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.
Over the course of the last few months I’ve noticed how much my plan has began to dissolve. Meeting people, exploring unknown areas, and chasing new views all influenced my decisions as I’ve slowly veered further away from that original course (and don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely thankful I did so). I don’t even WANT to drive south for the winter now, although the warmer temperatures are tempting. Ironically, I really want to be more north, in the mountains- you know, precisely where living in a van and driving around in winter weather would be the most dangerous and unlivable. Go figure.
So, I’ve been feeling extremely uncertain lately. I don’t know where exactly I want to go next, what to do next, what’s the right path, what I’m supposed to do… not even a vague hint of an idea. Earlier in this trip I had some pretty significant moments where going somewhere specific or doing something felt so undeniably right- I wish I had that clarity now. Yeah, in theory it may sound fun to be floating around without a plan or specific obligations, but for me it’s just gotten a bit frustrating. It really bothers me when I feel I’m not making the most of my time- ‘slow’ days have never been a preference for me, and my initial travels over the summer months set my bar of expectations fairly high with the amount of adventures I had.
Additionally, I’ve realized lately how much I appreciate having good people in my life more consistently- solid friends and a sense of community, something you miss out on when you’re traveling around. (Although you do have the chance to meet tons of amazing new people, it’s not quite the same as forming close connections with people you spend a little extra quality time with!)
I’ve certainly been more hesitant to drift around so aimlessly as of late, but I’m definitely NOT ready to give up the freedom of this road life quite yet. I don’t feel I’ve done enough, committed enough, or learned enough to do so. It’s just not time.
I suppose I’m just feeling a bit lost, stuck in this uncomfortable limbo of trying to figure out my what/where/how next steps. In the grand scheme of things, I’m sure this uncertainty I’m facing at the moment has a purpose (no matter how uncomfortable it may feel in the immediate moment). So despite the fact that moving forward right now feels equivalent to driving a car with no headlights into the darkest of nights… I’m not stopping. I just really hope that whatever path I’m supposed to be on, I find it, and that it then keeps leading me to epic adventures and life changing moments.
(Plan B is driving to South America and not looking back… maybe I should work on my Spanish, just in case.)