It’s been half a year since I moved out of my house and into my metal box. Cold late-winter rains turn to temperate springtime breezes turn to summertime heat, and all the while I’m able to chase the best weather whenever it suits me (mostly). I’ve taken numerous solo trips to new places near and far, gone on tour with a couple of bands, driven all over the greater bay area countless times, spent nights in the dark pine mountains and days enjoying ocean breezes. I’ve spent time with dear friends and chosen family, many people I might not have otherwise seen. I’ve sharpened some skills, cultivated a few new ones.
When I look back at these past six months, I feel pretty satisfied by how I’ve adjusted to the sometimes-dramatic changes and feel like I’ve taken advantage of the opportunities presented. I’ve also met most of the challenges and roadblocks I’ve encountered with relative equanimity. Maybe I’m actually growing up.
So how am I feeling about living in my van right now? Six months in, am I questioning my choices? Maybe refining my vision for how I’d like to spend the next six months (or more)?
I’m definitely NOT questioning my choice to move into a van. Any time I get whiny about whatever part of van living is bugging me, I think about what it would be like to be living in a house right now and immediately realize this is where I want to be. I usually find that the things I struggle with the most are a result of my inner workings and not really about where I’m living or what’s happening in my surrounding environment. Is it always easy to live in a van? Nope. But it’s easy a vast majority of the time and it’s always interesting.
As far as refining my vision for the next six months, I don’t think I have any sort of comprehensive view or plan… I’m still just taking things as they come. I’d like to explore some parts of the western US this fall so I can experience them during that seasonal shift. I’d like to manifest a place to park in Ukiah that’s more definitively mine, though I have no idea what that’ll look like. And I want to tour with more bands. I really enjoy doing that.
What I’ve Learned in the Last Six Months
Wherever I happen to be, I’m home. Sucky weather? I can leave. Too many people around? I can leave. I spend way more time outside. My desire to simplify and streamline is satisfied daily. I can point myself in any direction and know I’ll find a place to park for the night without being disturbed. Many people feel inspired by what I’m doing, and I enjoy sharing my story with them. Working on the build has provided me with new skills as well as an opportunity to spend time with my Mom & Dad in ways I might not have otherwise. My general consumption of resources and production of trash has diminished significantly. I make due with less. I spend more time out in public than I used to, which provides opportunities to run into friends and meet new people. My schedule has a new kind of flexibility, which is pretty great on a number of levels. I travel more, obviously.
Van living has had a subtle but noticeable effect on my romantic relationship and my relationship with my kids. I won’t go into detail because it feels a bit too personal to share, but there are ways in which no longer having a house can be a limiting factor on a few levels. Nothing really dramatic or detrimental, but a true and present factor nonetheless. I also find myself craving a chunk of space that’s mine… a place where I can be safe and undisturbed and unimposing. Where I can get some quiet and some solitude without worrying that my presence is impacting someone else. I think most of all I crave a respite from the continual process of having to figure out where to be at the end of the day. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable relying on others for showers and occasional kitchen use, get irritated by having to find places to dump my trash and recycling and grey water, and sometimes tire of my limited fridge and kitchen space. Usually those feelings are merely periodic annoyances and come and go depending on where I am. And in the big scheme of things, they’re pretty minor.
All in all, my life is pretty great. No regrets, no remorse. I’ve definitely been able to do a lot of really enjoyable stuff, see a lot of places, and experience freedom and autonomy in ways I would never have otherwise. Thanks for joining me on this ride and for supporting me with your presence, whether it’s via cyberspace or chance meetings on the street or at shows. I appreciate you.