When I was travelling in Australia, I ended up sleeping in a car for three nights.
This was never intended and came about because me and my travelling buddies neglected to book a room while the Australian Grand Prix was on in Melbourne.
We had arrived in Melbourne after a road trip from Adelaide with the intention of finding work.
However, as the weeks passed our attempts to find work were fruitless. We had drifted from hostel to hostel and even stayed in a friend’s apartment for a week.
We were acting as though we were still on the road.
We knew that the Australian Grand Prix was fast approaching. People book their hostel rooms well in advance.
We knew we may not have a room if we delayed any longer. But, we just kept on delaying and delaying the search.
In truth, all three of us assumed there would be space somewhere.
There were over 100 hostels in Melbourne! They couldn’t all be booked up, could they!?
They definitely could!
As backpackers, we decided not to stay in a hotel, even though we could have afforded it.
Nope, we hit on a better idea…
Let’s rent a car and sleep in the back of it. But, we didn’t just rent the car from any old car rental service.
No, we rented it from a company called Rent-a-Bomb. Not only were they were keen to rent the car to us, but they were also very eager to let us rent it for longer.
With a name like that, I’m not surprised!
Anyway, apart from the ridiculous nature of the situation, it opened my eyes.
For the first time in my life, I did not have a roof over my head. Yes, I had the car roof, but I was essentially homeless for three days.
It was horrible. I couldn’t shower in the morning. I had no access to a toilet. No way to cook food.
It felt like I was cut adrift. It was a humbling experience.
The back of the car was an uncomfortable place to sleep. It was also freezing. I was shivering all night, barely sleeping, waking up every two hours from the cold.
I can’t imagine how those unfortunate souls who are homeless survive on the streets during winter. I really can’t. At least I had a roof over my head!
At the end of the three days, I had never been more thankful to be able to wash my self at will, and a bed to sleep in.
It was an experience I don’t want to repeat.
I can’t claim to have been homeless. Far from it, I could have booked myself into a hotel at any point.
But, to put myself through the experience for a few days, and see the world in a different light was humbling.
It gave me greater empathy for those that are homeless, and made me more determined than ever to ensure I don’t have to go through it again!
It may not have been the stereotypical eye-opening travelling experience, but it left an impact on me.
It doesn’t take much to slip into homelessness. I was fortunate I had savings to be able to rent a car and sleep in a hotel if need be.
However, if the same situation had occurred and I had non-existent savings, I would have been in big trouble.
The reality is, the majority of us are closer to being homeless than becoming millionaires.
It’s an uncomfortable thought to consider. We like to think it will never happen to us. Situations can arise, however, that leave events beyond our control.
After those three nights, I never want to find myself in that situation again.