Without a doubt, the last few years have been the most exciting and fun I can remember. The experience to live in a van and journey to new places has brought memories that will last a lifetime. But now it may be time to throttle back a bit and redirect the energies.
In recent days I have been thinking about the reasons for traveling so much and why there was (and still is) a desire to live in a van and explore. I had shut out reality after Mom died a tragic death at the end of 2010 at age 75; it was a complete shock that she was here one day and gone the next.
Almost immediately after that, Dad’s health started going downhill, adding to the sadness and stress. It was overwhelming. Traveling helped numb the pain while lurking at trout streams, finding new bike trails, and quitting jobs each time things got stressful. As easy as it can be at times to say the “f” word to the world, I’ve learned there just is no future in constantly retreating.
“Consider any individual at any period of his life, and you will always find him preoccupied with fresh plans to increase his comfort.” — Alexis de Tocquefield.
Lately the energies have been spent working on Dad’s house, picking through his “treasures” and deciding which get sold, donated, or dumped. That’s given me a lot of time to reflect. For the first time in 48 years, I can now go anywhere, do anything, and be anything. It’s exciting but at the same time, it’s kind of daunting, too. Sometimes too much freedom is troubling! But now that things are calming down, the future is becoming clearer and it’s possible to make rational decisions.
I’ve decided NOT to be a full-time, on-the-road, vandweller. The permanent vandwelling lifestyle is just not a good fit right now…at least not while there are other viable and preferable options.
Jesse and Serena, the two beloved and spoiled cats, mean too much to me to give them up in order to travel. Having the best of both worlds – feline friends and “van trekking” – is going to require a home base. Embracing that fact has meant replacing pride with planning and adopting a more analytical (and yes, “logical”) approach.
I am looking at buying a used mobile home (a.k.a. “trailer house” or “caravan”) near “trout country” perhaps as early as the late summer. The newer mobile homes have 2″x 6″ walls, are energy efficient, and very spacious – especially after sleeping in a 6′ x 9′ space for over two years! Lot rent is much lower in the small towns – like about $175 / month vs. over $300 in Iowa City.
The coming months should be interesting. There will still be van trips and, while out, it is a good time to scout for mobile home parks and new fishing spots… as well as cook up some tasty and HEALTHY food (like the deer based meatloaf you see to the left).
Here is the recipe I put together today for Venison and Beef Meatloaf. (The deer meat was free at the food pantry!) Even picky Serena liked it.
As always, thanks for stopping by and I hope 2014 is a terrific year for everyone who follows this blog. Your comments are greatly appreciated so I just changed Captcha software to [hopefully] make it easier to get your feedback submitted.
Bradford, the Van Trekker
“Eat more avocados!”