It’s been over a year since I hit the road & started vanlife (which reminds me, I meant to do a year recap…oops!). Even more specifically, 443 days.
I’m writing this at a truck stop about 500 miles from home, a much needed break in driving as I head back to West Virginia for an overdue visit. A lot of thoughts and emotions have been hitting me as I get closer to home, so please bear with me as I attempt to tame some of those thoughts into readable paragraphs.
This quote from one of my favorite reads ‘Desert Solitaire’ has been resonating hard:
“When I return will it be the same? Will I be the same? Will anything ever be quite the same again? If I return.” -Edward Abbey
Stay home. Socially distance yourselves. Wash your hands (okay, let’s hope we were all on board with that last one prior to recent developments).
To put it mildly: COVID-19 is getting serious, and it’s seriously affecting society as we know it. Businesses closed, events cancelled, and this season’s hottest accessory has swiftly become a face mask. I’m not going to go into all the details, because I think we all have an idea (and if you don’t, google is happy to assist). Instead, I wanted to share the affect this has on #vanlife specifically. Continue reading
Numerous people have asked me what my living costs on the road look like- ask, and you shall receive. I decided it would be a fun and eye opening endeavor to track every dollar I spent while actively living on the road (plus, it provided good solid data for the curious folks out there).
This led to the depressing realization that I spend way more money than I’m aware of at times… ignorance is bliss, but financial ignorance? Not so much. Continue reading
Do you want to hear a story?
If not, stop reading, because I’m telling it regardless. This story has continued over the course of my road trip, and my hope in sharing the details is that it may serve as inspiration or a reminder for others to remain open to new encounters and possibilities.
Ever since last summer when I officially decided to make this van life happen, I had a plan (a vague one at least).
Before hitting the road in June, that plan had evolved into a much clearer idea of how I was going to be spending the upcoming year. My intention is (was?) to do a full year on the road: north for summer, south for winter, and as much as possible in between. I figured I’d eventually wander back to WV to see family and friends before taking off to wherever I had decided to ‘settle’ somewhat. Although my route wasn’t completely set in stone (as I wanted to allow for changes and additions along the way), the outline was there and the road ahead looked pretty clearly defined.
A friend back in Maine told me “the plan is just the point from which we deviate”. This statement made vague sense at the time; now, I relate to it on a deeply personal level.
Coming up on almost 4 months of road life. Specifically, it’s been 120 days of constant travel: rad adventures, new faces, new places, good days, bad days, and more- all mixed together over a span of 17,000 miles.
Am I still in love with this whole vanlife adventure? Overall, yes, but that’s becoming a bit more complicated to answer with full honesty.
Hanging out on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah
This trip has unveiled plenty of stunning views with vivid colors, but some of my favorite scenes have been the lakes I’ve visited along the way. Most have been as equally cold as they are beautiful (a fact I know due to swimming in the majority of them), which isn’t really surprising being as many are fed by snowmelt and glacier runoff.
Sitting at about 9000′ elevation, with all that snow on the edges… you can imagine how warm this water was
Making my way through the Midwest, South Dakota was the stop I was looking forward to the most. First up the Badlands, followed by a visit with my friend Ashley in Rapid City (since I’ve known her she’s told me how pretty the Black Hills of SD are, so I was pretty siked to check them out finally!) Continue reading
Aren’t you scared?
This is the question I’ve been asked more than anything (even more often than ‘have any free candy?’, and trust me, I get that one a LOT). “Aren’t you scared of traveling alone? Of hiking by yourself? Of being in strange towns where you don’t know anyone?” Continue reading
When I asked for recommendations on a place to visit in Michigan a few people had mentioned the Upper Peninsula, and some vague references were made to Pictured Rocks being ‘pretty nice’.
That was definitely an understatement.