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.

Tiny resolutions

According to Simone De Beauvoir, Human freedom can be expressed only in concrete projects, not in the abstract. Freedom “requires the realization of concrete ends, of particular projects’. She does, however, presume that the shaping of those projects are practically  pure and free from influence.

During 2017, I made my dreams pretty concrete. And in doing so I became aware of the constant attacks on freedom and will by seemingly harmless but utterly irrelevant questions. Like ‘Can you make money out of that?’,’Does the roof still have a leak?’,’Is it safe?’ etc.

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Well, is it?

In posing a question, you demand an answer, and you create a structure in the brain of the person you pose the question to by making them create sides and choose one. And the answer will always result in a verdict, which will result in an emotional response, further deepening the structure.

A question will always represent a certain measure of success. And your answer determine the degree of this. And in relating an action or a life according to certain lines of judgement, you nudge those dreams that are questioned in the direction of the themes represented in the question. People usually never as each other  ‘Are you happy?'(without the wildly passive-aggressive underlying statement ‘as long as it makes you happy) or ‘Is this what you wanted to say?’ or ‘Do you feel free?’

The kind of freedom that matters the most to me is freedom of movement. To get up and leave, to listen to my senses and have the room to act on what they tell me, to rest when I wish and to run when I want, not necessarily to strange and exotic places, but simply to move like my body needs and wants, and not have my motions decided or limited by laws, morals or architecture.

So for the new year, I will rid myself further of the rigid measurements of the dreams we are presented and I will continue to make the world a larger and stranger place. I will dream between the lines.

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Also hunt windmills. On, Rocinante!

 

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.

Life on the threshold

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I have found that I spend most of my time, when the weather allows, on the porch. That is, the small step that serves as a porch. Not inside, not outdoors. This place holds something special for me. I don’t suppose I’m alone in preferring these places, but one so rarely hears anything written about the importance of the exisistence of such spots. At one’s home and in society. The places in between, the places that are the threshold. Not just a thin line between this and that, but a place in itself. Most of the things I like, only exists in these spaces. I think one of the most important things for me in my new life is to make this inbetweenworld larger, more spacious, create a room that is in itself inbetween and by this, make more room for the things inbetween in the world of ideas and creatures.

 

The seven day itch

I have now lived in my house, full time, for a whole week. So far it’s perfectly fine, but there are several little daily things that makes up not exactly problems, but tiny itches. Such as, where do I place the coffee kettle after I’ve filled it and while I light the alcohol stove? Do I take my shoes of before I go in or indoors? Because keeping your shoes on is seriously not an option. Where do I place the last step on my ladder down from the alcove without blocking the window and also, how do I get the window to close fully while keeping the bookshelves intact, etc.

I don’t have water or electricity, so every daily activity, from washing in the morning to brushing my teeth and doing the dishes is a tiny little adventure (I suppose this is where the ‘tiny living’ tag comes from). In the morning, I light the fireplace and have a pot of water placed on it for warm water during the day. I take care to wash all the dishes directly after use, and if I’m boiling an egg for breakfast, I’ll use the hot water from that to wash my coffee cup. And such.

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Part of my kitchen in its orderly jumble

Considering this, I have chosen wood for my cutlery and dishes, both for their light weight, the fact that they won’t break during driving, that they’re antibacterial and easy to clean and with the added bonus of the sound. No more sharp clacking or scraping during those tender morning hours, but the warm whisper of larch.

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Every day there are new things to adjust and to adjust to, I’m still settling in. Probably, living like this will affect both my body and psyche in new and interesting ways yet to be seen.

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Me on the porch, photo by Even Tømte