Pride & Proclamations

Greetings from Panera! I woke up this morning in need of two things – a croissant and a place to work – so I came to the one place I knew would have both. I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be seeing a lot of this place in the coming days! 🥐 😍

Yesterday, I sold (or gave away) the last remaining pieces of furniture in my apartment that I wasn’t planning to keep. All that’s left is my mattress and box spring (already spoken for), my TV and TV stand, a bookshelf, and a few boxes of miscellaneous stuff. Everything else is already in storage because tomorrow is the big day! For what? Well, let me tell you…

Shortly after I returned from my mini-trip with Van Geaux, I came up with the brilliant idea of becoming a vanbird. In case you are wondering what that is, it’s like a snowbird, only in a van.

Here’s how that little scenario played out in my head that day…

I would bite the bullet and rent a studio apartment in Nashville for at least 6 months, maybe a year, and I’d drive the van to Florida. After some time at the beach, I’d leave Van Geaux, fly back to my “nest” and “do life” for a bit, until the next time I got an itch to see the Sunshine State. The van would be my vacation home. See…like a snowbird…only I’d go more frequently and stay for shorter periods.

It sounded like an awesome way to “have it all”, which, if you recall, is what I said I wanted.

So, to put this great plan in motion, I revisited those teeny, tiny micro-apartments and applied for one. If I was going to be a vanbird, all I needed was a small nest here anyway, so I figured I could make it work. And to embrace my new home (that I didn’t even have yet), I joined a few Facebook Groups to see what was happening around town. Which is how I stumbled upon a post asking for volunteers for Nashville Pride.

When I burst out of the closet many years ago, my first act of rebellion was Denver PrideFest. A few years after that, I joined the team that put the festival together and stayed with them for 8 years. Being no newbie to all things Pride, I figured the worst thing that could happen was that I’d meet some new people, maybe make some work contacts; so I signed up.

Then it rained. Buckets! But you know what?

I went anyway. I stood under a tent in the rain checking in the brave (or crazy) people who dared to come out in such horrid weather on an iPhone…that died midway through my shift…but I was there nonetheless. And when my shift was over, I walked through the mud, collecting crap I didn’t need (except the Skittles, I needed those). For lunch, I had the most delicious vegan grilled cheese with tomatoes and some kind of frozen coffee that looked like Dippin’ Dots. It was divine! And I was happy to be there. But also just as happy when I drove back to my nearly empty apartment and crashed on the couch for a 2 hour nap.

In short, I enjoyed the experience but it didn’t make me want to be a Nashvillian any more or any less than I did the day before.

During this whole time I was also waiting to hear from the tiny apartments. 72 hours rolled into 96 hours, and even after reminding them that I was short on time, a week passed without so much as an acknowledgement from this place that had been sending me daily emails and texts before I applied. While I waited, I packed and sold things, and packed some more. I even repacked a few boxes. With each box I packed, the wheels in my head continued to turn (and ponder, and reconsider, and reflect, and scheme).

By Sunday night, I was indifferent to the idea of staying in a Nashville nest, so just before bed, I looked up at the ceiling and said aloud, “tiny apartment or no tiny apartment, I’m leaving it up to you”. The next day, I got an email from the leasing agent. They didn’t feel I met the income qualifications but said that I could have a CPA certify my income (since it comes from variable sources and is not consistent month to month) if I wanted them to reconsider. Now, mind you, the tiny apartment is less than my current rent, but…the Universe had spoken and I wasn’t going to argue. In fact, I didn’t even take a breath before emailing back something to the effect of, “oh darn, that’s terrible, too bad I don’t have a CPA, but thanks for trying, oh, and I get my deposit back, right?”

Folks, I was downright giddy after that. For all intents and purposes, I had just been told I was about to be homeless…yet I was freakin’ ecstatic about it.  Freedom has a way of doing that to a person.

Immediately, I got busy…

A few weeks back, during one of my daydreamy moments, I put together a few pages of lists in my journal under the heading, “If you wanted to travel for a few months, what would you need to take with you”. Each list covered a particular area, like personal hygiene, work, and meal preparation. In total, there were 85 items on these lists (give or take, since a few, like socks and undies, were counted as one item). After making the lists, I never looked at them again…until Monday.

Now, where my couch used to sit, there are 10 little plastic bins filled with pots, pans, food, clothes, shoes, laptop chargers, rain gear, and all manner of things that will soon be filling the cabinets and “garage” of my van.

I haven’t given up the notion of being a vanbird. I still like the thought of having a nest somewhere and taking off for extended trips in Van Geaux, but the Universe has been pretty clear that now is not the time to nest…well, at least not in the places I’ve been trying to nest lately. So, with my heart wide open to possibility, I’m going to try flying for a while instead.

For the next two weeks, I’ll be house/pet sitting while my parents go out of town – something they hadn’t even planned on doing before a last minute invite came in on Monday (hmm…) – and then I’ll be helping them with their garage sale. After that, I’ll be taking the scenic route to meet up with friends in Florida for a few days of camping. Beyond that, the sky is the limit.

If you have any vanlife, travel, safety, or other tips, feel free to send them my way. I’m all ears!