5 Tips to Surviving Your Dreams When They Become Reality
Oct 10, 2018 | By: Tanya Boggs
My story and analogy may be different than yours, but I think these tips are pretty universal and can be applied in SO MANY ways. I'd love to hear your thoughts at the end.
I have spent the better part of two years setting up my life so that I could travel, work and live in a van (at least part-time). After being delayed at least six months, this past summer I was finally able to hit the road. The Van 2.0 build was not complete, and I had not made the time to market or set up appointments so I could work. But in spite of those potential barriers that could have held me back I was able to hit the road. This is how I managed to finally pull out of the driveway!
Perfectionism Keeps You Stuck
The van (I have named her Moxie), was no where near completion during the early spring. My frustration with the never ending set backs and the inability to find people I could hire to help, lead me to embrace this idea of PROGRESS over PERFECTION! My husband encouraged me to get it ready enough so that I could literally move forward. That shift in my perspective was just what I needed to let go of all the things that I was allowing to hold me back.
I knew I couldn’t build the kitchen area of my dreams, but I could definitely pull off a functional space to cook with some storage. I knew I probably wouldn’t get my solar power hooked up, but a friend offered to help me at least run 110 power that would allow me to borrow power from another source if needed. I could survive with a cooler even thought the idea of emptying a cooler every couple days, and the need to always buy ice and have soggy food left something to be desired. BUT my desire to travel was bigger!
Tip #1: Choose Progress over Perfection! It will get you where you’re going sooner, and teach you more about where you really want to end up.
Test Drive your Dream
The other concept I began to embrace was that I needed to travel in it for awhile to fully understand how to best utilize the space before making final decisions. It would be crazy to sink more effort and more money into this project without knowing exactly how to make the layout and storage the most functional for ME! I began taking local weekend trips and ironing out what I needed. That's how I discovered a plastic table was not going to work as a temporary kitchen counter. Test driving your ideas is a great way to stay focused on the Progress and takes away the drive for Perfection because you begin to see the journey as a work in Progress. Just the act of going through the process teaches us SO MUCH about who we are, what we want, and whats really important!
Thanks to some secondhand purchases and a formica counter, I outfitted a temporary “kitchen” counter with a few cabinets below. And just a couple weeks before I was scheduled to leave, I discovered that a friend of ours knew all about running solar power and was willing to help me install the solar kit I had purchased on sale almost a year before. He agreed that a cooler was a pain in the arse, and he sent me off with a list of the missing pieces I needed for the installation. And my luck kept coming when just days before my adventure began I found a used 12v refrigerator on Craigslist that fit perfectly in the 15 inch space I had. So as I rolled out of town, I drove a couple hours out of my way to help me be more prepared than I had originally anticipated. Whoo Hoo!
Tip #2: Test Drive Your Dream. Some last minute tweaks the morning I left, and Moxie was ready for her perfectly imperfect maiden voyage!
The Learning Curve
So I was off and rolling! This dream had finally gotten out of the driveway. Day one was looong because I went out of my way to get the fridge, but that’s also what made it a great day! Day two I spent in Nashville with an old friend. And days 3-5 I cranked out the miles to get to Denver on time! I was headed to Outdoor Retailers Expo for the second time. Which is a little poetic since my original plan was to do my first trip with Moxie in January when I went to Outdoor Retailers the first time. (Yes, there is a blog on the horizon about OR coming up next week.)
Tip #3: There is a Learning Curve. Be prepared for being UNPREPARED! You can’t plan for everything and you have no idea what lessons are in store.
Days 6-8 I spent in Denver, CO at which point I was feeling overwhelmed and not quite so thrilled with this new Vanlife. I did NOT envision a life spent sleeping in Walmart parking lots, or waking up in a cement jungle, and trying to figure out how to hide myself somewhere in plain site in a neighborhood. No one had knocked on my door to make me move, but each night I worried a little. And every morning I was making coffee in the dark trying not to make a peep. Don’t slam the doors too hard. Don’t let them see you get in and out with the dog. Don’t let them see that there’s a bed in there. My dream had turned into a stressful nightmare.
Learn to PIVOT and Say Yes to Opportunities
The great news is I was just a short distance from the Rocky Mountains and a two hour drive from my old stomping grounds up in the Vail Valley. And I swore to myself, I was NOT going to hide anymore! It’s one thing to choose to make good time to get somewhere and roll up in a parking lot to make life easy and get some sleep. But it’s something else entirely to feel like you're hiding day in and day out.
At the OR Expo I heard about a Vanlife Gathering happening that upcoming weekend which was a short distance from where I was heading to next. So of course I signed up and was thrilled about the opportunity of adventure, meeting new people and being out in nature! Finally!
Tip #4: Be ready to PIVOT! Sometimes you have to shift your course a bit to get closer to where you want to go. Continue adjusting your aim as you try to hit the target.
Make Fun a Priority on the Journey
I rolled up to the mountains to see a friend and had a spontaneous weekend of fun ahead. My friend kindly offered to let me stay with her. But I explained why I wanted to just stay in the van. Although she offered up her driveway, I politely refused and told her I’d see her in the morning for coffee, but I was ready to wake up with a view, preferable next to the river.
That was the day everything shifted! And not a moment too soon!
Tip #5: Make sure that having fun is a priority. Because it’s SO important to ENJOY the journey! The adventure begins when the unexpected arrives.
More adventure posts coming soon. In the meantime here are my takeaways:
Progress vs. Perfection will get you where you’re going sooner, and teach you more.
Test Drive your ideas as you move forward. This way you can work the kinks out as you go.
The Learning Curve: Be prepared for being unprepared! You can’t plan for everything and you have no idea what lessons are in store.
Be ready to PIVOT! Sometimes you have to shift your course a bit to get closer to where you want to go. Continue adjusting your aim as you try to hit the target.
Make sure that having fun is a priority. Because it’s important to enjoy the journey! The adventure begins when the unexpected arrives.
Have you ever had that moment when your dreams weren’t so dreamy? Share in the comments below!