They say that travel is addictive and we’ve certainly found that to be so true. It’s the whole package that brings the flurry of excitement, the packing of the van, ensuring all those little bits and pieces are in place, the planning of the adventures, although for us, this tends to be very limited with hardly any planning at all.
We prefer the buzz and the thrill of the open road with all the freedoms of the journey being part of the experience, no booking ahead, no stopping for specific sights, no pre-conceived ideas of where, when or how we’ll find our next discovery.
It’s a thrilling journey of self-belief in finding our own route to our own special place without the need for clock watching, itineraries, pleasing other people or simply that dreadful prospect of having to be in a certain place at a set time.
Nomadic by nature, yes we agree with that, happy taking each minute of each hour of each day as it comes, seeing where the road ahead leads us and catching glimpses of nature, nights under the stars, surrounded by wildlife with incredible landscapes. It comes with the unexpected, there is always the unexpected, the unforeseen, the unpredicted moments on a journey that often bring the biggest delights and make the fondest memories.
One of those moments came recently, a meaningful conversation with an elderly man of Guatemalan origin, standing by the roadside selling coffee from a stall decorated in cloth hand sewn from his Central American country folk. He’d been on so many journey’s of his own, his colourful personality and slow paced, chilled out outlook on life caught our attention helped by the sweet smelling aroma of his freshly ground coffee beans which we couldn’t help but fall for.
Before we knew it, with a cup off chilli coffee in hand, he shared his story and tales of travel, when we politely enquired how long he’d been on his life journey across these countries far and wide, his reply brought one of those iconic moments in our own tales of travel, as his reply was not a detailed breakdown of places he’d seen or visited over the years but simply a statement of his own belief, ‘time, there is no time’ he remarked, meaning we are all passing through, no past, present or future, just the here and now on our own journeys.
It’s something we’d never expected, a philosophy on life so refreshingly different, even brave by our own reflections on the subject but it’s a statement that has stayed with us, it keeps coming back to the forefront of our minds, he made an impact right there and then and made us think differently, no judging, no pre-empting, no regrets.
A chance meeting with a stranger in a strange town made one of those powerful memories that vanlife travel is all about. How we’ve reflected on that notion since that day, ‘time there is no time’, what a liberating statement, to go through life in the moment without a clock, watch, calendar, without any of the constraints that we allow our lives to be governed by.
So we may have diversified off the story here for a while, a slightly different direction to our beginning but still familiar to those travels and tales of vanlife out on the road. But that is what life is about, starting out with an idea, a hint of direction and adapting the route to what’s happening in the moment.
The moral of our story today is simply to go with an open mind, don’t fast forward to a set plan, place or destination, don’t cover old ground, find new roads of discovery and be brave, head out into the unknown, the unplanned and experience that true freedom of being responsible for our own destiny.
With so many roads to travel it’s often difficult to choose the right one, the best one, the safest one but the truth is that we never really know where the road will take us, so often we arrive in the most incredible places just through letting vitality and freedom lead the way.
Vanlife travels are all about the places, the people, the surroundings and stories that we can take with us on our next journey, adding to that scrapbook of memories that diary of thoughts, words and lifelong learning to make us all better people, more tolerant, less judgemental and overall happier and certainly ready for the next adventure wherever that road ahead takes us.