After over a year of planning and four solid months of working on the van one would imagine we’d be departing Worcester with, at the very least, a hint of confidence that we had adequately prepared. In reality, I am saturated by thoughts of doubt. There is some large aspect of living out of a van that we have not thought of, that we have not prepared for. I envision arriving at our first camp site tonight and making the realization that we should have never brought the bikes, that our storage system is too cumbersome, or that the mattress is lumpy and hard, and the prospect of sleeping on it every night for the next year is unfathomable.
As we are saying our goodbyes to two good friends over a delicious meal, I am describing my apprehension towards departure. As I whine about these concerns I am interrupted with the following advice. “Just make sure you have enough fuses and enough toilet paper. Everything else you can either find an alternative to, or learn to live without.” This thought lingered, and went a long way to calming my trepidation. The belief that figuring out an alternative to, or learning to live without the things we had not adequately prepared for is a huge aspect to the adventure we have chosen to pursue.
Our departure has proven to be a significantly more difficult process than I had prepared myself for. Not because of the chaos that occurred our final days in Worcester trying to put the final touches on the van, but because of the community we are leaving behind. I recognize that the quality of the community that was created around me was the direct result of the intentionality of my friends and roommates. This does not happen by accident. I can only hope to someday surround myself with people who share even a fraction of that intentionality. I will miss the shit out of you guys.
Along with fuses and toilette paper we were offered the following pieces of advice by our friends:
- Bears are EVERYWHERE!!!!!! (That and tube tops are totally out of fashion, Zach)
- Jewelweed is the herbal anecdote of poison ivy. Look up a picture before you go.
- Make good decisions.
- You are safe the first 3 days of your cycle. –Luh dat!
- Stop with the Q tip when you feel resistance. It may f@^* up your memor___
- Feed only animals that say please and thank you. Go out to dinner with the other ones.
- Talk to strangers, but remember that not everyone hugs as much as Butter Side Down does, so go slow at first. That’s what she said.
- Give each other space.
- Call us when you are in jail.
- Ripped sidewall of your bike tire? Tuck a dollar bill (folded) behind it. (Look up tire shoes)
- If you happen to end up in Walmart, be sure to wear a belly shirt and grab a pack of ciggys!
- Harbor small abandoned children out of kindness, not sketch. On that note, don’t offer kids candy, not a good look for the Astro.
- Your sleeping bag is your dryer – USE IT!
- No matter what, always kiss each other goodnight, always!