In my second YouTube video, someone left a question in the comments asking whether I'd be living in my minivan full-time now that the camper is complete. The answer came quickly--I don't have to decide that yet, my lease isn't up until late November. I said I thought I'd probably give up my apartment and do van life full-time, maybe spending the winter in the Tucson area. All that is true, I think that's what I might do, and I'm completely open to doing something entirely different.
Here's what I know for sure, right now, at this point in time as I type this post: I'm traveling in my van through October. I have road trips scheduled that vary from a couple weeks to six weeks or more, and I've left plenty of time open to sort of go with the flow and see where the world takes me. That's how I want to live right now, just one day at a time, open-hand, allowing the universe to show me the way--which doesn't mean I'm aimless.
I have clear goals and clear visions. I'm converting my novel into a screenplay. I'm learning advanced camera skills both for photography and filmmaking. I'm learning all about independent filmmaking. The vision of me writing, directing, and producing my original screenplays and launching a successful product line (coming this summer) could not possibly be more clear. The van is an integral part of this vision, because the van allows me the freedom to travel as I want, to scout filming and photography locations, to learn more about the people and world around me. The van helps me tell more and better stories, and it gives me back some of the freedom I lost with the health challenges I've faced.
I have a lot of sensitivities to things like chemicals and allergens. It makes traveling hard and expensive as I can only tolerate certain kinds (meaning a certain quality) of hotel. And food is super important to me, because I keep my autoimmune diagnoses in check with diet and lifestyle. In short, living the way I do has helped my recover my health, but it means I need to maintain my way of living in order to feel my best. With the van, I can travel with all my own food; I don't have to worry about exposure to weird cleaning chemicals or mold; and I can maintain a schedule that works for me. The van allows me to re-enter the world in ways I haven't been able to for several years. That's exciting, and I want to stay in that space of excitement and allow whatever comes next to come next.
I built the van to be a road trip camper with the option of moving into it come winter if that's what I decide, and that's still my plan. But winter is a ways off, and my apartment is still under lease, and I don't think doing van life has to mean living in the van full-time. It can, but it doesn't have to. Also, I have my photography studio in my apartment for shooting my botanical fine art photos, and I'll need a base camp for the product line I'm launching. If I let my lease expire and travel in the van for the winter, I'll need to work out a small studio space somewhere, so I can continue that part of my work (that I absolutely love). Lots to think about. In the meantime, to follow my van life road trip adventures, follow along on YouTube. You can also find my fine art photography on Instagram (as well as on my website). Oh, and if you come to Instagram, be sure to check out my stories. That's where all the day-to-day and behind the scenes magic takes place. See you soon!
UPDATE: About two hours after I published this post, I had a conversation with a photographer friend online. He suggested a solution to my concern about having a studio space when I don't have an apartment: invest in a full-size van and build a home office in one part of it. While that doesn't solve my need for product storage (I can work that out), it does make sense for my botanical photography--a mobile studio. I love it! It's not in the budget right now, but I love the vision of it and feel one step closer to full-time van life.