A Flushing Toilet and Hot Running Water

by Iza

Over the last few weeks we have been focusing on what the end of our trip looks like.


Because we are starting to get worn out on traveling. I could be way too much time in one place, or going to a bunch of places with not enough time. Maybe it’s a combination of both.

We have made a lot of mistakes but I think we are beginning to figure it out.

Our jobs we’re not bringing us meaning, fulfillment, or even joy anymore. So we quit. It was fucking hard, but we are still thankful we did it.

We had too many things and spent to much time trying to figure out how to keep them and how to get more. So we got rid of it all. I feel 50 pounds lighter. (Or, I did before the culinary gut buster that is France.)

Now what will I do? That’s still a question to be answered, but no one ever said we had to figure it out on this trip. Okay, maybe I did. But I’m willing to admit I was wrong. (Yes, Peter, I admit it. I’m wrong.)

I was putting too much pressure on myself and not allowing myself to enjoy the freedom I had to read, write, draw, dance, learn, stretch, sing, think, practice – be.

Somehow between the planning of this trip and being in the middle of it, we lost our way.

1.) Past

What is the focus of this adventure? Is it trying to live a more minimalist lifestyle? To find the freedom portrayed in instagram pictures of #vanlife? Or maybe it’s to visit new places, get more in touch with nature, or visit all the friends and family that we love.

Something made us feel like we needed to focus on just one, and to do it the way everyone else expects of us.

I can’t speak for Peter, but at some point I found myself trying to live up to everything social media has portrayed that this “free” lifestyle is supposed to be. “What happened to Vanlife? Why are you there for so long? Why are you eating at restaurants, and going to wine tastings? You drove to Hawaii?”

We wish we would have spent more time camping for longer periods of time, but at the same time it was so good to spend such quality time with friends and family. Whats confusing is that we were trying to make this trip something it wasn’t, rather than letting it be whatever it would become.

Why arent we allowed to have it all, with no focus? Wouldn’t that be the most free of all?

Wishing that parts of our trip would have gone differently does nothing for us now. Using what we have learned from those experiences for the rest of our trip is more beneficial.

2.) Present

It’s time to be honest with myself, or I don’t think there is a way to continue this adventure.

I like to be clean. I don’t like sleeping in a tent. I like routine but I also like to  be spontaneous, and take great joy in having a day to veg with a book, nap, and cry to a sappy movie. I appreciate my alone time just as much as I enjoy time with others. I appreciate self-care.

I love to visit new places. At a reasonable pace. With a balance of down time.

I realized I don’t need a lot of material things. I love my curly hair. I like my face with no makeup. I like my face with makeup. I like to wear pjs from when I wake up to when I go to sleep. I love putting on my favorite pair of jeans, and my favorite sweater. I finally like to wear hats.

I’m good at drawing, and maybe even writing. My grammar needs work. I should curse less, but I won’t. I want to speak better french, stay in touch, maybe take salsa lessons.

I’m tired of living out of a suitcase but it’s been great only having to worry about all of my things fitting in one bag.

I want a comfortable life and the rest of this trip to be and do all of these things.

3.) Future

There is a lot of pressure from ourselves, between each other and seemingly everyone we love to make the right decision of what and where next is. 

So far, Peter and I have not decided on a place we both want to end up, and the pressure throughout the trip has sometimes put a damper on our amazing adventure. At this point in the trip we are more than halfway through but still have a long way to go.

Seattle, Arizona and Boston have been added to and crossed off our list numerous times. I craved the north east in my loins and Peter the south west in his heart. Could we live in NYC for a year? Too expensive. NJ is too close to home for me and too far for Peter. Paris and Strasbourg made an appearance for a while. A subscription to Rosetta Stone was almost confirmed. Plans for dual citizenship has been researched.

The only thing I know for sure is that we have to decide where is next, and that once we do, to unpack our few meager bags.

As long as I’m being honest here, theres no reason not to continue for the future:

I want to feel and be most like myself.

I’m craving a stable place to come home to.

A bathroom with a flushing toilet.

An apartment to ourselves so I can walk around naked.

I want to be able to shave my legs, with elbow room, and hot running water.

A kitchen.

I want a washer and dryer that is just ours and a gas stove

Some outdoor space big enough to drink coffee, and grow some herbs.

A bed that’s our own and not inflatable.

I miss my yoga studio.

Knowing where everything is at my local grocery store.

Having a neighborhood.

I want to miss Peter a little, and get back to that perfect time of day where we reconnect over dinner and snuggles on the couch.

More and more as we travel, I realize how much I appreciate what I have had all these years. Maybe I would have never known what truly comforts me in life if I didn’t eliminate it all for a while.

This trip has inspired me to find the balance of comfort and stability while also living minimally, economically, and mindfully.

I still believe in having less things and more experiences, but some things I just don’t want to live without. And I’m slowly learning that that is okay.

1 comment

  1. Comment by Lisa

    Lisa Reply 02.18.2018 at 4:58 pm

    Dearest. Give yourself (and Peter) a load of credit for the growth and realizations that this adventure has afforded you. Sure, Jim and I are wondering what’s next, but we know you’ll figure it out. You two are “figurer-outerers.” Keep your sense of humor and carry on. With love.

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