New Year’s Eve is usually the time when people look back and reflect on their past year, look forward and contemplate their next year. But three years ago today, I signed the paperwork, closing on the sale of my house, and drove off into the sunset.
If I was going to do this post justice, I’d add up the numbers: how many campgrounds, how many states, how many miles. But I’m honestly just not inspired to do that much work. Sometimes it’s fun to go through my calendar and make lists, but this past month has been filled with that kind of chore, so I’m not going to bother.
That’s a little ironic because I’ve actually been thinking about this post for months. What have I learned in three years of living in a van? What has 50,000 miles of driving taught me? But there are so many answers. Mostly that water is precious and that I really don’t like driving very much. I still miss my house sometimes, although not nearly as much as I miss Bartleby, and I still worry about the future more than I should.
Before I decided that I wasn’t going to make lists, I opened up my photos app to look at pictures. I was thinking that this past year wasn’t as busy as the previous two, that I did more adventuring in my first couple years of camping. Um, no. Not at all. Last summer was upstate New York and Vermont, followed by a delightful couple of months in Canada, then down through Maine and Massachusetts. Florida, then cross-country through Texas and New Mexico to California, and from California, a road trip to Oregon and Idaho, then north to Washington, and cross-country again. Lots of people, lots of places.
But not enough sunsets. That is, of course, not literally true — we all have exactly the same number of sunsets in a year, after all. But not enough appreciating of sunsets. When I consider the past year, especially in contrast to the previous couple, the real thing that strikes me is that I’m spending way too much time worrying about what comes next and not enough appreciating where I am.
So! Goal for year 4: more sunset pictures.