This post is dedicated to my friend and fellow setter, Toby. aka Tobias. aka big guy.
Check out his talent here: http://tobias-leipnitz.de/index.html
Awaking in the morning I feel the nip of fall at my heels. My jacket goes on right away as I look out the front window of my van covered with leaves the colors of orange, red and a dying shade of brown. My ears are filled with noises from random cars which drive by while my van occasionally shudders from the sensation of the underground which conveys that we must be parked meters above it. At first arriving in Munich I couldn’t sleep with this city ambiance. I was more accustomed to sleeping so close to nature and awaking to the singing of birds. But one can get used to anything and by now, sleep comes easily and the sound of a siren is brushed off as easily as a fly.
Life here is the same, but different. I live in a Toyota Previa , the same type of van which I call home while roaming North America. But this European Previa has a roof top window and a small electric cooler which makes me feel like I’ve moved one step up the ladder. I live this lifestyle with my daughter and have since god knows when. Well there were these two occasions… Once, we lived in a small apartment in Squamish which had a view that fell upon the squaw and all of the cliffs that the north walls offered. It was nice, in a funny sort of way, but it wasn’t van life. Another time I lived with Jer and Mando in their spare room where I would sew random crafts and clothing’s for the markets while trying to lure their kitty into my arms with a long string. On rainy days I would bake, inhale the scent of Jers coffee and look out their large front window absorbing the view of the Chief which stood so tall and majestic. Sometimes the clouds hovered over its top, moving in a swaying sort of way that would entice me to visit. But then we left that abode for a new life and a sunnier road down south. With the windows rolled down we waved good bye to one land and hello to another, embracing the very sensation of movement which van life offered.
My blood is tinged with gypsy blood. I know it. Growing up I always would ask my mom if I was adopted. Newfoundland just didn’t feel like home. The feeling that I belonged somewhere else, to different lands ran so deeply, my bones ached. Maybe that is why I feel the call to Europe. The exoticness of Asia and South America barely nudge me to visit. But Europe, where I now stand, beckons me to all its corners, all its wonders… But it hasn’t really worked out like that. Although I live in a van which can bring me to all the corners that I dream of, I am somewhat bound here to this leaf covered parking lot, contracted like a soul to the devil to the dreaded thing called work.
But there is some comfort in that. I don’t mind my job. It offers creativity and a bit of stability. My co-workers are among the best and the coolest. The opportunity to see a city in depth is at my heels every day. But the van; it is meant to drive and my body feels the same. But here, we sit still, gathering leaves and moss while we metro it or ride the bikes along the Isar going no further than 5 km per day. Sitting in my van, the cold sends a friendly reminder that winter is coming. With fall comes change. My fingers miss the touch of rock and being fully absorbed in a life of movement. Part of me has become comfortable here and fears what leaving may entail. But a larger part of me can’t wait to breathe in a new pace of life where days seem never ending.
A part of me wonders how this will happen. It sounds like a stranger speaking inside of me. I have never wondered how things will happen. I just go for it and magically, things fall into place. It is akin to taking a leap of faith. At 18, when I first moved away from home, I had $60 in my pocket. Did I starve? No. But this thing called work has made some neuron in my brain wonder about certain types of stability that put gas in the van and food on the table. I sit with this thought and analyze it like I do everything and realize perhaps I have gotten a little too comfortable here or maybe, just maybe, this is a partner of age.
A co-worker of mine confesses to me his passion of becoming a professional photographer verses the engineer that they studied in school. I encourage him in every way. Don’t worry about the how; trust your guidance and move without fear. If it is truly your passion, your calling, then the universe will move mountains for you, guiding and enabling you to realize your dreams. It is just one life we have, however short. Too short to be lived to others standard that’s for sure. I speak to him and as the words flow from my mouth I feel as though I speak to myself; trying to convince myself of a way of living which I once embraced but which currently seemed out of touch. My contracted work is soon finished and questions about the future arise. With a world of ideas floating through my mind and dreams to be realized I find myself worrying about the how. My body craves space and time alone to figure it out yet part of me knows that all I have to do is take the leap; the first step of commitment. There is a strong sense of trust and willingness accompanied with the darkness of uncertainty backed by fear.
Trying to summon the courage which once ran so strong through my blood, I feel it nudging with a pointy finger. It beckons adventure over security; the unknown verses the known; discomfort verses comfort. I ask for guidance from the wonders of the universe and that all my actions come from that and not of habit. To bring me to the place where I can continue to grow and learn from life and somehow be of good. Death has been knocking at the door of people I know, reminding me of the uncertainty of how much time I am given. But one thing is sure; this feeling which urges me to go beyond my own comforts, the normalizations of this society, guides me. As resistance knocks, telling me what is and isn’t ok, I remind myself of the words I spoke to my co-worker. Don’t worry about the how Thomo…don’t worry about the how.
Thank you for reading. :)
Fall two years ago...font
Fall last year, magic wood
fall this year... Munich
(Some folks have asked me to write about van life and this was meant to be that but this came out instead. And so in the meantime I’ll work on part two… ‘The practicalities of van life’... Soon come…!)