The other day a friend expressed some concern about me getting rid of everything I own. She was definitely onboard with radical downsizing and had gone through a few rounds of it herself, so she was talking from experience: she said that you can get rid of so much that it destabilizes your identity. Years ago I had a terrifying acid trip during which I was completely unable to imagine who I was; now I’m quite clear on how vital a solid sense of identity is. Anyway, my friend recommended that I hold onto at least a few anchors. I love that word, and I absolutely agree with her advice, so since then I’ve been considering what my anchors are.

  1. Friends… Okay, so they’re not coming in the van with me, but I did make sure that the bed was big enough for sleepovers, and as I’ve mentioned elsewhere my plan is to spend weekends inside, on various friends’ couches. I am blessed with a small number of extraordinary people who love and support me and who have helped me become who I am. I’m definitely, definitely keeping them.
  2. Direction… The space that I’m opening up in my life by leaving my 9-5 job is space that I am using to prepare for application to architecture schools. Without that goal I think I would feel very much adrift, but instead I’m actually feeling like I don’t have enough time to accomplish all that I have in mind! Once March rolls around and the applications are all in, my new goal will be to find projects to get involved with to gain practical building/construction experience.
  3. Music… My ipod has twenty years with of accumulated music on it. I don’t necessarily listen to The Cult or Metallica anymore, but they’re still with me. I love the fact that recorded sound and images are just information that can now be packed into such a little wee object!
  4. Blankets… Linus from Peanuts has been in my head a lot the last couple of days. I remember the day… I think I was five… when my mom had to perform surgery on my ‘friendly blanket’, and how much I cried! Today I have four thick wool blankets from various Latin American countries, and they’re coming with me, no question. A sleeping bag would be more practical, but doesn’t hold the same comfort factor. Flannel sheets and alpaca blankets will keep me warm and happy.
  5. This blog… What an interesting process writing this has been. I used to carry a bit of judgment towards people who wrote blogs. I thought it was pretty ballsy for them to assume that random strangers out in the interweb would care about what they thought. Well now of course I’ve discovered that it’s a great way to keep far-away friends and family connected with your life, that it’s a great way to work out ideas in ways you wouldn’t in a private journal, and that there really are some people out there that stumble across your writing and find it interesting, and that when they write something supportive back it makes a real difference. My challenge, I think, will be to see how honest I can be with writing the hard parts. I’m not here to bare my soul necessarily, but I would like this blog to truly document my vandwelling experience. And if I can do that then I think the blog just may support me back.
  6. Knives & cutlery… Fancy kitchenware may not make a whole lot of sense on a van journey, but these are the mementos I’ve chosen. Beautiful, good quality, purchased in the days when being an adult still felt new, and home was just about the only thing I devoted my income to. Most importantly, they’re small :)