The middle of the Forest. Birds singing, the smell of earth, crisp fall air, the faint sound of water gushing through a creek in the distance. Not another human soul for miles. Exactly where I’d dreamt of being for the past 3 months. I should be ecstatic but instead I feel… disheveled, stressed, definitely not carefree and adventurous as I’d imagined I would be. I got sick, basically the day I lost the health insurance through my work. Our renters were giving us problems we weren’t anticipating. Driving the van on curving mountain roads was more nerve-racking than I thought it would be. My thoughts were constantly racing… Is this not all that it’s cracked up to be? Should we have just sold the house instead of dealing with tenants? How am I going to pay to see a doctor?
I am in no way against change. I have always embraced the hustle, been down for a last minute road trip, heck I’ve done 180’s on my life multiple times now. I would describe myself as someone who embraces whims now and thinks about it later, but always has a backup plan in waiting. I thought this transition would be cake. Leaving a job that stressed me out for no reason – easy. Leaving a town I’d been living in for 10 years – no prob, it’s not like I’m never coming back! Leaving family – we haven’t lived THAT close for a long time anyways, it’ll be fine.
How wrong I was. Seeing friends and family as the date to leave approached became more emotional that I would have admitted to anyone. I started to realize how great of a community I had surrounding me… There’s always a buddy to surf with, welcoming faces at our favorite restaurants, all our friends and family within driving distance. The comforts of home are something you grow accustomed to, and it’s hard to appreciate it until it’s time to leave them behind. That big house I couldn’t wait to not have to keep up with suddenly feels like a safe haven, and I’m handing over the keys to strangers. The job I couldn’t stand all of a sudden seems like a nice, steady stream of income. Why am I leaving again? Oh yeah, adventure. You wanted this… Didn’t you?
I do. I really, really do. That doesn’t mean it’s an easy transition by any means. We won’t have jobs again until mid-November, which means we have to survive off rental income for the next month. It should be great, this whole not-having-to-work thing, but honestly it stresses me the %#?! out. For so long I’ve had the mindset of “oh it’s okay if I spend a little too much now, I’ll get paid next Friday.” Not anymore! Every dollar I spend now is part of our monthly income gone. That’s been the hardest shift for me, but also just the reality of not having a “job” to do every day starts to feel really freaking weird. Lesson 1 learned: I actually enjoy having a job, I just didn’t enjoy the job I had.
I’m learning that it’s necessary to deconstruct my old life in order to build a new one. This may seem a little extreme, but take these factors into account: We are going from 1600 square feet to 86. We were spending 9 hours apart every day while I worked to now spending every single minute together. Every. Single. Minute. I had a pretty well paying job, now we’re scraping by on the bare minimum in exchange for a few months of travel. Any free time now is spent planning our next move, so creativity is out the door. If one person wants to listen to music, everyone has to hear it. Our toilet is literally next to our kitchen sink. Privacy? What’s that?
As someone who *very much* values alone time and requires it to recharge and face society, living in a van with a high energy human has been… honestly a bit draining. Nothing against Zach, he’s amazing and I couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else, but ya girl needs time to herself to be my best version and that’s hard to come by these days. We’ve also not been by the beach, and surfing is both of our outlets. Lesson number 2: make each other’s alone time a priority, also find a beach ASAP.
Every time I get an email I have a mini-panic attack wondering if it’s my rental agency contacting me with more stuff my tenants want done to my house. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered what just selling the dang thing would have been like. Freeing for a moment, maybe, but at the end of the day there’s always going to be something causing stress. Having a small monthly income for a little while may be a little scary, but not having a house to return to if this all goes up in flames… that’s way worse in my book. Notice the intentional use of the word “house” and not “home.” Lesson 3 was learning to switch my mindset from people insulting the state of my home we worked so hard on to thinking of it as a rental property and seeing it through a stranger’s eyes.
The last step of old life deconstruction: actually leaving. That’s what we’re doing today. One of my favorite quotes comes from good old Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” It’s true what they say about not knowing what you have until it’s gone, but it’s also true that you’ll never know what’s out there until you go after it.