I hit a bump this week. Actually, I hit the bump in early January. I have just been slow to rise up and also bump my head on the ceiling of realization. It’s been a pretty rough couple of weeks, but I think my Grandmama’s passing made me recognize I have dropped my own ball, merely inches from the end zone. I have several theories why I allowed this ‘bump’ to slow me down, all of them pretty valid, but no one thing is to blame.
In a ‘wrap call’ following last week’s podcast, my wonderful and dear friend Patrick (of The Paddy Wagon) noticed something was off. He reminded me I needed to remove myself from people and things that do not serve me or help me reach my goals. I can’t recall exactly how he phrased it, but essentially he suggested I re-evaluate the commitments I have made, figure out which ones were moving me forward, and eliminate those that were not. In the 72 hours following that conversation, I made some much-needed changes. I freed myself from some responsibilities that took far too much of my time, with no viable reward, then refocused on me and what I want. While there was never any danger of putting off my plans, but I did set myself back slightly, so now I will have to play a bit of catch-up.
My conversation with Partick also made me re-evaluate how I spend what little free time I have. You see, I am a dreamer. Have been since birth I’m pretty sure. I can spend hours on YouTube looking at van conversions, on the vandwellers SubReddit, on forums, on the numerous Facebook vandwelling pages, etc. While all this ‘research’ is certainly inspiring and there are many lessons to be learned here, I have to remember not to get lost in the dream of it and actually start to DO IT. If I want to live this dream of mine, I need to make sure I am taking action on the lessons, ideas, and inspiration. Subsequently, I have created some specific schedules of things I need to complete daily and weekly. However, being a creative free spirit type, I also built in a little room for random flights of fancy. I have a list of goals to accomplish each day, with one exception per week if I am feeling the need for inspiration instead of work. This plan should prevent future bumps in the road.
I am down to just over 6 months until launch, so time is critical. Since the beginning, I have allowed myself one-month wiggle room for departure. My lease is up August 23rd so it was never unreasonable for me to depart in early September if things rolled that direction. It has never been an option to wait longer than sometime in September though. In fact, the thought of having to wait any longer gives me hives. (Only kind of kidding about that.)
Right now I am casually shopping for cargo vans. I would prefer a high top but something in good shape and in good mechanical condition is far more important. I am looking through dealerships because I need to be able to trade in my car. Most people tell me I can get a better deal on Craigslist, and while that is probably true, in my situation this is what works best for me. I also want to put a certain amount of money down, which I cannot right now due to mechanical issues I need to address with my current vehicle. It’s looking like my van search can begin in earnest in about 6 – 8 weeks, when I have what feels like a comfortable (though smaller than I would like) amount for a down payment. There will be more detail coming on the van search very soon.
Ideally, once purchased, I could begin the build on the van paycheck to paycheck. My most basic needs would be insulation, flooring, a solar set up (panels, battery bank, etc), a Fantastic Fan with thermostat (recommended by fellow travelers with cats), buddy heater, and basic electric set up with generator and inverter. Essentially power and climate.
I regularly use Bob Wells site as my primary point of reference for my van build, but recently one of his devotees (who is currently off the road for a while) came to my attention through her book “The Intrepid Woman’s Guide to Van Dwelling“. The writer, Jess Ward, also known as Chick in a Van, said everything I was thinking when she wrote this book. I could relate to her thoughts on jobs, restlessness, etc. All of it resonated with me in an almost overwhelming way and she had some fantastic ideas on building out a van. Then, almost as if he was reading my mind, another very dear friend David, sent me a wonderful eBook on choosing just the right van, at just the very moment I needed it this week. Serendipitous!
Things can always change, and they certainly have through this process so far, but right now I believe I will travel the first 6 months at will, focusing on building my businesses in the evenings and seeing new places during the day. Perhaps I will stop and work a ‘job’ part time here and there as the location, finances, and/or the mood strikes – until I can make the money I need from my businesses and streams of income to fully sustain my travels and lifestyle.
I am on the last leg of the journey toward fulfilling this goal and living this crazy dream of mine. Yeah, I hit a bump in the road for a minute, but there was bound to be one eventually, and ultimately… I got this.