Hey I'm Russ and I'm Homeless
by RUSS SELBY
Hey, I’m Russ and I have chosen to be homeless. For the last four years, I have traveled the world by bike; sleeping in a tent. I left Manchester, England, to circumnavigate the globe on my bike with New York as a final destination; raising money for four charities whilst I go. In the process, I have inadvertently made myself homeless. The experience has not only allowed me to see the world, but has changed my world, recalibrating what is important in life.
The markets of Istanbul; the beaches of Bali; the plains of Australia; the rainforests of Colombia; the cultures and nature on four continents; I’ve seen the incredible beauty our planet has to offer, on a shoestring. I also learnt how people from the four corners of the globe live.
I have enjoyed the simple life. With the flexibility of no fixed home, I can spend each day without the worry of arriving to a destination or returning home on time. I can temporarily put my home high in the Andean mountains or even on the Salar de Uyuni. It means each day starts and ends differently. Everyday is an adventure.
There are downsides. A tent sometimes attracts some unwanted attention, although this is usually more of a disturbance than a danger. There is no privacy beyond the eyes of onlookers. Nothing worse than a drunk in the early hours or, like in Laos, some military personnel shining lights and pointing rifles into the tent.
What is the biggest lesson being homeless has taught me? I do not have to own much stuff: everything I want, I must carry on my bike. A simple life, filled with things and people that add value. And of course, I appreciate each and every item and experience I have.
It is no coincidence that I have received the generosity of countless families – I never would have conceived a level of hospitality like it. But in reality: wonderful, interesting and kind people are everywhere. Without a word in common, strangers invite me to their homes to meet their family and share their food. A real cultural exchange.
After three days staying with a family in Bolivia, they asked me curiously why I would want to leave my home in Manchester. “To experience this.”
I do not feel homeless. I am fortunate to have family one day I will return to. For me homelessness has been positive, offering simplicity and flexibility.
You can check out Russ’ journey by following this link.