Category: routine


daily practice

When I was wee I used to take violin lessons, but I hated practicing, because I didn’t want anyone to hear my imperfect playing. I practiced with barely even half a heart, and ditched it entirely whenever I could get away with it, so it’s no surprise that my violin skills never got very far.

Do something every day and you’re bound to get good at it. Since I have my showers at the pool I swim every day. But by now I could also say since I swim every day I have my showers at the pool. It’s become a daily practise. I’ve become a much better swimmer, which is great, but what’s even better is that it’s become a kind of… what to call it? A meditation? A devotion? A new relationship with one of the elements that deepens every day, and that turns me into a completely different kind of animal. I’m offered housesitting gigs all the time, or people tell me I can come use the shower at their house, and while I’m touched and honoured by the offers, they aren’t even a little bit tempting to me. I have my daily practice, and I love it.

Vandwelling has given me another daily practice of course, which is this blog. Lots of times I didn’t really feel like writing, but I kept it up out of a sense of duty, and by that I don’t mean something onerous, I mean a sense that I’ve started something that involves all of you, and I want to do it properly. That means a daily practice of recording, of sharing, hopefully of entertaining or provoking thoughts. My writing and my photos have changed in that process, I think for the better. For that I’m very grateful!

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The last two weeks were hard. I had more expenses than usual, and my normal strategy of spending indiscriminately and letting more money arrive when it needs to… didn’t really work this time. And it didn’t work even sooner than it normally doesn’t work. I have to say, I learned a lot. It was really interesting to notice how many times a day I felt an urge to snack on something or to buy something, and to know that if there had been money in my pocket I would have obeyed that impulse every time. It was interesting to allow myself to feel hunger, and to recognize it as the real signal I should wait for to eat. It was interesting to accept charity on a couple of occasions.

(I want to interject with a cute little story here: the night I went to Tanya Tagaq and Michael Red (I had paid for the ticket in advance, with the last of my credit… you see where my priorities are) I ran into my friends Dave and Marketa. After the show they treated me to another event down the street, and when they were ready to go home each one of them snuck a five dollar bill into my hand. I don’t think they coordinated this, they’re just really kind people.)

Okay back to my lessons…┬áIt was interesting to notice that despite the strategic problem of my poverty I still felt blissfully happy because vandwelling rocks. And it was interesting to notice that in my state of poverty my behaviour was actually healthier than usual. I’d really like to cultivate that health. Without the poverty part.

Today I found $33USD that I must have been carrying around since early September, when I was in the states last. On top of that, an old friend who lives far away was at long last able to pick up (and pay for) the stuff that she bought in my auction. And she brought me the most beautiful gift basket full of incredible local-to-Lasquete-made treats. On top of that, I get paid tomorrow.

I’m rich again! Now let’s see if I can remember the lessons I’ve learned…

mornings

I’ve been talking about this routine that I’m working towards, and I’m pretty pleased with my progress; for the last two, almost three weeks I’ve gone to yoga and the pool and the library about five days each week. But for all my time at the library, work on my school applications has been moving forward slowly, and with the deadlines coming up in mid February and early March, it’s becoming really important that I buckle down. My big job right now is perfecting my letters of intent (many thanks to Shirley and Carmen and Ocean for the feedback), but I want to finish with that soon, so I can really focus on the most intimidating part, the portfolios.

I’ll be in Nanaimo for the next few days, but when I get back I’m going to tighten things up a bit. I’ve decided that my ‘weekends off’ at friends’ houses can either be further apart, or only one day long, or that I might just wait until I really feel like I need a break. This blog might have to take a back seat too for a while, fun as it is. So if the entries here are a little further apart that’s a good thing, it’s s sign that I’m working hard ;)

regroup

Too many nights in Waves, belly bloated from sugar, giving money I don’t have to a cafe chain I don’t believe in… Not having your own home is okay, but not having your own internet sucks!

It’s time to get serious about this routine I keep talking about, both so that I can get down to business with school applications and portfolios, and also so that I can learn how to live this lifestyle sustainably. I want to spend less and be more active. The downtown public library is open til 9pm most days and has a million places to plug in and use the free wifi, so there’s no excuse to be paying for it. And I have an unlimited yoga pass, so there’s no excuse to only be going once a week. And I’ve discovered that the Britannia pool is free if you get there before 8:30, simply because the cashier hasn’t started yet. It should be so simple: very light meal, swim, then yoga, lunch, then the library.

I’ve been loving the novelty of being able to go wherever I want to sleep, but being in a new neighbourhood every day and walking everywhere means every day the planning has to start from scratch, and often the hassle means things just don’t get done. So for the time being I’m going to stay close to the closest thing I have to home: Commercial Drive. I’ll still move the van once a day, and I’ll still have the daily photos, but I’ll leave off exploring other parts of the city until either I’m so successful at ‘routine’ that I’m bored of it, or I’m finished all my applications and am free to pick a new project. Then I’ll choose a new neighbourhood. Sound good?


As per the Day 1 post, I’ve gotten rid of one more box full of stuff, and moved things around so that most of the items I’m likely to need often are easy to access. The Structural Adjustment Program for the bed will have to wait (IMF joke, not very funny). But in order to stay sane the other thing I’ve had to organize is my routine. Some examples:

  • I try to remember to pull out clean clothes for the next day before I go to bed so I don’t have to go rooting around for them in the morning. Best is to bring them right under the covers with me so they’re warm when it’s time to put them on :)
  • First thing when I wake up (or rather, when I get up, which is usually after a half hour of snuggling deeper into my warm blankets and pretending to still be asleep) I now have a little wet-nap bath, even if I think I’m going to get a shower somewhere. Experience has shown that plans for showers can go awry.
  • Strange as it sounds, showers can also happen when I’m not expecting them, so I bring all my shower stuff with me whenever I leave the van.
  • For that matter, I also need to take advantage of electrical outlets, so when I leave the van I also bring devices/cords/chargers… all this is made possible by my incredible new backpack! I know, I know… I just sold or gave away 95% of my stuff so buying more is silly, but this keeps me and all my necessities organized, I love it.
  • If I’m going to hang out in the van, I have to choose the timing strategically to avoid steaming up the windows. I can’t use the defrost because it makes the crack in my windshield grow another few inches in length (it’s at 7″ now… new windshield on order).
  • Next thing to figure out (this is going to need its own post someday): a healthy van diet. So far I’ve been eating very well with friends, but if it weren’t for them I’m afraid it’d be a steady diet of samosas and pizza.

At my old workplace I think I had a bit of a reputation for being hyper-organized. Thank god, because it’s suddenly become clear that the only way this is going to work is to:

  • go through all the things I thought I really couldn’t do without and get rid of half of them… the right ones, too!
  • make some structural changes to my bed to make access to the storage underneath easier
  • decide on a place for every item that’s staying, and leave it there rigorously

This morning went fairly well all things considered, but each time I wanted to retrieve something I had to move seven other things and then put them back, and then I’d turn around and the thing I’d retrieved had disappeared. Or it wasn’t in the place I could have sworn I’d put it. I really, really, really wanted to go swimming this morning, and due to all this shuffling and losing things it just couldn’t happen. It will though… it’ll come.

This was the first time I really hung out in the van in bench mode… here’s what it looks like:

Okay… there’s more to write about but I’m determined to get to work (today that’s a 10:45 yoga class followed by going to the library), so I’ve gotta jet. Later!

places to stay

I need to start a list of all the people that have been offering to let me come inside for a while. People are so kind! Although the whole purpose of this exercise is to be self-sufficient and independent in my little rolling home, I know it’ll get cold sometimes, and lonely sometimes.

Also if I go further with this idea that I have a serious job— which is to go swimming in the mornings and to the library in the daytime to work on projects and learn about architecture and then to yoga in the evenings and then find a new spot to park and sleep at night— then it makes sense that I should get a few days off work every week. Right? I’m picturing that I’ll work my ‘job’ Monday to Friday and then go visit a different friend each weekend. Awesome!

I’m looking forward to connecting with people this way; there are so many that I haven’t been able to stay as close to as I’d like, simply because we’re all leading our busy lives. What a great way to get some real quality time with people, not just the once- or twice-yearly catch-up. And to form new connections too.

So, many thanks to all who offered, I’ll be coming soon! And if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for??? (ha ha, just kidding)