Most people have no idea I was homeless.
I tried not to tell them. I didn’t want them to think my vision was wild and unsustainable. My co-founder and I didn’t take salaries for over a year, in order to pour more of our donations into the field. But nine months into bootstrapping our nonprofit, my credit card maxed out.
I threw my stuff into storage and trekked around NYC with one suitcase, a printer/scanner combo and coffeemaker. My "few months" on couches quickly turned into ten. I thought it would be grueling. It turned into the best decision I’ve ever made.
In forcing me to ask others for help, I was overwhelmed by hospitality and friendship. And showered with a kindness that I can never quite repay.
Here’s 14 of the places I’ve stayed:
I’m taking a small salary now, and on Friday I moved off Stacy’s couch. In a windfall of irony, ten friends and I rented a place in the Hamptons for June, just as a friend had her place open up in the east village. So now I have two places to live this month. I went from wheeling all my stuff up and down subway stairs like a sweaty hermit crab, to now taking conference calls on the beach.
Last Friday night I met a guy who said, “I think our generation is more interested in experiences and friendships. We’re not striving to get rich and attain more than ‘the Jones’. Our focus is on living and working for causes we care about.” He added, ” I’m totally broke. But I love my life.”
Ironically, he happened to be telling me that as we stood in Adrian Greenier’s kitchen, as Adrian grilled-up steak for 50 “fearless” NYCers, as the invitation stated.
I looked around the room, filled with some of the most interesting and well, “fearless” people I am lucky enough to know and I said, “Ha. Me too.”