Slaying the Three Headed C-Monster

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Mike can’t stand up straight. We’re sleeping double in a single bed. My food cupboard and refrigerator are so disorganized that I’m almost ready to give up eating.

The not so glamorous parts of #vanlife.

So why did we make the move? Why did we downsize from our 5th wheel to this 19’ camper van?

The answer: We were waging war with a three headed C monster.

And the monster was winning.

What’s the three-headed C monster? Let me describe him for you.

Head #1: Comfort

Our fifth wheel was comfortable. We didn’t fit the original furniture, so we replaced it with comfortable Ikea pieces. We tossed the original mattress in favor of a comfortable latex mattress.

When it was time to cook a meal, I could choose between:

  • stove-top
  • oven
  • crockpot
  • grill
  • electric skillet

I found my ingredients in the large pantry or large fridge. I served up to 8 people with complete table-service.

My bathroom cupboards were packed. Our game cupboard was full. My closet held enough of a wardrobe that there were clothes I never wore.

We were comfortable.

Comfort isn’t bad. With just this one head the monster isn’t dangerous.


Head #2: Contentment

We ditched suburbia. We live this gypsy life. Our needs are met and life is interesting. How many people get to say they milk goats or kayak with alligators?

We are satisfied with our lifestyle. We are happy with our decision to live in a mobile fashion.

While researching to write this post I found a Zenhabits article about contentment. I started reading this:

So contentment isn’t a matter with being content with your situation in life and never trying to improve it. It’s a matter of being content with what you have…

We sat in our comfortable chairs, content with our traveling lifestyle. But the quote doesn’t end there. It finishes:

“— but realizing that as humans, we will always try to improve, no matter how happy we are. If we don’t, we have given up on life.” Zenhabits

Contentment is the second head of the triple headed C-Monster. When this second head appears it’s not yet time to take up your weapons. But you should know where they are.

It’s the last four words of the Zenhabits quote that become the 3rd, dangerous head of the C-Monster.

Given up on life.

When you are so comfortable you give up trying to improve and grow, you are complacent.

Head #3: Complacency

Complacency is:

A feeling of calm satisfaction with your own abilities or situation that prevents you from trying harder.Google Search

We were too satisfied with our lifestyle and were losing our adventurous spirit. Instead of seeking interesting places and people, we were content to hole ourselves up in our comfortable home.

We had become complacent.

We didn’t wake up one day and suddenly notice we were complacent. It snuck up on us.

But eventually we noticed.

The monster had grown the third head. It was time to suit up and head for the battlefield.

Slaying the monster

We bought a camper van. We sold our 5th wheel. We gave away most of our belongings to total strangers. We crammed our remaining things into the van.

Our first week in the van there were three of us. We drove Miranda to her summer WWOOFing gig. Every evening we moved Miranda’s pile of stuff from the back to the front so the couch could be made into a bed for us and the space between the two chairs could be filled in to make a “bed” for Miranda. In the morning we moved everything back into place.

It was uncomfortable. It was inconvenient.

After we settled Miranda on the farm, we drove back to Michigan. We filled our days with work, doctor appointments, van projects, and visits with family. We found ways to organize some of our things. I made meals on the 2 burner cookstove (the only device I have to cook on) and we ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly.

We lopped the first two monster heads off at the neck.

The third head is still breathing.

My mind wants to rekindle that love for adventure. I want to improve my physical, mental, and spiritual self. But, my body is a little slow in making that move. Every morning I prove Newtons First Law.

We aren’t done battling the triple-headed C-monster. We are sharpening our blades and developing our attack strategy. We’ll be on the road again soon, looking for ways to take advantage of our new-found size and mobility.

And we will eventually slay that monster.

How about you?

Are you fighting your own monster? How’s the battle going?




5 Comments Slaying the Three Headed C-Monster

  1. Picture of The Tepid Tamale The Tepid Tamale May 24, 2017

    Definitely battling the same monster, but my battle is back in suburbia.  I know that ‘Ditching Suburbia’ will not ‘fix everything’ for me, like I sometimes am fooled to believe.  I have to fix myself first, otherwise my troubles will follow me.  Your post here shows that ditching won’t be a magic bullet, so thank you very much!!!  (Don’t forget that you always have a place to park with us!  Well, I shouldn’t say always, but at least for a while.)

    Stay strong in the van!

  2. Picture of Sarah Sarah May 25, 2017

    OMG!  You are totally right about the three headed monster and have put it so succinctly in your post!  This is why so many people have dreams that they never follow up on, because they get comfortable and complacent and then stop trying.  It is something I will always remember now and be on the lookout for.  Thank you for sharing and I hope you soon find a way to slay the monster!  Please be sure to share it with us when you do.

  3. Picture of Daniel Daniel June 29, 2017

    This perfectly describes why I moved out of a house into my coach. All three heads were alive and thriving. I was so comfortable in a nice house but I was miserable. I was so comfortable, I was so well taken care of because I had planned my life so long term that once everything was in place it would just take care of itself. It sounds like a dream.

    It was my nightmare.  You need conflicts and problems to live a healthy life, so I just had constant internal conflicts. I was always unhappy, I never wanted to do anything except make the comfortable days go by one by one.

    Now my plumbing is leaking, I’m waiting for parts for my AC after a 90 degree week, my heater squeals, my slider awning is torn, I’m stressed right out and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.

  4. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink June 29, 2017

    Thanks guys!

    We’ve a girl to launch off on her own before we can get back into adventuring mode.

    So for now, our way to fight the monster is to daytrip out. We try to make a rule that if we have to pack up the B and drive out for any reason we stay out all day.

    We’ve been finding pretty places to park and get our work & chores done before heading back to plug in at the campground.

  5. Picture of Eugene N. Eugene N. November 30, 2017

    Do you not ever stay at Walmart parking lots. The first time I ever did while traveling in my little 22ft. motor home. I felt funny. Untill three big class A motor homes pulled in pulling there suvs behind them. Nice restrooms-lighted lots-and any thing you need in the store. I thought I needed a bigger rig until I read your story. I am so happy I did. Blessings to you both. You really helped me. To be happy with what I have. For just two of us.

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