The number of people who have addressed my plan of living out of a van in the past few weeks is incredible. Sure, I spam everyone I know trying to get my name out there, but the people who came to me in real life and addressed their concerns are amazing. These people actually care about my safety! But a lot of naysayers and supporters alike think that this choice is about the ever eternal search for “Finding Yourself.” But to me, that’s ridiculous.
I’m sure there are hundreds of people who will tell you, “I really learned who I was on that trip.” And maybe 80 percent of them think they really mean it. But only around 5 percent probably did anything that might define who they are, where as the other 75 percent bounced around all the English speaking parts of Mexico, or Thailand, and had a great time, and consider it to be their seminal moment, when really it was a bacchanalian experience akin to every typical spring break.
Now to be clear: I am not here to judge your travel choices. Hell I just wrote an article that was about being drunk and hungover in New Orleans. I’ve done the Cancun thing and it ended poorly. I too want to follow the travel trends. (Iceland anyone?) Here’s the “but” that accompanies that though. When I leave my front door each day, whether that be the door to my house, hotel room, a panel door that slides open, or a tent that unzips, I take that first step already knowing who I am. I don’t need a drunken night on the Las Vegas strip to show me my darkest sides, and I don’t need to wait 4 hours to view Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower to understand how I perceive beauty. I don’t need to swim in the ocean to learn just how insignifigant I am, and I definitely don’t need to skydive to prove that fear doesn’t control me. Do I want to engage in those activities? Absolutely. Just not to the end of learning about myself. I’ve already got that covered.
Have I always known who I am? Maybe not precisely. But in general? Yeah. I can make you a list of my biggest fears, my most heartfelt desires, the things I love, and the things I despise. I can tell you with certainty that I am an introvert, but an outgoing one. I can tell you that when I get excited about something I get loud. er. But when I’m really astonished by something I get quiet. Something most people in my life have never seen. I can tell you how I deal with stress, what motivates my daily decisions, I can even tell you why I choose to focus on most of the things that I do.
I don’t need to find those answers Out There. And neither do you.
So, to everyone wondering if I’m a lost puppy trying to find myself in the big world, the answer is a resolute NO. I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do, before I’m too old to do it. But that’s not enough for some people. “Well what ARE you looking for?” is the next question usually brought up. And that one is a little trickier. I am looking for something. I’m looking for something new to inspire me every day. I’m hoping to find the best view of every sunset, and maybe a couple sunrises. I’m looking for the best way to do my part for the planet we share. I’m looking to find reliable and fast free wifi, I’m exploring new words to add to my lexicon. I’m looking for the tastiest meals, and the friendliest people. I’m searching for a front lawn that is more beautiful than all the others I’ve woken up to in the past. But the whole time I’m searching for that, I’ll know with certainty that I’ve already found my travel companion. Her name is Ashley, and I’ve known her all my life.