A few years ago, I got my first taste of van life. I bought a converted LDV Maxus, threw in some clothes and took to the road. I just drove, with no destination in mind, discovering many things on the way, like the fact I needed a toilet and a way to shower! Ending up in The Netherlands, it was a trip of a lifetime. I began work on my vision, my new van. I nearly gave up twice but persevered to create what is my pride and joy, the van of dreams, my “Alegria”.
Those that know me well will understand my reasons. The trauma I experienced many years ago catapulted a quest for an understanding, inwards journey. Many of us go through trauma, yet very little of us talk about it. It’s not my identity, but it sits at the top of my gratitude list. Through stress, death and despair I was able to find hope, passion and purpose. This transforming experience has lead me to where I am today, on the road, in Portugal, during a pandemic. I feel belonging, divine solitude and even during some of the most challenging times a sense of pure joy; happiness, or as the Spanish and Portuguese would say, “Alegria”.
I sit still, stormy weather, in shorts and shirt gazing out to the open sea with my van doors backed on to a beach. The soothing sound of the waves reminding me of many good times on the ocean, in the sea and gliding through the water. Growing up along the coast means the salty air fills my lungs with wholesome energy and the sound of the waves crashing through the sand sooth my soul. Each grain on the beach needs to be respected, though whilst diminutive in nature tells a story, a rock eroded thousands of years as it journeys the world, unjudgmental, pure in consciousness, with a sole purpose to exist.
I’m parked up next to Altaf (The Kilted Supertramp) and Jaqui, both creative story writers. We shared fajitas, drank wine and indulged in stories about our lives and the people we have met. To say they left a life-long impression on me is an understatement. I already look forward to a couple of weeks time when I return to the Algarve and see them again. I always loved to visit hostels whilst travelling the world, hearing people’s stories and indulging in new cultures, but van life has put a whole new perspective on this. My consciousness is expanding quicker than ever and I feel in such harmony with the flow of the universe right now.
Thanks to the Wim Hof breathing method (which I now practice several times daily – accompanied with a cold sea swim or shower), I reach heightened levels of awareness. I feel surges of energy up and down my spine, circulating around my head and with each burst come to a new revelation that pieces together part of the puzzle of where I need to head next. My intuition has become my sole guide to moving forwards. And honestly, fuck me… it is exciting!
Already my attractor fields are in full effect and the right people are coming into my life with precise timing. Things are moving with such a finesse that I almost just need to sit back and enjoy. Life really is simple when you’re in a state of flow.
Right now I currently sit here in a nice apartment, in Lisbon (which my good friend João kindly booked). It’s great, but I long for the road again. It’s awoken something in me that I just can’t quite explain. A sense of pure joy; happiness (Alegria!)
I have everything I need – electrics, a full shower, hot water, wok burner (it had to be done!), wine rack, full seating area, microwave, oven, grill, comfortable bed, plenty of plants and of course, the disco lights! I’ve brought my surf board, snow board, bike and even roller skates! I just don’t feel like I have any reason to go “home” right now.
Despite being just two weeks in, I feel like I’m surrounded by friends. I move to a new location and keep crossing paths with people I know already, or new faces that soon become friends for life. Again, once you’re in a state of flow, life happens with such little effort.
As I leave the city in a few days, I’ll head back towards the coast. The uncertainty occasionally gives me a briefing shimmer of anxiety, but is soon over-ruled by what I have learned over the past few years. By becoming comfortable with “what is”, we can learn the sheer craziness of the human mind and our constant illusions of problems. It occurred to me that we distort the past and worry for the future to suit our present situation, so we can act upon these non-existent scenarios. The only true time is now. Sure, we can always plan and mitigate risk – but for many of us, that is all we seem to do, to the point we no longer experience the present moment. It’s when you’re immersed in this constant cycle that you walk out in front of a car, fall down the stairs or worse, stand on a piece of lego!
Van life gives me a sense of freedom, a plunge into the unknown. Van life teaches me to live a more meaningful, simple life. Van life shows me a unique perspective of society – those who were forced to live in their vans from necessity, and those who got sick of their comfortable, repetitive lifestyles. Van life allows me to chase the sun, it allows me to be creative with what I cook, what I buy, what I create. Van life inspires me, and allows me to head towards nature and reset my brain if it starts to “run riot”. Van life makes me feel at home, despite the location changing. Van life is for me, at least for now.
The biggest mistake I could ever make was to turn this into my new identity and force van life to happen, even if my priorities shift. This is what we do as humans, and we end up living a life that isn’t right for us anymore. For now it is perfect for me, but I need to understand it could all change on a whim. We need to allow ourselves to evolve, and our consciousness to expand. This is what accepting the flow of life is all about.