Things You Become Grateful For When Living in a Van

chewie-on-sunset-stripThings You Become Grateful For When Living in a Van

I had forgotten what incredible magical luxuries all of these things were, until I had no access to them.

During 2 months living in a van, these are the physical things I became so deeply grateful about, pretty much in order of awesomeness:

Hot showers

Soap

Bathrooms

Toothbrushing and flossing

Hair washing

Any drinkable running water

A clean towel

Clean clothes (or a laundromat)

The van roof

The van bed

Warm blankets

A heater or warm body next to me, on cold nights

Wool socks

Wool toque

Sweater

Scarf

Jean jacket

Jeans, when cold out

Skirt, when hot out

Sneakers

A sun hat

Sunglasses

sunscreen

A little make-up

The Grocery store

Access to a fridge

Access to a stove

Cash, money flow for food and gas

Funny how money is last on that list. It really wasn’t as glorious as having any of the other things.

And now a list of the intangible things I was most deeply grateful for. I thought about these things constantly:

My boyfriend being safe and happy, and that we were in good relationship with each other and that we were a team together

My family to touch base with, and to feel I am part of the family

Friends to call and email, knowing they are out there and I can reach them

A place to safely sleep, that relaxing feeling of finally lying down on the pillow, safe in the van or someone’s apartment

The hot sun warming me in the morning after a chilly night in the van

My big hot cup of coffee, that first tasty sip

My breakfast, lunch and dinner

The fresh air

The vast powerful ocean

The sand

Finding a seashell

Seeing a whale swim past

Watching the flowers bloom and change

Quietness

This notebook and pen, expressing all thoughts out onto paper and looking at them.

The excitement and relief of finding that electrical outlet to plug in my dying phone

The van, our portable shelter, waiting for us, silent and reliable (mostly).

My phone, connecting me to Email to the Internet, to be social, to be informed, comfort and thrill of research.

I came back home to my ‘normal’ life, with a new perspective on all of these things I now take for granted on a daily basis. Travelling like that was an incredible reminder of how rich we are, how much we have. It felt good to really recognize that.

And now that I am back in my apartment at home, it is truly astonishing how fast I am forgetting that gratefulness. I feel myself forgetting how amazing a shower actually is. I think about other things in the shower now, like my plans for the day, or a T.V. show. My mind now takes the shower for granted and moves on to think of other things. It’s even good to realize that’s what happens, when you acquire more and more luxuries.

When you live out of a van, you live in the moment. There were times when I was just trying to get through the next long minute of a shitty day. I had laser-like focus on surviving my anxiety, or frustration.

Or home-sickness. Time would stretch out and I would be acutely aware of all the emotions and reactions boiling up in me.

But the good times also had that sense of a moment-lasting-forever; watching a sunset, eating a glorious pizza, cozying up to my sweetheart. It felt like the beauty infused me and made a stronger impression, memories imprinted that may last a lifetime.

Living in a van made me feel more alive and connected than I have felt in a long time. It was a lesson and an experience that I can recommend to anyone who is feeling disconnected from their lives or from the world in general.

You may be traveling the world, but you are also traveling inside yourself to discover a whole new side to you.

Happy traveling indeed!

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