FAQ: Living in a Tent

My name is Allie and I live in a tent in Vancouver. No, I’m not a bum. I have a job, I bathe, and I’m not crazy. I’m a normal person. I just live in a tent. When I tell people that, I get a wide variety of responses– everything from “You would.” to “That’s a great idea!” to “That’s nuts, I could never do that.” But mostly I get a lot of questions. I’m kind of getting tired of answering the same ones over and over again, so this is my living in a tent FAQ:

Where exactly is this tent?

My friend’s back yard, near Cambie and King Edward. Super close to the train station. It’s a great location, really.

Why the hell would you do that?

Have you seen Vancouver rent prices? I’m saving $700 a month.

So basically you’re going to be crashing at your boyfriend’s place a ton?

Nope, he lives in the tent with me.

What if it rains?

This one is by far the most common and most perplexing question. If I didn’t anticipate rain, why would I be bothering with the tent in the first place?

Why don’t you just live in my basement for free?

Mom, I’ve told you before: Thanks, but no thanks.

How’s the tent?

Fine. How’s your bedroom? There are a few people who ask me this every day like they expect a different answer. Really, it’s fine.

But doesn’t it suck?

Not actually as much as you’d think. The weather is getting warmer every day and the ground is only very slightly more firm than the lumpy futon that I’ve been sleeping on for years. Plus, it’s nothing like camping. At worst, I’d call it glamping. We have full access to a kitchen, indoor plumbing and even laundry just steps away. Inside the tent is pretty cushy too. With full-size pillows and a quilt, it’s hard to complain.

Of course, there are downsides. Most notably, the blanket-hogging issue that everyone who has ever shared a bed is all-too-familiar with is a lot more serious. Also problematic is the fact that sleeping in isn’t really an option with the early morning light and the sounds of birds and traffic. In the confined space, Adrian and I have managed to hit each other in the face many times while trying to perform simple tasks such as zipping the tent closed or setting an alarm on a phone. I could do without the cold, damp commute to the bathroom in the morning as well, but at the end of the day no bed feels as good on your back as $100 a month rent feels on your wallet.

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