I haven’t lead a conventional path.
I still remember the first time I looked for Plano apartments, aged 21. I was doing my then-boyfriend a favor as he was working in his new job and still needed to secure a living space and move. It was a daunting task. What would I do? How would I do it? It seemed so…adult. But I sucked up my fears and did the best I could.
Step one. Find all the nearby rentals close to his job. Ask to look at the space. I mostly did this through drive by search rather than newspaper or internet browsing.
Step two. Access the surroundings, size, value for the money, price. Would there be downpayment? etc. People were happy to help and let me look around as I mentally took tabs on the places that left the best impressions.
Step three. Report back my findings. Let boyfriend see my “top picks” and let him make his final decision. He trusted my judgment and felt that having me do the initial grunt work made his choice easier. I felt needed and more accomplished as an adult. It was win-win.
I didn’t live with him then, but I took weekend trips every week to see him. I practically lived there half the time when I wasn’t at school or at home, where I still lived with my parents. It was a schizophrenic life, but I managed.
Moving out at 22 was a big step. My boyfriend had since relocated to another town and chose a different apartment with the notion that I would move in months later. It was small. One bedroom, one bath with an upstairs. We made it work, but the space was too cramped for chronic packrats like us.
The need for a new space quickly grew. We didn’t last in our first apartment together for long. Within the end of the year, we upgraded to our own 1400 square foot house! By the age of 22, I was already a young homeowner! Looking back at this “past life” is so surreal. I can’t believe I used to own a house, pay a mortgage to the tune of $1400 which we easily paid with our two paychecks combined. I was on the sure path to house, dog (we had an adorable jack russell terrier) and American Dream.
Something in me ticked and long story short, I decided to change course and leave him. I was bored by my life, my town, my job. I was in a horrible rut creatively and selfishly, I needed to be on my own.
“Being on my own” meant my first foray into finding roommates. By the age of 25, I lived with a gay couple and three male cats. It was quite an interesting change of pace and I found my roomies through craigslist. For some, perhaps finding “strangers” to live with via internet ads sound creepy, and they would prefer setting up roommates with friends or friends of friends word of mouth. For an introvert like me desperate to start her life over and with no friends or support system outside of the failed relationship, the internet was a natural resource.
My new roomies told me they had gotten an outpouring response for a roommate but had only replied to mine because they “clicked” with my introduction. The price was definitely right for me, and I was definitely right for them. I felt special. Blessed. Grateful that this transition was easier than one might expect to find last minute ASAP moves. I had gone with the gay couple because I didn’t want to feel obligated to vibe and be girlfriends like college roomies or sororities with girls, and I didn’t want the awkwardness of having guys I live with crush on me. Two non-heterosexual males was definitely the way to go, and I knew they would give me the space I needed to grieve and be my own.
The roomies were so successful, as I slowly began to mix with their dynamics, that we even did a tandem move together across town and upgraded our living space from two story duplex town house to our own house unit with 2nd story loft area! It was around this time that I told them my plans to move cross country and uproot my life to Asia. They were blown away. Proud but sad that I would be leaving. With only four months left on my countdown, I was half surprised that they even let me tandem move with them at all, but I assured that the early notice would give them plenty of time to find a new roomie to replace me, when the time came.
I left my roomies at the end of November, 2009 and still think of them fondly. I have since become a traveling nomad gypsy and lived over a year with no permanent address or home. I joined monastery retreats, temple-hopped Taiwan, walked Palawan island for 27 days, lived in a raw foods eco-community, and traveled throughout Manila, Philippines and beyond!
Money slowly ran dry as I realized the nomad-everyday lifestyle was more expensive than staying put and hunkering down on cheap rent! Currently, I live in a poor community with my native boyfriend and we share $50 monthly rent. We don’t own furniture and live off our backpacks. It is merely a crashpad, a place of temporary shelter as I transition into my next phase in life: a location independent professional. I have started up my own graphic/web design business in the most unconventional of ways. In the “ghetto slums” of third world Philippines, I run my online business and try to hustle for new projects. Everyday is still a struggle, but I am slowly making the connections and marketing myself.
The path of unconvention has lead me down some dirt roads, straight to the “ghetto slums”, but I am grateful for the opportunities to start my own business while living on the cheap. For the month of June, I am offering 25% off graphic or web design services. Just e-mail me for my rates or project needs.