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Well, it’s hard to believe that it’s already been a week of vanlife. When I first started writing this, I was surprised at the count.
To recap, I started living in my car because my home situation wasn’t good for my mental health, and I needed to make a change. I’ve felt called to this for a while, now, and have been watching vanlife videos for months. The way I’m doing it, without any fancy conversions or equipment, makes it much easier to have sympathy and empathy for the homeless, and reminds me to pray for them. There’s been a variety of emotions that have come and gone the last few weeks, especially as my PMDD goes through it’s cycle. I’ve felt satisfied and fulfilled, and frustrated and scared. Today, I was hit with a powerful burst of longing for the life I used to have. Mostly, I’ve been tired. It’s been hard getting used to sleeping in the cold, and even though I’ve managed to stay quite warm under the blankets with layers of clothes, it’s never easy to poke my head up into the frosty air. Things have been fairly mild the last few weeks, and last night and tonight are the coldest for a while at -10 C. If we have another polar vortex in February, I’m going to be pretty concerned without some sort of heater that I can keep inside my car. But more than anything, this process is helping me be more dependent on the Lord, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have to worry.
Since I’m pretty strapped for cash right now, one of my main concerns is finding enough to eat. But, like I said, the Lord provides, and when there’s times that I’m not sure I’ll have anything more than cans of beans, there’s been some sort of surprise. I’ve got a schedule of community meals that I can attend a few times per week, and a carload of supplies from last night that are pulling me through.
One of the biggest challenges, however, has been telling people. So many weird looks and having to explain myself over and over about why I don’t want to/can’t live in a house long-term right now. My family, and those who act like my family, try to talk me out of it, telling me that I’m going to die or get killed or that it’s too cold or too dangerous and on and on, and that one day I’ll regret this or whatever. And let me tell you, the sleepless nights make it difficult. But the fact is, I was sleepless even before this. Insomnia has always been a chronic condition for me, and I’m learning to take things as they come. As much as I wish I could always have a fantastic sleep, sometimes, it’s just not possible, no matter where I am.
Once I can figure out how to stay warm without getting tangled in a million blankets, I think things will go a lot better. Though I’m still a little scared of getting The Knock, I’ve found a safe, comfortable, and quiet place to park every night that I’m pretty sure God has ordained for me not to get bothered in. Generally I am warm enough at night, under the covers, but I just have the same issues of trying to fall asleep and stay asleep that I’ve always had. May have to up my melatonin dose again, but like I said, once it’s warmer, we’ll see if things settle down. I’m just enjoying this while it lasts, because I’d rather take the mild winter over the summer.
One thing that’s been a challenge is staying clean. The gym I’m going to doesn’t have a proper shower, so I have to do a spongebath in the bathroom, where there’s a sign warning people not to use it as a changing room. So I’m afraid of The Knock there, too, but more than that, I know I won’t feel completely clean until I can have a long hot shower.
As well, laundromats are expensive. Just doing one load ran me $10, and if I want to wash my millions of sheets and blankets that get perspiration and condensation on them on a nightly basis, it would run me about $60 at least. I used to wash my bedding once per week to feel clean, and that’s not an option right now, even though I need it more.
The great thing is the freedom. I couldn’t afford both a house and a car, and I’ve done without the car while having a house for a long time. It was fine until I moved to a suburb on the outskirts of the city, and the commute broke something inside of me. Now I can’t see myself ever wanting to be on the bus again unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s made life so much easier in some ways, though of course there’s lots of costs that go with it. Parking and gas, plus maintenance items like oil, windshield washer fluid, etc. Those are all things that I need to make a priority before I get things like food, because I would not want to be stranded.
Anyway, overall, things are good. I have a lot of figuring out to do, and this isn’t easy, but I feel like I’m doing something with my life, at last. I’ve removed a lot of the temptations in my life like Netflix and Youtube and a nice, comfortable bed. If I’m going to hate getting up, I may as well wake up when I have to if I want to be warm, instead of letting myself sleep until noon for no reason. Though, let me tell you, if I can’t find a way to sleep better, I will have to give up on all of this.
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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
~ Romans 15:13