Why Am I Doing Van Life?
This is the most common question I have been asked since selling our bus this past November. Our skoolie friends want to know why we sold Caroline. She was such a solid and beautiful bus. We spent so much time and effort on building her out with so many unique features. Here is a link to our sweet Caroline.
Now that we have a Mercedes Sprinter van and building it out for full-time travel and adventure, our van life buddies are wanting to know what made us downsize from a 210 square foot bus to about 100 square feet of cozy van?
Before I get into the reasons or the “why” for me personally, Nat will, I’m sure, want to express her own reasons and her “why” in her own words. So, for this blog post, I will be sharing my personal reasons for wanting to be a full-time traveling nomad in a van….down by the river.
A few years ago, before we even bought our first school bus to convert to a motorhome, I knew that I couldn’t imagine myself living in a brick and sticks home until I crossed the proverbial bridge.
Heck, it actually goes back several years ago before Nat and I were even a notion. Going back to when I was in my mid-thirties, I had decided that my retirement years would be spent on a sailboat cruising the oceans and exploring different islands and people.
I used to be an avid scuba diver and had the fortunate opportunities to take vacations and dive all over the world. Those dive trips were likely the spark that ignited my passion for adventure and exploration. Many thanks to my lifelong friend Chris to help make that happen.
One of the most memorable experiences from those trips was a liveaboard diving trip throughout the Bimini Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The outfitter was Blackbeard’s Diving Adventures. I spent 7 days and nights aboard a 65’ sailboat cruising around from Island to Island, scuba diving, laughing drinking, and eating. Late nights under the stars talking about everything from the day’s adventures underwater to space and time travel. The rum punch made those conversations flow a lot easier.
So why now and not back then?
The simple answer is this. I wasn’t mentally ready to live a nomadic lifestyle. I was still brainwashed into thinking I needed to work a 9-5 type of job. Being a functioning responsible member of our society meant working until retirement, have a mortgage, and drive a nice car. I would live the weekends and two to four weeks of vacation yearly.
I knew something was missing. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Now, my third eye has opened so to speak. I know one thing is for certain. Living the lifestyle I lived for over thirty years was not going to satisfy my soul for the next thirty years.
I do not judge anyone who wants what I once had. In fact, I support you! To each his or her own. This is my story and my “why”.
I look back at when I was living in a house, driving to and from work after spending 8-10 hours in the office. I would do it daily without question. For one thing, I had to. I had a mortgage to pay. Car payments, insurance, and all of the other expenses I had readily taken on and accepted for myself. Secondly, I lived that life because, well, that is what I thought I was supposed to do.
I would wake up sometime between 6:00 – 6:30 am. Shower, dress, eat breakfast either at home or on my way to the office. Work all day before driving 30-45 minutes back home. Once at home for the evening, it would be an evening of having dinner, then either watching television, playing video games, or some other time-suck before going to bed.
Sleep 6-8 hours and wake up to my dreadful alarm at 6:00 – 6:30 am. Wash, Rinse, and Repeat. Every day, the same routine. Friday around noon would become a little more exciting. The anticipation of sleeping in on Saturday morning and doing almost anything I wanted for a whole day. Sunday was almost as good as Saturday, if not the anxiety and anticipation of having to start the cycle all over again on Monday morning.
It’s no wonder why Monday gets such a bad rap.
I couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted and needed a change.
Being a full-time nomad, traveling the country in our converted Sprinter van offers an escape from the clutches of a Western, capitalist-driven society. It only works if people accept it and keep doing it to make the cogs and the machine keep moving along.
I choose a different mindset and lifestyle.
Waking up each morning with the hundreds of possibilities of where to go and what to do. Who or what will I encounter on any given day.
Some days. It may be driving on some interstate or a country back road. Some days it is lounging around a campsite smelling the different scents of nature and seeing things that only wild animals look at on a daily basis.
As Forest Gump so Southernly said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Such is nomad van life. You never know what the day holds. You can plan things out, and perhaps they will go as planned. Then again, you may see the proverbial squirrel and change directions altogether.
Another reason I have chosen to do full-time van life and being a nomad is my desire and need to connect back with nature.
Being grounded with Earth is more than spiritual. It is physical healing. I just feel different when I am connected. Walking barefoot on the ground. Seeing, smelling, touching, hearing, and tasting the unspoiled nature of Earth brings me to a place no simulation, video game, award, or paycheck could ever hope to accomplish.
Best Buy used to be my happy place. Really, I would just go to Best Buy and shop when I needed a “pick-me-up”. No, sitting quietly in the middle of some trees miles away from the nearest building or person is my happy place. Looking out across the desert or out into the mass openness of the ocean with the salty air and sounds of the waves crashing at my feet is perfection.
This is my reality now. This is my purposeful and designed lifestyle. I don’t think I could ever live any other way and continue to stay sane or healthy both spiritually or physically.
Most of my friends still live their lives, quite different than mine and we still have just as much fun, laughs and meaningful conversations together. Be open to yourself and who you are at your core. Likewise, be open and accepting to others who may on the surface seem vastly different than you. You may find, we are all looking for the same thing after all.