The Van Life

The Van Life

my beloved VW Westfalia camper

The simplicity of van life is calling me again. What most of you don’t know is that I have done the van life, way before it was a popular topic for blogs, videos and Youtube.

I feel the itch to downsize even more, travel and wander. The life and simplicity are calling me again. I would have to be much more resourceful this time. Previously, I had resources, from working hard and saving, to buy a quality travel van and support my extended travel. Now, I have limited resources, limited income opportunities along with aging and shrinking confidence.

I lived out of my beloved VW camper for 3 summers in my 30s. Those were some of the best experiences of my life. I learned so much about myself and the world.

 

Here are some of the many realizations I had while traveling.

  1. I learned that I didn’t need much stuff to be happy. In fact, I felt better living simply, focusing on enjoying life, traveling and being in nature. I had sold and given away many of my possessions before the trip. The rest was in storage and only my most cherished and needed possessions were with me in the van. I grew to realize they were really all I needed.
  2. I discovered a deep love for nature. This began my lifelong love affair with nature. I became a hiker, conservationist, photographer and appreciator of nature. She has served me well. I cherish nature and encourage others to fully appreciate the amazing planet we live on.
  3. My health and confidence grew as I hiked up and down beautiful mountain trails around the country. I had always been more intellectually focused than physically. I found that my attitude and well beingΒ surged by the simple act of daily hiking. This was probably a combination of time in nature, following my joy and lots of fresh air and exercise.
  4. Following my joy opened up many new worlds, within and without. I explored many of the beautiful US National Parks, particularly around the midwest, northwest, southwest and southern Canada. I also reveled in the peace of simply relaxing or appreciating a beautiful vista. Previously, my life had been lived in fast speed, always rushing off to the next task to be accomplished.
  5. I met wonderful people from around the country and world. I realized how sheltered my life had been and how self-centered we are in the US in the sense that we know so little about other countries. Most people in other developed countries speak multiple languages and are conversant about the people, culture and politics of many countries.

So, I’m itching to hit the road again, but have no idea how to make it happen. My resources, attitude and options seem much more limited than when I was in my 30s. Does anyone have a travel van that they want to sell me cheaply, trade or loan me? Β πŸ™‚

I also know that my travel itch surfaces when I’m dissatisfied with my life. So wandering off may or may not help the fact that I don’t have a sense of direction or purpose in my life. All of these are nagging issues that have been with me for decades. Time will tell what I choose to do. Meanwhile, maybe I’ll become more Zen, here and now, chopping wood and all that stuff!

Peace and love, Brad

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57 thoughts on “The Van Life

  1. Brad, I heard you say that your travel itch surfaces when you are dissatisfied with your life. I would assert that you feel satisfied with your life when you travel. I wish I could help provide you with a van, my friend. I believe in your spirit that wants to travel. How can I help? I, too, have a love of travel, but am not as free from family responsibilities as you are. I encourage you! I am sending you good energy for mobility!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Paige. It’s great to hear from you and I appreciate the support. I also have a sense that the itch is running away from my life. I still want to find a direction for my life, aka purpose. All the best for your upcoming move too!

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  2. Hi Brad! I want to travel around in a caravan too. I have done several road trips but never lived out of a van. It must be a wonderful feeling πŸ™‚ I wish I had a van, I would’ve readily sold it to you.. When everything seems confusing travel is probably the best thing to do πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Aishwara. Sounds like several of us have the travel itch. πŸ™‚ Yes, living in the van was a wonderful experience for me, in my 30s. I not so sure it would be as satisfying for me now. I think it’s pretty universal to want to explore and have experiences. Whether we do that locally or on the road is one of the many choices that makes it interesting. I hope you find ways to scratch your itch. blessings, Brad

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope you find your van, Brad. Speaking as someone living on a thirty foot sailboat I can say that there are definite advantages to the kind of simplification and stripping away of possessions that go along with living in such a small space – the process is hard work, but the feeling of lightness that comes as you let go is worth it. And we like to take our home along with us when we travel (though we travel much more slowly than in a van). Though come winter I sometimes wonder about the advantages of a land-based tiny home…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow Margaret. Living on a sailboat sounds pretty fun and adventurous along with the simplicity. I’m already feeling that I’m not ready to live in a van despite the travel itch. We’ll see what I do!

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      • There are many different ways to travel. There must be a way to satisfy that itch – if you need to!

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  4. Maybe it’s a good thing that you don’t have a sense of direction or purpose right now, it leaves you open. Also, the earth is in trouble from people’s poor choices, might be a great time to just focus on small things like joining a local club that picks up plastic on beaches, and such, you meet like minded people that way.

    I can certainly understand your wish to travel and simplify, however, nothing is simple anymore!
    Seems that society is highly complex and very expensive these days…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Oh, how I wish I knew how to help you find a van, and help you know how to finance your travels. If you have this strong a feeling about it, then offer it up to God and ask Him to help. Obviously He may be wanting you to do this too since you are so drawn to it. πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am sure Brad that those wonderful memories of freedom from those days of travelling light my friend resonates deeply within you as you recall those emotions and all of those benefits you listed.
    If you cannot afford a Van right now, Why not hire one for say a month and take off for a while, See if the world is still giving you those same vibrations..
    This way you have a home to come back to and are not putting all your eggs into one basket as they say..

    Sometimes we think external things are the answer of recapturing that feeling of freedom and that bring us contentment.. When sometimes its much closer at home than that..
    I know for me speaking personally, finding that connection within myself is what is bringing in more joy now than ever before.

    Think hard on this and follow your Intuitive feelings.. Sometimes the only way of knowing is by taking those steps to choose different options.. And living the Van life again would certainly be that Brad.

    I know that you will be guided, and if it is meant to be, then I am also sure a Van at the right price and condition will fall into your horizon.

    Love and Blessings and Have a wonderful week
    Sue ❀ xxx

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Van life is unlike any other way of life…Been there and done that. Go for it! How about asking a dealer if you could take a used van on a journey and record it the whole way as a promotion for VW or whatever van you choose? Just a thought. Hope you find a way to pull this off. If not just know it was not meant to happen in the first place. Remaining in place might force you to readdress your feelings and figure things out…Good luck and stay connected….VK πŸ™‚

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  8. I think there’s a great opportunity here and you got me excited just thinking about it. Wow! A bold and truly worthwhile concept. Hooray!!
    It seems that visiting your family and doing a bit of travelling was very good for you, Brad. So act on this while the travel bug is with you.
    I am endorsing Visionkeeper’s suggestion. You have a wonderful blog series – Awesome Stories – and a community of bloggers and other readers, plus your professional experience. All of these make a fine calling-card for obtaining an automobile sponsor.
    We also have bloggers all over the US, so you could know that you have people you can visit/call on if needed and they will help promote your voyage too.
    Find a theme: Especially right now in the US, it seems your country needs “Awesome Country, Awesome Stories”. OR: “Awesome American Stories” OR “Awesome American People” OR “Awesome Stories From Across America”.
    Launch a GoFundMe/Kickstarter campaign.
    Send a news release to media, including local media in the cities/towns where you want to visit.
    If you are really serious about this, I promise that I will help promote your adventures on my blog and FB.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Goodness, Brad. Is that the best you can do? Tee hee.
    Would you give the van idea a month’s trial as someone else suggests? It’s such a novel idea, but it will take energy, courage and funding, I’m sure — so whatever your decision, I’ll wish you well!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. When I was a young girl I enjoyed a TV program called On The Road with Charles Kuralt. I’d tune in just to see where his adventures took him. Exciting. I always wanted to be a combination of Charles Kuralt and Zora Neale Hurston the famous African-American writer however as I’m nearly legally blind my driving days are long over. Also I cannot be too far from my brother Stephen who has Autism because his group home needs to stay in contact with me. But it still is a wonderful fantasy!

    May all your dreams come true!! Wanderlust!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Sounds like fun! I’ve always thought it would be fun to rent an RV for a few months and travel around the country visiting all the state and national parks. I know what you mean about the simplicity of having less stuff – I experienced quite a bit of freedom in the loss of most of my belongings during my divorce and it really is amazing to realize how little we truly need. If you do end up doing this, please make Minnesota one of your stops. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Julie. sorry about the divorce. I found downsizing to be refreshing too. I toured the country in my VW in my 30s and it was a blast. I’m not quite as excited to live out of my van these days. It would be great to visit you and other blogging friends! We’ll see if I work out how to travel. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. My parents did a lot of RVing after they retired and built sweet memories that my dad still talks about. I’m longing to follow in their footsteps, except with a van, not an RV. Maybe while you’re figuring this out, you can take some mini-vacations to boost your confidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The Van Life is wonderful. We all have far too much ‘stuff’ in this life, and my own experience is that the more ‘stuff’ I get rid of the more freed up my creative life is….and for that matter everything else. It’s like removing a huge burden. Go for it, I say….live the Van life again…..Janet. πŸ™‚

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  14. Its crazy how crazy life is sometimes. We’re attracted to the simplicity of small living, but when we look around us at all our things, its hard to financially, and more importantly figure out how to jump our barriers into the life we want. We’re trying desperately to go full time in our van come this April… whew, exciting and scary and scary and exciting!

    Hope you find your van soon! We’re getting ready to let go of our big red adventure van, Roxanne ( Dodge Sprinter) somewhat converted if you’re interested in a old girl full of heart! She’s a little ugly but she’s a dream machine!

    Happy trails,
    Katie & DJ
    http://www.venturewild.net

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