Sunday, January 20, 2013

How Much Living Space?

Typical apartments in Cuenca, Ecuador, often home to families of ten or twelve people.
The United Nations International Housing Coalition recommends a minimum of 75 square feet per person for safe and private living conditions.  Unfortunately, 50% or more of the people in the world live in far less.

As we prepare to move into our RV, I calculate that we will be living in approximately 200 square feet—a luxury for most of the other human beings on our planet! 

As an American, it is difficult to grasp the depths of poverty around the world and the extreme luxury of even the poorest Americans.  When one lives in a culture of McMansions, giant SUVs and big box stores, it is difficult not to feel inferior when one is considered to be living below the poverty line.  But if we want a real measure of our blessings, we need to remember to think globally. 
Third World living conditions
 I see this upcoming lifestyle change as a spiritual journey, and an opportunity perhaps to conquer once and for all my own demons of depression and despair.  This will all depend on how I choose to look at things.  I can see this as an amazing opportunity for adventure and travel, for meeting people and getting my talents and gifts out into the world, with a man I love most dearly, and with a freedom few people—even Americans—will ever have. 

Instead of lamenting over the loss of my house, I can choose to see that now I won’t have to worry about shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, finding the money for large maintenance issues like hot water heaters or broken gutters.  (Or Saturday night shootings or boom cars or wild roving groups of unruly teens.) Physically, living in the RV will be easier because everything is easier to reach and there is less to clean.  (I have difficulties with my back and feet and right arm, difficulties that cause limited mobility and chronic pain; my husband is also disabled.)

In the RV, we can avoid the extremes of weather that cause added discomfort by staying to the south in the winter and to the north in the summer.    No more heat stroke in July, and no more dark subzero Januarys. 

Traveling with Rick has always made me happy.  I have more fun just being with him than with anyone else on the planet (well, at least the ones I know).  He is cheerful and witty, and he has a wide-eyed sense of wonder at the world that is rarely seen in people over the age of about ten.  Unlike many others I have traveled with, he does not get angry when we are “lost” but simply sees it as part of the adventure—another opportunity to experience something fresh and new.  He loves to drive and can drive for long hours at a stretch.  Rick is all about enjoying life, a refreshing change from my neurotic need to always be doing something “important.”

My happy hubby at Sunset Beach, Cape May, NJ
 These days of waiting have been a trial for me, filled with anxiety and impatience.  But my greatest spiritual teacher is sitting in the next room, and soon we will be sharing 200 square feet of luxurious freedom.  I think that makes me a lucky woman.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you are ready to embark on your journey... not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Enjoy your travels!