Freedom Road


My fingers ache from the cold, but the sun is cutting through the mist and warming them.

I sit lakeside, the thick fog is moving quickly across the water revealing the bald and grey mountain peak on the other side. It first slips its head through, then shows it's full majestic presence. Green pines across the lake slope toward the mountain. The sun hits my face like a warm pillow. The water is glass, cut only by the few birds moving across it's width. I sit outside, at an empty picnic table, the cool breeze crisp against my face.

Being outdoors makes one aware of time. The dim light and cold indicates morning, while evenings hold some of the day's heat when the sun falls behind the mountains. One becomes more aware of where the sun sits at different times during the day. Perhaps, in time, I'll not need a watch but will instinctually know the time by the position of the golden disk in the sky.

Being on the road, creating one's own schedule (or falling into one), following the pattern of the day's natural rise and fall unlocks a feeling of freedom. A freedom we each have access to but often relinquish to the artificial patterns we adopt by default. Living in the van, on the road, is an attempt to heighten awareness. Then to remain aware. It is an attempt to take back what I continually give up when I fall into habits encouraged by a life that is too easy, too comfortable. Thus far there is more "downtime", less busyness, but productivity hasn't waned. I get done what needs getting done and have more time and energy to put into the things I believe I need to do.

“Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing. Strong and content I travel the open road.” — Walt Whitman

I'm focused again on writing. Writing anything, even if for a short period in the morning to build the habit. Without the distraction of ease (television, internet, cafes, busy work) to compete with my creative time I find myself being more of what I intend to be. Ideas proliferate, gratitude increases exponentially, creativity blossoms. This is what I desire of an essential and vital life. This is what the road currently allows me.

Is it the road? Or is it choosing to live outside the norm, beyond the distractions, taking the less beaten path with more intent and focus on the fewer things that matter? Perhaps this is how we are intended to live. It feels right to me.

This is the dirty good life.

— Paul