Things 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:
Toothbrushing and flossing
Any drinkable running water
A clean towel
Clean clothes (or a laundromat)
The van roof
The van bed
A heater or warm body next to me, on cold nights
Jeans, when cold out
Skirt, when hot out
A sun hat
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
Finding a seashell
Seeing a whale swim past
Watching the flowers bloom and change
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!