Living full time in an adventure mobile is something of a shape shifting mystery. You may have four walls around you, but the four rubber wheels below you are your gateway to places where you forge your own path. You still eat, you still sleep, but where you do so is always dictated by the vista that surrounds your current parking spot. It is you behind the wheel orchestrating your own masterpiece or witnessing your dissolution.
At the beginning, stepping into someone else’s established VanLife was the most beautiful seduction I’d ever experienced. The offering? Unlimited possibilities and a vision to travel around the world. I sold my truck, got rid of all of my belongings and gave my dog to a close friend. I prepared to submerge myself into a life of Pasta Roni and sausages prepared hunched over in the back of a Sportsmobile van. The promise of the unknown tantalized my imagination and made me question the length of my goodbyes said to the home I’d had for five years. I would have been silly not to jump. But what does unlimited possibility really look like when you have limited funds, limited money coming in, and no ‘Get Rich’ scheme lurking in the corner that has yet to come to life. For me it was a suspended vortex with no map to get to the other side, but still I said yes.
A schedule made before I arrived was filled with places I had never been, things I had never done, and people I had yet to meet. I didn’t know what I wanted other than adventure, and my traveling partner had already established a year full of it. I settled in for the ride. This whole life was rather new to me and was continuously filling my dance card with the unfamiliar. It was hard not be star struck.
We traveled to various outdoor events around the country, meeting people who made the overland lifestyle an aspiration, a weekend love affair and a lifetime addiction. The world spinning past me with time clocks and paychecks became more obscured as I began to write, and sell my jewelry. Perhaps I would somehow be able to keep this dream alive.
Then came the labored birth of a custom adventure mobile. This creation was envisioned to truly be capable and self-sufficient at an around-the-world adventure. A shake down trip was in order while our future plans lay in limbo. We traveled up to Alaska past the Arctic Circle to dip our feet into Prudhoe Bay, we saw the Northern Lights in the Northwest Territories of Canada and the hidden desert beaches of Baja Mexico.
I fought an inner turmoil of attempting to learn and establish myself as something business-like while still enjoying the scenery scrolling by my window. I knew that I needed to manifest something to keep myself on the road, yet I couldn’t quite grasp it. Our lives behind the wheel were turning into selling points to potentially keep this dream afloat. The fantasy of unlimited possibilities seemed to dance just outside of reach.
As days passed below the wheels of our vehicle, there seemed to grow a suspended animation. Where I wanted to stay and be, there was always something that kept us moving, continuously chasing the map that would let us pass over the vortex of not enough. That illusive missing link to finally let the around-the-world journey begin, as the journey we were living never seemed to be enough. While we persisted to lust after this unknown mystery, I started struggling to take peace in where we parked at night, where the GPS was set for that day, and who I was sitting next to. This grand adventure was crossing over onto crumbling ground and I had not brought a parachute. I searched myself for what I needed and eventually I realized that this life that had little of me in it wasn’t going to work.
So what happens when you stop, when you step off the moving train and find yourself with no car, no money, and no place to live? Buying a one-way ticket with all of my belongings, to a place I had never been, sounded like an excellent chance for a fresh start not defined by anything or anyone else. Greeted with open arms by an amazing friend, she introduced me to the Big Island of Hawaii, and let me tell you, it was love at first sight.
No longer adhering to a schedule, beyond my bank account’s friendly reminders of reality, I found myself experiencing an open space in myself that I had not felt in years. At first it was confusing to me. Why was there nothing in there? Had I not filled my life with excellent, top-notch adventures? I felt cheated somehow. Looking closer, I saw that empty space as what it really was, myself. I had been so busy trying to pack in experiences that I had forgotten about the person driving the bus. I suppose it’s as good a time as any to get to know yourself, and you might as well do it on a volcano in the middle of the ocean.
To put myself back together again, I took the plunge and hopped aboard the merry-go-round of structured life. Removing the variables of leaky campers, continuous breakdowns, and safe places to sleep, I began to find freedom behind the 9-5 that was a myth in my former life. I started to learn the art of baking a cake, and eating it too. I found a job with amazing people, health insurance, and a view of the ocean. Living in a place that is new to me, I enjoy the weekend trips to undiscovered parts of the island, the after work beers by the beach and building my community.
Almost every day I meet someone who shares with me his or her story of adventure that is filled with unlimited admiration of life. These stories and this new chapter of my own are teaching me the art of the weekend warrior. I continue to learn how to stoke the home fire while I yearn for the untold stretches of this planet. As this experience unfolds, I consciously place my pennies in my own grand adventure fund while I explore my new backyard, only now on two wheels and 49cc’s.
Written August 24th 2015
*Disclaimer: Post was temporarily published on another site*