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Articles-EN

THE FIRST MONTH IN A VAN

Elise Ghaye

It’s been more than a month now that I’m on the road and that I live in a van. The idea of this trip was not mine at the beginning but I liked it right away. Go on an adventure, be able to move from a beautiful place to another, stop worrying about the futur, just enjoying the present moment and accomplish whatever you goal is. It sounds like a dream right? And still.

Quebec / June 2017 - iPhone7

Quebec / June 2017 - iPhone7

The departure was suprisingly not as easy as expected. I still can’t really adapt myself to this drastic life changing. And everybody would tell me “But enjoy! After all the sacrifices you’ve made you deserve it so much. Unplug. You are finally making your dream come true”. In fact, letting go is not an easy thing to do, you know. Unplug and think about nothing for a week or two, that’s manageable for almost everyone. And we are actually pretty good at it!

 

Actually I’ve been dreaming about this for two years now! Two years of sacrifices, of hard work and of never ending to-do lists. There are always things that need to be done. But I always had in my mind that sentence saying “It’s just a matter of time and you’ll be able to enjoy life and you won’t have to deal with any obligation”. It’s been one month now that I am undertaking this project which seemed so far and inaccessible.

 

 

“It’s just a matter of time and you’ll be able to enjoy life and you won’t have to deal with any obligation”.
Bruce Peninsula / July 2017 - iPhone7

Bruce Peninsula / July 2017 - iPhone7

But quit everything, radically change your habits and lose all your bearings in one go, that is a big challenge. Not knowing what you're going to do the next day, not having any deadlines or schedule that you need to respect,... all these things that seem horrible when you're living your routine and that you would like to get rid off, fit me pretty well actually.

I was used to write these never ending to-do lists. And crossing the tasks out that I was done with was such a relief every time. Sometimes I even added task that was already done just to cross it out. And I felt proud of myself, one more thing that I don’t have to deal with anymore.

This productivity race is fascinating. Always do more, faster, in advance and do not be late on your schedule or you won't rest at night. You know this feeling of discontent and shame when you did not accomplish what was on your planning. I was living in the future. “When I’ll be done with that, I’ll feel better. When this will be behind me, everything will be fine”. 

 

 

 

But it’s a vicious circle because you are never really proud or satisfied of yourself. Or maybe for a few minutes or a few hours. But the list never stops. One task always replaces another and you keep asking yourself when this list is going to end. I used to live in the past too. “University was so much fun, you only had to worry about the classes. And summer vacations were real vacations. That would be so nice if I could go back to that time, I’m so nostalgic. You remember the trip in Provence? It was perfect”.

 

"When I’ll be done with that, I’ll feel better. When this will be behind me, everything will be fine”.

 

Alright, it’s true that I often have this bad habit to idealize the past. I always have the feeling that it was better before. Sometimes I think about moments that occurred in the past and I enjoy them more just thinking about it.

Enjoying the present. Something that seems so simple but complicated at the same time. Am I the only one having this problem? Having this bad habit to constantly project myself in the future, to plan my next vacations, to compare my life with the other ones, to ask myself about my professional and personal future. Why is that so hard to content yourself with what’s you’re living in the present ? When you are living the all work and no play routine and that you don’t really feel at the right place, it’s hard to just be. You would like to become!

When I left Belgium, I was expecting to be happy, to laugh and to be amazed all the time. But it was not the case. My head started to think constantly and intensely. “What brought me here? Why did I leave everything behind? Why all these landscapes don’t fulfill me? Why can’t I just enjoy and feel good?”. All these habits that you thought you wouldn’t have if you had more time are not that easy to lose.

 

“It’s hard to just be. You would like to become!”

 

The beginning of the answer that I have today is the change and the loss of my bearings. I don’t know where I’m going and that scares me. I am afraid because I don’t control anything anymore. I was dying to do one only thing the first days : make a to-do list! Knowing the plan for the following days, not forgetting about the grocery list, reading my emails, checking the news, … I quickly realized that I felt completely lost without my daily obligations and that my worst anxiety was as brutal as unexpected : finally having time, having the time to think.

Thousand Islands / July 2017 - iPhone7

Thousand Islands / July 2017 - iPhone7

At the time I am writing this article I'm only starting to enjoy this adventure which began not long ago. The transition is slow and more complicated than expected and it’s only now that I am accepting this way of living. Of course, this first month was not horrible, far from it. Each big change requires a certain adaptation time and things never happen the way you were expected it would. Ant that’s for the best.

Elise.