Different Choices

“Is this really how you want to spend the next year?” My mother Diane asked as she watched me tucking the last few essentials into the different storage compartments of the van.

“Yes, in fact, I don’t know if I will stop at the end of a year. The more I research and talk to people, the more I think I might want to make it permanent,” I said. I have chosen a Volkswagen camper van as my starting vehicle for my journey into full-time van life. It seemed perfect since it was just me and I had sold almost everything I owned. What I hadn’t sold, I had put into long-term monthly storage. 

What my mother had called my half-baked plan to be a hippy was, in fact, a research project for my graduate thesis on the materialistic tendencies of Americans in today’s society. However, as one of the most materialistic people, I knew my mother would never be one to embrace the minimalist lifestyle it would take to live in such a small space. I wasn’t stupid enough to think it was going to be a breeze, but, it would be a great learning experience. And I was looking forward to it.

As I pulled the lever to once again lower the camper’s extendable roof, I ducked back out of the van. Only then did I notice she had been droning on without me paying the slightest attention to her. This would not start my day off well. She snarled at me, reminding me of a feral cat. “You haven’t been listening to a word I’ve said, have you?”

I shook my head as I turned back to face her. “No, mother, I have not been listening to you. I have to get this packed so I can head out before noon.” I said, moving around the van, making sure that everything was stored away so I would be safe when I was driving.

She moved to block the door. “I don’t think this is a good idea. You will not be safe,” she said.

I claimed out of the van and stood in front of her. “Mother, I’m an adult. I’ve graduated high school, and it’s time that I live for me, not you. So, you can either deal with it and support me or go away,” I said, shaking as I was getting angrier and angrier as I waited for her to make a choice.

We stood face-to-face for five minutes before she huffed, turned away and headed toward her car without saying goodbye. I finished up with the van and slipped behind the wheel. Starting the car, I put it in gear and drove out of the park.

I drove aimlessly for over four hours before stopping for dinner. I pulled into a fast-food restaurant, parking next to another camper van. “Good evening,” I said, trying to be friendly.

The man smiled. “Evening. Nice van,” he said.

I glanced back at my van. “Thanks. I’m just getting used to it,” I said, turning my attention back to him. He seemed like a nice guy and we were in a public parking lot, so I wasn’t worried. “Have a good day,” I said.

He nodded, and I walked away. Going into the restaurant, I ordered a meal combo. A few minutes later, my dinner was ready, and I grabbed the bag, giving the worker a smile as I left. Outside, I noticed the van I had parked next to was gone. Rolling my shoulders, I climbed into my van to eat. Once I was done, I stepped out and tossed my garbage into the trash can. Turning back to the van, I let out a sigh. The front driver’s tire was flat. 

I looked closer and saw there was a slash in the sidewall. “Damn,” I said. I knew how to change a tire, so I walked to the back of the van and began to remove the spare. As I was changing it, I felt someone walk up beside me. 

“Can I help?” A voice asked from behind me.

I turned my head to look at the person. It was a woman a few years older than me. “I got this, but thanks for the offer.”

“Okay, just remember to be safe,” the woman said.

“Will do. Thanks for checking on me,” I said. I finished changing the tire, not paying attention as the woman walked away. Putting the flat tire in the holder on the back of the van, I knew the next stop should be a tire shop. I left the fast-food restaurant and drove toward the highway. Seeing the sign for the campground I planned on stopping at, I made the choice to stop there and get the tire fixed in the morning. I pulled up to the little check in cabin just off the road. 

A man sat at the window of the cabin. “Hello, how many nights?” He asked.

“Just one for now. If I need more, can I come back in the morning?” I asked. 

“Sure. It’s twenty-five a night,” he said, handing me a sign in card. I filled it out and handed it back with thirty dollars in cash. 

The man tucked the card into a little box and handed me back a receipt and five dollars. “Have a good night,” he said.

I drove on past the cabin to the camping spot, showed on the receipt. I backed into the spot and moved into the back of the van. It wasn’t late enough to want to go to sleep, so I turned on the little radio tucked into the cabinet. My phone rang maybe an hour later. I picked it up and checked the screen. My mother’s name was written across the screen. I shook my head and pushed the button to silence the device. I wasn’t dealing with her. This was my life and I wanted to live it my way. She didn’t leave a message.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: