Treading the space between

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In earlier years, I traveled the world as one does, as a body moving through space and time. It’s easy, and encouraged in western soliptic society, to see travel just like this, a comet, isolated, moving through the world. But you don’t and you’re not. You move energy.

Now that I have a whole house, a microcosmos, I move around quite a lot of things I had never foreseen.

There’s the physical movement of things, the car and the trailer, the energy needed and the roads needed.

And there are the materials, outside and in, things that I have found, changed, shifted on the way. Windowpanes from one place, a bench made of driftwood here, a horseshoe from a farm there, a piece of amber found on a beach. I take things and, rather than shift them from one place to another, move them about. This does something, but I’m not sure what.

But then there is the movement of thoughts, and of wonder. I bring with me a sense of ‘what on earth is that’. People wonder what the house is, and how, and why. And this is something I’m starting to physically feel the presence of. And I think this was something I had in mind all along and part of the whole point of this piece of enclosed air and dream.

An object placed somewhere might evoke wonder at first, and then gradually be defined by its surroundings. But my house is a shape-shifter. It is not one place, one thing. It changes form, appearance and purpose from place to place and time of day. For me , of course, it stays the same, for I know it’s soul. But it will never be one thing, and nor will I.

Winter crossing

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These past weeks I have been moving la Chouette out of the country. I’m still in Scandinavia, it’s still winter. And the best way to move, is by boat.

I have always had a love for the sea and I was a bit worried that building and living in a house on wheels would make me too land-bound. But using ferries to get across borders has so far been surprisingly easy. Of course, I can’t live in the house during transit. But I can park it near the ocean when I reach my destination.

During moving and living more actively on the road I have also discovered quite a few repairs and adjustments I need to make. So now I’ll try to find somewhere slightly secluded, preferably near the sea, where i can work on my house, preparing it for further adventures.

I also notice more than before the dual pull of comfort and push of the road. Having found somewhere I’m comfy I find myself both longing to move on after a short while, felling that I’m done with that place for now, and a desire to stay inside my newfound comfortsone. Having the possibility to leave and live somewhere else on very short notice has brought this internal conflict into the light. I suppose the friction of these kind of conflicts are what keeps life truly interesting. Never do I wish to be without any doubt. I think. Possibly.

Reflections at the end of the year

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soon I will be going into a short hibernation to return stranger and stronger in the new year

It has been pretty much exactly a year since I seriously started on the drawings and purchases for my house and on the way I have made a few new discoveries about myself and the place I currently reside.

  • I have not had any allergies, flu or colds since I started living in my house on wheels. I had thought that not having a long hot shower every day would worsen my problems with constant throat infections, but quite the contrary. I have so far been a lot healthier than when I lived in conventional houses with modern conveniences. I think it has a lot to do with building materials and indoor climate.
  • I have slept well, undisturbed by the constant hum of electricity that conventional houses are plagued with.
  • My wagon is perhaps the first house I have lived in, and I have lived quite a few different places, where I haven’t had the need to seek refuge from the walls in a screen or other form of vista-reducing device.
  • I was worried that my chronic fatigue syndrome brought on by a parasite in the tap water in Bergen some years ago would make it impossible to live a lifestyle that requires more activity, and while it did slow down the building, I have had a lot more energy lately.
  • I have worried far too much about everything, from weight to prices to accidents and the weather. A lot of this I think has to do with the importance of being a ‘smart consumer’ here in Norway, something that sneaks into your brain from constant washing by social media and commercialisation of the public space and which is impossible to combine with doing something really different.
  • There are laws and regulations about everything here that you hardly notice before you start to move beyond the borders of everyday life. The rewards for following these are non-existent and the repercussions ridiculously high. One of the results of this is that it is de facto illegal to be poor here, since following all the laws and regulations requires spending a lot of money or spending your entire life in a squalid flat watching tv and eating plastic.
  • There is a lot of hostility towards gypsies here. No-one will say so because being racist is against the dogma of the global, superhappy consumer, but the amount of seething, underlying hatred you meet as a traveler is staggering. Of course, most people think it quaint and amusing that I have built a little ‘dolls house’ until they realize that this is my proper residence and not just a folly. Then they either still think it interesting and perhaps a bit scary or they glaze over in a sort of primate grin before mounting some sort of poorly disguised verbal attack. We’re still only on the verbal stage though.
  • It is easy to say that you shouldn’t care about what people say, but what your surroundings think of you can make a huge difference in how easy or difficult your life will be. Also, you get really anxious from being watched constantly by people who are waiting for you to trip up.

Summa summarum, living in a house on wheels has been wonderful for my personal health and well-being, absolute disaster for my personal economy and social standing. I will, of course, do everything possible to continue my lifestyle. I will, possibly, be coming to a small town near you soon.

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When is a door not a door? When it’s a window.

I have been redoing the hatch in my roof lately,resulting in large gaps and a feeling of vulnerability for the elements and the universe in general, curiously in quite a different way than leaving a window open does. This has a bit to do with a window being possible to close of course, but also that I’m increasingly aware of the lines and borders drawn between me and the rest of the world by wood and nails.

My house is not a heavy, dense thing made out of brick and glava and three layers of insulated smartglass wired to an app. When there’s a bit missing, it’s missing, any gap is an opening to the world.

In the western world, and in Norway in particular, we have become accustomed to a house being a microcosmos, a solid barrier between us and everything that might be out there, people, animals, rain, snow or wind. The houses here are regulated with thermostats to such a degree that it’s hardly necessary to open a window at all.

This has also made it possible for us to believe that we are indeed removed from the rest of the world, that we do not live on earth, we live in a house. thinking that what happens outside our walls matters little as long as we can close our door. We have stopped living in the world and started living in houses, and now the world is dying because we have used it all to build ludicrously large houses and spew the waste from the building and our living back out into nature. Humanity need to reconnect with its home. A house is a dwelling, not the world.

That, of course, doesn’t mean it can’t be comfortable, cared for, made beautiful and meaningful. But it’s still a place in the world, not outside it, as people here seem to believe.

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Here someone has created a small bit of indoors at a bus stop, from the last town where I was parked.