Saturday, 3 February 2018

Houseless in Sydney

I needed to leave my friend's house sit. The plan was to walk south, and I did start. But, as they do, plans change. Now I'm staying about the Sydney region for a bit, living out of my pack.

The day is dawning. It's raining again. Showers really. I'm grateful to be dry for now. I've spent a lot of time damp and will be again. My morning dilemma: wait for the shower to pass or pack and head off in the rain to find an open toilet? Not many public toilets are open overnight. Not good to wait too long. Whichever, I can't stay here too long. No one it's about in the rain, but they'll come. I can't be seen here.

My travel by bicycle, I now look back on thinking it was so easy. Lots of space. Set up a tent! Dig a cat hole. Strip and wash under a bottle shower. Air dry. Sun bake. Hang out in camp. Stay clean. Carry lots of food and water. Always going somewhere, or doing something. Find food, water, campsite, a change of scenery. Never many people around.  When I started out it was terrifying. I had so many fears. It only got comfortable and easy with time and experience. I'm in the same place now. The fearful, terrifying place. Still working out how to deal with everyday issues. Where to sleep, toilet, get water, wash myself and my clothing, where to hang out at 6am when I can't stay in my bed. Where to wait till it gets dark enough to go to my bed. With time and experience I hope it'll get easy. But that's little consolation now.

Only last night I slept well. But I think it was just lack of sleep catching up with me. I want more sleep. I had found a place for a few nights. But rested uneasy, waking often. I like the spot, but I'm too conspicuous there. Soon someone will notice and I'll get rousted, maybe risk getting fined. I need a better spot. Another motivator is that if the rain continues today, my spot will be very muddy, if not under water. Definitely somewhere new tonight.  My wish for a quite spot has waned as I've become more accustomed to the city noise you don't notice inside: cars, trucks, dogs, people talking, planes taking off/landing. Noise I can handle. To sleep undisturbed is what I want.

Washing is still on the list to solve. Cycling, my clothes didn't smell. I'd sweat and dry and my skin would get a layer of salt. Clothes got salty. I think the salt  stopped the bacteria that cause smell. Walking, I sweat, but stay damp, and don't salt up. Clothes start to smell. A quick rinse in a sink and put them back on wet is not enough to clean them. Wash and wear I call it. Even with the cool days and showers they dry eventually. Bit unpleasant putting them on, but it quickly passes. I need to get soap for the next wash. Need to wash me too.

I decided to wait out the current shower and use it to wash out my socks. The toilet, not yet urgent enough and perhaps not open either. I'll enjoy the time without having to move just a little bit longer.

Once already I've downsized my pack. The easy discards. I thought I was being ruthless then. Further days have shown me my errors. I've still too much useless stuff. Each possession is mentally weighed. How essential it is now? Few things are. Extra clothing for cooler weather will be essential, but not now. It'll go. Weight and bulk are my pack enemies. Even the pack taunts me with its size and weight. It's day is coming. A heavy pack is awkward. Stands out. Hard on the body too. Full of useless stuff, I cannot fit more essential items. Or can't easily find what I want without emptying it. I've though about a shopping cart, but want the freedom of walking for now.

The day ahead is large and empty. Sunrise is about 6, sunset about 8. What's open when and where. How to get there. How will I fill my day?

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