Lee Eel Eisler
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone: Take A Risk - Van Life
Updated: Aug 8, 2018
In order to grow you must step outside your comfort zone. I'm sure you've heard it before but that simple sentence is something I am always telling myself. In order to grow you must step outside your comfort zone. When you are trying something new for the first time you are likely to feel awkward and uncomfortable.
To be within your comfort zone is exactly what it sounds like. It is when you're comfortable. You are not scared. Most importantly you feel safe. Each and every person has a different sense of a comfort zone. Everyones experiences are different.
Stepping outside your comfort zone is a scary thing...but...it's good to be uncomfortable. That's right. It is good to be uncomfortable because when you are feeling uncomfortable and awkward that is when you are growing.
Moving into a van caused a great amount of discomfort but offered a ton of freedom. The freedom factor far outweighed the discomfort factor. I had so much freedom at first it was overwhelming trying to decide what to do with my time. I was waking up earlier going to sleep earlier. My schedule morphed to be more in sync with the rising and setting of the sun. Suddenly I felt like I had so much time during the day. I would go do something. Finish the activity or get bored and ask myself "What's next?" I was outside doing things I wanted all day.
So how can living in a van be a huge step outside ones comfort zone? I mean, most of it is obvious. You are giving up comforts we have been conditioned to think we need. Also you are going to have to give up most of your belongings. You are going to have figure out how to live again but in a more primitive way. How do you cook without a kitchen? No running water? How to use the bathroom? Brushing your teeth? Simple things you have to refigure out how to make it work in a van.
After all van life ultimately is a trade off of comfort vs. freedom.
Everyone's transition is different because every van is different. Different amounts of comforts. Some van dwellers might fully build out their vans before living in it so they might have it already somewhat figured out. Some might just jump into it full dirtbag style. Some might be forced into the lifestyle because they lost everything.
When I first made the decision to move into a van it was a very exciting idea but in a way it was also a bit scary.
I started out with a van I got for $1500 and it had nothing in it but the 2 front seats and the vintage headboard and lights. It was a blank slate. I got a bed figured out, a second battery and a battery isolator and jumped into van life dirtbag style. I didn't even have a stove at first so I was eating out a lot which is unsustainable but I still had my full time job at the time. I didn't really have a whole lot of experience with camping and stuff. I was stuck in the rat race still but making my escape. I was leaping outside my comfort zone.
Ever since then I realized living in a van can be as adventurous as you want to make it. You can also make it as unadventurous as you want to make it. I have met so many people who live in vehicles with such different lifestyles. Some people live in one city and get into a routine. Some people wake up in a new place every day!
I have now been living in a van for 3 years and in those 3 years I have grown so much and changed so much. Van life almost forces you to live outside your comfort zone. Not just in a small way but in big ways again and again and again. Every day can be a new adventure. You can pick up and move at any time. You have ever changing neighbors and environments.
Now at this point of my life I couldn't see living in anything more then a van. What was so uncomfortable to me at first is now extremely comfortable and actually spending time inside in a house makes me really uncomfortable. Strange how that works. All the rules associated and the confinement. Also the people who you would have to call your neighbors!
What I realized is the environments you live in, work in and play in can help promote growth or keep you from growing. This goes back to the saying in order to grow you must step outside your comfort zone. Are the environments you live, work and play in promoting growth or holding you back from growing???
Embracing discomfort seems like a strange idea. Here's a cool quote I heard that I want to leave you all with. "Your own willingness to accept or seek discomfort that will dictate the growth of not just you but our entire world" - Bill Eckstrom
I would tell anyone thinking about living in a van to just do it!
Like this post? Check out another one of my favorites: Houseless Not Homeless