A Farewell Ode to the #Vanlife

Out of the radio silence- I emerge. Some of you are up to date on my whereabouts and goings on, but I figure the majority of my friends don’t know what’s going on in my life currently.. so let’s get caught up right quick.

This has certainly been a season of change for me- I feel the pages turning as my life chapter transitions from the van-living gypsy kid with a guitar to a homesteading, natural building kid with a guitar. I’ll be spending all of February in Costa Rica working with the Envision Festival, and then when that wraps up, I head to Taos to start building our dream home. To say I’m eager for the next chapter would be a gross understatement, and yet it comes with some releasing of things I hold dear.

At the end of January I sold my beloved van, Tiny. I’d lived out of her full-time for just shy of 16 months and drove her over 26,000 miles around the US and Canada during those months. She was the first home that Indy and I shared- and the first vehicle we drove in, let alone road tripped in together for months on end. Countless nights spent cuddled close, so many creative meals made with love, and how could I leave out the nights spent laying quietly in Walmart parking lots? Tiny handled *most* everything I threw at her, but I do know that where we live in Taos was not kind to her during the month we were there. She’s a coastal cruising beauty- “the California Royal”, as self-proclaimed on the bumper. She does not belong on the mesa. She’s made for breezing down Highway 1.

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The California Royal during her maiden voyage down Highway 1. This is where she belongs.

That car was my home physically, emotionally, and mentally. Coming to terms with the end of this chapter hasn’t been easy. Does it hurt to know that I’ve taken my last drive in my first home and favorite car? Absolutely. Do I find comfort in the fact that she belongs to a friend now? Somewhat- at least she’s staying in the family. Do I wish I could keep her forever? Oddly, no.. I don’t think that’s the right thing either. Tiny undoubtedly served her purpose for my life- she set me off on an epic course. I wouldn’t be here without her. Living in my van while I worked full-time allowed me to save $12,000 over the course of 8 months as compared to what I’d be spending in rent for an SF apartment.

I hit the road after those months of work with that money in my pocket, yet I would’ve never guessed where my adventures led me. Destination: solitude, backcountry, and then to Nepal in the Autumn. However, the universe had its own plans for me- that I would NOT be doing my summer road trip alone, that I would NOT be spending my summer exclusively in the backcountry of national parks, and that I would NOT be returning to Nepal in September 2017. Before my journey started, if you’d told me those things never came to fruition, I would’ve felt that my great adventure was a failure. However, Tiny and the universe had other plans. I met a beautiful, charismatic, handy builder goddess who was footloose and fancy free as well, who shared dreams of building an off-grid food-producing homestead. I offered her a ride North to Big Sur, hoping to get an extra day or two together out of the deal. Big Sur was shut due to road closures, so we made an impulse decision to go to Canada together less than two weeks into our new relationship. Never would I have guessed we’d still be traveling together., or that we’d be buying land in New Mexico to start the long-awaited process of building our own home, yet here we are. I have no doubt in my mind that I’m exactly where I am supposed to be in life these days.

I guess it’s fair to say that I didn’t suspect that a 22-year old van would have such an impact on my life. It ended up being a fundamental redefining of what home means, what is needed to be comfortable, and how little I need to feel happy. Beyond writing this as an update for friends, I suppose I’m writing this with the hopes that one person who’s on the fence about taking a leap of faith will be inspired to do so. That doesn’t necessarily translate as: ‘go buy a van.’ Nobody’s story is exactly the same. However, what I can speak to is that I made a plan to escape the rat race that I knew was no longer serving me. I didn’t have all the details sorted out, I spent every last dime on that van, and I could’ve easily regretted it. But that’s not what was in store for me. I took a huge leap of faith. And I flew. I flew to Canada, into love, property ownership, and into my very own path.

For those of you looking for the secret to life or the solve-all answer for your life problems- I’m not sure I can help you out. But if you’re feeling ready for adventure and are ready for whatever life throws at you, I suggest a leap of faith. You may just be surprised to see how far you can fly.





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