Returning to the van after traveling back to Michigan for Christmas was a weird experience; leaving and returning during the wee hours of the night, when temperatures plummet and breaths are made visible.
I was blessed with amazing people lending hands the entire way - one friend allowed me to leave Kamala parked outside his house, one friend drove me an hour to the airport at 4AM, and another friend picked me up at midnight after traveling all day herself.
Since the election I’ve been thinking about the bubbles we live in, and traveling back to Michigan really cemented a belief for me. I grew up a small town Midwesterner who worked hard and earned an opportunity to move west to the Golden state of California. I’m going on three years since I moved to the coast I now call home. The adventure began by sharing a 400 square foot studio with my younger brother for a few months in Palo Alto; after he moved out I went north and joined some friends on a houseboat for six months; followed by the move into a single apartment inland with a buddy; then to Michigan for the summer, and now back in the Bay while living in a Van (down by the river-sometimes).
Within the past 6 years I’ve traveled across the country at least 6 times - one year I went back and forth four times which included a three day train ride and bus trip to complete the route.
My travels have uncovered some disheartening issues within our country and that’s partly why I jumped in the Van and made it home - rebellion to the status quo, where people give away their freedoms to debt, consumerism, and one another on a daily basis.
I work at a coffee shop where amazingly brilliant people gather and solve the world's problems, or at least give a concerted effort in rambling solutions. This is a place where Tesla’s are common and MILF’s are the majority - tech money has infiltrated the barracks of a once known hippie kingdom where the liberal elites now surround - to these elites and many other Californian’s Trump never stood a chance; until the day he was elected.
In Michigan they beat to a different drummer - Trump signs are big and layered in lights. I remember telling someone I thought Trump had a chance because he spoke to the working man's subconscious - making statements that were heard by the middle class who don’t pay attention to politics, yet feel the pain and carry the weight - meaning they’re too caught up in the rat race to pay attention so when Trump’s slogan is: “Let's Make America Great Again,” of course they’re going to vote for him.
The point i'm trying to make is both Michigan and California had differing beliefs about the results of the election - we tend to close ourselves off to other ideas and forget the world is larger than our little circles. We form these bubbles in all areas of life, and the one thing I’ve found to help expand mine has come from traveling.
When you travel and experience cultures different from your own you quickly realize that people are very much the same, with only surface level differences that separate us. We may not speak the same language, and you might like red while I like blue, but the truth is we are both only here for a short period of time and many of our beliefs at the core level are the same; our difference will likely come from our means of fulfilling our deeply rooted needs. The world is big and the media will remind you of its uncertainties, but don’t forget to be an explorer of your own, whether it be on a far off adventure or a trip to the market - I challenge you to test the waters and see if the world is really as bad as you think - take it from a guy living in a Van -