Be a van lifer. It’s a thing, fixing up a van and taking it on the road. For some it is a full time way of living, allowing more flexibility in where and how one lives, often with less expense. For others, it’s a part-time gig, traveling part of the year and returning to a home base.
I imagined becoming a part timer, heading out for a month or more at a time, exploring places without deadlines and reservations. Towards that end, I bought a van a few years back. It had been converted by a young couple who had lived in it and traveled for a year or so and were now moving on. It was the type of van I had been eyeing, with roughly the layout I was looking for. A good place to start, or so it seemed.
Once home with the van, I started making modifications to suit my desires, getting rid of some things they had done that I disliked, adjusting other things to better meet our needs. It was coming along, ready to roll down the road.
Then, a little more than 4 months after the van’s purchase, BA awoke in the middle of the night with severe vertigo. Long story short, she now has a 70 percent loss of vestibular function on one side. This means her balance is wonky. Brains are good at making work arounds with functional losses, but these often are less efficient than the original set up. For BA, this means if she’s well rested and not particularly stressed, she does okay. However, if her brain has to do a lot of work to orient in space (like being a passenger in a car with all that landscape moving by) or just she didn’t get a good nights sleep, then her balance is way off, and she doesn’t function very well. She also had a couple of “minor” strokes/ TIAs that have slowed her thinking and memory functions. Again, its a good day/bad day sort of thing.
At any rate, the result of all this is that travel is different now. Shorter distances, more amenities required. Climbing in and out of the elevated bed is hard for her, despite my carefully designed system of steps. And because of her health and being home much more, Ziggy joined our household, as BA was really missing the presence of a cat in the house after our beloved Lucy’s passing.
So, no long fancy free road trips or spur of the moment jaunts. We’ve done some shorter trips and may do more come late summer/early fall. Owing to that other recent unplanned surprise of the pandemic, everybody is going camping, and particularly if one wants shower access, reservations sell out within days of becoming available. I’ve also got some ideas for a possible redo of the van to better accommodate current needs. At this point in time, things remain in the pondering stage. I’ll get to it when/if I do. We’ll see. The van remains parked in front of my house, and gets small runs to various state parks for exercise these days.
Written for the Blogging from A to Z challenge