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“What’s your address?”

I haven’t lived in one place longer than six months in almost four years.

Last year, I changed my mailing address with the USA Post Office to point to a relative’s house, giving me some piece of mind. I can still receive whatever few bits of realmail are sent to me, but the result is that I now have at least four addresses to choose from whenever someone asks for ‘my address’:

  • the address at which I receive mail
  • the address at which I regularly sleep
  • the address I use on my USA state taxes
  • the billing address of the credit card I’m using

I keep bumping into weird edge-cases that come with not having a single forever address, and they’re a pain in the ass. It’s not always clear which choice is correct, but it boils down to answering a single question:

Why do you want to know?

Rarely do I have the ability to ask someone that question, though. Most of the time I have to deduce the answer from context.


Employment opportunities have proven to be the trickiest to navigate. To legally hire me, an employer needs a registered business entity in my USA state of tax residence. Then, they need to have an address ’on file’ for me in that state. I’ve been providing my most recent residential address in that state even though I don’t live there anymore, and so far it hasn’t been an issue but it makes me mildly nervous.

USA unemployment has proven to be another tricky thing. I found out the hard way that the laws governing unemployment insurance vary by state, and my state of residence told me last week that I cannot draw my unemployment benefits when I am not physically there. Their labor laws mandate that claimants be ‘willing, able, and available to work’ every week they draw benefits, and since my physical location drastically reduces my ability to take any local job that comes my way, it disqualifies me.

Employers, not the state, finance the unemployment benefits for their employees to reduce the drain on local community resources when they become suddenly unemployed and need help. This makes sense when employers are local, and employees are local, but it kind of fucks over nomads like me.


USA banks are slightly easier: I give the mailing address on file with the USA Post Office (my relative’s home) and then make sure I opt into ‘electronic communications and statements’; thus far the only physical mail my relative gets for me is junk mail, so that has been working out.

One exception to that has just popped up today. I recently formed an LLC to begin freelancing, and am trying to open a business bank account with Mercury. I am paying for a registered agent service to serve as my business address, but it seems that Mercury is unable to accept that sort of business address when opening business bank account. They emailed me earlier asking me to provide an alternative “relevant to the business or a key member”; they said residential addresses would be acceptable, so I gave them the address of my London apartment I just signed a six-month lease for. We’ll see if they accept that, but it irritates me: I don’t want to be mixing my legal business things with my legal personal things, that was the whole reason I formed an LLC.

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It’s funny, in a way, but in my nearly four years of transience, the USA unemployment office is the only time someone has cared whether I routinely slept at my address.

~ Daniel.
a month ago