Exactly two years ago today, I woke up to a smoke alarm, an apartment full of smoke, and flames at my back door. If that smoke alarm hadn’t gone off — the others in the building didn’t — I might not be here today. But everyone, including Lister and my girlfriend at the time, got out and lived to tell the tale. Everything we could salvage smelled like smoke — hence, Smokey Da Van.
This camper van was half-built in the back parking lot. It wasn’t livable yet, but finishing it was the fastest way to get a roof over our heads. With the help of some friends, we did just that over the next month, and thus began life on the road. The ex and I didn’t last, but the adventures continued to this day, and beyond. The name “Smokey Da Van” was her idea, but it stuck, and it works. I see no need to change the name just because someone who isn’t part of my life anymore thought of it.
I’m a much different person now than I was the night of the fire. The experiences I’ve had, the places I’ve been, and the people I’ve met have changed me. Not all of these experiences were positive, and certainly not the glamorous lifestyle that Instagram would have you believe it is, but I think I’ve become a better person as a result. If you squeeze coal with enough pressure it turns into a diamond. I’m not pretty like a diamond, but I think a similar process has made me better. And to be clear, there were a lot of positive, amazing experiences as well. Those are what make this life worth living, and continuing.
So here I sit, in a parked van with an engine misfire, a cracked windshield that the glass shop won’t replace because of body rust, and a transmission that’s showing the early signs of slipping and failing. I haven’t moved it from my aunt and uncle’s yard since returning from Forgotten Angels (fortunately I have a perfectly good motorcycle for buzzing around). It’s becoming more and more clear to me that the end of the road for this particular van, which has been my home for the past two years, could be arriving sooner than I expected.
That’s not to say that my journey is over. Far from it. The main reason I’ve been pretty quiet lately is that a lot is going on behind the scenes to get me back on the road. It’s a story I’ll tell once all is said and done, but for now, I’m not saying much publicly until some huge decisions are made. So if you don’t see me posting much here, don’t worry. I’m alive and well, safe at my family’s place in Florida, and figuring out my next move. The Great Journey of Life continues…
Thank you for taking us along for the ride these past couple of years. I’m sorry about the issues with the van but excited to hear about what’s coming next in your adventure!
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Thanks for coming along for the ride, old friend!