Home free

My good friend Ty’s converted Mercedes Sprinter Van has been parked in my driveway for a week. He’s on a trip back East, and has left his traveling home in our hands. It’s been the talk of the neighborhood. 

“What a dream! To live life on the road like that.”

“I’m so curious about this. I’ve always wondered, is that kind of life possible for me?”

“I’ve heard these things are pricey. But then, think about all the house repairs and property taxes we pay.”

It seems a lot of people have an underlying desire to free themselves from their homes.

In fact, Ty will often say he’s not homeless, he’s home-free. He’s lived on the road like this for nearly five years, traveling for work, working from the van, taking long detours to go rock climbing, and sabbaticals from the rushed and noisy life of cities and suburbs.

He has a few things in storage, and will often stop by friends’ houses like ours where he has some items shipped from Amazon when needed.

Other than that, it’s van life for him.

I didn’t realize until this week how this lifestyle seems to strike a certain longing in people I’d never expect it to. It’s made me see another side of homeownership. 

America and homeownership have been in a lifelong relationship. One seems to define the other. Both are part of this magical cocktail we call the American Dream. But Ty and other van-lifers have shown me that “dream” isn’t the only dream out there. 

I can see now that many people (among my neighbors anyway) seem to feel trapped by their homes. They sink all of their money and time into them. They enjoy them, sure. But I can see them rolling over the “what if’s” in their minds, pulling the figurative shackles off their legs.

In another version of this, I have witnessed other friends who are pursuing the “half here/half there” lifestyle that uncuffs them from one house. 

Maybe this means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Or maybe we take for granted this idea that everyone wants to lay down roots and own a home, or that a home is the most prudent path forward for all. Or that the concept of a “forever” home is somehow modern law.

I’m glad to live in a world that is seeing more creative alternatives arise. It’s good for anyone in our industry to think about and pay attention to people’s changing concept of “home.” 

I don’t really know where this all leads. I’m just a girl with a cool friend who lives in a van.

Part of me is envious.

And part of me is glad I know exactly where I’m parking every night.


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