It turns out that the term “Hindsight is 20/20” couldn’t have been a more perfect quote for this year so far. I posted about it on Instagram back on December 31st, 2019. That literally feels like a lifetime ago.
Wrapping up 2019, I felt confident. It took me nearly 40 years to get here, and I was so excited to move forward in life the way I wanted to, without feeling like I was adjusting or adapting to anyone else. Exhausted from the dating scene, I accepted happily that my dog, Snow, was truly my Beau and the one thing on this earth who loved me for who I was. (obviously my parents don’t count here, and I’m very lucky to have them, supporting me with every adventure and failure I’ve had to date)
I decided I was going to plan things. Yes, I’d like to meet that special (human) someone, but I wanted it to be organic. I didn’t want to stress about it. If I met someone, cool. If not, I’m good. Really good. So I started making plans for the year for things I would enjoy. Maybe I’d meet someone along the way who was also in the same boat. Maybe not. Regardless, I’d be doing fun things, meeting people, making friends, and experiencing new adventures. I bought tickets to shows and concerts I knew I would enjoy. I started signing up for trail running races that I could take Snow to and we could run together. I looked into races I wanted to volunteer at. I made a training plan. I started making weekend plans that I could adapt to weather conditions. I even got a white board and started writing out daily/weekly/monthly goals, and putting up race course maps and trip reports for where I was planning on going.
This was going to be my year!
Enter: Global pandemic….. what. the. hell. just. happened?
Just like everyone else in the world, I watched my plans get canceled, one by one. The first few weeks, I was still ok because I thought “Good thing I’m a trail runner! The trails will be safe – they can’t close those!”
Ha. Insert reality check here.
So I stayed in my little apartment in the city, thankfully continued to work full time (I worked remote before, so no change there), attended Zoom calls to stay in touch with friends and went on countless miserable runs and walks in the city, with my scared dog in tow. After a while he started refusing to go out, which broke my heart. We were both miserable. My previous blog post shared a little insight into that.
I’m a firm believer that if you’re not going to do something about a situation you’re in that you don’t like, you don’t have any right to complain about it. (except fireworks – I will always complain about fireworks)
So I started changing things up with Snow, trying to make going out fun again, even if it just meant running in circles in a park letting him lead the way, or getting up super early on a weekday to go somewhere not populated to run. I started trying to walk different streets in my neighborhood just to change up the scenery. I would look at all of the different types of houses, yards manicured in various ways, porches decorated to the owner’s fancy. For the first time in six years I missed having a house and yard. I started thinking that maybe it was time for me to buy a home again. I’ve bought multiple houses in the past, but none were truly “mine”. I realized as much as I love my friends in Seattle and the community I lived in, I would never want to buy a home here.
So that led to the question, where would I buy a home? I really haven’t been that many places. There is nothing keeping me here. I’m single, work remote, and my only family is in Eastern Washington, which is also somewhere I would not want to live permanently.
I’ve dreamed of “van life” for years. The way I grew up, “camping” full time seemed pretty easy, considering I could have everything I needed in a van and not have to deal with setting up tents daily in possible inclimate weather. I’ve been saying for years: “I work remote, I could totally do that”…. but I didn’t. I kept paying rent because that was my comfort zone.
So many times I’d be on my way to a trail thinking that if I had a van to conveniently camp in, I could have come to the trailhead the night before and gotten more sleep before my adventure. When I drive to a trail, it’s typically for an all-day affair. When I get back to the trail head after a full day’s exploration, it sure would be nice to be able to change my clothes easily, cook a meal, heck, even take a nap! Yes, I can do this in my car and bring things I need, but packing/unpacking things every time I go somewhere is not fun for me, even though I have it down to a science.
My lease in Seattle is up in a few months, and the thought of renewing literally made me feel ill. I don’t want to be stuck. I don’t want to keep dumping money into something that isn’t mine. Everything that I loved about living where I do was taken away, and I don’t see it going back to “normal” any time soon. I’m ok with that, because ultimately at the end of the day I’m very happy with my life, with who I am, and with who I’m becoming. I don’t want to go buy a house somewhere because “that’s what you’re supposed to do”. I’ve barely been anywhere beyond the Pacific Northwest – how can I possibly decide where I want to live when I haven’t experienced so much of the country?
So that did it. I started researching, and decided to buy my very first “home” completely independent without the influence of anyone else. My desire to explore and distaste for long-term commitment had me scouring online resources and considering what type of van I wanted. What did I truly need? What comforts could I live without, and what did I want to keep?
And then I saw it. And somehow, I made it work. I pick up my new “home” next week, and I’ll write another installment about how I found it, and the things that transpired before it all came together. It’s a pretty cool story, and I’m still in shock over the whole thing. I’ll also share a full van tour and introduce you to the amazing craftsman who built it. Spoiler alert: your brain might explode.
Don’t worry, I will still have a home base in Eastern Washington, and have many friends who have offered up space for when I need to be in Seattle for work. I figure the worst that will happen is it won’t work out, but at least I tried. The best case scenario is I’ll have the greatest adventure of my life. I’m leaning towards the latter.