Wandering Into Gypsy's Arms

Dear Readers,

Dreams are an interesting component of the human experience. Mine often terrify me. Completely. As you all know by now I proceed, but not without grappling with my fear first (it’s been a process to learn how to set it free). But when I embrace my dreams, they me push outside the bounds of my comfort zone, challenge me and truly set my soul on fire!

In late 2016 I returned from wandering through one of these very dreams (backpacking through Europe). From the moment I set foot back on Washington ground I was ready to continue exploring.

At the same time, I craved the comfort of home. During my travels I desperately missed the ability to flop down on my own bed at the end of a hard day, or cook grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup at 2am (most Hostel kitchen’s close around midnight - totally fair, but incredibly inconvenient for late night snackers like myself).

From this duality another one of my terrifying and exhilarating dreams was born: buy a conversion van and wander with her (“her” being the van - of course, she would be a strong female warrior)! Oh and her name, it would be Gypsy!

With this dream firmly planted in my mind, Craigslist became my go-to website. I spent hours scrolling through Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Bellingham, even Idaho’s conversion van postings.

At first a searched alone, and then I reconnected with a dear friend, Cody, who eventually became my loving partner. And believe it or not, he was game to travel in the van and wander the world with me - at least on the weekends and as long as his cat Marcus could come too.

I grappled a lot with the idea of sharing my dream with someone else. However, I truly believe that people enter our lives for a reason and his support through this dream has been unmatched and so necessary (keep on reading - you’ll see why).

In the fall, I found a posting that I immediately sent to Cody. “Should we go look at her I asked?!” She was a chalkboard painted (and chipped), taped-roof rack, 2001 Ford Econoline Warrior! Cody, gave the green light and texted the van owner, Django.

Throughout 2017 I had conversed with other van owners who pushed, prodded and threatened me - and you won’t be surprised to hear than I shut them down quickly, I am not interested in doing business with anyone who bullies me. Django was the opposite. He happily rescheduled when I came down with a cold, let us take her to the mechanic without him, and negotiated down his price to a number that made me comfortable.

Long story short, I bought her. She was the only van I saw in person out of the hundreds, maybe even thousands I scrolled through online. While I took the precaution of having her inspected before purchase, I really went on gut instinct. When we went to check her out, Django announced that her name was Rita, and she had been his home. In that moment, I knew she was the van for me!

So, I bought her - Gypsy Rita. She is this funky, big, charcoal grey, chalkboard painted Queen. She’s flawed and aging and she is beautiful for it. I wandered right into her and knew she was my soul sister, my home away from home, and the best travel partner I could ask for.

In the past few months I have encountered moments of doubt because she is flawed, she sputters and shouts, she needs love and care, (just like I do - we really are all too similar). But then I remind myself this does not make her unworthy! She is this badass van and I love her. The past few months have been wrought with unexpected taxes and fees, flooded engines, leaks and dead batteries. Regardless, every last experience with her has taught be about radical acceptance - for the good and the bad (a post diving deeper into this is soon to come!)

I will close with some of my favorite reminders:

  • Embrace your outlandish, misunderstood, terrifying and life-changing dreams!
  • Trust your god-damn self!
  • Don’t hold yourself back...wave hello to your fear and then set it free!
  • And finally, I believe in you; in your unique dreams and in your power!

Sending you love and confidence,

Annalise