The end of July marks one year that I have been living in a van. I know I haven’t posted for a while, so I wanted to write an update of what has been happening to me.
I was sick back in March, and fortunately I have a friend who I stayed with during that time. Could have I been sick in the van and have survived? Yes, certainly! But having a friend to make me tea was very comforting. The first couple days that I was sick, I did stay in the van. One thing that helped me was going to a hot tub where the steam and hot water made me feel much better. In the future, when I’m sick and living in my van, I will go to the hot tub again.
The other thing that has happened to me was a little more serious. I’ve mentioned that I suffer from depression, and I also mentioned that my cats, who were my constant companions for 20 years died, and then both of my parents died. All this happened within weeks of each other, and with my constant work schedule, I didn’t have time to grieve. One day I found myself simply unable to get up and go to work. I called in sick and made a same day appointment with the mental health group that my insurance covers. I got three weeks off of work and out patient treatment that was greatly needed in order for me to finally process my grief. This was in May.
With the three weeks off, not only was I able to process my grief, I was also able to see clearly what I needed to do next. For a long time, I was only living to get through my work days so that I could actually do something I wanted to do, and I didn’t see a way out of that. I was resigned to getting up and doing that on an ongoing basis. The work that I have been doing really has all about managing funds and files so that OTHER people could live their dreams. With the intensive therapy I got during that time, I was able to see other options. I also became unwilling to put off living my life for me.
And then something happened – within a couple weeks of returning to my job, I got laid off of 50% of it. The timing couldn’t have been more serendipitous, as I had already spent several weeks by this time looking at other ways I could live my life. So, I decided then, that I would quit the other 50% of my job to pursue other options. 50% unemployment should be enough to get by for a little while since I don’t have to pay rent.
So as my second year of van life begins, I will embark on a new adventure – one in which I don’t work for anyone else. The truth is that I have several other talents – other ways I can make a living. The 50% unemployment won’t keep me going for ever, but it will provide a bridge. First – I can write! My immediate plan is to write an ebook about urban van living. I can read tarot cards, and I can write about how to read tarot cards. I can make jewelry. I have a ton of beads and stuff just sitting in storage (though I’m not sure where I’d sell them). But most importantly, I’m a licensed psychotherapist ffs! Working has kept me from making an attempt to get a private practice going. I am a certified hypnotherapist, and I can offer those services, and I can write about that.
With the therapist thing – I don’t want to be just an ordinary therapist. I want to do something that will give to the community and will be in line with my activist self and my passion for social justice… I’m not sure how this will play out, but it’s something to consider. Maybe offer services and lower prices. I don’t care about money, I only need enough to keep myself going and traveling and to cover any emergencies that may come up.
I welcome any ideas.