I’m sad that our eight weeks of van life is ending in a few days. We will take apart our bed, pantry, and storage and return the van to the rental agency, then fly back home.
But I am a little delighted in the sadness, because I didn’t expect this trip would go so well. I’ve learned a lot about how to be comfortable in a vehicle and how to make van life a lifestyle not just a vacation.
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A rental is inherently temporary, but our rental revealed how sustainable this kind of trip could be for me and my partner.
I’m sad to be leaving the van and our nice setup behind, but I knew all along this was like a temporary art installation. A chance for beauty, and then tearing it down.
Taking some time off has given me some space to process grief for the missed time and friendships the pandemic took from me. As I sat talking with a long time friend in their backyard I recalled the afternoon back home where I was so afraid my friends would be gone without me being able to see them again.
We all have limited time in this life. I feel lucky to spend some of my time with my favorite people and in my favorite places. This trip reminded me of what it used to mean to live within a community. To be supported and support and love and be loved by a network of generous people.
I made a new friend the other day, someone who was traveling and camping with a lovely black cat. It’s amazing the connection you can make when you are the only people within several miles and you talk and you are a bit bemused by each other’s experiences but then you learn some really good tips and then share some water, and it brings you together.
I am traveling back, physically and emotionally, to the grief of being separated. My choice, but also a choice heavily influenced by what I thought was and is necessary during the pandemic.
People keep asking me if I’m sad to be leaving. Yes, I am. But I’m also inspired to build a better life, not only for two months and for my own benefit, but to keep me healthy long term and provide value to my friends and community.
A fond goodbye to the van, but a hopeful look forward to the next adventure.
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