My thoughts have changed greatly in the past two years since I decided to walk away from wrestling; even more since I decided to forgo my trip to Europe and move back to Michigan on what looked like a rash decision. Although I live in a Van and am technically “homeless” I feel like myself again, balanced and whole like the singular unit of self a young child feels before the environment slashes their spirit into a gazillion little feelings, thoughts, emotions, and experiences to make up it’s current mindset.
I now speak to you from a conscious state in which I’m choosing the path; making decisions and owning the consequences - both good and learned. The coolest part about this conscious state of mindset is its ever-growing foundation which is full of life. The mindset you have will dictate the life that you live.
It takes breaking old habits and changing patterns in-state to snap out of the dreamland many of us are living in. For me the decision to walk away from wrestling was a radical one that changed my pattern of thought, which helped bring me back to consciousness a little more. The decision five days before my flight to Oslo, Norway to jump on a train and ride 56-hours wifi-free back to my home state Michigan; on a ticket that cost me $160 to maneuver the country, was radical when put in context. I left my best friend to go by himself which was a hard decision and one I hated to make, but in hindsight had to happen.
The decision to buy a Van for $1,600 and frame in a home was “hippyish” to everyone in my social circle; to some I took a perfectly good Van and ruined it, whereas I saw it as giving it new life.
When buying the Van I had no real plans for it, this summer was a weird time where I didn’t know what direction to go in life; I just knew the dreary 9-5 Corporate box wasn’t for me - which is a radical thing to say given the person I was just 4 years ago - a man who was deep within a self dug hole to mask himself from the world around - metaphorically asleep at the wheel.
I saw the Van with its glorious coffee mug holders and spacious interior so naturally my first thought was: “I can throw my Mountain bike in here and travel the states while hitting the best dirt.” My thoughts shifted from that to seeing the value of having no rent, I proceeded to ask myself where I could live and get by in the van while working to save money to invest and expand my travels. I settled on the California coast with all its splendor: Mountains, the Ocean, interesting people, and beautiful ladies - what more could a man ask for?
It’s getting cold out here and typically when you think of California you think of sunshine, beaches, girls, and Hollywood; winter in the Bay Area is cool, damp, rainy, and unforgivingly cold when the sun goes down. I haven’t had heat since my heating core went out on the drive from Michigan. It wasn’t until we were driving through Montana when we noticed the antifreeze leaking into the van, so we made a quick stop and were instructed to put vice grips on the hoses which stopped the leak for the remainder of the haul.
Upon arrival in California I found a guy to fix my heating core but he wasn’t able to finish the job because the door connecting the vents was broken. The part was going to cost $400 so I decided to go Macgyver on it and looped a string around the door to pull the flap open; I then tied the string off on the dash and now have about 40% heating capacity - a big boost from what I did have. At night I bundle up in my sleeping bag and sleep like a baby, the issue is waking up in the morning to an uninsulated Van after a 40 degree night.
I’m currently working on stitching together some blinds for my windows. Right now i’m using reflectix insulation cutouts that are duct taped to the wall; classy I know. After stitching the blinds I plan to connect them by sliding a rope through both ends (top and bottom) and tying the rope off to little islets epoxied to the frame.
After the holidays I plan to direct my finances toward an off-grid power system. I’d like to get a Goal Zero Yeti generator that hooks up to a 100-watt solar panel on the roof. I recently stepped back into the world of wrestling and couldn’t be more excited about it. I’m coaching a club named “Black Sheep Wrestling” in Fairfax, California, where I work with a buddy who is great at welding and car mechanics so I may go the cheap route; buying a battery and cable to hook to the alternator. Regardless Ol’ Kamala girl is finally getting some much needed work done to her.
We all have dreams, aspirations, and goals we’d like to accomplish in our lifetime. The thing that stops us is our own inaction, usually caused by the stories we tell ourselves. It will never be the right time, you will never have enough money, and something will always come up; when you take a step out of your comfort zone you are taking a step indeed. Start small and win little victories! Change your patterns, embrace uncomfortability, and celebrate!