I ’m typing this while sitting at a very nifty, handmade foldaway desk in a compact, one-bedroom flat in Kentish Town. The cosy apartment’s dark wooden floorboards are overlaid with thick, Bhutanese woven rugs depicting tigers and mandalas. When I make toast on weekends, miniature, primary-coloured Tibetan prayer flags, strung above the toaster, dance in the rising heat. Bedroom bookshelves are stacked with intriguing travel guides, musings on Buddhism, and titles extolling the benefits of cold-water swimming; a good thing since Hampstead Heath’s Kenwood ladies’ pond is just a 35-minute walk away. Parliament Hill Lido is even closer.
This feelgood flat has been the ideal winter bolthole, and a place I felt immediately at home when I moved in three months ago. But come spring I’ll be living somewhere entirely different, in a completely new flat or house, most likely in a new borough, perhaps a new city, maybe even a new country. These are the exciting unknowns in my transient life.
Three years ago, I quit having a fixed place to live in, leaving my home for various locales across the UK and beyond. The notes in my phone reveal that, to date, I’ve slept in 117 beds, in locations ranging from the Scottish Highlands and coastal Dorset to Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, and the avant-garde Georgian capital of Tbilisi, all while holding down a full-time job.