I was up at 3:00 a.m. as I often am. Not that I actually “get up” in my minivan. It’s more of a mental decision to leave sleep behind, and move on to something that agrees to happen. Since I’d begun writing in my head anyway, there was no sense doing it all twice. So, I propped myself up, instantly transforming my bed into a work space, and began releasing some of those words.
I wonder if these night-time tendencies actually present an alternative perspective to understanding the “symptoms” of mid-life. Maybe women sweat excessively because of an internal build up of wisdom.
Maybe I’m being boiled down. Maybe I’ve been a “gallon of me” for a long time, but am now being transformed into a powerful tincture. At this rate, by 70, I should be “essence of Kit! Perhaps we sleep less because we are also being asked to use this “extra” time to find the off-ramp to deliver our medicine to the world. When it’s quiet, in the moonlight, without interruption.
Regardless, it’s helpful to have inside activities to turn to, for times you aren’t inclined to get out of your van. It can be unsettling to feel “stuck” in your tiny home. My 24 square feet of crawl-space can quickly feel like an ill-fitting bridesmaid dress if I’m not in an expansive state of mind. Although night walks can be lovely, Pippa refers to 3:00 a.m. as “the predator hour” and isn’t inclined to venture out. Although I love a good rain, there are some occasions even I prefer to stay in.
This makes me reflect on the concept of hobbies in general. I challenge the idea that a hobby is somehow less than other, more important activities. I suppose a hobby could be just, but I’ve come to believe they can also be life-changers. If there is meaning or purpose behind any activity, there is no just about it. These activities have the power to help us experience insight, creative expression and personal growth. In fact, they can become spiritually essential. It all depends on our state of mind.
Imagine taking up walking as a new activity. If your mind is full of self-loathing as you step (I should be able to walk further, my bum jiggles while I walk, I hope no one is looking at me etc.) your activity really isn’t going to take you far up the “meaningfulness” ladder.
If, on the other hand, your mind is harnessed to notice beautiful surroundings, celebrate increasing health or symbolize spiritual growth while you walk, you’ve discovered a pathway to meaning. Walking will never just be walking again. It will be connected to something deeper and richer.
Does it give your mind a break from worrisome thoughts so that you can rest for a while? Does it relieve stress. That’s enough meaning. Maybe it connects you to important memories. Perhaps it’s a pathway to friendship, or a way to explore ideas, or exercise your brain. If you know it’s meaning, the time you spend inside your vehicle (or anywhere) doing it will become more enjoyable for longer periods of time. And it will take you places you didn’t even know existed.
Maybe you’re worried about leaving hobby supplies behind. It can be very unnerving to let go, or be separated from a lifetime of accumulated supplies. Challenge this. Who ever uses all their supplies at the same time?! I’m convinced I could do art with three primary watercolours and paper napkins for a year if I wanted to and it would be just as meaningful!
Don’t let a small space stop you. Focus on one kind of art at a time, or take supplies for one project at a time only. Move to smaller canvases. Join the tiny craft movement. Have your tools in an accessible location in the van. Use your non-craft tools: Review photos, reflecting on how you felt when you took them. Create music playlists. Draft emails you can send once you are back within cell service.
If you don’t yet have activities you turn to, for either inside or outside the van, don’t worry. You don’t have them… yet.
Life on the road will surprise you with many possibilities requiring little to no supplies at all. Exploring nature, discovering local history, collecting rocks, learning about trees, birding and beach combing all await you.
Nature is here, ready to be your travel guide. Sometimes her messages are hidden.
Sometimes they present themselves in full sunlight.
Sometimes they just make you laugh right out loud.