Why A Van?
I have finally been doing some traveling in the last year, and after healing from this concussion for 6 years has left me incredibly antsy to be, and to do!! I have really noticed when I am traveling is when I have been the happiest, and when I come “home” (I am not sure where I want that to be right now) I get bored, frustrated and grouchy. This has happened several times, and I decided this week to really sit down and focus on what has been going on for me. Should I be happy and content after a trip, and not antsy 2 weeks after I am back?
Before my concussion life was more about work and music, and my music ended up taking a back seat to my work a lot more than I wanted it to generally. I would work 50-80 hour weeks, and pushed myself hard to grow professionally. I worked towards funding my travels, and I worked to save up for buying a house. I think there was always the idea of having a family in the back of my mind, with exact no specifics except I wanted to be prepared. Even though I was working toward something, looking back I can honestly say I never felt really happy for most of those years. There was my passion for life, but not a lot of joy around how my days looked on a deeper level. There were moments of success, but also a lot of moments of me just feeling empty and alone in a room full of people. I was always looking for something more, I was always looking to push myself harder, trying to get my hands around some invisible trophy that I never really did find.
About the time my 1st concussion happened it seemed like the universe had been talking to me, but I hadn’t been listening well enough. A had closed down a green startup that I had nurtured amd busted my ass for almost two years to try and create. The stars were not aligned dismantling the team I had built, and stepping back had left me feeling defeated and pretty depressed. About a month later the relationship I was in fell apart. If felt like things were falling apart in my world, and felt deeply sad by all the loss I was experiencing. The loss of my legacy project, the loss of 2 years of work, the loss of a friendship with a business partner who I thought was a dear friend, the loss of a relationship with a girl I really cared for. Things felt grim in my heart, I was sucking wind, and I knew I was in a rough space. I needed to find a way to reset. After some soul searching I booked a flight for India. I figured I would just go sit in an ashram until I could figure out my way through the storm that my life was resembling. 72 hours before I was supposed to leave for India a car T-boned me while I was out doing errands getting ready to leave.
There is this saying I had heard about going to India, I laughed when my friends and strangers told me about it. What everyone I met told me is, you don’t go to India till your supposed to. I will be honest I didn’t believe it, until the moment I was sitting in that major intersection a few moments after the accident. Two ways to think of it. A car ran a red light and hit my door. Yes duh well that had obviously fucking happened. The universe is saying no, now isn’t the time for India. In that moment I was overwhelmed, but later on I thought about what people had said to me. It was a bit weird.
So no India. I stayed at a friends who was out of town for a quite a while, and healed up from the car accident. I had some memory loss, had cracked a few ribs, and my left leg had gotten a bit dinged but physically I was going to probably going to be okay. Mentally though I was still trying to deal with everything I had been feeling, and I felt like even worse now.
What everyone I met told me is, you don’t go to India till your supposed to.
Fast forward 6 months. I decided to go abroad again, and this time (perhaps because I was a bit leary of India…) I decided to go to Indonesia. It seemed like going somewhere to study music, and to try to regroup was still a good idea. Somewhere that was cheap, warm and beachy still (not india) was appealing. I booked my flights 6 months after the car accident, and left 2 weeks later. I was still feeling really off and depressed, but had hopes that this trip would turn things around.
The word Bali has a Indonesian meaning which is, “Island Of The Gods” (Let’s also say I know there are typos everywhere the blogs, thanks for bearing with me. That I am even writing is something of a miracle). I remember pretty clearly landing in Bali, and exhaling with relief that I had made it their with no further incident. That whole saying about India was still ringing in the back of my head, I was happy to put those silly ideas behind me, and be in Bali.
Bali was amazing. I loved the mellow pace, I loved the chill hard working people, I loved the heat, I loved the Music! I ended up getting some balinese gamelan percussion music lessons while I was there (although I had already had a prior interest). I toured around the countryside, and after a few weeks decided I would go on a trek by myself all the way around the island on a scooter. I had a scooter in San Francisco, and I had always been on two wheels (Bicycle, Motorcycle, Scooter) for most of my life. I wasn’t arrogant, but I felt capable. I loosely planned a trip around the island, upgraded my scooter and helmet, and got ready to leave the fantastic countrysides of central Bali. The day before I left to go on my trip I ended up having a brief conversation with my ex. I think some part of me was still hoping we could sort things out, but it was clear to me by the end of our conversation that what we wanted was very different. Neither of us was wrong for what we wanted, we just wanted different things. The next day I left for my adventure.
There is long version of what happened on that day, but because I am writing about why I want to get a Van to travel in, I am not going to go into the full details of everything that happened that day. That is a separate posting, and I will do that when I am ready. I know sharing about Concussions and how mine affected me is important, and I will do that more in time. A lot of people have family, or friends who have dealt with the subject, it’s not easy not knowing what someone goes through, and it’s always different for each person.
What I will share is that someone cut me off on the highway while I was driving on my scooter (Was not my fault). I yelled and thankfully the guy that cut me off jumped off his scooter, and wasn’t hurt at all. I did end up hitting his scooter, and doing a superman into oncoming traffic. I flew about 20-25 feet and hit the ground hard, head first, and then hip and knees. Luckily 15 minutes before the accident I noticed my helmet was loose and I tightened it. I am pretty sure I saved my life, because if the helmet had come off I don’t think I would have survived. I blacked out and when I woke up people were screaming and yelling around me trying to direct traffic around the accident. Not so luckily I had to get stitches in both my knees, gotta love jungle rot(In a jungle clinic with no pain meds), suffered a severe Level 3 concussion (which I didn’t realize until later), almost broke my hip, and was covered in cuts, scrapes and huge bruises. In addition, there was the negotiations after the accident. A chicken, a goat, and a pig, and $250 dollars, and that was before the “police” arrived. It is pretty much always the tourist fault if there is an accident in Indonesia, and you are driving. You have to pay off everyone involved, even if it wasn’t your fault. All that said it somehow all sort of worked out. I know I am lucky to still be here in one piece.
Having two concussion within 6 months I would later find out was really, not good. The accident and the concussion symptoms that came with it this time, were 10 times worse. It was debilitating. I ended up being in Bali for 3 months after because my brain was swelling, and getting on a plane was a no go. I was sleeping between 16-20 hours a day. I couldn’t remember anything anyone said 1 second after they said it. I fell when I walked, had zero sense of balance, and usually threw up from the dizziness just trying to get to the bathroom so sometimes I crawled. I soiled my clothes multiple times a day, because I never new when I had to go to the bathroom, until it was literally happening. I had constant drilling headaches that felt like a car pinning your head against a brick wall, revving it’s engine 24×7. I couldn’t handle much light, or sound. I couldn’t remember when I had eaten, or if I had drank anything. I couldn’t remember what words meant, what words I needed to use to explain how I was feeling, I couldn’t understand body language, or facial expressions. Everything was a blur. I was alone in a world without time, words, or meaning. The days and nights passed with my mind burning on fire, and the rest of me in pain. I was surrounded by beauty, in hell.
Luckily the people I had stayed with before my accident, were kind enough to help me for the first 2 weeks after the accident. I will never forget how kind they were. I was in a bad spot, and they really tried to help me. Somehow with their help, I found a meditation/ yoga center and rented a suite their. They helped translate and explain what had happened to me, and the people at the meditation center tried to help me as much as they could for the following 2 1/2 months. I remembered thinking here I am in Bali, in a meditation center… India, hmphhh.
I can’t really say how humbling those months were, but they were the most raw and savage months I have ever experienced. There are no words for how it felt sleeping in the shower, and waking up only to hose myself down. Falling every time I walked, pouring water down my shirt when I tried to drink, biting my tongue, chocking on food because I forgot to chew, not being able to respond to basic questions. There were no words for how alone I felt. I had hit –sub ground zero internally. I do remember looking out at the rice fields while laying on my porch thinking, ” Did India follow me, and why am I still alive?”.
What happened after that I will share as time goes on and I feel ready. What I will say is that it has been a really tough journey to get to here (where ever that is). When I came home from my last trip at the end of December a few weeks ago I realized I am still trying to sort out what it means to be me. No matter how many steps I take forward there are pockets of information I just don’t have. I never realize it till after, and that can make things hard. Everyday I am learning so much. New words, new facial expressions, what a kiss feel like, and so many new emotions that I don’t know.
Concussions you can’t see, it but it’s the equivalent of having every bone broken in your body, except it’s every Neuro connections in your head. Everything you have learned how to do, gone in .1 seconds, and no one can see it but you. A serious concussion is like having the devil jam a lit cigar up your ass for some potentially unlimited amount of time, meanwhile you walk around with people talking, and nodding at you thinking there is nothing wrong, because they can’t, “see it”. I don’t think people are unaware intentionally, but unless you take time to read and educate yourself, all the assumptions you make can end up really being hard for someone dealing with a concussion.
There are new situations that pop up everyday. Sometimes those situations are really demanding and hard for me, because I have no idea of how to deal with or sort through them. It has has been really hard work coming back from the concussions. It has been tougher though dealing with peoples expectations of me. Most people have default ways of interacting with each other, and when you don’t know that language, interactions are hard. People can be judgemental, and it really just sucks when you feel rejected because you don’t know what to say. People project a lot onto each other without even realizing it, let alone being willing to deal with, or be responsible for it. All those expectations get hard to carry, especially when you are just trying to figure out how to live, and maybe stick your toe in the door jam of love.
So back to the beginning of this conversation, why a Van? Most of my life I have done what I thought I should do, not what I reallyyyy wanted to do. The last 6 years has been a non stop ascent out of darkness. I have lost years of sleep, and have exhausted myself getting to where I am now. A lot of people in my life are asking me what are you going to do for work? What is next, what about this, what about that? I want to explode when I hear things like this. I am thinking I just worked my bloody ass off for 6 years to just get to this point, I want a fucking longggg vacation… I need a minute to breathe.
Scratch that, I need a few years to breathe.
I do remember looking out at the rice fields while laying on my porch thinking, ” Did India follow me, and why am I still alive?”.
All this leads to last June when finally I started traveling again after 6 years, and found a rhythm that I liked. Waking up in nature, immersing myself in nature all day, slowing down, opening up just a tiny bit more every day to a beautiful soul I had met. No gigantic wins, just lots of tiny little moments that felt in integrity with some deeper part of me. From picnics in the forest, to laying at the lake, hikes during the day, to snuggles at night. I felt like my heart was saying, smile brain, this is it buddy. Inhale this. I came home from that trip, and I realized that things had changed. I had finally found the road I had been stumbling around trying to find for a long time. That trip was 5 months ago, and when I came back from Canada it felt all wrong. I felt like I was leaving a person I wanted to be with, and a space I wanted to be in.
That trip give me a new awareness, something of a compass. I realized I need to move forward and inhale life, and every sunset and laugh I can. I am hoping that the mountain passes will blow me in the right directions, and into some more forest picnics, and lazy days by the lakes. Regardless, I am excited about my Van 🙂
The idea of a Van is perfect. I can ship it anywhere in the world, I can sell it if I want to, or I can use it as a mobile house in any country. I have been studying Tiny house building for 4 years as a hobby, and Tiny House Vans. So for the next few months I am going to focus on what I will need to travel the world, and which Van will suite my needs, be the easiest to repair, ship, and be the best buy for my dollars. Although shipping it might be expensive, if I am somewhere long enough I think it will pay for itself in spades. If I end up wanting to rent a place somewhere or with someone, I can always do that and keep the Van for more fun adventures.
So there goes normal right out the window. That shit was boring anyway, and never very fulfilling. Time to move forward, and on to embracing the best version of my goofy, weird self!!
Full Time World Traveler? Yes! I will have a dozen scoops of that. Thank you 🙂