I will be compiling a lot of videos and stories of people I find inspiring on separate pages, but thought I might discuss some of them individually as I go along. What inspires me might not inspire you and vice versa. And what inspires me can change from one day to another. But hopefully we can find some common ground!
Anyway, the other day on YouTube, I came across the story of a lifetstyle photographer named James Barkman. He’s 22 and lives in his Westfalia van and tows a motorcycle behind it so that he can save money on gas and get to locations that he might not otherwise be able to reach with the van. His website is Jamesbarkman.com.
As my brother and sister in law can attest, VW vans can have a lot of problems as they age and so if you own one, you will inevitably learn a lot about doing maintenance on it. (They are the creators behind the blog, It’s Not a Slow Car, It’s a Fast House, and are currently on an overland trip that is leading them to South America.) Everyone who has talked about living in a van and is realistic about it discusses the fact that it can be frustrating and super stressful at times, and at other times, they feel like it’s entirely worth the stress and aggravation they go through. James Barkman mentions that in his video too.
In the beginning of the video, and again at the end, he discusses pursuing your dreams before you have everything set in place. I take that to mean that you can’t wait until is perfect and you feel like you have all your bases covered to take that leap of faith. He also mentions that wherever you are, or whoever you are with, be there with all your heart. And “be whoever you’re created to be.” Don’t let fear run your life.
Looking back, I’ve done that at times, most recently, when I moved to Albuquerque without a job, but with the faith that I would bust my butt to get one (and I did!) As many of you know, I aspire to live tiny, and I’ve recently begun fantasizing again about living in the Pacific Northwest. I just really miss living near a large body of water, and I actually like the gray days we get here in ABQ, though they are few and far in between.
I found the cinematography of this video to be pretty amazing. Please let me know your thoughts by dropping a comment below! As always, thanks for reading!
Hi everyone, I’m so sorry it has been a few weeks since my last post, but believe me, I’ve been very busy and productive! Because times/things? They are a-changing!! (I’ve even had this post mainly written but haven’t had a chance to add photos until today.)
Ok, so first off, I’m moving to Albuquerque! I went there almost two weeks ago and found an apartment that will allow me to have my pets, and is in a safe neighborhood, is clean, and is just what I was looking for. Linoleum floors – awesome for animals and picking up animal hair! It’s about 380-400 sq feet, so it fulfills my dream of living tiny, and there are a lot of trees in the courtyard right outside my window! I can park my car close by, and keep an eye on it, and it’s close to school – only about a mile and a half away. There is a golf course close by so I can go for a run and see beautiful scenery.
Oh, and guess what?? I am adopting a 3 year old beautiful cattle dog that I have fallen in love with at the Page Animal Adoption Agency! She is my favorite dog there and the one I always make sure to walk, no matter what. She just loves loves loves walks, and she is going to be my new running partner once I move! We will start out gradually, of course, since I think we both need to work up to running distances of 3-5 miles, but I’m looking forward to having that baby girl join my family. She has been with us for an overnight visit, and yesterday for a 5-6 hour visit, and it’s like my cats are invisible to her. The only time she even reacts to them is if they hiss at her, and then she just kind of looks at them as if to say “sorry!” and then moves away. No barking back, no chasing, nothing. And she is fine with having little Baby O around – she is only selective about dogs when they are larger or close to her size. They have met and she seems to “read” Baby O well. Many times, when Baby O meets a younger, friendly dog, they sniff at her and sniff and sniff and sniff…you get the idea, even as she tries to walk away from them. Morgan realizes that Baby O is done with the meet and greet and pretty much leaves her alone. She loves to go for walks, and she loves doggy jogging! So I am looking forward to her getting me out there every day and getting exercise again.
Now, the question everyone asks is – do I have a job lined up yet? NO. Am I terrified of not finding one? YES! I have been trying to get schoolwork done, do prep work to move (i.e. trying to figure out the most cost effective way to do it with all the animals and the few things I have acquired over the past year), and look for jobs, jobs, jobs! Seriously, people, I am TERRIFIED of not finding a job! I do have some savings, and thanks to a very generous friend in my life, I was able to put down a deposit on the new place without having to touch those funds. And I have applied for financial aid with the college – not that I want to have to take out any more loans, but just in case it takes me a bit of time to find something. Who knows, maybe I can even get some work study funds?!
I’ve been applying to vet receptionist, and vet assistant type positions, and am applying to retail spots in places like Petco and PetSmart, and plan on applying to hotels as well. I’m also setting up a profile for myself with Rover.com, and have sent resumes and letters to some pet sitting services I’ve come across. I’ve applied to an animal sanctuary, and am happy to say that I have an interview set up with them just a few days after I arrive in ABQ. Also, I plan on applying to seasonal jobs. I’m a hard worker – maybe it can turn into something more permanent.
Also, this past weekend, I went to Phoenix to celebrate one of my nephews getting married. I was able to see my younger brother (who many of you may think of as the crazy runner who does all these ultimate distance races like 100 miles) who came with his fiance all the way from NYC. I don’t dance, but while I was there, looking out at the dance floor, I looked at so many family members who I don’t get to see too often, just thinking how lucky I was to be able to spend the time with them. I realized then that there had been a change in my thinking. I used to go to weddings and look at the guests and wonder how happy were they really? Was everyone just faking being happy when really their lives weren’t? Or maybe their happiness that I saw that day was fleeting, just a moment in time. I know, it sounds very cynical, right?
You might be wondering, why Albuquerque? Because I want to give the southwest another shot. I’ve not felt completely at home where I’ve been so far but maybe because it’s been small towns, and I’ve come to the realization that I am more of a city girl. I need to live in a place that has more amenities and the possibility of more jobs. It’s a very dog friendly town, and there are many rescue groups as well as veterinary clinics. The weather is milder than the northeast – there are some cold(er) days, but hardly any snow, and it’s still an outdoor-activity friendly town. Lots of places to run and bike. There are mountains to the east, and lots of trees (it’s at a higher elevation than Lake Powell)< so I’ll be able to go hug trees whenever I feel the need. 🙂 The cost of living is low (necessary if you are looking to work in a field that doesn’t pay huge wages), and also, it’s where the community college is located that I am attending. It has a good vet technology program, and once I become an in-state student, the tuition is incredibly low. Since I am moving now, I should only have to pay out-of-state tuition for the first semester. It’s a 5-semester program, and it only begins in the fall (otherwise I’d just wait another semester until residency has been completely established.)
Again, sorry for the delay between posts. I wasn’t sure the Tuesday postings were working for me, honestly. I’m going to try to be more organized, going forward, and get posting more regularly. Thanks for sticking around with me.
A friend wrote to me last evening, as I was writing up this post: “Your life path seems so logical to anyone who knows you and has seen your progression but sounds like such a jolt to anyone who doesn’t!” I was like, “are you sitting right next to me, invisible, right now??”
As I take more steps to making such big changes in my life, it’s natural for those around me to worry. It’s natural for them to ask questions to make sure I’ve thought all the scenarios through. And it’s natural for those questions to get into my psyche sometimes and make me doubt myself.
Here’s the thing. I can’t let fear run my life. I can’t let the fear of the unknown run my life. And to be perfectly frank, I feel like that’s how i have lived most of my life up until now. When in high school, I followed the assumed path “well of course you’re going to college.” I had one parent (Dad) who had gone to college and then pursued a masters degree while working, and another parent (Mom) who had not gone beyond high school. Dad was the breadwinner (until the time that it became my mom when they divorced, along with child support and alimony from my dad.) My idea of someone being successful had been a person who wears a suit to work (or at the very least a shirt and tie) and who made a good salary. You went to work at 9, did your thing, came home at night. Get up the following morning and repeat, until the weekend comes.
So I went to college. First the plan was to get a business degree. Then I realized (after struggling through statistics as a freshman) “well, that sucks, I hate math…” and decided to switch majors to one I did like — English. Not exactly the moneymaker, no. So the logical path seemed to be “be a teacher or go to law school.” So on to law school, I did. I pushed back the feelings of “maybe this isn’t right for me,” because I had already sunk a lot of time, effort, and not to mention, CASH, by the time the end of my first year rolled around. Sure, maybe it wasn’t really feeling like something I loved, but what kind of job could I get with an English degree and just one year of law school under my belt?
So, on to the safe route AGAIN. I feel like that’s what my life has been, one safe option after another. So when people bring up the “What ifs?” (which I know they do out of concern and love), it can sometimes really stress me out. And at times, it has, interrupting my sleep or my eating. A good friend asked me yesterday “What if your pets get sick? What if you fall and break your leg? What if you can’t find a job?” But I think I have gotten to the point now where when people raise these questions, I don’t see them as a reflection on or criticism of me for making potentially wrong choices. I know they just want to make sure I have thought everything through. And I know that some of these questions are being projected out of their own fears for themselves.
I have thought a lot of things through. I have played all those negative scenario “what ifs?” through my mind. But I have also come to the conclusion that if I wait to have it all figured out before I make these big changes, I might as well never even try to chase my simple dreams. And they really are “simple” in so many ways. A tiny house with just the right amount of room for what I love and that doesn’t take forever to clean. A life with lots of pets and unconditional love around me. A job that leaves me feeling fulfilled. (Believe me, I know there will definitely be some days when I will question myself and my choices when working with animals. People are cruel and do mean and stupid things where animals are concerned.)
As I have said to some friends, I cannot sit and just not do anything to change my circumstances. If I were to do that, I might as well shut up and go home. The thought of doing that — of not moving forward, even in small steps, depresses the hell out of me. I have to take a leap of faith in myself. Not everything in life can be completely planned out. I know that when push comes to shove, I will make things happen.
So, am I afraid? Of course I am. I’m human. I appreciate the care and concern of those around me. But I just refuse to let them keep me frozen in place and ignore what my heart tells me it really wants me to do. No more. And every time I pick up my baby girl Osito (if you’re not familiar with her, there are tons of pics of her on this blog), I know in my heart I’m following the right path. Animals – helping animals that is, is where it’s at. It’s where I need to go, and need to be.
If you have liked this post, please hit like or subscribe or drop me a line below. How do you get past fear?
Tonight is one of those nights in Boston where it’s dark before 6 (not that the sun ever showed its face today, anyway), and stormy, and you can hear the ever-constant gusting of the wind outside. I sit on my love seat near the window and look out at the branches at the tops of the very tall trees behind our building wave back and forth in the wind. It’s one of those nights where, if I still had a car, I would be very careful as to where I park it, lest a branch come down and land on the top of its roof, like I saw happen to someone else last year. It’s one of those nights where I sit and hold Osito in my arms and try to comfort her little chihuahua baby from shaking so much, and then I look around at my cats who are looking back at me, and I think of how blessed I am to have all of them to love, and protect from nasty weather like this, and people that don’t feel as kindly toward animals as I do. It’s one of those nights. Read more →
FEAR. It’s a very small word but it has so much power. At least, I’ve let it have so much power over me for most of my life. I’m ashamed to admit it, but am hoping by writing this post, it will lessen its grasp on me some more. My whole life, I’ve looked at people like my younger brother who never seem to be afraid to try things that seem terrifying to me.
My brother decided to ride his bike more than 200 miles from NYC to Boston one weekend. He got the idea and he did it. Just like that. Even when his first bike got stolen two weeks before his planned epic ride, he didn’t give up. He just dove right in. And when I asked him if he was ever worried he wouldn’t be able to do it as planned, he said “nope. I never did. I had that ultrarunner’s perspective the entire time.” When he first brought up the idea to do it, I thought of all the things that could go wrong. He could break down. He could get injured. He could get mugged. The list goes on and on. If it had been me, I don’t think I could have done it. Because of fear.