I’m Making Myself Homeless to Travel

Life update: I am planning on being homeless for the next three months so I can travel. When my year-long lease runs out this month, I will not be renewing it. I will not be looking for a new lease, either. Instead, I will travel.

So the fact that I’m making myself homeless? I’m not sure I’ve heard of or done anything more privileged in my life.

The fact that I am purposely not taking out a lease, purposely making myself homeless to travel, is one part preposterous, one part elitist, and one part exciting.

So… why am I making myself homeless if I have the privilege not to?

  • Visa: In the UK, student visas have 3-4 extra months tacked on after the degree finishes. This is meant as a courtesy to the visa holder, to help you organize your life, finish assignments, travel or what not.
  • Employment: Because my graduation is unusual and happens over a month after I finish my program, and I have family visiting during this time, it is not feasible for me to search for a job yet. The rigamarole with either applying for a work visa in the UK or applying for my USA board exams, plus requesting vacation time off immediately after starting so I can graduate/see family, is a no-go.
  • Travel: I have always wanted to travel Europe. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to do so in the past, but this has always been squeezed into short weekends or week-long university holidays, with essays looming over my head. My MSc was a 24-month accelerated program with six weeks off per year, with assignments during those periods. When I did have time off, I more often than not went home to the USA. Which is to say that I haven’t had a lot of free time to explore this continent I’ve been living on, and I want to do just that!
  • Rent: Most leases in the UK last for six months to a year. I’ve had two year-long leases whilst in the UK. With only a few months left in my visa, I could definitely find a place (even an Airbnb) that I could rent for two to three months, but these are less common. Which means lower quality, less options to choose from, etc. PLUS, I don’t even know what city I would rent in. I have connections and a home in Plymouth, but I’ve been here two years and I feel ready to move on. I can’t afford to rent in London and be unemployed. And this brings me to my next point…
  • Finances: If my goal is to travel, and I have limited funds, why would I pay to rent a place I (ideally) wouldn’t even be staying at? I would be spending double. Even if it seems like a risky decision to make myself homeless, I actually do believe that it is the financially responsible decision.
  • Luck & Friendship: Along with the privilege theme, I have people who will take me in when I am not traveling or if plans fall through. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

I am not the first person to make themselves homeless to travel. All those “quit your jobs to travel the world” types? They’re doing the same thing! Maybe they haven’t termed it the same, but I am under no pretenses. And neither are my poor parents, who worriedly Facetime me and say “you do realize you are going to be homeless?” Yes, I realize. I’m also a bit terrified, but I’m so excited for this next step, and to share my adventures with all of you.

During my remaining time (being homeless) in England, I will be making monthly donations to Shelter UK. I will also be donating my extra belongings to a homeless shelter before I move out. Shelter is the leading national charity that supports people who are homeless in the UK. Homelessness is a serious issue: it can affect anyone when they least expect it, often not from personal choice, and once you are homeless it is very hard to become un-homeless. Everyday at least 150 families in the UK become homeless. Please join me in donating, or at least give a couple coins the next time you pass someone who is homeless on the street.

Sarah xx

Pin it for later…

Oh, and what happens after my period of self-imposed homelessness and travel? You will have to stay tuned to find out 😉


**As per, I am linking up with Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This, and Marcella of What a Wonderful World for Wanderful Wednesday. 

**I’m also linking up with the monthly link up, this month’s theme being very fitting: things that scare you about travel. Link up is with SilverSpoon LondonFollow Your SunshineAdventures of a London Kiwi and guest host Maggie at Planes & Champagne.

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  1. This is so exciting!! I know we talked about this a bit when we met up but I can’t wait to read about all your adventures! It is going to be the most awesome adventure!! And if you ever need a place to stay in London or Plym – you know to call me right? 🙂

    1. Thank you Ellie, I can’t wait to have them hahaha! Aaaaaaaaand you’ll regret offering because I may have to take you up on London at some point 😉 I’m still sorting out plans but will defo let you know if southwest coastal path walking comes to fruition!!

    1. Thank you Christine, I’m so excited!!! I already have some plans in the works, including Brussels, Budapest, Vienna, Slovenia, and a bit of Italy! I have so many places on my list though, I’d love to go to Copenhagen and Germany…what once seemed like a long period of time is going to fly by I think!

  2. Wish you the best! I am sure you are going up the most of this time. I am sure taking decision like these are not necessarily easy.Tons of questions come to your mind. But sometimes an opportunity is knocking and you have to open that door. So nice you are working with the Shelter organization. #wanderfulwednesday

  3. Wishing you all the best! I know you will see and experience so much. It will be such an amazing journey!

    1. Oooh Tanja that is the question!! Unfortunately our Croatia plans fell through :'( We just didn’t have enough time to do all that we wanted to and flights home were very expensive. But when I eventually go I am going to use your tips! We are starting in Belgium, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia 🙂

  4. How exciting!! I am so excited for you. I’ve always wanted to do something like this. I feel like this is something a lot of people dream about doing, so good for you for making it happen. I can’t wait to read all about your travels!!

    1. Haha me toooo! I am definitely counting my blessings as I know this isn’t something that everyone can/has time to do! But things all kind of fell together what with visa and dates etc. I’m really excited to share all about my travels 🙂

  5. What a great journey you have ahead and so amazing you are doing something for charity as well – that’s an awesome concept! Congratulations on this exciting new adventure you have! Look forward to reading all about it. #wanderfulwednesday

  6. YESS!! This is so exciting and I am so happy for you!! There’s so much to see and do in Europe and 3 months is a great amount of time to be spending travelling this gorgeous continent! If you need any tips on European cities etc. let me know! And if you find yourself in London/Essex, give me a shout! x

  7. Way to go! I think it’s a cool idea that you’re making donations to the shelter while you’re homeless. Such a cool thought. Have so much fun!

    1. Thanks Rachelle! I literally felt the privilege radiating off me when I thought about my decision to travel like this in terms of being intentionally homeless.. I used to work with homeless people so it really struck home! I’m glad I can at least bring some awareness to Shelter at the same time 🙂

  8. I’m so excited for you Sarah!! You’re going to have a great few months! I admit it is kind of scary to be homeless, but it’s also so exciting and freeing. And I actually do spend WAY less being “homeless” than I would on an apartment back in LA. Best of luck with everything, and I’m excited to be following along on your adventures!

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