The cold wind whips my face as my boots crunch over frost-crusted snow. I pull the handle on my van door, slide it open and climb inside. I feel so sheltered in here... the warm glow of lit candles greet me and the minuscule heat they emit cozify my space. The gusts of the wind now rocks me gently back and forth; its bitter chill quickly forgotten. You know you've been living outdoors for a longtime when you consider being inside a vehicle as "indoors."
For the past three months I've been working in Red Feather Lakes, a small mountain community located about an hour northwest of Fort Collins. I worked at a Resort Ranch and then as a painter, selling my time for an hourly wage. I wasn't quite ready to move back to the city where I was raised, but for the time being I wanted to be close to my family and what remained of my friends so this was a happy medium. I also thought it would give me the opportunity to enjoy Colorado a little more and in some ways it did.
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So my dilemma was this: I needed a ride back, forth and around, but I also needed some semblance of home while I was up there. I decided a van would fit both needs just fine. I put my old solar panel on top, decked out the interior and installed a sleeping platform with storage bins and cubbies. I had all the essentials plus a few extra comforts, but this was still nothing lavish.
Being "on the road" means different things to me and I've explored many of them. Ive travelled across North America living out of my Honda but I've also traverse it hitchhiking and traveling without one; I've trekked for weeks on end over mountain passes relying solely on my gear, my skill and my wit; I've traveled through foreign countries with only 34L of belongings, but most of all I've tried to live a life in a way that focuses on being in the present moment and going ahead one destination at a time.
Throughout these various experiences I've learned about self reliance and how little one truly needs to thrive. The road taught me about the selfishness of things, and the dangers of attachments to worldly possessions. The things of this world are merely tools that help us achieve: food for nutrition but also community, gear for survival and comfort, technology for communication and learning, water for life. And in a world that is truly full of need I am blessed enough with ample possessions and the surplus that allows me to aim at cutting back.