Thursday, April 7, 2016

Are We Homeless?

As a writer I've always loved playing with words, and the subtle differences between one word and another. In fact, it might even be part of the reason why I love being a writer.

I like the fact that completely different pictures can be painted by simply changing a word. For example, consider the difference between a person who: 'strode', 'strolled', 'scampered', 'staggered'. The word 'walked' could just as easily have been used, but the picture wouldn't have been the same.

It's not just that, though, to me words have their own energy too. Sometimes everybody feels the same energy in a word, but sometimes it's an energy that only you feel, perhaps triggered by a personal thought, emotion or event from your past. One person might, for example, consider a specific word a compliment whilst another might consider it an insult, simply because the energy and emotion they individually associate with it is different.

'Homeless' can be one of those words. This word comes to mind because it's also a word that has been mentioned in our hearing range many times over the last few months.

So, what does 'homeless' mean?

To many it instantly conjures up the picture of a dirty, sad person, dressed in rags and curled up on a street corner begging and scrounging for the basic necessities of life.

But, think about it – is that really what the word means, or is it simply an individual connotation of what the word means?

Doesn't 'homeless' simply mean somebody who doesn't have what we consider a regular, conventional place to live, not necessarily somebody who is penniless as well?

  • Isn't a person who chooses to live under a palm tree on an island paradise homeless?
  • Isn't a grandparent invited to spend four months of every of year split between each of their three children homeless?
  • Isn't a person travelling around the world's youth hostels homeless?

Yet, do any of these lifestyles bring up the same emotions and reactions as the hungry, grubby person sleeping in a cardboard box? I doubt it. After all, these three people aren't assumed to be desperately short of money and dependant on others, only that they have chosen to live a less conventional lifestyle which doesn't involve a standard home – just like us!

Yes, it's true we won't have a traditional home, but to us that doesn't mean we won't have a home, or that we're reliant on others to survive. Instead we're in a situation that offers up great opportunities, inspires new ways to think, the odd challenge or two to solve even, but it's still a great adventure, full of freedom and unpredictability.

if I want to be truly honest, I always liked the idea of being a nomad, (independent, spontaneous, travelling wherever appeals) and that's exactly what we'll be – nomadic, not homeless.

Now, 'nomad', does that conjure up a different picture from 'homeless'? 

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