I'm in a rather joyful state lounging in the rear of my van; jazz humming softly over the roar of cars zooming by; nearby a pedestrians footsteps shuttle to; and the occasional siren, you’ll get that too. Tonight I sit here eating raw oatmeal with a fork; and after walking across fire last night I woke up to start my engine with a can of black eyed peas that were as warm as the cool San Jose morning - opened with the multi-tool my brother gave me. I recently returned from Unleash The Power Within, which was an amazing experience where Tony Robbins spoke and ignited the crowd; so much so that my voice is on strike.
Here I sit with a mouth full of plaster; oats uncooked as dry as disaster; they truly don’t taste bad when you weigh the benefits: A). I woke up above ground B). It’s quality energy that's able to power my body. I willfully accepted the bare-necessities; spooning cool beans from the inner of a can, while quenching my taste with a few solid apples. I ate cashews and finally a hot dog that was bought at the venue; a place hosting thousands, spanning 54 countries - a home for the future. What a day!
In a rare moments pause at the four day event, between dancing my ass off and engaging with others, I was able to throat out a conversion with my new Canadian friend. I reassured her that I lived in a van by choice, but after talking for awhile she interrupted me and jokingly mentioned that I must “enjoy suffering.” The truth is I guess I do.
There's a feeling hard to explain which shines through when living life on the road, something developed from constantly being in a state of unknown; every morning I wake and ask myself where I should sleep tonight? Challenges from pissing in a bottle late at night (yep, it is what it is) to spending the night of Halloween puking my guts out and owning the experience, because that's truly all that could be done. The following morning I backed up to the beach and spent the day listening to the crashing waves while breathing in between bouts of upheaval.
Trying to play host to a friend and his bike while living nomadic in the Bay Area presents its own list of challenges; not that the company was unwelcome, but i'm more trying to point out the daily challenges of living in a van. The floor is big enough to fit one person comfortably, or at least I think so; the night before dropping my buddy off at the airport we decided to drive part way (bay area traffic…), so we found shelter on the side of the road near Ocean Beach, San Francisco.
The view was insane and the waves were abnormal to us Mid-westerners. Upon waking I got up from the floor as guests get the bed, and found that my buddy couldn’t sleep because the cars were relentless and he wasn't used to hearing them. This far in the game cars and passing vehicles don’t really register unless i'm actively listening for them. Before life in the van I was a bit of a diva, I couldn't sleep unless factors were perfect and nobody disturbed me - oh the people we become!
The truth is I do enjoy "suffering" as some like to call it. My life until after graduating University was formed around wrestling and it doesn’t take much to understand how much effort, sacrifice, and discipline go along with the sport. There is something in the challenge that sparks my soul. I like not knowing. I enjoy being thrust out of my comfort zone and into new places, it expands my world and I’m open to the finding. Before bed every night I layer up under a pair of wool socks, sweat pants, a sweater, my jacket, and a beanie; all before snuggling into my cozy little sleeping bag.
Waking up on four wheels every day surely has it’s challenges, but for me the benefits are far superior to the pitfalls of being a nomadic vandweller. I’d like to ask you how a child learns and grows? Wouldn’t you say they grow and develop from experience? Now more importantly I’d like to ask what changed since you were a child? Did the laws of learning magically stop the day you became an adult? I don't think so. We learn continuously. Everyday is growth added onto the day before, and for me living the typical American lifestyle throws me into a trance I don't like to be in - one where the days fly by and I am lost in the matrix. I need the Adventure. I need the challenge. It keeps me sane. Nature is out there, yet we fight to live in a box. Life is right now, not manana!
Let me leave you with this…
Don't be surprised when you open your eyes;
Time is progressing without your permission.
Your decision right now is purchase with action;
No one but you can truly talk to you - isn't that true?
Daniel L.M. Osterman