I often find myself driving with no destination in mind.
Friday after training I jumped in the van with no plan or intention and began driving north where I soon found myself 150 miles away.
the 3 places I feel most at home within myself:
As I sat behind the wheel with no obligation on the horizon I submitted to my baser-desires and kept my foot on the pedal. I tramped to Ukiah, California where I crashed in a Walmart parking lot after grabbing a pint and socializing with the locals.
While at the bar I grabbed a beer and plopped myself in-between a group of friends on the back patio next to the fire. I learned about surrounding hiking trails, passed around stories, and felt a familiar small town vibe that reflected my hometown back in Michigan.
Eight months ago when I moved into the van it was in large part because the previous two years were spent sharing a bedroom, while paying a fortune. I saw the van as a home where I’d have a quiet space to read, write, and reenergize - oh and did I mention the perk of being a home owner for only $1,600? Yeah that played a factor as well.
The first few months of my journey were spent in isolation, and although you might perceive me to be lonely - I was far from it. The van gave me the brain space to sit back and do the things I love - to read and write without interruption.
But as much as I enjoy my books and words I’ve come to learn another valuable lesson from my brother Makwa - who’s also a rubber tramp living in his RV, passing through Georgia. My brother was the original inspiration behind my life on four wheels and continues to inspire me to this day.
He crafts handmade jewelry and calls his business: Bear Natural Connectionz - the mission being to connect with others around the globe. My brother often trades his products or a helping hand, in exchange for a story and a moment. I’d agree this isn’t the best business model if you’re sole purpose is to earn a buck, but if you believe in experiences over dollars just as we do, then you too will understand why we feel a shared moment holds greater value than a greenback.
Makwa lives his every moment to connect with others and while I still enjoy my alone time in the van he has greatly influenced my recent desire to step out and connect with the people around me.
Through it all I’ve learned that happiness can be obtained in many ways, with the greatest manifesting through connection. It’s this mindset that helped put my once shy personality in a bag - to instead unearth a brave new persona that enjoys the thrill of uncertainty when connecting with a stranger.
It’s these moments of connection that have led to some pretty spectacular experiences - whether it be my first time skinny dipping in a natural hot spring near the ocean, surrounded by a group of 30 nudists and women with hairy armpits; or a simple conversation at the coffee shop - Makwa’s helped me see how life’s most cherished moments are the ones created in the space between two or more individuals connecting with one another.
My purpose in living in a van now extends past my desire to drive until my hearts content or to retreat with words in my small quiet nook; now rather, I too live to connect and hope you’ll do the same!
Dan the van man
Dan is currently living in the Bay Area while crafting a simple, sustainable, and adventurous lifestyle - for those whop seek freedom through adventure!