Solitude is creativity’s best friend. – Naomi Judd
Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go. – Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
Solo traveling with few hard dates or appointments leaves time for contemplation and to wander through whatever doors open along the way. Solitary time is fertile soil for growing any creative endeavor.
Over my first 30 days wandering in VanGeist, my intent was not a full month of self-discovery, but to focus on setting up VanGeist and honing daily rituals for life on the road. Unfortunately, the bane of those who first begin van life, “vacation mode,” settled in like a barely known relative ignoring all hints to leave.
Whether from the wind-in-the-hair feeling of unfettered freedom, or absent the bond of home routines, vacation mode rarely lasts a full van life month. Not that there is anything wrong with wandering and playing and visiting wonderful places, all while treating oneself to amazing local foods. But now, for me, time to change.
VanGeist’s odometer tells the story: 3,300 miles since starting September 20. Averaged over 30 days, that is a lot of road time. While I am happy with my efforts to set up VanGeist to suit my needs, and have certainly immersed in nature both where I have been before and new to me, two of the important reasons for this adventure of near-full-time solo travel have yet to appear.
Over the previous six months, my work to stabilize diet, lose weight, and increase walking/hiking combined to allow me to be in the best physical condition since…well, more years than I care to admit. But who goes on vacation restricting foods to mostly vegetables, little fat or sugar, healthy protein, and no alcohol? If you must know the answer, it is NO ONE. Such is part of the dark side of prolonging vacation mode. And for the record, I believe part of the blame should go to Trader Joe’s and their October pumpkin-everything madness.
Also AWOL during this inaugural month was any serious writing time. That was probably the key, hoped-for activity from my new, solitary travels. Momentum from expected time spent in secluded spots should have built toward honing skills and taking me closer on the path to publishing. But such efforts, other than blogging and journaling, were clearly MIA.
If all this sounds like I have not enjoyed myself these past 30 days, that would be misleading. I have had a blast and enjoying every day, so no regrets per se. But I feel a strong tug to “come home” from the vacation and get to work. Guess it is time to trade in the Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirts for working clothes.