This is where I am today, October 9, 2019. I have a lot of blog catching up to do, but here’s the synopsis: On September 1, 2019, I finally – FINALLY! – left Seattle for my new life on the road, living in a van.
That’s a picture of me heading east on I-90, with a little sliver of the sun setting behind me. This is moments before I started crying and wondering if I hadn’t just made the hugest, most stupid mistake of my life.
And this is the best apple I’ve ever had in my entire life – I had just picked it a few hours before I left from one of the apple trees I was leaving behind at my urban farm. This was the first year my fruit trees were consistently bearing fruit – and it was a bumper crop that I was walking away from. I’ll never forget that apple.
Preparing for this chapter of my life was one of the most arduous things I’ve ever done. It involved:
1. The Van. Finding a van in May 2019, which sent me into a spiral of doubt and regret, certain I had made a huge mistake and the van was going to self-destruct – with me in it – at any moment. Thanks Malik for talking sense into me!
2. The Move. Leaving my urban farm and home of 6 years. But first I had to find someone who wanted to take over the urban farm. My friends doubted I could do that. Ha! They should know me better : ) I found a lovely young woman (and eventually her friend who lived a few blocks away) who wanted the same things, and set them up to meet with my landlord. My move out date was set for July 31.
3. The Divestment. Getting rid of all of my ‘stuff’ – this entailed using selling apps, daily trips to Goodwill, give-aways to anyone who would come over, and seven weekend yard sales from April to July. And I don’t even have a yard! Only a driveway and a leaking shed to house everything in between the weekends and in between the downpours. Many tarps were involved. Many dear friends were generous with their time and patience. Thank you Jacob for your patience as our house was dismantled bit-by-bit and sold to the passersby. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the full-time job of managing OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist postings – it felt like my destiny was imbedded in those apps on my phone. I’m going to create some guidelines and suggestions for others who ever plan to do this. There are soooo many things I would have done differently. It was brutal!
4. The Conversion. Converting an empty cargo van into a live-in van, complete with ample storage to carry my teaching supplies with me around the country. I had planned to do this while I still had a home, a driveway, access to electricity. But the driveway ended up being consumed by the yard sales (see #3 above). The Divestment (again, #3 above) also consumed all my time and energy for 4 solid months. So I didn’t even start until AFTER I moved out. Luckily, I have a dear friend who offered me her driveway and garage and a bedroom, to work on my van for the entire month of August. HUGE thank you to the Kramer family who graciously housed me and kept my spirits up when they were dragging.
I had originally planned to leave Seattle mid-July and was so bummed to be six weeks behind schedule. Now that I’ve been on the road for over a month, and have some perspective of all that I accomplished starting with that first garage sale in April, I realize how that delay was nothing.
Here are the pictures of my van conversion. And now, may the road show begin…