Living in a truck has its ups and downs, and its potholes. But why did I choose this life?
Let me explain ...
I had a long term boyfriend and a needy pet bird—a rainbow lorikeet. Working long hours, I struggled to split my spare time between the boyfriend and the bird.
I was not having a lot of time for myself. As I like myself, I need time for myself. How do you know who you are if you are never alone? This is very important for your happiness.
So, I was unhappy.
One time, I remember complaining that I hadn't had the time to wash my hair in an entire week. Being too busy is my worst stress trigger, and I was a stretched out like a rubber band at snapping point.
Eventually, I lost my lorikeet to the big wild world in an incident involving a loud noise and him panicking in mid-air. His wings were never clipped as he was trustworthy and loved his home, but birds in panic don’t think. Days of devastation followed, and then a creeping sensation of freedom seeped in, heavily shrouded in guilt.
A few months and many events later, I ended the relationship with my boyfriend of seven years. After the cloud of surreal lifted and reality sunk in, I felt the same trickling sense of freedom, again unexpectedly.
I didn't have to drive back to my apartment after work, or indeed go home at all if I didn't want to. I reconnected with my friends and made new ones. I'd stay over their houses, go out drinking, go camping in beautiful locations. I discovered new hobbies and got to know myself as an individual.
Every few days I'd return home, clean the apartment and wash my clothes. The place felt less like a home and more like a large, stationary burden. Cobwebs were spun and pot plants dried up. I didn't feel a wave of relief when I opened the door to my home after a long day—I just felt stagnant air. I'd walk through the apartment looking at all my things, most of which I did not need. How did I accumulate so much?
I filled a backpack with a spare toothbrush, a change of clothes and a small tent. I kept the backpack in the boot of my car. It was invigorating to know that I had everything I needed if I were to sleep at a friend's house or stay somewhere under the stars. I wasn't forced to return home nightly—it was a ticket to location freedom. I began thinking of ways to carry a bed around with me, without the hassle of unpacking and repacking the tent.
As I drove a Volkswagen Beetle, sleeping inside of it was out of the question. I thought about buying a ute or a 4wd, and eventually considered something bigger.
Initially, I dismissed the idea as the thought of driving something so big as a van terrified me. But, it must have marinated in the back of my mind. Stepping out of your comfort zone is usually good for you, and I trusted myself enough to take a wild leap toward something new.
I don't remember it ever being a conscious decision, but somewhere along the line, I started telling friends and coworkers that I was going to sell all my stuff and move into a van. Nobody believed me. I can't say that I even believed myself, to begin with. I'm pretty sure my family mentioned their view that I would last a week and then run for the hills. My friends kindly nodded along as I got van envy over campervans we'd pass on the highway when driving around.
As I sold my belongings, I felt lighter and lighter, as though each one had been attached to me by an invisible string. The idea of never having to pack for a weekend away, take out the wheelie bins or vacuum and mop made me feel almost lightheaded with freedom. Simplicity is truly clarifying.
I didn't do any research on the lifestyle, nor did I look into finding places where I would stay overnight.
Moving out, no matter what you’re moving into, is an all-consuming activity. It wasn't until the evening of my first day living in a truck that I realised I had to find somewhere to go and park for the night, and I didn't know where.
“You must go on adventures to find where you truly belong.”—Sue Fitzmaurice