When I was a little girl, I’d lie on my back on the living room floor and look up at the ceiling. The tops of the built-in bookcases became the bottoms, the light fixtures became mushroom caps, the ceiling beams became thresholds to different rooms, different worlds. That ‘ceiling’ was the floor of my private world, my own living room where I could fantasize about how things would be if I were the grown up… if I were the one running the show.

I’ve always been a dreamer, a conjurer, a creatrix. So it’s no surprise that many of the things that made the cut to go with me in my van are for creativity and creation. My sewing supplies (yes I’m bringing a sewing machine!), carving tools, shell bead making kit, and of course, my laptop for writing and creating online courses.

For months now, I’ve been fantasizing about what my van will look like on the inside. There are hundreds of websites, videos, and forums where ‘boondockers’ or ‘van-lifers’ or ‘caravaners’ post the evolution of their designs. It’s pretty amazing that no two vans are alike – even though they start out with the same metal box.

What things are most important to me? Surrounding myself with art. Colors. One precious shelf of books. A well-supplied kitchen. A real refrigerator. Lots of storage (I have to haul my teaching supplies everywhere with me). Multiple options for power (solar, battery, propane, and an extension cord). A cozy bed I don’t have to make every day.

The hardest part of my preparation has been getting rid of just about everything I own. When I finish my travels I plan to live in a tiny house, so I’m not storing furniture or household items. It’s been a grueling process of going through EVERYthing to see what few things I keep for the future. I’ve had seven weekends of yard sales. They are physically and emotionally exhausting. It’s surreal to sell things you actually like and watch someone drive away with your perfect lamp, the end table you love, your beloved books, or the desk you’ve sat at for 16 years.

One night I spent 4 hours going through 18 years of greeting cards – birthday cards, Mother’s Day cards, holiday cards – from friends, family, past clients. It was heart-wrenching to not keep them, but really… I had them for 18 years and this was the first time I looked through them. It was a love fest reading them all, so with tears of gratitude and prayers to all the senders, I let them go.

I’m almost done with the sorting. I saved the kitchen for last. We’ll see which utensils make the cut, and what has to go in a box for later.

About Carrie Kenner

Carrie Kenner is an educator, creator, mentor and adventurer traveling the country in a camper van. Follow her at carriekenner.com.