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Beef Jerky

self-care van life Jun 10, 2018

I spent the day eating beef jerky in my van.

I’m only sort of kidding. If this is what freedom looks like, then hella I’m livin’ the dream.

I won’t lie. I did some crying in there, too. But the much-needed release felt amazing. Grieving…with beef jerky.

Being between homes is strange. Things I used to take for granted now feel like luxuries: hot showers, wifi, push-button coffee. (Though I must admit, French press coffee has been super easy to get used to.)

This whole experience is making me more humble, more aware, and more compassionate. But I know a lot of people are probably still wondering what on earth would compel me to choose an oversized box on wheels as a daily driver.

Well, the truth is, this van solved several problems for me.

First off, I needed a new car anyway, so the van ticked off the “reliable form of transportation” box on my to do list. Right now, I simply don’t have the mental or emotional capacity to deal with costly repairs while traversing the U.S. A new car just made more sense. Sure, Mercs are pricey, but that leads me to the second problem it solved: moving expenses.

When I found out it was going to cost 7k+ to ship a few trinkets across the country, I laughed into the phone receiver. Seriously? No, wait. You’re being serious, aren’t you? That was money I would never ever ever ever get back. And I’m pretty sure I can replace a few pairs of socks and a handful of hangers for less than 7k. See where I’m going with this? At least with the van, I could recover a good chunk of change if I ever decided to sell it. Plus, I was ready to downsize anyway, so it was a no-brainer.

But this option also gave me a temporary housing solution. To be clear, I've never had any plans to become a full-time van dweller -- even though my friend's husband made it very clear that "living in a van sounds so much cooler." 

Travel a little, yes. Van down by the river, no.

But since I still haven’t zeroed in on where to establish new roots yet, it’s a great in-between option. I can stay at wineries, campgrounds, Airbnbs, hotels, resorts, or with friends who have guest rooms (or neighbors that don’t mind a creepy van parked on the street).

And the fourth problem it solved was that it bought me some time. Now is not the time to rush a major life decision, like buying a house or signing a lease. Life is churning and tumultuous and chaotic, and I’m in the middle of grieving the biggest loss of my life. It’s a recipe for weirdo decisions. (Okay, you’re right. Maybe buying a giant rig is super weird.)

But my point is, I need time to breathe. I need time to explore. I need time to figure out where to go next.

And that’s why I bought the van instead of a used Pinto.

When we face difficult life transitions, we have to know what we need most to get through them. And self-care helps us to that. Maybe that process involves beef jerky and maybe it doesn't. But we get to choose.


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