Friday, June 8, 2011 - Welcome to my journey. I have known that this was coming for a couple of weeks now, but time flies and suddenly the final moment of departure is so near. It's now a matter of hours before I have to hit the road. As of Sunday morning, when I step out of my apartment for the last time, I will be one of the millions of Americans who have recently become - or on the verge of becoming - "homeless."
It's a surreal feeling. I know that this is happening, but by the grace of God I have not panicked. I remain calm. Perhaps the panic will set in sometime Sunday night when I look for a safe place to sleep. Safe is more likely than dry, however, as thunderstorms are predicted for the Chicago area on Sunday night.
Earlier this week, I purchased a backpack and a pair of boots. I cannot fit everything I own into that, of course, and I have no place to store my possessions. Family photos, business suits, shirts, clothing. Into the dumpster with. Paper files have been shredded. What's left of my life will be crammed tightly into that backpack. I am still sorting through (what are still) my belongings, trying to select only the most essential items for my trek.
I will try to fit this laptop in there, too. Just in case the computer is lost, damaged or stolen, I have uploaded my most essential documents to storage online. That way I can access them from any other computer if need be. My camera will be strapped over my shoulder and doesn' t weigh enough to matter.
I have not been able to find a water-resistant sleeping bag that I can afford right now. I will have about $300 in my bank account as I walk out of Chicago on Sunday. There are some other items I will need that I plan to pick up along the way. A one-man tent would probably be a good thing.
I have chosen to leave Chicago. I prefer to take my chances with the animals in the woods and farmlands as I trek from one nice village and town to another, than have to deal with winos and criminals in Chicago's parks and filthy alleys. I would rather scrounge for wild fruits than dig through a stinking dumpster.
So, I will be homeless in less than 48 hours. Yet, in a funny way I am not "homeless." Let me explain. I am an American. I am still in the U.S.A. So, in that regard, I am home. Perhaps "shelterless" is a better word than "homeless." I comfort myself with this thought, and by thinking that I'm just off to an extended hike across America. Homeless yet still home in the U.S.A. I hope you'll stay with me. I could use some company on this journey.