessness. For me getting rid of my business and starting seasonal work is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Many, as you say, have judged me because I don't have a lot. I ignore them because I don't want a lot. I use the KISS principle. I hope you will to.
Thanks ,This seems very practical
I need "parables" like this for reassurance that others have survived nicley
Thank you
Welcome to the CW family, if ever there was a place to go for help, advice or release this is certainly the place. I understand your quandary and I certainly understand your pain as you begin to start a new life so late in your own. Do realize that you have found the best home right here. If you are looking for work, for a home, for friends or for a life everyone here comes together to create these possibilities. I am going to stray from everyone else's answers and shoot right for resolution. Two questions. How is your wine knowledge and what do you think about Telluride? If you are looking for a position for the winter there is no better place than Colorado.

Although a seasonal lifestyle may not be in your cards, there are a few factors that you may want to consider. I work a ranch job every summer which affords me absolutely no bills. No rent, no utilities, nothing. Just a free place to live and then they pay you for your time. Also, you may want to consider they specialize in finding caretakers and managers for properties. Which would be keen for someone in your position who is looking for the time to express himself through painting and writing. A position such as that would offer the time for both. Please feel free to contact me I would be more than happy to send you their latest newsletter.

Jeff, just don't lose hope, their are a lot of options out there and a lot of people here to help you and give you recommendations for the future!

Excellent Kevin
I want to explore your note (caretakers sounds great!)
need to run
I am really feeling great about the CW group
I wish I had come here long ago
Thank you
Shoot me an email, I would love to forward you the list.
Have been working the past few days helping a friend pack, move, paint the new house, patch the old house....
I am so grateful for work these days, which I think is excellent.
'How many of us realize they are lucky to be employed

heres my stuff
jeff fallon
I can't offer any worthwhile advice on the spiritual, self-actualizing, get-in-touch-with-your-inner-homeless-person vibe. I would actually concentrate first, if I were you, on the practical aspects of being one of America's new poor class, and surviving it--besides, it's hard to meditate when you're hungry, or freezing your butt off.


The best solution for a single person on the down and outs is a decent used RV. You can get something that will run and drive for about $5000. The key here is that the RV will offer you portable shelter. I'm sure you know, one of the most demoralizing aspects of being on the skids is that you are exposed to the elements. You also have to be able to have a place to store your things, get cleaned up when necessary, and so forth. An RV does that for you.

There are certain adjustments you have to make--you need to be seasonally migratory as most RVs have terrible insulation and are thus very uncomfortable in very cold or very hot climates. You will have to stay out of urban core areas, as there will be no place to park, and maneuvering will be too tight. Prepare to be hassled by the cops on occasion, wherever you do stop for the night. You'll have to learn how to conserve water (like it was gold). But the positive side of all this is that you have your own space, and it's portable. Plus, you can have your cat with you.

Most, if not all of the jobs on CoolWorks fit well with the seasonal migratory RV lifestyle. You can also accept jobs on construction sites, etc. and stay on-site, and there's usually electricity and water. Really, it's the most flexible option.

You will have to pay for auto insurance, licensing, and of course, the RV itself. Fuel is kind of horrendous, but you can mitigate that by not moving around too much. I would estimate that the total cost of getting off the ground would be $8000. I don't know if you can scrape up that much, but perhaps a friend could float a loan with the RV as security. You can find some terrific bargains this time of year, so you might be able to get a rig for much less than its normal retail value.

I know some people will hate me for saying this, but your situation hasn't happened for any "reason". There's no higher power up there who smote you with misfortune so you could emerge from the crucible a better and wiser person. Don't try to turn this into some kind of semi-forced vision quest. It isn't about spiritual enlightenment right now; it's about staying alive and healthy. You've seen how shocking and precipitous a decline in life can be. Don't let it get worse, to where you can't afford decent food, medical attention, or clothing. You're right--you will be judged on appearances, and there's a point of no return, where you lack the resources to shine yourself up enough to be employable, and thus can't earn any money to get those resources, and....splat. Death, often slowly, clutching a bottle of Ripple in a gutter.

The fact of the matter is that even now, you're on the precipice. Even based just on what you've told us, very few of the Coolworks employers would ever hire you. Your credit is bad. You're currently unemployed, and have been for a while. You don't have any good current references. You have to rebuild, and do so in an economy where employers can cherry-pick, and they know everything about you by typing your SSN into an employment search engine. It's going to be brutally tough.

So all I can say is, be frugal as all hell, protect your health as much as you're able, and seize everything that even looks like an opportunity to earn some money. In that vein, be as selfish as you have to be, and conserve, conserve, conserve. Abandon any conception that there is some kind of karmic leveler that will make things work out in the end. The cosmos doesn't give a crap, truth be told. You are the ONLY determinant of your fate. I wish you luck, and try to keep up your morale.
To each his own opnion. My opinion is that right where you should be in your life ands all part of a bigger plan. It's always darkest just before the storm clears and the sun shines again. Yes I believe that there is a higher power and know this to be true from my own experience. I suggest you be as spirtual as you are willing at this point fir nany years I turned to alcohol when things got bad but today I turn to my God. I pray you will find a job that suits you and relief from your suffering. I know if your in Jacksin hole there is a good mission you can stay at until you find a better option. Hostels are always a cheap alternative as well. Don't be discourged I am sure you are qualified for many cws jobs and now us the time to start applying for the thousands of opening coming up in 2010. Good luck



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