There are a lot of blog posts and articles about what it’s like to live out of a van; crazy adventures on the road, lessons learned, and helpful tips for those who aspire to live the van life themselves. We will definitely write our own unique versions of those posts, but today, the day before we leave for full-time van life, I want to take this opportunity to write about my thoughts, reservations, and hopes for this next chapter of our lives.
First and foremost, I feel immeasurable excitement for the adventures that are in store, and pride in the beautiful home that we build with our own hands. I picture Pete, Snoop, and myself waking up in the most beautiful locations and spending our time together in the wilderness. I see us recording songs we’ve written and learned, and playing them for the people we meet. I think about collaborating with other van lifers, falling in love with new cities, hiking beautiful trails, and discovering new things about myself. The greatest part is that I get to do this all with the love of my life and the single greatest animal on the planet (said every dog owner about their dog, ever).
But it’s not all that shiny and perfect. The truth is that we have a lot of things to overcome, and that there will be difficult times.
Pete and I shudder when we think of finances. Starting as broke college grads, we have worked hard to pay for our van conversion, and have enough saved to lived comfortably for the time being. But eventually that money will run out, and even though we work everyday towards our bigger, long-term goals, we have to find a way to make cash on the road to sustain our dream. We’ve been working on applying for remote jobs and researching ways to make money on the road, but nothing is certain. We don’t need certainty though. I was once told by the inspirational Tony Robbins, “It is in the realm of uncertainty, that your passion is found.” I am certain about one thing though; we are smart, clever, and determined people who will always find a way to make things work. And in that, I find solace.
We have other concerns too. Snoop, the light of our lives, is one of them. It’s common for people to live the van life with a dog, or even multiple dogs. However, Snoop has reached his senior years and suffers from arthritis. Activity greatly helps his joints, but he isn’t exactly able to go on long hikes with us. When we want to do those type of things, we will have to board him or put him in daycare, which is another added expense. He is also an 87 lb pit bull, and breed specific legislation can affect our travels, especially if we want to travel to Canada (don’t even get me started on that unbelievable bullshit). But Snoop is our family, and we will never leave him behind. He complicates, but we will do whatever we need to for him to be here with us. He would never leave us, and we would never leave him.
Many of you are not aware of this, but Pete suffers from Crohn’s Disease. He receives his treatment in the form of infusions, meaning he sits in a chair in a hospital for three hours, being pumped with his medication through and IV. This is done in Madison, WI, close to Pete’s hometown. It is extremely difficult to get this treatment set up at another hospital due to insurance complications and hospital liability. This means that even though we are living full-time out of our van, we have to be in Madison every eight weeks, no matter what. We are hopeful that with how quickly technology advances, new treatment options will be available in the future that will no longer limit our travels. Until then, we have an excuse to see our families every two months; it could be worse!
The thing is, we’ve known these complications would exist before we even bought our van. We’re ready to overcome these obstacles so that we can live our dream. We are passionate, roll-with-the-punches people and we wouldn't be who we are without having to overcome whatever life throws our way.
So let the exciting, adventurous, beautiful uncertainty begin! Stay tuned, because this should be interesting...