If Not Now, When?
My question for you is, have you ever heard a child asked what he wanted to do when he rows up answer, “I want to endure life and survive without rocking the boat?” Of course not!! That defies human nature, the core of who you are.That’s not what you were born for!
Many times those folks write me and explain their situation and ask me for some wise words that will help them to finally decide. I’d really like to help them but I’m just a guy who lives in his van and loves it. I don’t have any wise or life changing words for anybody. But I I love quotes because they are widely recognized as wise words that have stood the test of time. When I find ones that summarizes what I want and need out of life, I use them to guide my life. They become my North Star, that guides me throw the darkness and confusion I sometimes find myself in. In this post I’m including some of my favorites, hoping they will help anyone wrestling with this decision.
“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”
― Jack London
Just last week I got the question twice, once from an email and another from a post on the cheaprvliving.com forum. Here are excerpts from those letters (of course I’ve left out anything that could reveal who they are):
- Now the dilemna…when I finish building this thing in a couple months, I really want to sell everything I own, we both quit our jobs and we both hit the road with our dog. Insane??? Help me out here…we are mortgage free, about 500K in equity, but if we sell everything, we have nothing but hope.
Do it? Don’t do it?
- I was just checking out your site for the first time tonight. I’ve gotta say it is inspiring. I have been thinking about doing what you are doing for quite a while now but have all the standard fears and trepidation’s about doing it. I could really use a little advice and encouragement as far as making the decision goes.
“You’ve got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice”. ~Steven D. Woodhull
In these quotes you can see my real heart toward the question: If not now, when? Just do it!! But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that it dangerous to give that kind of blanket advice so I’ve learned to temper it. If someones whole heart isn’t into it, it may be better for them to try to find a way to ease into and test the water living in a van or RV rather than just taking a leap of faith off the cliff. Here is my answer to to one of the emails above as some steps I often recommend people consider taking to test the waters of vandwelling or RVing:
- I’d suggest buying a good used RV and start taking trips in it. Maybe you’ll find a new hobby you love and even if you decide you don’t want to quit now you’ll still be ahead. If you decide you hate it then you can sell it for what you bought it for and be out nothing or very little. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
- With Winter coming on I’d suggest coming down and spending some time camping with myself and some of the others that camp with me, Usually there are up to a dozen and sometimes more. Being around others will help overcome your fears.
- I’d strongly recommend you come to the RTR in Quartzsite in January. You’ll get to meet lots of others and get a good taste for the life. Learn more about it here; http://www.cheaprvliving.com/
gatherings/. Again, you have almost nothing to lose and plenty to gain. To see if you can live in a van, I suggest you drive or fly to Quartzsite and then rent a U-Haul van to live in for the 2 weeks of the RTR. Bring all the camping gear you will need and you will have an excellent taste of vandwelling. Because you won’t drive it much, it shouldn’t cost much.
- You might consider buying an RV and putting it into a RV Park. That way you can sell your house, get the cash and see if you like living in an RV. That’ll give you a good idea if this life is for you. If you decide it is then you are a step closer to making it come true and if you decide it’s not for you, you can sell the RV and probably break even and have saved some money by the cheap rent.
- If you’re still unsure, buy a used RV, rent your house out for awhile, put your stuff in storage, and try it out for 6 months to a year. Then once you’re sure take final steps to get rid of everything.
By following this advice one of two things will happen:
- You’ll fall in love with vandwelling or RVing and have found a way of life that brings you joy and peace.
- You’ll decide it really isn’t for you but you will have had a grand adventure that leaves you with memories you treasure for the rest of your life.
Either way, you win!
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.” Dawna Markova
“It is very important that you only do what you love to do. you may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live. And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do.
Otherwise, you will live your life as a prostitute, you will do things only for a reason, to please other people, and you will never have lived. and you will not have a pleasant death.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross