As of yesterday, I turned over my keys and stepped into the world of vandwelling.
I drove away from an address, a doorway, a bathroom, hot water, counters and tables, hangers and lamps, electricity and a back yard, rent and utility bills, creature comforts and modern stresses. I drove away in my home into open roads and fresh views, time with friends and simple living, cold water and shared showers, public internet and solar panels, time and the freedom to us it as I damn well please. That is an intensely scary and liberating moment. Driving away, I felt a sadness I hadn’t known would come to me- simply by letting go of something I had tightened my grip around so firmly, I felt some semblance of pain. Have you ever worn shoes too small for long enough that you cannot wait to take them off, but once you free your feet, they ache as your toes stretch back out? That’s stepping into freedom – and that’s exactly how this moment felt like. Like liberated toes from 6 inch heels… Like opening fascia to find articulation…
What was I holding on to so tightly? I wondered this as my heart raced and my throat locked up… Though I was itching to get into this next phase, I had to honor this moment of holding. Of gripping around an idea that I had – for quite some time – created life around. This was the idea that stability and success equate a house with a backyard and a fence to keep me safe. That happiness comes from brick and mortar and all the various ways we plug in. These ideals of how life should manifest and unfold are innately entrenched in a capitalistic approach to life. A willingness to make money so we can participate fully in consumption and play our part in the industrial growth complex that extracts infinitely more from our home than it returns to it. I was working more than I ever had to ensure that I could pay the rent on a space I could rarely enjoy because I had to spend so much time working to afford it. It was driving me absolutely crazy and I came to quickly realize the vicious cycle of this holding pattern. I don’t need much, and yet I was holding on to having it all. This realization left me fighting to find liberation while fully participating in a way of life that was simply not supporting me… I don’t need to strive for the American Dream – I simply have to work toward my own dreams. And that dream is simple – to be a conscious spirit on this planet, living simply, observing life, sharing thoughts, and cultivating community. I don’t need a house to do all that.
While this choice may not last forever, taking the stand and moving out of the system, even only in part, fills me with glee. I still have to participate in some ways – fill my gas tank, buy groceries, use the internet – but these choices are more specific. They’re smaller and at the end of the day, they are choices. When I use the internet has to become a choice. The freedom to say yes means I must first learn how to say no.
This move is part rebellion, part wanderlust, and part romanticism of the unknown. I’m Kerouacing as best as I can.
It’s a process to drop in. To step out onto the open road because it’s yours to have. That first step is a doozy, and this is what freedom feels like.
Join me in that space between certainty and doubt and together we’ll dance. We are free.
I’ll be updating this life journey on my new blog – I hope you’ll join me there to hear the things I learn, the silliness I discover, and the freedom I hope to inspire.