It's Hard to feel Unique

Photographer: Paul Clark

Photographer: Paul Clark

I’m getting a Sprinter van and will be living in a van down by the river; this has been my dream ever since I became a river rat. I had an idea... 

“I could start a blog about my adventures in my van…” 

Great idea? Not so much. 

I scroll through Pinterest looking for van conversions; there’s some good stuff in there…hmmm a lot of people have van Pinterest boards. 

Then I had a gander at Instagram, and as I typed in @van a long list of results appeared below. Ok, so vanlifers are a dime a dozen. They all blog and they all essentially have the same feed polluted with #vanporn. Vintage photo of van in the woods. Laying in van looking out to some ridiculous view. Cooking in my van. Driving my van. Here I am on top of my van. Dog in van. French press coffee in my van. 

Needless to say, I’m not making any plans to start an IG feed all about vanlife. It’s become a trend and out of all the trends I’ve experienced in my lifetime this is probably one of the best. But I’d be lying if I said I’m not annoyed that the market for van bloggers is rather saturated. 

It’s hard to not be discouraged. All this content starts to raise the questions: 

“Am I really unique?”

“Is my life or lifestyle really that special?”

“Why would people choose me out of the millions?”

But! I shall not walk into that cold dark deep abyss of doubt and I shall rise above all the pretty van photos, all the blogs, all the vlogs, and build something that is me. And maybe, just maybe my van doesn’t have to be the heart of my success.  Van life here I come!!! 

A Four Seasons, Whisky Drinking, Dirt Bagging Kind of Girl

Photographer: Heather Jackson

Photographer: Heather Jackson

I've always said home is what you make it. It's not always a specific location, it can be multiple, it can be wherever you are in a single moment. I've spent a week in a new place and by the end of it it felt like home. Living in Costa Rica, a place that is so far from home in distance and  environment, helps me understand my sense of the word. Home will always be the mountains. 

Living in the jungle these past couple months I've realized I'm rooted much deeper to the mountain life than I ever thought. 

The jungle is busy, it's buzzing with life 24/7 and that energy fueled me creatively for quite some time. I'd enjoy the comfortable morning temperatures on my porch drinking my coffee dressed with foamy coconut milk and write for hours. My writing really took off here; the words were flowing so fast I could hardly keep up. But as time rolled on and the novelty of the jungle wore off my writing did too and I started thinking about the mountains so much I couldn't be in the moment. 

And so....I'm headed home. 

Although I've been missing home; money has been really tight here and it's been a challenge to sustain myself financially. The unpredictability that comes with the tourist industry makes it difficult to get ahead. Costa Rica is shockingly expensive.

Working with Paddle9 was amazing and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with them and have a job that requires me to jump off waterfalls and paddle in the ocean. Me leaving is certainly not a reflection on Paddle9...they're onto something really good and I'm happy to have experienced even a sliver of it. 

But as the days seem to get hotter and the pace of life seems to get slower I find myself very ready to head back to the mountains. I miss the weight of blankets on my body as I sleep and the sweet sound of snow crunching beneath my feet. I miss the food; buying all the things I love at the grocery store without breaking the bank. I miss having solid shits.  And I miss my mountain folk. 

When something isn't serving me anymore I'm pretty good at doing something about it. I've never allowed myself to be a sob story. I won't sit around and dwell in my misery. If my discomfort is simply just that and no longer constructive then I will do whatever I can to improve my current state. 

Costa Rica is a beautiful place but it's very clear it's not serving me anymore. So $250 later I've changed my ticket for the 10th of Feb and will soon be freezing my ass off. I'm not a beach girl. I'm a four seasons, whisky drinking, wood chopping, dirt bagging, river surfing kind of girl and it's time to get back in touch with that.

 

 

 

Ruffling Feathers

Photographer: Scott Martin

Photographer: Scott Martin

My most recent post ‘Grab 2016 by the Balls’ has ruffled some feathers and received some negative comments. As a writer I take it as a compliment. If my writing stirs up emotions be it anger, inspiration, embarrassment, etc… it doesn’t matter — what matters is it touched you enough to feel something and that’s all I want.  

Writing is open to interpretation but I had a specific intention with that post and that was to encourage everyone to live their best life; to not leave this life full of regret.

If you’re happy with your office job, your mortgage, and your 401-K this post wasn’t intended for you. It was for those who aren’t, it was a wish for them to value their happiness and the little time they have on this Earth — to fight for the life they’ve always dreamed of. 

The comments posted felt defensive for a life that doesn’t need defending. If you’re in line with what you want and happy with the path you’ve chosen then keep doing that — everyone has their own recipe for happiness. When people get defensive it’s usually because they’re being called out on their shit (nobody likes being called out) and there’s some truth in the words being projected on them. I’m doing my best to make sure this post doesn’t come off as defensive and as more of a clarification of my intentions. 

I don’t want you to live my life. I don’t think my life is the key to happiness, no fucking way. My life is an example of risking it all to be the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. An example of sinking into discomfort and coming out on top. An example of not taking no for an answer and to push myself past it’s boundaries mentally and physically.

I want you to live the life you’ve always dreamed of. I don’t care if that dream is owning a home, starting a family, or traveling around the world. Just grab life by the balls and do it. 

This is my path, my version of happiness. And when I receive comments like this one,

“I read it and have made some drastic changes in my life already. Loved every word.”

I know I’m doing something right.