Van Life Dream – Running From, and Running To

One thing that has always held me back is someone asking me why I want to do something. I understand a lot of it is just plain curiosity with no underlying nasty-ass motive, though for me there has been a fair amount of questioning that did have nasty and cruel undertones and motives. But those motives aren’t mine to deal with and if someone is butt-hurt over that, that’s on them and not me.

The question here is: am I running from something, or to something?

The answer is both.

The call of the road is running from pain, trauma, and past humiliating bullshit. It’s trying to get away from the memories and old voices I know I will never completely silence. It’s running from mistakes, missed opportunities, and lack of confidence and care for myself. It’s running from expectations that were never mine to live up to, or fail at.

On the road I know I’m running to calm, healing, and happiness. Because on the road I won’t need much to live on so that huge sword of scraping out a living won’t be there for me to live under like it is now. No one will know me or my story unless I choose to tell it so there are no expectations on the table set out for me. And I’ll be seeing new places and meeting new people with no preconceived notions or again, expectations.

I’ve read three very different stories by three very different women in different time periods who chunked it all and hit the road in their own way. Each story resonate strongly within me and I understand why each woman did what she did. So here’s a little recommended reading if you’re truly puzzled as to why I want to hit the road on my own:

(Book titles highlighted in blue are links to if you want to read any of them, and all three have been made into movies that are very good adaptations)

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. Probably the best-known of the three books though ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed was a big best-seller, too. It’s Elizabeth’s story of traveling the world on a $250,000 book advance she got after her long and drawn-out divorce. First, she traveled to Italy and learned to be good to herself and to embrace pleasure in yes, food (trust me, I’d eat my way through Italy too if I ever went there). Then she went to India and there had her ‘dak night of the soul’ and finally, she ended up in Bali finding love (though her marriage later tanked- which sort of bummed me out). Her divorce brought out the fact she didn’t want to be a nice little suburban housewife giving it all up for her husband’s career (and probably getting dumped later in life like a lot of these women eventually do).

‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed hit closer to home for me because it’s Chery’s story of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail after her mother died when she was twenty-two years old, and she descended into heroin addiction. On the trail, Cheryl worked through grief and trauma and faced her fears in order to figure out how she wanted to live her life. I’ve done a lot of that on my own though I know there is more of that for me to work through (which I know I’ll do when I get hot-and-heavy on writing my book, ‘Breaking Radio Silence’).

‘Tracks’ by Robyn Davidson. This is the least-known of the three books as it was written in the late 1970’s. It’s Robyn’s story of setting out on a trek through the Western Australian desert with four camels when she was around nineteen or so. In her book she tells of expectations for young women in Australia to just settle down and marry and not speak out against anything of matter. Robyn wanted to travel and explore and challenge herself, which she did on her trek and has since become a well-known travel writer. For me, her story was about challenging yourself and doing things you want to and in a way, giving the middle-finger to conventional living.

Now for me I haven’t felt that many expectations set on me but then I threw everyone for a major loop when was twenty-one and decided to become a full-time caregiver to my mother. But then I don’t think anyone really thought I was cut out to be anything ‘normal’ whatever the fuck that is. I tried to establish some semblance of an ‘acceptable’ life in my thirties of the quaint single woman which crashed and burned because it was nothing but a flimsy façade. There were times when I wanted to settle down and have kids in my late twenties/early thirties but then I thought, who the hell would have me?

I’m okay with who I am now, and the fact I know I will never have all the answers. I have answers, and a lot of theories I can’t prove. And if anyone is dumb enough to try and tell me what to do… they’re just going to get a slight head-tilt followed by one word, “Really?”

But I do know one thing: I know what I’m running away from, and what I’m running to. And that is what the road is calling me for.

And here’s my GoFundMe link if you want to chip in on this little adventure.

My Van Life Dream

Image by Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

My GoFundMe – Van Fun to Get Me On the Road

I hope this link works as the one at the top of my homepage does:

My GoFundMe Link

I have decided to take the plunge on this GoFundMe because with an unpredictable source of income (Uber) and a high overhead due to my living situation, I haven’t been able to gain any traction on this goal of mine. So once a week I’ll be doing a blog post on my Van Life Dream as I will call it. I’ll post updates as to where I’m at on fundraising (because I will put my own money towards this, too when I can), and what I’m doing to plan for it. At some point, you might see screenshots of spreadsheets and items I want for my house-on-wheels.

Why the van and life on the road?

In 2017, I began to think about getting a secondhand RV and hitting the road and then I began to read about ‘van lifers’, people who converted vans, school buses, and other types of vehicles like ambulances (yes, I’ve really seen those along with small box-trucks) and shuttle busses, which is what I dream about because of the size though I’m willing to find anything that works for me and my budget.

The first thing about this life on the road that appealed to me was the potential for a much-lower overhead. Owning a van outright would mean no rent or mortgage and only campsite or RV park fees which are much less than renting an apartment and of course, no lease or long-term contract required there. Second, utility costs because you can power a generator with solar panels (have seen fold-out ones that can be set out on an extension cord so no need to fix-mount them to the top of a van), Water can be acquired by single-fee and some boon-dockers as they’re called (these are folks that really live off-the-grid and out in the wild as most are outdoor sports enthusiasts like mountain bikers and mountain climbers), use water filtration systems to filter collected rainwater. Now of course there’s always maintenance and repairs but my goal is to fit out my van out as simply as possible to where I can make repairs with a box of tools and parts I can carry along with me.

I’ve lived in one place pretty much all my life and though I love where I live, in the last few years I’ve discovered an intense desire to travel. I did a thousand-mile road trip a few years back and I loved it! I loved being on the road and seeing everything and being able to think, or just simply enjoy the ride. Before, I always felt fear at traveling because I didn’t have the confidence in myself to believe I could handle issues that came up. And when I first started voicing the idea of hitting the road, I had several people push back on me and basically tell me that I couldn’t handle living on the road… even though they hadn’t done what I was wanting to do to begin with.

I’m going to come out right here and say that for too long I believed I didn’t have it in me to pursue this dream so I held back. Now if anyone comes at me with that uninformed ignorance if they piss me enough I’m going to tell them to fuck all the way off. I can think, look up stuff on the internet, and ask for help if any problems come up. And at least I’ll know which ignorant assholes to avoid asking for anything with.

The van-life RV community is a very open and welcoming community who have provided a huge treasure-trove of information online for anyone wanting to hit the road and see the world. I hope to meet some of them to thank them for their awesomeness and I want to share my journey like the have to pay it forward.

But luckily, more people are supportive of this dream of mine than they were when I first voiced it out loud. Now I know our world has changed a lot in the last few years and I think more people than ever are getting sick of the grind, suburban conformity, and listening to ignorant assholes. I think more people are just wanting to throw off the chains of consumer culture and see the world and meet new people and not take up so damn much space.

This week I will work on creating a spreadsheet about van sizes and costs. Size is an issue in one unique area as I found out early on in my initial research: bed size. If you want to put a bed across the back of your van you need a van wide enough for that unless you’re willing to cut a mattress to fit. Luckily, mattresses are single-standard in size and width depending on how much mattress you want (I’m thinking a double or queen-size if I can fit it in).

If you want to donate to my dream, just click on the link here and thanks for doing so. I’ll keep everyone posted on my journey to making this dream a reality.

Cheers from the road!

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