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:
- 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
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?