I am a procrastinator who hides behind the vague veil of preparation. So very very recently, I have fallen in love with the idea of van life. I’ve always wanted to travel and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail was always on my bucket list. Ever since that made the list I’ve fretted about if I’ll ever have enough time to take off work, what my family and friends would think, what I would think being so far for so long. Deciding to aim for van life has given me a different kind of ambition. No worries about proximity or fear of the unknown, just a quiet peace. Usually I’m frantic and planning all the things and then doubting myself then planning then usually abandoning the plan. This time there’s no jitters, everything just feels right. I feel as though aiming for most people’s “worst case scenario” (i.e. living in your own vehicle) has lifted a lot of stress from my shoulders. In a weird way, this is the culmination of all of my life joys. I’ve always loved driving and the idea of road trips but I have been on very very few.
In previous years, I had let outside influences taint my determination for this kind of life. I had come from a family accustomed to financial stress so it was easy to withdraw into the illusion that this is how life was. To get the stuff you had to work and get the money to get the stuff. Who doesn’t want stuff? Retail therapy had been a bandaid that my family applied repeatedly. Stuff made everyone happy. For the moment. Moving from childhood to adulthood, I had realized that despite these gifts moving in and out of our lives they never helped anyone feel better. They didn’t fix any of their internal traumas or boost their self esteem in any meaningful way. Everyone was still empty.
Initially I went through the traditional steps in life. Painstakingly close to cloning my parent’s start to life (minus the children and 20 years of marriage). High school dating> marriage> house> animals. I was hitting the mile stones in record time. I was so busy climbing the “life ladder” that I didn’t stop to see I had grown into a different person. I had different interests, hobbies and passions than the people around me; than the man I had married.
When the fuck did that happen? Was it part of losing weight? Part of almost dying? (Short story: eating poorly rots your organs) How had we grown so far apart and so differently? I had no idea at the time but all I knew was that something was calling me. Cliche, yes, but I yearned to follow. So, as with most upsets in otherwise placid situations, these desires kicked up a lot of issues we had been overlooking. Important and highly dissenting visions of how our future would look.
The truth of the matter is that I only knew how mismatched we were because I got to know a more authentic layer of myself. Someone stronger, braver, maybe a little dumber. So I got out on my own, hit some hurdles and now I’m back on my feet and looking to follow my call to adventure. I’m done procrastinating and hiding behind excuses. I’ve begun shopping for a van to either renovate or convert for my excursions. I won’t have an accurate timeline until I actually find a van and know how much work I have ahead of me. But I am insanely excited to dive into this project and into this next chapter of my life! I guess, in a way, I’m still hitting all of the “traditional” milestones. Had my quarter life crisis right on schedule 😉