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John and Mandi

us --> van --> overland
7 yrs and 6 days - end of the road

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Freaking the Freak Out

Nov 11, 2014
by John

In less than two weeks our house sale will be finalized. We've been living in an in-between state for so long it hasn't really sunken in. Just before we put our house on the market we moved into the living room, partly due to the unexpected sale of our bedroom set. Our house is a small 3/1, 900ish square feet, and we no longer use any of the bedrooms besides random stuff storage (i.e., van build parts and kayaks). Realistically, we've been using around 500 square feet and much of it is just space, the jack-knife sofa is in the middle of the dining room and the stuff we are keeping is in stacked bins.

Our little house that will soon have a wonderful new owner

Our little house that will soon have a wonderful new owner

Stuff to keep, stuff to sell and stuff to install in the van

Stuff to keep, stuff to sell and stuff to install in the van

I'm a planner, a scheduler, and an unfortunate task master. Needless to say, over the last few weeks I've just freaked the eff out. The van is nowhere near completion, we had to strip her to fix all of the undisclosed issues, so we are essentially where we thought we were when we bought her. I can't handle dishes in the sink so living with parts everywhere has tested my mental fortitude. I'm a compulsive neat freak and somehow I haven't murdered anyone, not that my conscious knows of anyway. Instead, I got sick and had to just let things be.

Poor Mandi must think I'm Dr. Psycho and Mr. Sociopath. When things aren't as disheveled I'm sure I'm still just a nutzoid, but it's easier for me to focus on the obvious tasks that I need to get done. This no man's ever gonna really own land has me...confused. Things haven't gotten done and the sky is still standing, the world's still spinning and life is pretty good. We're running out of time to finish the van and I'm not worried. I must still have a fever or something.

Freaking out is just a moment where I need to think everything through before plotting a course. Instead of getting overwhelmed, well staying overwhelmed, I'm usually able to just start picking away at things until it's a bit more manageable. Our impending limbo is different though. We're deep into the final troughs of our countdown with definite deliverables and I'm just waiting to close the door on a big piece, the house. Moving out and making sure the house is in tip top is a sizable list but completing the van is monumental. Is the big freakout to come once we sign the papers and I can move my focus back to the van?

I know there will be mini freakout moments, sorry my love, but right now I feel getting back to the build will be a welcomed comfort. We've both questioned the sanity of building our own camper van, there is none - absolutely none, but doing it ourselves is rewarding. Everything that works and everything that sucks will be entirely on us. We'll have several years to reflect back and hopefully many laughs over the boneheaded decisions we have and will make.

A little van layout therapy before heading off to storage

A little van layout therapy before heading off to storage

I've read that a trip like ours is about the journey and not the destination. Something we will experience but a mind frame I'm working to embrace now. That might not be the smartest thing for a high strung psycho nut job (functioning sociopath) to do but it makes me feel good. It'll be what it'll be and that's OK. Making our date is important for many reasons but the work to get there will be one hell of a time. I'm excited as selling the house is a big step, completing the van will be the next one. Following Bob, it'll be a series of baby steps to the finish line.

I keep singing "it's the final countdown", just that line since it's all I know, as it's the truth and an inspiration. We are moving ever so close to our goal of launching, the most wonderful and frightening thing we have ever done. Self liberation, an experiment in living, our next self-realization. Facing an opportunity so great, it's easy to remind myself to be calm, as the final step to this new beginning will be nothing like we have ever known.

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Say what? (9)
Nov 11, 2014 at 06:04 PM
You'll be fine dude. Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it. Hang in there Mandi! :)
Nov 11, 2014 at 07:01 PM
Thanks Eric. Just thought I'd share the other side of preparing for an epic trip, not all touch downs and Super Bowl rings. If we get stuck you'll be the first to know.
Nov 12, 2014 at 09:32 AM
It's all coming together now! At least the hardest part (making the decision to go) is done! Make sure to slow down and enjoy this time as much as the time on the road... it's not every day you quit your jobs, sell your house, and prep your van to live in ;) Can't wait to follow along with the rest of your adventure!
Nov 12, 2014 at 09:59 AM
Will do Richard! You and Ashley ( are big inspirations. Doing it twice is hardcore, you crazy Canucks! We're eagerly waiting for your second phase to begin, it'll be a good cheat sheet for us.
Nov 12, 2014 at 09:52 AM
You are definitely already on the journey...being forced outside of our comfort zone and freaking out a little helps us grow and become more wholesome. We wince and bare thru it to come out the other side, even more badass than we started.

Don't sweat too much about the van. No matter what it will never be finished and after a few months you'll want to redesign it anyways. When you guys get to NC again, we can always take care of a few more items in the in-law's workshop. Looking forward to seeing you guys again soon!
Nov 12, 2014 at 10:12 AM
Funny you say that Brenton. When we placed the couch into the van to get it to storage we accidentally figured out we didn't need to remove the legs and build our own mounting system. We moved it all around because we have a funny feeling that we will want to change things sometime down the road. It fits both parallel and perpendicular, sweet! Most of our build will be modular, just in case.

Likewise, it sucks being several states away! We will definitely make it back to your neck of the woods and I'm sure your skills and knowledge will be needed. Mandi wouldn't mind some baby time either ; ) Until then...
Nov 12, 2014 at 10:51 AM
so excited for you! Can't wait to follow your adventure!!
Nov 12, 2014 at 11:49 AM
Thanks Mike. When the van is closer to being camp friendly we'll need to meet up. We can't live about 5-6 hours from each other and never get together. Plus, I'm a single malt guy!
Nov 13, 2014 at 02:31 PM
Sounds good to me!
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