A cold and rainy night in the city.
Inside, sizzling fire and warm blankets.
Raindrops on the tin roof.
Walls so close that you can barely stretch out your arms.
An old caravan.
We perceive living in a flat or a house as a need, where closing a door allows us to isolate ourselves from our surroundings. Contact with people around us becomes thus an option, a choice. The spaces where we live may be rented or owned, and long ago became appealing objects of speculation. Not seldom we wind up living to afford that space. This is the way of living most of us adopt, and we don't usually question it. But some do.
Every major city in Germany hosts at least one community of people living in caravans, trucks or trailers. Despite the fact that they rely on a blind eye from the local authorities, the scene is very lively. Craftsmen, engineers, artists, students or teachers choose to abandon the comfort of conventional housing and embrace this way of life. At first sight it might seem that the main motivation for this choice is of a financial nature, perhaps also the desire to be mobile, not to be bound. These aspects certainly play a role. But being there tells a different story. Open doors, shared resources, decisions taken together are signs of an intense community life. Handcrafted and self-made interiors show self-determination and dependence on the work of your own hands. And sure, gathering your belongings in such a small space on wheels tells about not being bound, but perhaps less about not being bound to a place than about being less bound to possessions. It tells about the freedom that comes from living with less.
Sure this is not for everyone. A home with a certain level of comfort is high on the ranking of our most fundamental dreams. But for most of us, the decision not to follow the dictates of society would be harder than giving up comfort, since this comes up against society's reluctance to accept difference. It requires conviction and a strong will to choose a different road, but above all it requires a reason. And so we can always learn something from those who decide to abandon the beaten path.
Abandon the beaten path and decide to live in a different way.
Wagenkultur: between the freedom to be boundless and the confinement between two walls.
A portrait of a culture through its people and their spaces.