For my wife Pauline and I the 2016 presidential election lit a fire under our asses. We’d been dreaming for years of going on an epic road trip in a camper van, but there was always a reason why it wasn’t the right time: we loved our jobs, we didn’t have the money, it was too scary, there was too much to plan.
Then, Trump won the election and suddenly I was more terrified of staying than I was of leaving. As it is for many sexual assault/abuse survivors, just hearing Trump’s voice is a major trigger for me—bringing panic and IBS and loads of other issues associated with my childhood sexual abuse.
I wanted to be able to participate in the resistance, but I knew I couldn’t do that if I wasn’t healthy myself. This quote by Audre Lourde sums up my frame of mind right now: “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
The first step on that path for me was to completely disconnect from Facebook and all news sources through November and December. I ditched my bra, knit a pink, sparkly pussy hat and marched with 100,000 other proponents of revolutionary love in the rain-soaked Women’s March on Portland.
Next, we started to plan something good that we hoped would not only nourish us, but also bring more love into the world: we were finally going to take that trip. We decided to rent our house out for a year and travel the US; Baja, Mexico; and Canada. Our goals: connect authentically with people from different cultures (including in our own country), visit loved ones, spend lots of time in nature, see as many national parks as possible, stay active, cook/eat healthy food and push ourselves to experience as many new things as possible.
Less than one week after the election we sold our car and bought a van. I taught myself how to trick it out and by the end of January it was a sweet little house on wheels (so proud of myself!) On Saturday, February 22nd, we hit the road. We have a very loose itinerary with one rule: listen to our guts and stay or go when it feels right. Our only responsibilities are to take care of each other. As a parentified child, I’ve never in my life had zero responsibilities, so this piece is a gift to myself.
We brought our pet menagerie with us: a 17-year old, 6 lb female cat named Fanny; a 10-year old sheltie named Winky (huge Harry Potter fan here) and a 17-year old dachshund/Chihuahua mix named Vivienne. Our friend Noah coined the hashtag #4bs1p (4 bitches and a pussy) and we christened our van Vaga (as in, the vag-mobile).
After a little over a week we’ve seen: Joshua Tree National Park; the Mojave Desert National Preserve; Harry Potter’s Wizarding World; drove the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to San Diego; and camped on the beach in San Felipe, Santa Rosalillita and Guerrero Negro in Baja California, Mexico.
This morning I kayaked around a shorebird sanctuary and saw little blue herons, egrets, tri-colored herons, long-billed dowitchers, yellow-crowned night herons and many more beautiful birds. A dolphin swam less than 20 feet from shore while I ate my eggs. A life-long night-person, since day three I’ve been waking up daily before the sunrise and falling asleep soon after the sunset.
The Love Van Peace North American Tour has officially begun. #lovevanpeace #vanlife #4bs1p follow us on Instagram @jumpin.live