I walked away from the homeless man on the street in Inwood as he asked me for money and one thought ran through my mind – “How am I any different than him?” We are both homeless. We both make little money and survive under the poverty line. But why am I staying in an apartment in upper Manhattan and he is not? Why do I have a subway card and he doesn’t?
Most people would immediately answer, “Because you work and have a job.”
Well, yes – I work, but for very little pay. I wonder sometimes if I wouldn’t make more money by peddling on the streets. Yet I certainly am not ready to try that out – after all I’m a horrible singer. So yes – I’m working, but I put in ridiculous hours and get very little monetary value.
I’m not stupid, I understand there are likely some vast differences between the homeless man in Inwood and me – education, and financial savings to start with. But when it comes down to it, I think the answer to my question on what makes us different is, “I have friends and family who are well established all around the world who support me.” It is them who provide me a bed or some sort of surface/shelter to sleep on every night. And because of them I am eternally thankful.
In fact this year they have supported me and my life of constant motion more than most years. This is the time of year, a time when my country gives thanks, that I look back on 2013 and determine just how much motion I’ve been in and how many beds I’ve slept in. As I counted these up for 2013 I was pretty astonished myself. I knew I had a very busy year and it felt as if I was moving around a lot, but my total count of beds definitely confirmed that.
I use the word ‘bed’ lightly – sometimes it’s a real bed, a sleeping bag, couch, an air mattress, futon, or a sofa sleeper. As long as I can be horizontal I’m pretty happy. However I’ve also had the other extreme – pure luxury – sleeping in lovely hotels, condos, castles, gorgeous homes via Airbnb, or cabins. I’ve also had my share of beds I slept in while in motion this year including trains, boats, and planes. This is what I love about my life – it’s full of variety.
Here’s a collection of some of my favorite places I slept in 2013 – luxurious, unusual, and homey.
Camping remotely during my kayaking trip in Torres Del Paine Chile
Sleeping among antiques at Blomidon Inn, Nova Scotia
Radison Blu Chicago – quite possibly the best pillows ever!
The place I slept in the longest – one month in this gorgeous apartment in Berlin doing the Liva La Vida Local Experiment
However in the back of my head I have this little nagging worry about the reliance I have on my friends and family for beds. When do I cross over from interesting nomadic traveler into freeloader homeless person in their eyes? It’s a fine line to me – one that I’m constantly aware of and worried about. However – no need to worry about what could be, it’s better to be in the present – so this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for beds and the friends/family, and businesses who provide them to me.
What were some of your favorite places you slept around in 2013?