I was asked about the pros of living on the streets.
I can’t come up with any.
I could be all “yeah, freedom to go and do what I wanted, blah blah”.
But it just doesn’t really usually work that way.
I was a single, decent looking female living on the streets. It was dangerous as heck. Probably would have been a lot more terrifying if I wasn’t constantly wishing myself dead anyways.
Sometimes I would walk for 5 hours straight at night time, just to stay safe and warm.
Even if I did lay down to sleep, the cement is hard, but the grass has bugs.
Sometimes it was so cold I just prayed that I would die and get some relief.
Knowing that if you did die, nobody would even know (or care).
Sleeping with one eye open because you’re worried about being raped or at the very least, having your stuff robbed.
You’re constantly dodging police because it’s essentially illegal to be homeless.
The constant battle of finding a restroom. Or a way to get clean. Feeling self-conscious because you look at feel like shit (and you know it).
I was always thirsty and dehydrated. But the fountain water at the parks was so gross that I generally just preferred to stay dehydrated vs. choking that nastiness down.
I read tons of books to keep my mind occupied. Bonus…the library usually has nice restrooms.
Did you know that San Fransisco doesn’t have any emergency shelters for single women? (at least they didn’t back in 2014). I’d have to find a way to get myself into the city to sign a list at lunchtime. Then I’d have to get back there again at dinner time. I’d sit there for hours and hours waiting for my name to be called while watching other folks get called and shuttled off in vans. Then come 7 o’clock, they kick you out with a “sucks to be you”.
I never panhandled. Shoot, I could barely look people in the eye as I wandered aimlessly through towns with my backpack that had my blanket tied to the outside of it.
Only a few groups of people seem to actually enjoy living on the streets. The mentally ill. Those who are trying to prove something, but know that they have mommy and daddy to fall back on when they get bored of adventuring. And drug addicts who are too far gone to care.
Living in my van was a huge improvement. But I still wouldn’t recommend it. Sure there were some good times. But one doesn’t usually have much energy for parties or adventures when just staying alive requires so much effort.