Traveling Words

Rylee Owens

Traveling Words...

I've never "blogged" before, or even thought much of sharing stories via the world wide web. Heck, it feels a little strange... but I'm a verbal processor and enjoy writing a fair amount. Lately I've found that I've been needing to process life changes and seasons more frequently. So, if you're like me and you have no idea what tomorrow might hold and life feels crazy 99% of the time... then maybe you'll relate with some of these thoughts. OR maybe you like reading and you find joy in hearing crazy stories, near death experiences, semi-embarrassing moments and flat out moments of pure confusion, well, then maybe this word vomit page could bring you some excitement and laughs; though, bare with me... I'm no English pro or grammar expert. 

Traveling Words. That's what this will be. Feel free to keep up with this whirlwind of a life I try to lead or please contact me if you want to chat about any of these rambles! I seriously hope this can be a space of vulnerability, growing, challenging and any other ridiculous descriptions you can think of.  I will try and update this often; I sure hope you enjoy it!

                                          - Transition - THE SIMPLE LIFE

For little over a year I have been living off and on out of the back of my '98 Volvo Station Wagon, her name is Reba. I have a lot of things I could say about my #1 adventure buddy but I'll save those stories for another time. I'd like to invite y'all into my world a bit. Maybe some are a little thrown off by the idea of living out of your car, maybe some are fascinated, and maybe some of you are my fellow car-sleepers (if that's you, cyber high five). Sure there are the typical questions: Where do you shower? Where do you go to the bathroom? What if you get caught? All of these are definitely things you face along the way, and we'll get there. This lifestyle has always piqued my interest and felt like it was destine for some point on the timeline of my life. I'd watch documentaries of climbers dirt bagging around or surfers driving their VW bus somewhere to campout for dawn patrol. I would sit in my living room in College Station, TX and drool over the famous 180 Degrees South documentary (I would watch it once a month and get FOMO like no other). I yearned for that adventure. For the feeling of not having a plan and just running around fully alive. Well, fast forward a few years - a snow season in Colorado, summer camp, a broken foot and about a year of working outdoor retail here in California... then BAM. I started a new job with a company called Naturalists At Large (NAL). This actually required me to move into my car because it didn't make since to teach Outdoor Education in a new place each week and try to pay rent. - Shout out to all my Natties reading this. 

Before I knew it the official move in day came and I was stoked to say the least. But let me tell you... when you think you don't have very many belongings - try downsizing to a roof box closet and a shelving unit made for ants. You'd wish it was like, 3X bigger.  What felt crammed and a little tight eventually became home sweet home after not too long. Parking lot corners and Walmart's became new acquaintances and lounging on the couch watching TV became a thing of the past. I could go on for days about cooking in parking lots, having strangers give you even stranger looks but I'll go ahead and keep rolling. I loved it - every awkward minute. If there were nights where I'd have to set up a tent on site or leave Reba somewhere I'd start missing my own cozy bed after a few days. Life on wheels. The world is at your finger tips. And for those of you who hate packing - it's the best. You just take all your shit with you wherever you go. Camp stove dinners consisted of ramen with ANYTHING added in, or something from the not-so-cold ice chest that sat in the passenger seat. 

I've adapted well. At points when I park Reba along the cliffs of Big Sur, or stare at a desert sunrise in Joshua Tree, I feel like it's right. As if this little transient community has unraveled one of life's precious secrets and we get to tap into it time to time. That the Creator of the universe is whispering something to me but it comes in the forms of cool air in the mornings as I open the back hatch. Or the beauty that encapsulates me as I drive through Yosemite Valley with the windows down. The Author of this place is asking, no begging us to just stop and look. Be present. Take a deep breath and let it all in. I could go on for days and get MEGA deep about it all but I'll save that for anyone who's actually interested. I've learned that even though the idea might seem complex or take a little more effort, the reward is great. 

Now, I'm guessing some of you are still waiting for some of those questions to be answered so here ya go: Showers. You get'em when you can. Campsites, friends houses, rivers, oceans, water bottles - get creative with it.  I shower WAY less - but hey... California is in a drought and showers are overrated anyway. Bathroom. They're everywhere so I'm not sure why this question is asked so often. I guess you learn to be sneaky in more public places. I have yet to get ticketed for public indecency so I think I'm doing alright. Though, I do have a gnarly food poisoning story that is coming soon... don't you worry. Getting caught. Most of the time National Parks are more prone to catch car sleepers, which is kind of funny because they can just tell those cars from the rest. Most of the time they'll ask you to leave. I have yet to get caught in the middle of the night but I'm betting it'll happen soon. If you have more questions I'd love to answer. 

All of this to say... I hope you get to try it sometime, free of all distractions. Maybe not abandon shop and move in permanently but maybe try it off and on - weekend warrior status.  I urge you to tap into that. Our society has us rushing from one place to the next, iphones in hand and a million things to do in our heads. We stare at our feet as we walk from place to place or honk at the person in front of us who seems like they're the ONLY one on the road and they just don't care about your whatever... you get the point. This transition has taught me about what can be really valuable and that material things REALLY don't matter... really. It's times around the campfire that I notice the change the most. I kind of sit back out of the conversation, look up at the stars and then look around at all the faces I see being lit up by the slow burning flames. These are the moments we're meant to take captive. Listening to stories, hearing people. Intentional living with nothing else in front of us but the beauty and the people that make it possible. Currently I am taking a break from the car life due to regular season transitions but I'm looking forward to moving back into my house on wheels in the Spring. 

Thanks for reading friends. 

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