I returned from my Wanderlust Festival teaching tour less than a week ago and have been skiing twice, alpine bouldering in Rocky Mountain National Park, trail running, slacklining, biking, BBQing, and more. That is the life of a professional slacker living out of her van.
However, I’m skipping my ski day today to bring you an important message. This 5 week tour up and down the west coast with a brief stop in Arizona was a transformational experience for me and hopefully many others. I have been living what some may consider a “crazy” lifestyle for the better part of 5 years. Occasionally having a “real job” but mostly sustaining myself by sharing my passions for teaching and living in a way that I require less money.
It’s not for everyone, but has brought me such joy. There is a lot of fear that comes along with this way of walking(or crawling, running, jumping, etc.) through life. I often don’t know when I’ll have money coming in next, how I’m going to pay for trainings I want to attend, often miss out on showers or have to wash my underwear in a bathroom sink, but but there is one thing I know for sure. I have yet to starve, and the important bit...I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life! Everyday's an adventure and that is exactly how I want it. People ask me how long I plan to live like this. The simple answer is that I don’t plan this, when the time comes that I’m less than ecstatic about it I’ll change it. Until then, let the vanlife roll!
I taught 7 Wanderlust events this spring with a few more to follow this summer. They were: Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Scottsdale, San Diego, Portland, and Seattle. If you happened to assist any of those events please know, you all lit me on fire and it was such a sweet experience to meet a slew of people I’ve somehow not met yet in my years on the road. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Showing up, often before 7am to rig a slackline park in varying weather conditions from blazing hot to freezing cold rain is what we live for. What would put most people in a fowl mood or feel like a limiting factor, we see as a challenge to have even more fun! How can we turn this less than ideal situation into a ridiculously good time? The attendees of the festival jumped right on board and had a great time with us no matter the external conditions. I was inspired by students all day each day.
By the time 4pm rolled around and we were breaking down the slackline park and wrapping up our acro classes I never wanted it to be over! I’m not very skilled at the art of goodbyes and often dip out quietly to avoid them. Especially if I’m having a great time!
Sharing Acro and Slacklining with thousands of people in only a month is a gift few teachers have the pleasure of experiencing. Condensing the material we love to geek out on for hours into short 30 minute classes was a blast and proved successful in giving students a taste of the joy! If you got a taste of the fun and want more, please visit our website and check out the map of our teachers in your area. If you don’t see one, know that there are a bunch of us living nomadically, seek us out and follow along to know when we may pass through, or contact us to book something for you locally!
I’d like to give a special shout out to:
Mom- For always supporting my crazy ideas even if it’s not at all what she had in mind for me when she was looking upon me as a small, quiet, well behaved child.
The Somerset Lounge, Golden CO- For supplying me with hot showers, a rad activity room, cuddles, a part time pup pal, chocolate binges, and so much more!!! Thank you friends!
The YogaSlackers- For always pushing and inspiring me to keep going and looking for a way in.
Britta Rael- For being one of the most kind and organized leaders as well as my Dragonista Sista!
Heather Larsen- One of the sweetest most supportive slackbabes for all of our recent chats and snapchat face swaps!
These are just a few that can’t even begin to encompass my gratitude for the badassery that my friends bring into my life, I literally couldn’t do it without you!
Meet Maggie-my adventure van! As of a month ago I call this baby home. A couple years ago I became obsessed with tiny homes and minimalist living, mostly on Pinterest of course. I had no idea how it would play a role in my life, or that it would ever materialize into a reality for me.
Over the summer I took three trips to Colorado in two months, I was hooked! On my third trip I interviewed with a great coffee shop and decided that if I got the job I would make the leap into van life.
Up to this point I knew I wanted a van to build out and live in, had begun saving and even scouring Craigslist to see what was out there. I however had no idea what I would do once I actually had the van. Until NOW. Here it was, my plan, laid in front of me all I had to do was go for it.
From the day I got the job to the day of the move things fell into place with such ease, all I had to do was stay on top of my timeline. I had already been pretty nomadic for the last three years, traveling to teach Yoga, Acro Yoga, Slacklining, and of course for FUN. I kept a home base in Texas and worked part time as a barista, something I love to do.
I made a Facebook announcement about the move and my search for a van. Magically, one of my climbing buddies chimed in saying, "if you want to put in a little elbow grease, I have my old camper sitting around collecting dust". What?!? Perfect! It was exactly what I was looking for, a blank canvas.
In the two weeks following my acquisition of the van, I did everything I could to make it liveable before leaving. That is no time at all but I was determined and had AMAZING friends that helped me a ton during the process. By the time I left Texas I had her insulated, built the floor, closet, and bed. Leaving the kitchen to be finished in Colorado.
Fast forward one month and I've been in the mountains at least once a week, climbing, slacklining, running, biking, and adventuring all over this beautiful state. We don't plan on stopping anytime soon!
Suddenly, I'm down to 2 weeks until departure! My level of excitement is elevating at a rate I'm not sure how to describe with words. As the time approaches I am beginning prep work. Word on the street is that I might pick up the van TOMORROW!!
Today, I've got a treat for you. Thanks to 3 years of Burning man I've gotten quite accustomed to the wipey shower, perfect for those in between days in the van that I won't have access to a shower but want to crawl into bed somewhat clean. Not familiar? It's much like being a small child all over again, when you get some unknown sticky/dirty substance all over you and here comes mom with those weird wet wipes aggressively attacking mystery substance. BUT, this is much better because I make my wipes! They feel good, they smell good, and they are so very easy to make!
Now, I'm not a huge fan of paper towels or any disposable cleaning supplies(or plasticware, the list goes on) a single roll could easily last me a year! But, for these I will make an exception. Since the roll of paper towels was the only thing I had to buy that I didn't already have, at $1.50 that's not too bad either!
This part is really so so easy!
Check out my Instagram for a fun time lapse of the process today!
And so it begins
My intention with this entire project is to connect with my community by sourcing as much as possible from friends, family, and local/small businesses. Once the van is acquired, I will need some help. Below is a list of materials etc. that I'll be collecting! So, if you have any of them or know someone that does, send them my way.
It is important to me to utilize this tiny space with efficiency and fill it only with necessities, a touch of style, and a lot of LOVE!!!
Even if you don't think you have anything to offer, stay tuned to follow along on the buildout! I will be teaming up with Thunderbird Energetica(that awesome company that keeps my belly full of simply delicious bars) for something fun! and I'd love to have you along for the virtual journey!!
Stuff and Things:
I'm sure there is more and I will add it as I think of it!
I am selling my car!! It is a 2001 Isuzu Trooper SUV with 121,000 miles. It has been my adventuremobile for about 7 years!! This is my baby and she's hard to part with. If you're interested in her, shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
As a child and young adult I spent a lot of time trying to "fit in". I did all of the things the "cool" kids did. I started with gymnastics at age 7, which led to cheerleading, and several sports which I played all through high school. I went to college for the only thing I've ever known I wanted to do, to TEACH. After 4 struggle filled years at 3 different colleges, I stopped going. It was a relief. I could now LEARN things I was passionate about, rather than feeling as though I was being forced into classes that were completely and totally irrelevant to my degree. This feeling also led me to feel as if completing a degree and then participating in a system that I didn't feel was serving me, was well, unethical! I was still passionate about teaching/skill sharing, but I knew I had to find something else. I was finally finished "fitting in". Somewhere along the way I found yoga! That led me to climbing, acro, slacklining, FUN fitness, etc. I became fired up about getting to know and understand how my body worked, what it wanted and needed, and how my mind played a huge role in it all. As that journey began, I still held this story of NEED for "stuff" and "things" and that they represented some sort of status in our society that I needed to achieve. So, I worked. Slowly though, I began to peel away the layers of normalcy I used to give me a false sense of stability and groundedness. I was finally pushed over the edge by losing my job, sending me into immediate panic! That which gave me such stability, suddenly disappeared from beneath me. What now? Grab another job fast and put a metaforical bandaid over the real problem, or take some risks? What's the worst that could happen? I decided the "worst" was worth the risk! I let go of my home, packed a few things, went to teacher training with Ana Forrest, and then moved to Austin to teach yoga full time. I was inspired upon moving there, really amped to share something I was so passionate about. And then... IT WAS HARD! If I weren't as fortunate as I am to be so full of positivity AND emotional support from friends and family, I would have gone sprinting back to "normal". Instead, I stuck with it. Teaching full time for 2 years on little more than $6,000 each of those years! During that time I also traveled all over the U.S. and Europe AND Israel. How? I can't tell you exactly, but it had so much to do with generous and supportive community. Where do you get one of those?? You have to create it, begin by ASKING for what you need/want if you're on the right track you'll find it, just do NOT stop, unless you want to, then by all means STOP! I became so inspired by the simplicity of my life. I learned more and more to let go of all of the unnecessary ties to traditional responsibilities, I am fully aware that this just doesn't work for everyone at every point in their path. I was fortunate enough to have 0 debt and very very few bills. Also, I think that thing inside people that makes them worry about the future, it's broken in me! I am afraid of so so many things but for whatever reason, worrying about tomorrow or 20 years from now is not something I do, at least not now. Which brings me to:
I went through a very intense breakup back in November(9 months ago now). I will spare you all the details but it was the first intense sadness I had felt in so very long, I cried every single day for weeks. I delighted in feeling things I don't feel very often! I let the sadness take me over, I lost too much weight, I was present, I was distracted, a total mess, and completely perfect! I moved from Austin back to Houston. I got a "job" 2 days a week, that alone payed me more money than the 5 days a week teaching many classes and being completely exhausted did. So I got selfish, taking care of ME! Asking myself hard questions, and having a whole lot of FUN. I picked back up old hobbies and began adding new ones. I started getting strong, the more I did the more energy I had and the more I wanted to do! I've put on 16 pounds of awesome strength, and continue to crush multiple activities on most days. I do my best to continue inspiring people through all of this even though I'm not currently offering any public weekly classes. I went to YogaSlacker teacher training in June, have traveled by plane or car SOMEWHERE almost every week. People always ask me how to do what I do, there is no "trick" to it! Have nothing, have EVERYTHING! The less stuff I have the more freedom I find, it works for be because I want it to. It doesn't work for everyone. Now what??
Some big changes are on the horizon, some of them are secrets *wink wink* some I can share! The big one that I'm SO excited about is buying my first home!!! That's right. But, my home will be a van! I want to find out how simple I can get. I'm still hunting for the perfect one. If on some off chance you have one in mind, shoot me a message! I'm finally releasing the last bit of "stuff" from my last home. It has been sitting in my moms garage for 3 years and it's time to let it go. I want to teach more this fall and winter! I offer many kinds of workshops, privates, etc. The future is hard because we cannot possibly know what it will hold, only what we THINK we want it to hold!
Get out there, follow your dreams, and whatever you do live this life FULLY! Do whatever it takes to break your cycle of monotony and boredom. Be brave. Be bold. If you EVER need an encouraging word please just ask! I'm always happy to share any of my story if it will help. Stay tuned for more blog posts!!