If you follow my blog, you probably have noticed that I don’t post a lot. Sure… I have good intentions and even better ideas for posts, but they usually get lost in the “would have/should have” pile.
One of the obstacles has been my laptop. Sure… it is a nice laptop, but it is also the laptop that I use for work. Each time I pull out the old ball and chain, I start a post, get distracted and move on to something else.
I have decided to shake things up and post using my iPhone and a foldable keyboard. Is the keyboard overkill? Maybe, but it allows me feel like I am creating and not just ranting and purging my soul on social media. 😛
My intent is more posts and fewer obstacles in sharing my thoughts.
I have learned some valuable tidbits of information since I hit the road in December. However, my brain has a lot of useless information in there. So while I can tell you the name of an 80’s song in three seconds or less (along with the artist and year released), a cool tip that I learned may get placed on a dark shelf in the catacombs of my brain.
Over 100 days on the road, and I have found the mecca for the van dweller auto dweller that wants to be near a large city.
I may be making this proclamation a bit prematurely since I have only been in SoCal for two weeks. Still, if the current court ruling sticks, San Diego may need to change its name to Van Diego.
In February 2019, the San Diego City cancel unanimously voted to repeal a 1983 ordinance prohibiting residents from living in a vehicle on any street with the city limits.
Before you pack up your apartment and head west, remember that this ruling is only a couple of months old. Kevin Faulconer, San Diego’s mayor, has proposed an ordinance to make vehicle habitation illegal. He claims his propsal is in response to “hundreds of complaints” from residents on the “cleanliness and illegal activity related to people living out of vehicles.”
The two tidbits of advice I can offer if your are considering living in your vehicle in San Diego… read the street signs and chat with other auto dwellers that you encounter.
Mission Beach (where I have spent the past week) does a top-notch job of letting you know where you can and cannot park, so read all street and parking signs. Most streets are swept at least one day each week, usually in the early to mid-morning.
Public parking is usually free, but it is important to note when you can and cannot park. Most lots require you to move at least a couple of hours each night.
My routine is to spend my day in public parking, move to the street late at night, then return to the public lot before the traffic picks up.
By talking with other nomads, I have learned of spots where I do not need to move each day. Another wanderer told me of a free dump station near Mission Beach, while a third RVer introduced me to a technique for getting fresh water.
For many people, the response to this question is “I love to travel.”
I fall into this group, but my travel preference may be a bit different than yours. And that’s the way it should be… your travel should fit you.
If you enjoy travel, you should make it your own. Do it the way you want to do it. Don’t do it to impress anyone else.
When I travel I often like to blend in with the locals, enjoy the day-to-day in a new location. My travel is usually not about beaches, theme parks and endless partying. My travel is slow-paced, spontaneous, and reflective.
I am currently one month in to a road trip… a road trip that has me living in a van… a road trip with no destination in mind.
People often ask me where I am heading, and I usually don’t know.
If I decide to end the #sandybanff journey tomorrow, then so be it. I will put the van in storage or sell it and move on to the next adventure.
My travel is not glamourous. My travel is not the variety you’ll find in the pages of Departures (a magazine that American Express sends me regularly that I immediate chuck into the recycle pile). My travel is personal, and it is not for everyone.
My quest toward a simple life began over a decade ago. It took two events to jumpstart my journey.
I was confronted with what would become one of the most stressful times of my life… an audit by the Internal Revenue Service. The ordeal was ongoing for two years, and it included the audit of three years of federal tax returns.
My shortcoming in reporting my finances was not birthed out of deceit but instead out of a need to control. I felt the need to control every aspect of my life, including my finances. I was in control of the accounting and tax return preparation for a company that had over $1 million in annual sales… a company of one… a thriving business with an astute leader but an ignorant accountant.
The hard experiences in life are often the ones that have the most profound impact on us. If you can learn from these struggles, is the experience truly negative?
My tax ordeal taught me to delegate… to keep it simple.
At the same time I struggled, I feel in love. I feel in love with a boy. I feel in love with Amsterdam.
Time has a way of sorting out emotion, both good and bad. In retrospect, I realize I feel in love with simple living. This is not meant to minimize the love I felt for the boy or an amazing city. However, Amsterdam and the boy both represented a life I wanted… a simple life.
Amsterdam, the boy, and the IRS audit were all a part of my journey toward simplicity. These things are not part of my current reality, but fundamental in the journey of who I have become.
Bonus points if the thing you create helps people; when those two things meet, it’s like magic. (It’s also, occasionally, a business.) Here are two things I know for sure: It feels good to create things and it feels good to help people. But creating things — especially good things — is difficult. It takes time, focus, and courage. Maybe even a little masochism.
Helping people is easier. There are a million ways to do it: You can hold the door open for the guy whose arms are full of groceries; you can help an old woman across the street (that’s still a thing, right?); you can share your life experience and hope that someone will read it and find it applicable to their own life.
This little nugget reconfirmed that I have a strong desire to create. So, why don’t I create more?
I feel many times I have created in search of validation.
Businesses were created. The validation? Money.
Many times these businesses were abandoned after the validation did not materialize in what I felt was an adequate amount of time. I am sure that my lack of perseverance snuffed out many legitimate business ventures. I’ve never been very good at “treading water.”
I’ve never been materialistic, but somewhere along the journey of life, I allowed money to become the primary source of validation. I began to take interests and allow their lifespan to be determined by their monetary value. So… if a hobby could not produce money, it was discarded.
My blogging has also become a victim, allowing validation to fuel creation.
I would write in spurts, and if posts did not receive views… I stopped.
I enjoy journaling my thoughts and experiences… sharing. Still, I need to learn that my musings do not need to find an audience to have value. If they do, cool, but the validation of increased views or comments should not drive (or deter) me from writing.
After proclaiming my love for the Carado Banff yesterday, I was met with this snarky comment from a Facebook troll user.
Well… if I can buy two and half Banffs for the price of one Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL, sign me up and tell me where to pick up my hexagon assembly tool.
I can absolutely appreciate nice things, but I am also a practical person that doesn’t need all of the bells and whistles.
So… this brings me to the lavish purchase that I made about six months ago. Say hello to van experiment one…
I bought her six months for $800 somewhere in Tennessee. It was my intention to build out the inside and hit the road again with my trusty sidekick, Pat the Cat.
Oh… and the van was so fancy that you didn’t even need a key to start her. You just had to touch two wires together. 😀
So… what happened to the unnamed Dodge?
After six weeks of tinkering… removing seats, adding subfloor, insulating walls, and bloodying up myself on more than one occasion, I decide to send her own way. The new owner picked her up today. She sold for $400. 😐
It was a $400 loss (not including the additional items I purchased), but I learned in the process. I can do more “handy” stuff. So… well worth the expense. Now, I just need a tool belt. NOT! 😛
So… where am I going with this?
Well, if I was willing to make a 1994 Dodge Ram conversion van my home, then I definitely don’t need an induction cooktop and motorized awning. So… IKEA van… sign me up. Hmmm… what should I name her? HATTEFJÄLL?
Before the paperwork had even been signed on the cabin, I had already started to consider a new adventure. Say hello to the Carado Banff.
Nothing is set in stone at this point, but I am itching to get out on the road again, and the Banff is a worthy contender.
With my Mom and aunt in tow, I checked out and drove a 2018 Banff, and I was thoroughly impressed. Check out the interior pics…
This would be the perfect size for Patrick and I. It even has a toilet and shower. You can see it peeking out in the second and third pics above. Still, what I am most excited about is the 200 watts of solar power on the roof and lithium batteries installed in this little guy. If you add in VoltStart, I am practically in boondocking heaven. (VoltStart allows the engine to automatically start up to power up the batteries.)
This little nugget has practically everything I need… stove, refrigerator, microwave, solar, shower, toilet, gas heat, hot water, and air conditioning. The only thing missing is a backup camera, which I can easily install… or just buy a 2019 model with backup camera and GPS installed. Plus… VoltStart is available on some 2019 models. *swoon*
So… what happens next? Well, I need to make sure my impulsive little self isn’t jumping the gun here. I am going to make a final decision after the sale of the cabin has occurred. I signed the listing agreement yesterday, so the ball is just now starting to roll. The only issue I am finding is a covered garage in Downtown or Midtown (Atlanta) that can accommodate a vehicle 9’5″ tall.