I recently spent a few days camping and hiking in the Teton Mountains of Wyoming, where autumn colors were in full display. I’ve never been an overly enthusiastic fan of autumn (summer is by far my favorite season), but something about the clear crisp air, mountain views, and festive hues really hit home. I was sitting at camp one evening watching the sun set behind the Teton’s highest peaks, drinking hot apple cider with a splash of cinnamon whiskey (hey, got to warm up somehow), and realized – okay, maybe I like fall, y’all.
This realization led to thinking about how the change of seasons can be really beautiful and something to look forward to, once you are willing to let go of the passing season in order to embrace the season you’re in. Different times of year offer different joy and opportunities- snowboarding in the winter, alpine lake swims in the summer, etc.
My life is entering a different season now, and it’s been hard to accept.
In a nutshell: I’m moving back to Vegas, selling my van, and going back to work for my prior Credit Union job.
Vanlife. I love it. I love the adventures, the freedom, the overall simplicity (and at certain times, complexity) that it brings to my life. I love waking up and making coffee as I soak in mountain views on the horizon, falling asleep to the sound of a rushing creek nearby, driving to beautiful destinations and having the opportunity/ necessity to spend the majority of my time outdoors. I love my van- a build that took literal blood sweat and tears to complete with my dad, a true labor of love and collaboration with my favorite person. I even love the not so fabulous moments- overnights at truck stops, wal-mart parking lots, solar panel problem solving, hobo showers- it’s all part of a lifestyle that I’ve been heavily and happily immersed in for the last 15 months.So why stop?
I’m tired- of always having to be “on”. Constantly searching for parking, camp spots, gas stations, gyms to shower, wifi, etc. At times, it feels like a part time job to just survive/ thrive out here. Community- I miss it. I’ve sacrificed so much time with friends and family to go off and adventure on my own, and although I’ve met some amazing people along the way, it’s not quite the same as having a consistent community physically near. Financially, I want to catch up. For those of you who saved massive amounts of money while gallivanting around, I commend you- because that’s (unfortunately) not me. There’s so many aspects of my life I’ve been neglecting while on the road, aspects I want to invest back into for a bit.
This decision didn’t come easy. Just the thought of not being able to take off on a whim, to run away to the mountains or wherever my heart desires (which honestly, is usually the mountains) is terrifying. Other fears include: feeling stuck, becoming homesick for places I can’t easily access anymore, missing out on adventure opportunities, not being happy with a more normal lifestyle…also, I’m quite afraid of becoming ‘boring’. Admittedly, I think a bit of my identity is tied into living in a van and being a part of that culture, and losing that piece of me is really difficult.
It’s not necessarily that I want to be done with vanlife, but I can feel deep down that I need a change for right now. It’s time to slow down for a bit, to reset and recharge. My heart is breaking (I’m in tears writing this actually), but change is never really easy, is it? I’m reminding myself that even if I’m not living in the van, I can still travel and make adventuring a priority (after all, I did those things prior to this chapter in my life).
Like the change of seasons, I have to focus on what this new chapter offers, and appreciate what’s to come. I’ll forever be grateful for this recent chapter of my life, and I have SO many beautiful memories and experiences to appreciate… but I have to let go (for now).
And… the open road will always be there, waiting for me.