Saturday, 15 December 2018

Discussion Time - Van life Philosophy

My recent article on 'why real work pays', lead on to this fruitful sit-down discussion with DT Moran about van life, the possibilities, and the philosophical connotations in general..

HH: Did it make you think?

DT: I think it was good as it made it more attainable to a lot of people.

HH: I'm listening..

DT: They just have to let go of the shackles of consumerism and materialism..

HH: Yes

DT: ..especially for those who don't have the obvious skills, thinking they're all going to be a top YouTuber or IT mobile specialist.

HH: Yes, good point; you can just be a grafter and do it.

DT: but very good perspective on work politics/relationships as well as its a lot easier to stomach things when we only have to put up with things for a short while.

HH: Yup

DT: I think everyone thinks you go off into the sunset, and travel for this indefinite period, and then you can't go back.. Whereas you can clearly straddle two lifestyles, and enjoy the best of both worlds.

HH: Yes I'm trying to dispel myths and make it an achievable reality.

DT: ..and it's still your world anyway, because although you are semi-permanent - you're still living in your van and being you.. as are Dan and Abi and more people these days.

HH: That's right DT, they are.. I'm just beginning to put my philosophy down on paper and digital media so that people can reflect on it and how it might apply to them, or not.. actually.. there are enough people out here already doing it.

DT: It's not all about going off into the sunset.. it's freedom when you want it, and still doing the day to day - earning a living etc, bringing up families.

HH: Yes

DT: .. ..but that's a big gap to bridge for a lot..

HH: There is no sunset to disappear into.

DT: Exactly.

HH: Just the cold reality of daily life, and in a van that can seem like an ideal for some people. When in reality it can be a challenge not knowing where you will sleep and when you'll next talk to someone..

DT: You can't run away from life, you just find your own way to live it so it works for you.

HH: It takes a certain attitude to make it work, but that same attitude is what's required in any life.. Not just in a van.. It's another way of life with its positives and negatives.

DT: I think a lot see it through 'rose tinted glasses' as well, and there are obviously bad experiences as well as the hard work making it work.. An escape route. So you need to reflect on all the good and bad experiences, then you can be realistic in your expectations when you do it.. what you really want out of it, why you are doing it etc

HH: That's true, I think, fundamentally, it's about attitude in life.. I went into it as 'rose tinted' as the next person, but learned how to live, and how to be me through the experiences I've had..

DT: There are travellers, people who just want to feel they own their own homes, whatever the reason, it's valid for them.

HH: The sunshine helps a lot though - I cannot deny that living in the sun does keep things positive.

DT: Away from all the gypsy/hippy pretentious bullshit.

HH: Well I'm not on Instagram myself 😏.. I don't want to criticise anyone putting up idealistic images there, with cushions outside and Indian bedspreads hanging up etc.. I've done it myself too when entertaining, but it can be part of creating an image or illusion that's not always true in the lifestyle.

DT: ..because there are always the clique groups as well in every walk of life, work/personal etc.

HH: They crop up in all human forms of expression. In fact these sub-cultures are nothing other than a natural expression of humanity, creativity in essence, so there's no reason to criticise them.. It's natural to copy and mimic a peer group to gain a sense of belonging and bond with a group of like minded individuals.

DT: I know, it's just interesting to watch people playing at it.. I prefer genuine people who just be who they are.

HH: ..and it can be even more interesting to watch oneself playing at it as you say, in the outer social world, and constantly in our own heads 😂
DT: I accept all walks of life, so you don't have to be something you're not for me to like you.. i.e. 'Not you'

HH: Maybe genuineness comes from an awareness of the whole dance going on in our heads.. and you connect with what you really are, beneath all that trying to appear a certain way. Does it ever really go away? There's a question.. I don't know, I suspect not.

DT: Well we are all chameleons really.

HH: Maybe it's taken less seriously, and we can laugh at ourselves.

DT: As you said the other day, we are aware people treat us differently - the way you dress, my accent etc.. Your accent as well 😂

HH: Like it's genuinely fun to mock someone based on cultural stereotypes like the Yorkshire lass etc.. It's a laugh and it makes you feel good and lighthearted despite being a pretty basic form of humour.. but that's not the point. It's a way to connect. What's this discussion about? I've forgotten 😂

DT: It is, and when you've lived in different places like we have - you see people treat you differently depending on social status etc.. it amuses me and I often play to that.

HH: Mmmm hmmm.. Exactly, it's a fun way to play a game with it when we don't take it too seriously as an identity.. Though in part it is a part of who we are. It's nice to be able to bridge some of those gaps and be able to get along with people in different makes of vans, that aren't Toyota, or even Japanese 😏

DT: It makes you realise all the more, it doesn't matter.. It's just people's obsession with status and power.

HH: 😂

DT: 😂

HH: They seem to be powerful forces in the world and I think they always will be.

DT: That was another point in your article, bringing it back then.

HH: But some will not be so caught up in it all

DT: You made a good argument for your formulae

HH: Thanks DT.. I'm just sharing, not trying to convert anyone 😄

DT: but a lot of people wouldn't do it because when you get to our age they are obsessed with status in work, and it matters to them.. so that in itself is holding them back.

HH: That's true.. I think, how it applies to life in general is the most important thing. For some their sense of personal worth or value is so caught up in it that they will take their own life in extreme cases if it's lost. So there is real power in these beliefs.

DT: It takes a lot to bring it all back to basics and say these things no longer matter in order to achieve that goal. (van life)   Not everyone can just do what it takes like you have and just go for it.

HH: but we know that it's the attachment to self-concepts that can bring the most suffering and pain to a person - that's Buddhism 101.

DT: but it's very hard for people to let go of that.

HH: Nods, I should have another beer.

DT: So your article was very enlightening because a lot ask the question, but you don't really get honest answers on the forums from people.

DT Moran is a Hiace Camper owner, mother, and community worker, she is also currently studying toward her PHd in Van Life Philosophy, at the Hiace Hobo international School of Van Life, but more importantly.. out there in her van!

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