I’m writing this on March 21st and the calendar says it’s Spring, my favorite time of the year! It’s a time of new birth and new beginnings–the old is dead and gone and a bright new future lies in front of us with unlimited possibilities. Most of my life Spring didn’t mean that to me it all; in fact it meant almost nothing because I was so disconnected from the earth and my true human nature that Spring was just another day on the calendar. Very little would actually change in my life because of it; I’d just get up and go to work like I had every day before. But today, as a Snowbird, it means a great deal to me
Usually the weather and calendar don’t align, but this year in the Arizona desert they matched exactly. In fact, we bypassed spring and went straight to summer; the desert got so hot I had to move camp! It was up into the mid-90s nearly every day and I just can’t cope with that much heat, so it was time to get out of Dodge and move north to a higher elevation.
It wasn’t a bother for me because I was doing what the great majority of humans who had ever lived before me had been doing for millions of years; following the seasons and the game in order to survive and thrive. Instead of cursing the weather, I embraced it as a welcome change in my life because I knew it meant I was fully human, alive and invested in nature.
Best of all, I know that it meant big, exciting changes were coming and something new and wonderful lay just ahead; and I can’t wait to see what they are!!
What separates humans from all other animals is our imagination and sense of wonder, curiosity and adventure. That’s what has taken humans from the African Savanah to the furthest reaches of the planet and into a great variety of terrain, weather and conditions. From the Sahara to the Arctic, from the Himalayas to the South American Rain Forest, the drive to see what is around the next corner has compelled humans to move and along the way to endure and thrive in whatever was waiting for us, even when it seemed to be very disagreeable or even hostile.
I believe that’s still true today, every human has that drive for travel and adventure no matter how buried it seems. Why do I say that? Because every child has it to some degree! It’s born into us and literally written into every humans DNA. With every stage of development children want to move and go and find new things and explore no matter the danger or pain. First we crawl, then we walk—then we run! Every mother can tell you that once we stand upright, away we go, the race is on! Eventually we discover animal or mechanical movement and we set out to go further and faster. It didn’t even matter where, just somewhere else. That’s the story of every human being that was ever born on the face of the Earth. That’s what it means to be human.
We know from the pre-history of humanity that adults are not supposed to “outgrow” that; if we had we would all be living in the African Savanah right now! Instead we live everywhere because until civilization came along in the last 8000 years, all adults had those child-like qualities; that’s what made them human. They fully embraced the danger and discomfort that are an inherent part of travel and adventure—and away they went!
So what happened, why have those qualities disappeared from so many adults? Civilization happened! People who wander around can’t build cities, states, governments or corporations so they need to be made to conform and become “good productive citizens”. And so we have traditions, customs and schools that beat the sense of curiosity and adventure out of us and instead makes us drone-like ants in lock-step following the “American Dream”. Everything “childlike” has been demonized. Each of us found that out when we told family and friends we were going to become Nomads and live in a car, van or RV. We were told it was too dangerous and we had “responsibilities” we couldn’t run away from: “What if everybody just did what they wanted to?” My answer is, “They’d all be happy! Isn’t that a good thing!”
If you want to be creative, stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society. ~Jean Piaget
Compare how our ancestors lived with how we “civilized” people live today, there is virtually no adventure in our lives. We travel very little and avoid danger and discomfort like they were death incarnate ready to kill us. Instead we huddle in our houses in terror of being in the least bit uncomfortable or facing any danger. And we have succeeded, we are the safest people who have ever lived and we never experience the discomfort of nature or the weather because our homes are totally climate-controlled. We have total control of our weather with just the turn of a knob.
- Want it hotter, we turn the thermostat up.
- Want it cooler, we turn up the Air Conditioner.
- Want it drier, we turn on the de-humidifier.
- Find the rain unpleasant, just close the blinds so you can’t see it.
- Miss the sun? We turn on full-spectrum lights that mimic the sun.
Before long, we never need to go outside except to get in our cars (which is also climate-controller) and go to another climate-controlled building. We’ve arranged our lives so that we never have to be bothered with that pesky nature! After, all, what’s it good for any way! We’re better off without it.
Living in a van, is just the opposite! When it gets hot you get hot and sweaty, when it gets cold you can feel the cold seeping into the van like a wild animal stalking you, When the wind blows the van shakes and when it rains you hear the clatter on the roof and feel the humidity taking over. Living in a van makes us intimately connected to nature just like humans have been for millions of years. Some people consider that a negative, but I find it a return to our wild and primitive roots that makes us fully human and alive. Without it we are like machines or drone insects that are just going through the motions of living. Only the dead are never uncomfortable, and by arranging our lives to eliminate any discomfort, we’ve turned out homes into mausoleums for the walking dead.
He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. ~Albert Einstein
That’s the difference between a vandweller and a house dweller; there is no room for a sense of wonder, curiosity and adventure in their lives. Every day is just like yesterday and every week is just like last week. Month after month … year after year … decade after decade, their lives pass before them with just more of the same. Work … eat … sleep … and repeat… endlessly. From the house … to the car … to work and repeat. Then you rush around on your days off and your infrequent vacations and try to cram a lifetime of awe, wonder and adventure into them, and that just makes you more tired and miserable. “Only thirty years till I can retire … only twenty years till I can retire …only ten years until I can retire … only two years till I can retire … if only I weren’t dying from cancer.”
I am so extremely grateful that I’ve found a way out of that misery!!
As it was getting hotter in Ehrenberg I knew it was time to move with the season and so I did what millions of fully alive humans have been doing for millions of year, planed my next move to find something better. I’ve given my imagination and child-like sense of curiosity, awe and adventure full reign over my life and been formulating my plans for this coming summer.
But, that’s a story for another day! This one has gotten long, so in my next post I’ll tell you about my new camp and plans for this summer.
Isn’t it getting to be time for you to join us in following the path of all authentic humans and learn to play again? Perhaps you should buy a van, make it your fort and head off to slay some dragons!