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Friday, March 21, 2014

Why Did I Choose Vandwelling?

Many times I am asked why I chose to live in my van.  The truth is, I have wanted to travel and have adventures since I was very young listening to my older sister read books to me.  We would often go to the local library which was a short bike ride away to pick out books.  She read all the Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn books to me - we even plotted a runaway complete with bandanas tied to a pole when I was around 5 years old. 

I am a traveler.  A nomad.  An artist.  I am social.  I love to meet people.  To learn as much as I can about other cultures is also something I learned when young.  My parents brought home lost people to stay off and on.  Koko was a Japanese girl who didn't speak English when she arrived at our house and spent the better part of a year or more.  Radd was a German history buff and we endured the jokes and comments at school when he was seen wearing German military clothing and driving a VW Thing painted in historic German military style...

When I got out on my own, after highschool, I began to meet interesting artsy people.  I had my share of glitchy starts and bumps in the road along the way.  I learned who to not trust probably better than who to trust - and I kept moving on. One situation lead me to leaving Maine, where I grew up and I moved to Virginia.  It wasn't quite the plan I had envisioned for my life, I kinda thought I'd meet a guy who would love me and want to ride bicycles across the US.  The powers that be had other plans and ... I moved here and there, maybe 28-30 times over my many years spent in Virginia.  The next big move was when I lost my job and ran out of unemployment.  I figured that I had pretty much out stayed my welcome in Virginia.  While searching for what to do next, it occured to me to start a "before I die" list - now they call them Bucket Lists...my first item on the list was to live in New York City... so that's where I went.  After a couple years, I moved back to the state of Maine, although to a town I didn't know.  I had a nervous breakdown, which is where and when I became disabled.  I moved around a bit more until I re-settled in a section 8 apartment back in NYC.  Feeling relatively safe in my new apartment, I worked on more of my Bucket List crossing things off one by one, including short trips by bus or train.  I used to spend many great days at Coney Island walking the beach.  Then an opportunity arrose for me to go to Costa Rica - and I did, and returned and stayed. 

Around the time that my father passed away, I returned to the US thinking I would help family out and perhaps re-establish myself in the states.  Things didn't go well and I returned to Costa Rica to regroup.  I came back the following spring to hike on the Appalacian Trail. That seemed like a good idea and similar to my dream of bike riding from my youth.  I walked, alone, for three months.  I didn't finish a through hike that year - perhaps I will be able to finish it as section hikes in the future.  The events that came after led me again back to Costa Rica and a return to my thought process of where am I going and what am I going to do?  I saved some money and decided that since having a home has seemed so elusive, perhaps if I got a 'small' home, I could take it with me when I decided it was time to move on...I've lived in a tent, a hammock on the trail, a ranchito with a thached roof , a 68Chevy van, a Shasta travel trailer, apartments, rental houses.... and this time I didn't want to give my energies and time and effort to someone else....so I looked up some info I'd found years ago. And found the title Vandwelling...ha they gave it a name.     

Vandwelling gives me the opportunity to have a home of sorts that is more mobile than a larger RV.  It's protected more than a tent by the material it is made out of.  A van is also accepted in the more mainstream and urban areas.  With my van being a low topped passenger van in its former life, I am able to stealth park in many areas where even other vans might be questioned. 
I bought the now Vantucket (think Nantucket Island off Cape Cod)... and thats how it all happened.