LIVING IN A VAN: LEAVING BEHIND NORMAL AND LIVING EXTRAORDINARY

"Camera in hand, raw earth beneath my feet and miles of road before me I step out into the great wide open in search of a home on the road." Sounds pretty romantic doesn't it?  I wrote that last year while driving North along the 395 in Southern California.  I had been on the road by myself for about a week at that point and I was just beginning to discover a freedom that I hadn't really known before.  It was at that point that I realized that I was OK with becoming a dirtbag or a desert rat or a van dweller.  In fact, I discovered I was intensely eager to make my life capable of fitting inside a small space.  Learning about the benefits of a smaller more versatile living situation has been a long and fairly slow process for me but I've seen the light and I'm running to catch it now. 

 Finding inspirations in straight roads and the organized chaos of the environment around me.

Finding inspirations in straight roads and the organized chaos of the environment around me.

 A one burner stove, cooking bacon in the bone chilling wind while attempting to soak up as much of the early morning sunlight as possible.

A one burner stove, cooking bacon in the bone chilling wind while attempting to soak up as much of the early morning sunlight as possible.

 Waking up to epic.

Waking up to epic.

I don't think I've written anything about why I want to live in a van so bad and before I start, I assure you it's not because everyone is doing it.  I believe, the reason I want to live in a van is simply because I want to follow my passion(s).  In the past I've had a hard time defining what it was that I'm passionate about. I've often been jealous of those people that do have a passion, especially those that discovered their passion early on.  Throughout high school and the years after I dabbled in A LOT of different disciplines, but never really latched on to anything, it's why I often tell people that I'm a Jack of all trades and master of none; however, as I've thought about it more I've realized a common element in all those things that I have enjoyed in the past, they were all different sorts of creative outlets and always had to do with making something and having a story to tell about it. 

 When your exit is just as beautiful as your entrance.

When your exit is just as beautiful as your entrance.

 Camping below sea level and experiencing winds so strong you fear your van will tip over.

Camping below sea level and experiencing winds so strong you fear your van will tip over.

 Learning to live, laugh and love but also forgive and forget in space no bigger than your bathroom.

Learning to live, laugh and love but also forgive and forget in space no bigger than your bathroom.

The last few years I've been in and out of a lot of different vehicles and travel set ups, if you didn't know, just ask my family, they'll tell you; it seems funny to them that I can't settle on a vehicle or travel set up.  To be honest though, I have bought and sold a lot in the last four or five years.  It's frustrated me, this joking, because to me the progression all seems perfectly logical and so what if I buy and sell a lot of stuff? What I'm realizing now is that all of those vehicles, they were part of my creative outlet and journey to the ultimate means of pursuing more creative outlets.  Each and every one of those vehicles was a blank canvas when I bought it and I painted each canvas well before it moved on.  I now look back on building the interior of the van and how much I enjoyed doing so, how much joy it brought me.  Every morning I woke up and was eager to go to work on my project.  I will continue to build vehicles because I enjoy it, because I learn new skills and it feeds my creative needs.

 Watching the sunset on a snow capped mountain while being parked in a desert.

Watching the sunset on a snow capped mountain while being parked in a desert.

 Being thrilled that you can feel your hands again when you drive from one place with less snow than the last.

Being thrilled that you can feel your hands again when you drive from one place with less snow than the last.

Being in the van and having the freedom to move about wherever I want but also being forced into a small space with no couch, no TV and no internet I've found that I need to entertain myself some how.  While in Mexico I drew a lot, I designed new van stuff, I drew pictures of Norton in cool places, I read books but then I realized that I had this incredible desire to create and learn.  I wanted to learn about culture and language, I want to learn an instrument and I want to learn new skills like surviving in the outdoors and fine woodworking.  Having this time to be away from a screen, away from a job, away from cities and busyness has allowed my mind to clear, revealing that there are things I need in my life that I have been ignoring.  

 Meeting new friends at every turn.

Meeting new friends at every turn.

 Then bumping bumping into them again.

Then bumping bumping into them again.

 Exploring into places with no back up but yourself and your whits.

Exploring into places with no back up but yourself and your whits.

 Getting the quintessential shot.

Getting the quintessential shot.

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Looking at where I've been and where I'm going in the van it's clear, this that lifestyle I've discovered is the most conducive to my development as a creator, as an artist and as I human being.  I've always had the fear of getting to the end of my life and regretting all the things I didn't do, by doing what I'm doing now, I don't have that fear.  Minimizing my life, fitting it all into a van has helped me realize how little I can live with and how easy it is for me to move around not only geographically but also career and opportunity-wise.  I'm starting to see my life before me open up to some incredible and adventurous possibilities and I'm EXCITED! I'm excited for my life!  How many people have a hard time saying that these days?  I'm one of the few who has escaped the clutches of a monotonous and dull life and I am so thankful for that.

 The fog is clearing and my path is apparent, now all I need is to go.

The fog is clearing and my path is apparent, now all I need is to go.