A Change of Pace

It’s hard to believe this is my third December living in the van.

When I first began traveling, I told myself each year would be different. I would travel new roads, venture to new towns, and see sights I hadn’t seen before. While there were certain areas that drew me back for a second meeting, I mostly stayed true to my original idea, which had me zig zagging all across the American West.

This past year, I unexpectedly tried something different: I stayed put.

It all began with a month-long dog sitting stint in Breckenridge, Colorado. When that ended and it was time to move out of the house and back into my van, I didn’t drive to another state or even four hours down the road. Instead, I drove up into the mountains overlooking town and stayed there for nearly three months. It was a great change of pace, though I still wrestled the restlessness that arose from time to time. The open road called, but there was so much to explore right there in front of me.

I ventured around the mountain and dipped into town on my bike, so I never felt stagnant or isolated.

Staying parked in one place also allowed me to dive deeper into my artwork. While I still had to pack everything up each night due to living in a very small space, I could work on multiple paintings at once and not worry about them getting dusty or marred during travel. I simply slid them into organizing drawers where they sat until I pulled them out the next day.

The time also allowed me to develop my online Art Shop. I bought a scanner and scanned in artwork, then uploaded it into my shop to make various designs available as prints, tote bags, coffee mugs, and more.

In the past, I moved campsites every 1-2 weeks, or more often than not, every 2-4 days, which is great for sightseeing, but eventually wears on a person. After a long drive, the last thing I’d want to do is be productive, but staying in one place allowed me to shift into both Artist and Art Business mindsets.

When winter moved into Breckenridge, I relocated to Moab, Utah. I’ve been here over two months now, once again, staying put. I’ve been painting more than usual, finishing up works that sat unfinished for months, creating new designs, and fine tuning my website and Art Shop.

I’m still very much living the “van life.” I’m far enough from town it feels like I’m in the middle of nowhere. Water and supplies last about 16 days, by which time I’m eager for a dip into civilization, as well as a hot shower.

This way of travel has been eye opening on several levels. Staying put allows me to become more intimate with the landscape. I wander all over the place on foot or by bike, and each day delights me with new surprises.

Another surprise occurred while going over my monthly expenses. I realized I didn’t put gasoline in the van the entire month of October, and the previous month, I’d only spent $50 on gas. Curious, I looked at my statements from earlier in the year and discovered I’d spent anywhere from $250-$450 just on gasoline alone each month, which seems absurd, but that’s part of traveling around the country in an old van.

I’m not sure where the road will take me after the holidays, but I’m leaning toward finding another location to spend a month or two at a time. I’m excited to give my Art the attention it deserves, and I am eager to see how I can grow and expand my Art Business while on the road.

One of the best things about van life is there are no rules to van life, and the road ahead is filled with endless possibilities.

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