Vehicles for Change

Sometimes we get stuck. Stuck in a job, stuck between a rock and a hard place, stuck in the mud or stuck in a jam. Ug. Being stuck sucks. I hate being stuck.Who likes being stuck? Pretty much no-one I’d suppose.

The thing is, it’s a bit of a Catch-22.

It’s sucky being stuck, but we don’t really like change either – preferring the predictable. I think most human beings actual feel quite anxious about change. Especially change we haven’t chosen. Even people who openly create change might cringe at the idea of standing still. Which, of course, is actually a change for them.

Thankfully, Change (“Life’s Little Helper) ensures we don’t stay stuck too long. If we aren’t prepared to shake things up every once in a while, Change sends a tornado to move our house to a different postal-code. Ask anyone who has unexpectedly lost a job, a pet, a loved one or trust in something they believed in. My Gram used to say, “There’s nothing constant in life  but change.”  I dare say she was absolutely correct. It’s relentless.

Whether by Calamity, Catastrophy or Choice, Change Comes.

Having had just about enough of change I didn’t ask for at different times in life, I gradually adopted the principle of cultivating change myself, and have lived this way most of my life. If there has to be change, dammit, I was going to be in charge of at least some of it. This, of course, is a strategy to feel in control of things I have absolutely no control of.  I know I can’t stop “unwanted” things from happening,  but at the end of the day,  I want the score to be something like  Kit: 5,  Change: 4. In other words, I’d like to win the Change Game by at least a small margin. My intentional, thoughtful change winning over the Lightening Bolt variety.

I imagine if I don’t invite Change into my life regularly, I might feel quite powerless when it sneaks up and scares the shit out of me while I’m tying my shoes or making tea. Also, changing things up in my life gives me practice so I’m ready when Cruella De Change knocks at my door. I think of it as an important  survival skill. Change Drills, I like to call them.

For some reason, the term “vehicle for change” popped into my brain the other day and I immediately thought “Ha! Ha!”  I have a vehicle for change, and it’s actually a vehicle!   This thought amused me for a full afternoon!  By definition, a vehicle is a machine that carries goods or people,  but it  is also defined as  “something used to achieve an end ” and it’s synonyms include juicy words like “catalyst, instigator, driver and energizer.” I love those words.

A person’s vehicle for change does not have to be an actual vehicle, obviously. For some, a new job brings much needed self-esteem. For another,  a one-time scuba-diving expedition leads to a lifelong obsession with sea urchin and marriage to a marine biologist. A decision to join a scrap-booking group might lead to reconnecting with a long-lost relative. Skiing may result in an accident leading you to become a national motivational speaker. It could be anything- a hobby, a friendship or a course of study. But this “thing” you chose becomes a pathway to change.

For some reason at this sucky, stuck time in my life, I chose an actual vehicle for change, specifically a van I happen to call “Chance”. It’s sort of funny now I think about it, how I had to ” Take a Chance”  to make a change. The important thing is we do something different than what we were doing before! Stuck times call for radical measures.

I was very stuck prior to my “vehicle”. The pathways in my apartment were becoming well-worn and my need to control every little thing was getting a little out of hand. I struggled to accept I was no longer able to work and couldn’t imagine how life would be meaningful without doing what I had always done. My incredible kids were quickly becoming far more interesting than I had ever been; I felt old and worn out. Turning fifty felt flat. Worry and anxiety had replaced confidence and authourity in my life and I struggled to connect with people. I was surviving but had stopped thriving.

Let’s just say that Change was winning 21 to 4,  and it was the top of the 5th inning. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but I had a thought.

“I’ve still got a good 4 innings left”  the thought whispered. 

And that’s when I decided on my vehicle for change. A dear friend send me a link to a story about a woman who was travelling solo in a teardrop trailer and my brain wrapped around the idea like an octopus. I took a Chance, and it was on Chance the Camper.  I’m not sure why I chose a van to help me move forward. Maybe because I needed something super-obvious:  it had wheels and it moved forward, and that’s what I needed. To be un-stuck and moving. Anywhere. I needed some momentum.

I’m six weeks into this adventure and change has certainly  rolled over me. Change I had invited with the purchase and building of Chance,  but could not name when I began. Now the change is becoming obvious.

I moved from having to plan everything, to being relaxed enough to allow a day to unfold all on it’s own. Most days now, I have no idea where I will explore or sleep when I set off in the morning.

I am now outside more than inside. I have experienced more nature in six weeks than in six years and it is healing me. I am breathing more deeply. Trees, ocean, rock outcroppings, the stars, wind, sunshine, surf, birds and forest. Together, they are a wellness recipe for me.

I feel curious every day, wondering what is around the next corner or over the next hill. I am learning more about Canada and the world through people I meet. My brain feels sparky again. After two years of being unable to string words together, this experience has led me back to writing.

I am more physically active  and the additional exercise has helped with chronic pain from an injury. I learned I can tolerate a lot more “unwanted sensation” in my body when the mental-pay off from more activity is high. A little more Tylenol and a positive frame of mind goes a long way in being able to roll more easily with physical discomfort. I challenge myself more. Push my limits. I’m becoming stronger. This picture is me on a very high ledge, rushing with the exhilaration of facing my fear of heights and the pride of having pushed myself to go a little higher.

I  have regained confidence. I love to design things, and I am quite good at problem solving! What a surprise!  All of this arose out of the process of designing the van and having it built. I now fiddle with things that don’t work properly rather than immediately seeking help. Often, I am able to come to good conclusions and sometimes even fix things myself.

I learned there is a big difference between “having a dog” and “having a relationship with a dog”. Pippa is my Yoda and tends to my heart every day. She makes me laugh and I love her so much sometimes I cry.

Perhaps the most meaningful change has been the feeling of having a community again, at a time my sense of belonging was a bit bruised and tender. I have discovered a diverse group of fascinating people from all over the world who delight in sharing their own vehicles, travel stories, triumphs and struggles. Great story telling often ensues.I feel connected.

Maybe for many people the passion is about the “vehicle” itself – the van, the RV, the pop-up- but I suspect for many, the passion and commitment to this life comes about because their vehicle-of-choice has become important in bringing about a meaningful shake-up in their own lives.

In one way or another -our vehicles move us.

















12 thoughts on “Vehicles for Change

  1. Wow! You are speaking to me, Lady! Just “discovered” you and am reading your story from the beginning. I bought my van, Oliver, last month and have begun my build… about intimidating and exciting and so much in between and betwixt those emotions!!!! I am 68 and have felt stuck for so long. Where did my authentic self go? When did I stop listening to my own inner /elder wisdom and start letting myself just get old? Why am I trying to be a good girl and not make waves, when there is a passionate gypsy in me (still) just aching to see the world…to paint the world….to be the world. I look forward to your continuing story……and my own!

  2. I seem to laugh and cry at most of your posts. I think it’s because I can relate so much and I feel a connection. I adore your Pippa and you two look so cute together. I am getting closer to 50 myself and when I found all these videos on van life etc. it stirred something in me that is unstoppable. I am stuck in my current situation right now. Just coming out of a long term relationship, single mom to a son still in high school and lots of bills. You give me hope and I know that if I keep my intention there, the universe will just flow. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading your posts!

    1. Oh Debbie,
      There is so much to say to that. Let’s just say that I was where you are right now. Needing a vision for the future. Up to my yin yang in debt, strained from years of financial worry, parenting worry. It’s heavy, all that responsibility over time! One must have a dream. A vision. An ANSWER to the weight of it all. Looking back, I see how important those years were, when I felt so stuck. Trapped, sometimes, lacking choices. I see now that this was a bit because I wasn’t very skilled at taking little breaks to take care of myself. It felt so all or nothing – I was either parenting, or I thought I was being totally irresponsible. I see how, that there may have been places I could have been more balanced. But, I suppose having the dream was part of that! There was also great pay-off for all the focus on being a mom and trying to keep it all together! LOL The dream was a reminder, that even though I was in the middle of a LOT of taking care of others, I was still there, alive and well, just awaiting the right time to explore THAT part of me, after so many years of being a mom-me. Hahaha. That’s a bit of a play on words there, isn’t it? A “mom-me” …. its very real too! You’re right though, once you get a glimpse of the other me about to emerge… it’s unstoppable… one can’t keep a butterfly in it’s cocoon! Just try! YOU are still alive and well and your spirit is talking to you. Keep listening. Balance. And I’m sooo happy you have come along for this little voyage with me.
      You’re great company 🙂
      Kit xo

  3. Hi Kit and Pippa, Kathy Weaver from Cherryville, NC, USA. I am a widowed southern country girl with a gypsy heart! You are living my dream! Each day I rush to see if you’ve posted where you’ve been and put myself into your pictures, feel the mist from the waterfalls, smell the fresh scent of pines in the forests, quietly watching my surroundings as not to disturb the wildlife, as this is their home, as I am their guest. I want to travel also but I’m undecided on the kind of vehicle to use. I currently own a 2015 GMC Acadia crossover SUV. There is plenty of room for one but would push hard for two. I love your setup, especially for sleeping. I have poured over countless conversions but yours is the best by far. What is the name of your fabric as I would be taking my late husbands memories of the sea with me. Also what kind of camera do you use and are you a professional photographer. You definitely have an eye for exceptional photos. Also do you ever get scared traveling alone? You are my heroine!

    1. Kathy!
      Oh my goodness, what a delight to get your message.
      If I am living YOUR dream, it must be YOUR dream too!!
      I am happy to say I just posted another post, finally. My goodness it’s challenging to find writing time while actually ON the road.
      I’m so happy that something about what I’m doing is touching something about what you WANT to be doing.
      Jeez, I have no idea what the name of that fabric is, I bought it from a company called FABRICLAND in canada. I will see if I can find a link for it, for you. It’s lovely that you want to bring your husband’s memories along 🙂 I just use my phone to take almost all my pictures. I have NO photography experience. If I can do it, so can you! I rarely get scared travelling alone. I have learned I like campsites best, as opposed to being off-road and boondocking at this time. Ilike the social park of it, and I like to have people close by. Most importantly, listen to your instinct about safety! It will tell you what is best for you!
      Write anytime, keep in touch!
      Im so happy you are here.
      x Kit

  4. Hello and greeetings from the west coast.
    My lovely cousin told me about an amazing woman travelling across Canada in a wild women adventure! I don’t know if i ever told u how amazing it was for me to have u in my life for those years. Having another sista to love and cherish.
    Your strength and tenacity for forging new paths always enlightened my heart. Now after all these years you have done it again. I am in awe of your spirit and courage on this grand adventure and think that writing this blog as you trip along, just makes me feel so connected to something greater. I look forward to reconnecting when you come home again to your home away from home. Where you will always be a part of me near or far.
    I just wanted you to know that. Look forward to seeing u in the coming months and hearing more about pippa and kit on their wild woman adventure♡♡♡

    1. Oh Nadia, you just made me cry! I do hope we have the opportunity to connect with Indigo and I come to the west coast! Thank you for the kindest, sweetest words. I look forward to catching up with you too – so much to catch up on! See you in December my dear!
      K x

  5. Dear Kit, this was beautiful. In it you expressed too much of my current inner workings without your knowing. I guess, at the end of the day, we are all humans with similar emotions. Thanks again for your sharing. Once more it strikes the chords of my being.

    On a side note: My daughter will be in Iceland the third week of September. She’s meeting a friend, and they’ll be renting a car. I noticed in a previous comment that your daughter desires to do the same!

I love to hear from you :)