WARNING the blog post you've been waiting for is not great, but it's GOOD.
6 months of van life. Not one blog post. Why? Perfectionism. I have recognized what a hold that has over me and how wanting to do something “right” or “perfect” prevents me attempting most of the things I want to do.
I wanted to write a weekly blog. I envisioned that I would post on YouTube every week and try to grow a following that could help support the life I’m living. I thought of a hundred other ways I could make a living in the van; businesses I could start, blogs I could write, websites I could design. I thought and I thought and I thought. All of my thinking of doing things, rather than just picking one and going for it, took so much energy that I didn’t have any left to actually accomplish what I wanted.
It’s funny that we carry around so much wisdom but it often gets locked away. Out of sight, out of mind. I know better than to avoid creating anything out of fear of it not being perfect. I know the hardest part is starting. I know habits run strong and a lack of habits is often just as debilitating. I know that good is the enemy of greatness, but that only striving for greatness can hold you back from anything at all. Good is good. And good is good enough.
So here I am, laying in my bed in a busy Walmart Parking lot. I arrived here at 6am after dropping my sister, Hannah off at the airport. We decided 5am was too early for us to wake up, so it made more sense for us to stay up instead. Brilliant, I know.
Hannah told me something on one of our long drives through NM:
“Have you ever thought about how we can live the life we’ve always dreamed of, but be so distracted by our new wants and aspirations that we forget to look at the moment and realize that life, right now, is how you once dreamed it would be. Like right now. You’re living the life you imagined. Driving through beautiful parts of the country, with me, with Luca. Look around you. The mountains, the open road, those trees over there, and look what we’re riding in: your van. Your dream van, exactly how you wished it would one day be. You got everything you wanted”
Her words hit so hard. It was true. And I wouldn’t have even known its truth. I could easily fool myself by thinking that I don’t have everything I want right now. My life is not perfect. I want other things now then I did months ago. But in that moment, my life was perfect. It was everything I had wanted. I realized I need to take more time focusing on the goals I’ve reached and the things I’ve accomplished, rather than constantly dreaming up new ways to be, always left feeling dissatisfied with myself and with life.
This past week has been amazing. I got to see parts of the this country I never would have, if not driving aimlessly through them. I went 800 feet underground and walked a mile though Carlsbad Caverns, in awe of a new world so deep in the earth. I drove through countless scenic hours with differing landscapes, pulling over constantly to take pictures and soak in the views. I played in the sand dunes of the White Sands National Monument. I hiked an hour with my pack on up and down the dunes to a secluded patch of land between dunes that I would call home for a night. I lit my camp stove with a steel fire starter because I forgot to pack a lighter, but was happy I hadn’t forgot how to strike a spark. I camped out with other van life friends I had made months ago and we shared stories and struggles of van life over a campfire and s’mores. I drove to a mountain town to see an old friend. She welcomed us into her home, shared excitement for my journey, brought out her atlas and told me some places I just must go. I went partying in Old-town Scottsdale the last night I had with my sister. We stayed up all night long, dancing and laughing, and meeting all sorts of strange, but good people.
As I sit at Walmart right now, alone in the van, with noisy shoppers all around, rain pinging on my metal roof, hungry and hungover I could be thinking about all the things I want to do, all the things I wish I had. OR I can just lay here and appreciate that this is a moment I DREAMED about. This was my first night in a Walmart parking lot. I spent far too much money on campsites the first 6 months of travel, because I was too scared to park at Walmarts. I wasn’t even so much scared for my safety as I was uncomfortable with sleeping somewhere that was “meant for sleeping.” For those of you who know me well, you might find it odd that I had issues with this because I’ve been a rule-breaker since birth. But I think it’s the less obvious rules that I struggle with. Our society conditions us in so many ways. Before I moved into the van, I always envisioned myself sleeping at Walmarts like so many other van dwellers I had read about, but once I moved in, I lacked the confidence to step outside the bounds of society- something I desperately craved and was the very basis of my van plan.
But I don’t need to regret playing it safe and staying at RV parks and campgrounds the past 6 months, because I’m at Walmart now. It’s 1:30 in the afternoon. I’m still wearing my pajamas. This moment is all I ever wanted months ago, so why not just appreciate how far I’ve come? All I must do is calm the other voices in my mind telling me to do a million other things. We will always continue to want, but we need to make sure we don’t miss out on the moments when all we used to want comes to fruition.