Last May, my longtime friend Katie and I almost bought a camper. It was $1500 bucks and had a retro blue strip down the side. It was pretty much a done deal.
We were having a few cocktails at a local bar and a bit tipsy, both literally and figuratively. We were coming down from the high of spending the night in a tiny little cabin in the middle of nowhere Joshua Tree. We spent about eight hours in the car trying to get to this little cabin where we spent a total of fifteen hours there due to a miscalculation of timing and Friday Memorial Day weekend traffic.
But it's about the journey, not the destination right? We made the most of it fixing the world one conversation at a time and turning up the tunes as our voices echoed for the surrounding cars to hear.
We were being adventurers and heading into unknown territory where showers didn't exist and neither did WIFI. A place we had to head outside to an outhouse to do our business.
And boy were we happy.
On the return, we were buzzing from that feeling you get when you step outside of your normal and live from a place that feels the truest to who you are and we started talking about how fun it would be to co-own a camper or a van or something like that.
Neither one of us necessarily want to van life it indefinitely but both of us want the freedom that comes with the open road. So, we came up with the idea of sharing custody of a small camper if we could find the right one.
We had it all figured out. Since she lives in Seattle, I'd drive it up at the start of their three-month-long summer and then because summer's for me are basically endless in San Diego, I'd basically get it the rest of the time. It was perfect. The perfect shared custody of the cutest little camper.
As luck would have it we found one on Craigslist that was intriguing after said few cocktails and it just so happened to be the right price and down the street at a nearby campground. So we took the last sips of our bourbon and took the boldness it gave us and decided to walk to meet the current owners. We were giddy with excitement and laughing "Are we really going to do this?!
I felt like a rebel. I felt like I was throwing caution to the wind and living life to the fullest. I felt like a girl who was recently diagnosed with cancer trying to really live her best life.
And I feel like these are the memories you never regret, even if they aren't the most thought out ones and involve one too many cocktails and emptying a small chunk of your savings. You just never forget "that one time you bought a camper with a retro blue stripe down the side with one of your best friends.' These are the stories you tell your children.
Until maybe you wake up from your foggy night of Kentucky goodness and find yourself slowly putting the pieces together from the night before. And then you start to remember and jump out of bed running to the window to peek and see if you really did buy the cute camper with the turquoise blue stripe down the side.
But I really feel like it's just one of those memories, on your deathbed, you just never regret. So I was okay with it.
As we approached the camper my gut began to fire as I noticed a window missing. I shook it off and thought, well, I can fix that. Not too mention, I REALLY want to repurpose a van or camper. I mean, very badly on the bucket list kind of want.
The current owner wasn't quite there yet so we, being the incredibly nosy and tipsy ladies we were, we peeked through the windows.
I turned to Katie and said in a low whisper, "Well, I see why it's only $1500." We laughed as we assessed the horrific scene inside. We slowly backed away picking up our pace before the current owners found their way back to what looked like a crime scene. Or a small rager led by rats left to their own devices.
My bourbon buzz started to wear off a bit and I looked at Katie, "Maybe we tuck this dream in our back pocket. Just for a little bit longer." She nodded and we ran back to the bar to drown our disappointment in more bourbon.
What this whole experience made me realize more than ever though is how much adventure and travel and having the freedom to go where I want, when I want is vital for my sense of self and my happiness.
And I just keep quieting that part of myself with all the should's. But why? For what?
When I was little I remember dreaming of traveling all over the world meeting people and listening to their stories and writing about them. I don't think I've told any one of this before.
Recently though, on a day trip to Salvation Mountain, I saw a mile marker for Yuma, Arizona and it was only sixty miles away. And all I wanted to do was just keep driving. And with that it hit me. Why not? I have nothing keeping me here.
Why not start a life more on the road and less living in the should's?
Why am I still so stuck on thinking I have to live my life a certain way? When will I truly accept that I'm called to something different?
While driving up to Seattle in February, I slowly made my way up the 101 stopping whenever I felt pulled. I found myself fantasizing about the life I dreamt of as a child, about going down the road less traveled so to speak. I mean, there has to be something to it right? With the growing popularity of 'vanlife' and simple, minimalistic living?
All I know is lately, I've been wrestling with some big questions about my life and what my heart really wants.
I've got stories to tell and people to meet and so many miles of open road. Maybe this was the way it was always suppose to be?
I'm not so sure if the 'vanlife' is 100% what I'm looking for. Or maybe it is? All I know is that I do think about it often. I think about selling all my things, packing up Rocky, my small miter saw and just leaving.
A traveling woodworker and her Pitbull named Rocky.
I'm a conundrum though. A mix of massive wanderlust, free spirit and complete homebody. I like having a place to come back to. A home base. The false sense of safety of my things.
But I think it's safe to say that a camper van may be in my future and a long, open road full of possibility, memories and lifelong dreams.
For now, I've got my car and my puppy and an open road heading east. And something in side of me that says it's finally time.
I'm not sure where it's taking me but I'll know it when I see it.
I have to go. I've got stories to tell.