Friday, July 20, 2018

Indecision On My Life’s Path: Am I Lazy or Just Afraid?

As most of you know, I want to live in a van — sort of. What I really want is to travel, see the US and a bit of Mexico and Canada. I want to visit as many botanical gardens as I can find and post about them on a blog.

To do this, I need a lot of money, which I can earn if I work hard enough. I also need to rid myself of most of what I own, which I can also do if I work hard enough. The problem is, I can’t make myself work that hard.

Motivation vs. Discipline

I’ve never been a particularly motivated person. I tend to sort of drift through life, just barely getting by, and quitting things that become too difficult. I don’t have a lot of self-discipline, and it’s something I kick myself for every day.

To achieve my plan, I need discipline. I need to get up at a certain time, get to work at a certain time, and make a certain amount of money. I could easily do this if I would stick with that plan, but so far, I haven’t been able to. Why? It all comes down to whether I want comfort, or whether I want freedom.

Comfort vs. Freedom

Van dwelling is a new fad that is being made to sound extremely romantic, and maybe it is if you have the money to buy a nice van with all the amenities, or a class "B" RV (basically a large van tricked out with house features). For the rest of us, it’s a struggle.

My plan was to live in a minivan for a couple of reasons. Minivans are stealthy — no problem finding a place to park overnight, because you’re just another mini van on the street. They also get great gas mileage, which I'm going to need if I'm going to travel as much as I'd like. The downside to minivans is that they aren't very roomy or comfortable.

I've found I'm sort of addicted to comfort. I like climate control a lot. I like having a kitchen with full amenities. I especially like having a bathroom and being able to shower or lay in a big tub if I want. I like having clean hair, and since my hair gets rather unruly if left to its own devices, I like blow-drying it. But most of all, I like space. I'm having trouble fitting my life into this 520 sf apartment, so how on earth am I going to fit my life into a minivan?

But if I want freedom to go, see and do what I want, I will have to give up those comforts sometimes. Yes, I can live mostly in cities where I can go inside to get out of the heat and cold, and I can join a gym so I can take showers, but sometimes, I'm going to have to boondock in places with no amenities, and I'll be hot or cold and not as clean as I want to be. 

Adapting vs. Staying As I Am

I can adapt to the discomforts of being on the road, and if it really doesn't suit me, I can settle somewhere. I can travel awhile, settle awhile, then travel some more. Once in awhile, I can rent a room for the night to get out of the weather, or I can stay in a campsite with amenities like showers and electric hookups. 

But do I really want to make this drastic a change? I haven't even tried to adapt to this apartment. I haven't unpacked or decorated or decluttered in the three years I've been here. I had big plans for this apartment, but for some reason, I just never was motivated to carry them out. To me, that means it isn't really a place I consider home, a place I can settle for the long term. 

Life With vs. Without a Vehicle

I haven't had a vehicle in 9 years, and it's definitely getting old. I moved here because of the bus system, which is great, if you like standing out in the elements to wait for a bus, or sometimes walking blocks to and from it in the cold, heat or rain to get to where you need to go. Then there is having to change buses once and sometimes twice, making a 15 minute trip by car over an hour long. Then there is not being able to carry large items on the bus. 

Once I get a van, it will give me a lot more freedom to get out of this apartment more and do different things. I've lived here over four years, and I really don't know much about the city. When I had a car, I would ride around my new city and get to know every nook and cranny, so it's frustrating for me to talk to people and have them say something is close to something else and not know what they're talking about.

If I had transportation, would life here be so much easier that I wouldn't mind staying here? Would I be able to settle into this apartment and call it home, or would I move to another place I was restricted from living because of lack of transportation, like somewhere further out in the country?

Lazy or Afraid?

Of course, I won't know any of these things or be able to answer any of my questions if I don't make the money, get the van, and see what happens. So is my perceived laziness just fear of the unknown? I'm not young anymore. Dealing with the possible trials and tribulations of life on the road would be much harder for me, but I've never been a scaredy cat before. Why should I be now? 

Or do I really want van life at all? Is it just something I saw and found romantic, like so many who start out with that notion and find it's just too hard for them? If I work hard, I can still travel. I could make enough money every year to save up for one or two nice trips, but would I? If I don't force myself to do this, will I regret it the rest of my life? 

These are the questions I have to answer, and I have to do it soon. I need to either buckle down and work toward my goal, or settle for what I have. It's a hard decision to make.


  1. Wow, Deb! That is an interesting dilemma. I look forward to reading your further thoughts and steps in achieving the future you dream of building.

    1. Salley, it is so good to hear from you! I have missed you.

  2. I have had the same dream of taking to the road, but how to keep paying my bills, which I will be paying on for a couple more years, is a problem. I look forward to reading about your decision and adventure and maybe planning my own in a couple of years? I was forced to downsize after divorce, but it's been freeing to not have so much "stuff" anymore. That was a big step, but ended up being a blessing downsizing in the end. Maybe that's how you will look back at taking this step - uncomfortable at first, but worth it? I think you have to follow your dream or you always wonder "what if". I wish you the best in your decisions!!

    1. Hi Celeste! So good to hear from you.
      I've said that losing most of what I own was the best thing that ever happened to me, because it forced me to decide what is really important to me. Now I've found that even those things I thought I couldn't part with have little use in my life, and I'm determined to strip down to bare essentials and a few treasured possessions.
      I may end up taking another year to get this all together if I see that pushing myself too hard is detrimental to my health. I'm only 66, the age most people retire, so I've got some good years left. I want to do it in a way that allows me to be comfortable enough so I can carry on with it instead of giving up.


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