THE DUDE IS IN – ADVICE AND STUFF
How to Live a Life of Leisure for Virtually No Money
I graduated from University this summer and I still haven’t found a job. My parents want me to get out of the house but I just can’t get motivated to start down the career path. Is there any way I can stave it off just a few more months or maybe a year? I really just want to think about stuff and clear my head.
Lazy in Lubbock, TX
First things first — you’ve got to get out of your parents’ house. Nothing kills free, independent thinking like four disapproving eyeballs glaring at you all the time. Of course, that will require some money. And I’m guessing you’re not exactly independently wealthy right now.
If you’ve got a few hundred bucks squirreled away or if you can sell some of your crap (or if you can get some from your folks) then a good plan is to travel somewhere and work at a leisurely, romantic job that won’t put too much pressure on you and gives you plenty of time to ponder. If you play your cards right you’ll only have to come up with little more than airfare. Some good options are: The Peace Corps, a Kibbutz in Israel, picking fruit in France, or teaching English in South East Asia. Also check out voluntourism. Soon we’re going to develop a page on this site listing exactly these sort of career options for people like you (and us). If any readers know of more such options, please contact us here with suggestions.
If you don’t want to travel so far and/or you’ve got very little cash at all, a good idea would be to buy a tent and go camp somewhere. Bring a stack of books and hang out in the wilderness. Camping fees at some spots can be very low, but then again, why pay at all? Several sites on the Internet help you find places to camp for free — as nature intended. Start out at boondocking.org and freecampingdirectory.com. Here’s a funny article about “Walmart Camping” — Walmarts actually encourage camping in their parking lots for the extra business they get (of course, you’ll probably need a car or camper).
Still, you’ll need some money to eat. Pretty broke? Here’s an idea: If you can find a youth hostel somewhere that’s looking for people to work there, they’ll give you an easyish job that will let you sleep and eat there for free (maybe a couple of beers a night too), and you’ll have a blast hanging out with cool people from all over the world. Plus, Europeans are easy.
But what if you don’t even want to leave your own town? Maybe you still want to hang out with your friends and do some of the stuff you normally do every day? There’s always couch-surfing. But that can put a strain on your friendships. One of the coolest things to do is “house-sitting.” If you don’t look like a total derelict, some nice suburban family might actually pay you to live in their private residence, feed their pets, water their plants and keep the burglars and carpet-pissers away.
So, put up flyers in nice neighborhoods or just ask your friends and folks if they know someone who’s going on vacation. Normally that will only buy you two weeks of free time but if you do a good job, you can get referrals. Best case scenario you’ll find some professor who’s off on a year-long sabbatical! If you will it, dude, it is no dream. Believe it or not, there are actually professional house-sitters out there who have been doing this for years. They are literally “professional abiders.” Google house sitting – you’ll be surprised at all the opportunity out there. We take comfort in that, knowing they?re out there, those house sitters, achieving in the modest task which is their charge. Why not you too?
The point is, there are lots of opportunities for the horizontally-mobile, if you just look for them and think creatively. Surf the ‘Net, ask around, and you’ll find the space you need, for much less money and work than you might have otherwise expected.
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