I can tell you this: not having a fixed home definitely puts you in a different mindset. I’m sure I’ll settle into a routine eventually, but for now I have a strong feeling of “I can go anywhere and do anything.”
Mostly I’ve been trying to figure out the little things: where to put my few belongings, whether I want to pull the curtains every time I park and get out, and HOW THE FUCK to get the plastic bins from sliding around.
There’s only so much I can optimize before next paycheck. Today I’m ordering a rack for the spare tire so I have more room to stack the bins. Next paycheck I’ll either build a bed/storage platform or start installing the house batteries and inverter.
It’s a little disappointing, spending so much money right off the bat, but I know that eventually I’ll start saving more. At least, I hope so.
Honestly, the most difficult part so far (granted, still only 24 hours in) has been dealing with my own self-judgment. For all my talk to friends pointing out that people live in RVs, they live in boats, they even live in semi-trucks, so what’s so sketchy about a van… I drive around and I feel like a sleaze-bag. I feel vaguely guilty, like I’m cheating at life somehow.
I mean, is this some flight from “reality” or responsibility? Some adolescent fantasy that I should be embarrassed of? Sometimes it feels like it.
But then I ask myself why I decided to do this in the first place. Saving money is a big reason.(Jury’s still out on that one.) In itself, I thought living in a van would be an interesting experiment. And finally, I thought it would be a good way to more fully confront my anxiety issues, which mostly revolve around social situations and what other people are thinking about me.
Not having an apartment to hide in has already changed the game. The van is cozy enough at night, but I’m really not itching to spend all day in it, too. So I drive around, run errands, sit in the park, go to the gym — in short, I’m already spending way more time out in public, confronting my fears without any breaks.
And… it’s been fine, so far. I’m handling it just fine. It helps that today is also my first day without caffeine. I feel way calmer. In the past whenever I’ve tried to quit I’ve felt very deprived and frustrated. Today I feel slow and a little groggy, but I’m okay with it.
I think it’s deeper than the biochemistry. I’m consciously trying to shift to a more relaxed pace. It’s not like I’m sitting around waiting for “withdrawal” to end so I can get back to doing things exactly the way I used to (frantically). On a deeper level, I’ve decided that what I want is a slower pace, less expectation, less striving — not a jittery, scatter-brained caffeine high.
Take right now, for example. Normally I’d be dashing off this post at work, just trying to get it over with. There’s still an element of that, to be honest, but now I’m sitting at a picnic table in the park, looking out over the river. Just chilling.
Not that that makes for exciting reading, so I’ll shut up.