Friday, 3 November 2017

Dead Wood & Shiny New Doors

I woke up this morning to the birds singing and the sun coming up and as I often do, started thinking about what an amazing year it's been.  And then I realised something else.  Have you noticed how much my blog has changed from 12 months ago?  I didn't even notice it myself - but I think it has.  I'm still the same, but life is so different.  I don't mean in the 'hooray for me, life is such a great adventure', kind of sense either.  It's just not hard any more.  Before, there was always some drama, some adversity I was battling, some crisis I was trying to overcome.  Sometimes I won, sometimes I didn't.  There was plenty of good stuff, plenty of triumphs and always a positive to come out of the bad times.  But still, for years life was just so bloody hard.  And now it isn't.  It's not me against the world any more.

So why is life so much simpler now I'm living in a camper van?  I guess there's just no room and no reason to make it complicated.  Sure, it's a lot easier when you don't have a load of stuff cluttering up your house, but this isn't about physical stuff so much as emotional stuff.  I have so much more time to stay focused, to be grounded.  Time moves fast but life moves slower.  We have no schedule, nowhere we need to be, no reason to rush.  Not rushing is a biggie.  It stops you from making stupid decisions that make your life harder, such as wasting money thoughtlessly, buying more things you don't need, over committing and over stretching yourself, not saying 'no' when you really should, constantly worrying about how to be better, happier, prettier, thinner, more successful and all those other things society tells us we need to be.  Always being pulled in a dozen different directions, squeezing yourself into as many different roles and trying to be perfect at all of them.  Life isn't like that when you live on the road.  Life just is. 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, as the saying goes.  I wouldn't change a thing about my van life - but if I ever did; if I ever went back to living a conventional life I would do my best to be mindful of all those things and never let it get so complicated again. Twenty or more years ago, my auntie gave me a peace of advice I've never forgotten.  Someone was making me so deeply unhappy that I didn't know what to do.  She told my mother over the phone from the other side of the world that I needed to literally think of them as 'dead wood', and simply cast them out, along with their hurtful jibes and nasty behaviour.  It made me laugh to think of that person as a bunch of dry sticks, but I did as she said, and it worked!  Whilst I couldn't avoid them, change them, or prevent them from being in my life, their words and behaviour no longer got to me.  To this day, they will always be dead wood to me!

Let that dead wood go!

It would be wonderful if everyone could simply pack up their lives and travel around in a campervan in search of a simpler life.  I highly recommend it.  But if that isn't possible - at least not yet - and you wish things just weren't so darn complicated, I reckon you can apply the 'dead wood' tactic to all sorts of things.  Over commitments, possessions, bills, even social circle.  Most people's lives need whittling down in some area or another, even if they don't realise it.

Now, I don't know if it's coincidence or what, but once you get rid of the dead wood in your life, shiny new opportunities start to present themselves from out of nowhere.  Maybe it's just serendipity, who knows, but I reckon when your life is less cluttered it 1) makes these opportunities easier to spot, 2) gives you time to NOTICE them and 3) enables you to DO something about them.  This applies to anyone whether living on the road or not!  Certainly one of the questions we get asked most is 'so what do you do?' and indeed the fear of not being able to find work or come up with a way to support and sustain themselves is one of the things which stops a lot of people from making that leap and living the dream.  But believe us, the opportunities are out there; so, so many.  We could literally get a new job every day if we wanted!  It's just a case of keeping your eyes open. 

We'll talk more about some of those scenarios in our upcoming video, where we'll be answering some of your questions about life on the road.  But you never know where and how they are going to turn up.  The last week alone has brought us some wonderful new opportunities, and we haven't even left the campground!  Believe it or not, for someone who uses it incessantly, I really don't like social media.  Really!  But as dreadful as it is in many ways, it is also incredibly useful and informative.  It enables me to connect with likeminded people and share simple joys in the same things.  And for many years it has allowed me to follow my passion and actually make an income from writing about the things I love.  Which is very cool.  The thing is though, when you really love something, or are truly interested in it, you don't do it for the money.  Just like this blog!  Even though I've tried to stop blogging a few times over the years, I've always gone back to it because I love it so much.  Every time I feel happy about something I can't help myself from wanting to share that happiness, and this is how I do it.  Call me weird or egotistical or whatever I may be, but that's just me.

Since we've been living on the road, we have had a lot more time to focus on keeping good health and filling our bodies with amazing food has become another one of my passions.  I read about it voraciously and throw myself wholeheartedly into all kinds of interesting discussions.  I've learned a huge amount already and love to be able to help other people by sharing it with them too.  So when I saw a tiny post on Facebook a couple of weeks ago asking 'Are you good at reading labels?' I responded.  I didn't even really know what it was for; only that you needed to have a good knowledge of plant based whole foods.  I figured I had nothing to lose and plenty of time to help out, so I took a test, which I passed.  I was then invited to send through a CV and a bit about myself, which I did.  I had no idea if this label reading thing was paid or voluntary or what, I just thought it would be interesting! 

To cut a long story short, the request came from Naked Food Magazine, which is a highly respected healthy living magazine in the US and Canada.  I knew the publication and loved it - but that was all.  I had no idea what an incredible woman the editor was, or the inspiring story behind the magazine's creation.  As soon as I read it, I would have happily read labels, licked stamps, whatever she wanted!  Fortunately for me, I get to do so much more than that.  As of yesterday, I learned I will be joining the team as a writer and PR assistant!  I'm still pinching myself.  But there's more!  What I also didn't know about the magazine is that my absolute heroes, the physicists and nutritional scientists who have had me riveted to their writings and documentaries this whole time - are part of that team!  Honestly, I've literally been jumping around the place and squeaking with joy!  All that ginormous opportunity from one tiny post.  I could so easily have missed it, or have thought it wasn't important enough, or that I was too busy already and someone else who didn't have anything else to do could do it, but I didn't.  Sometimes opportunities come to you; others you have to chase, but either way don't let them pass you by.  You just never know.

Happily homeless, and very busy!

It's just as well we've decided to stay put for a while, as we're in for a busy old time!  When people ask us 'so what do you do?' which happens most days, we usually just say 'oh, we work from the van'.  It sounds a bit vague and wishy washy, but if we gave them the full story it would be something along the lines of 'Well, we write a travel blog, manage two Facebook pages, have just started our own YouTube channel, write articles as well as doing photography and filming videos for Motorhomes, Caravans and Destinations magazine, are in the middle of writing a book, provide content for a nutrition and lifestyle magazine in the US, are looking into a new business opportunity and also do a bit of freelancing'.  Not bad for a couple of hobos! 

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations with the reading labels!!!! It sounds really interesting. You have an amazing lifestyle at present, so carry on enjoying it.