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Searching Desperately for Some Sanity

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Our little group of Vandwellers, finding Sanity, in an Insane World

Last Sunday, Suanne joined our merry little group of vandwellers, bringing our current total to 7 people and 4 dogs (can’t leave them out!). To celebrate Cheri and I put on a spaghetti feed. I made the sauce, boiled the noodles, and she did everything else. The advantage of being a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother is you have had lots of time to learn how to be a great cook. One advantage of falling in love with a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother is you get to eat their wonderful cooking! Another advantage is when you say, “Hey let’s feed the group because Suanne is here!”, she says “Sure, no problem!” That woman has a heart of gold and would do anything for anybody. Hard to understand why she is with me! She makes me a better man.
When you think of people living in their vans in the woods, your first thought is of crazy people with a mental illness. I know you are objecting to that, but come on, it’s true. Vandwellers are associated with those people. Hopefully, since you are reading this you know that stereotype isn’t true. The odd thing is just how social and “normal” our little group is. We entertain guests, gather for meals and live amazing, healthy lives. Just because we are all sick of the rat race and have decided to follow the beat of a different drummer doesn’t make us crazy. Just the opposite, I think it makes us the sane ones in an insane world.

“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.” . ~Morrie Schwartz

Speaking for myself, I don’t buy into our culture. Working like a slave until I am old and then trying to cram a lifetime of happiness into those few, brief years of retirement is about the most insane thing I have ever heard of.

 “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”   ~Henry David Thoreau

Like Thoreau, our little group has gone to the woods to live deliberately, to learn what life really wants to teach us. To actually be happy!
One of my primary  goals in my book, websites, the forum and this blog is to change people’s perceptions of us. It’s my hope that when people think of vandwellers, they won’t think of crazy Viet Nam vets who can’t function in society, but they will think of Thoreau at Walden Pond. It’s my dream that every one of my readers will find Thoreau’s kind of insanity deep in your hearts and minds. And then take real physical action to make it come true. Bob


  1. Brian

    Dang it! I wish I was there…you guys have fun now….

    • Bob

      Brian, Wish you were too! Bob

  2. Larry

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Bob

      Thanks for your kind words Larry. Bob

  3. Nemo

    Ditto, wish I was there!

    • Bob

      Its a lot cooler here than in AZ, why aren’t you here?

  4. Suanne

    Being up here with you all does wonders for my soul. And it was so kind of you and Cheri to host the spaghetti feed … including Bob’s old family sauce recipe 🙂 and Trish’s yummy fruit salad. I love reconnecting with you all, as well as meeting new members of the tribe. And, Bri and Steve, sure wish you both were here too!

    • Bob

      Suanne, we loved having you! You know you are always welcome in our camp. (Shhhh, we don’t want to give away the old family recipe!) Bob

  5. CAE

    Life without freedom is all appetite and no taste.

    • Bob

      Very well said, I couldn’t agree more!! Bob

  6. Kitty

    Wish I could join the January gathering. Can’t afford it right now. Keep having fun!

    • Bob

      Kitty, very sorry to hear you can’t come, the economy is hurting everybody! . Have you thought about flying in? Air fare is much less than gas. I have a spare tent and sleeping pad you can use. Bob

      • kitty

        Dear Bob, Thank you for the offer, but I can not leave my van. I live in it with my 7 cats. When I say I can not afford it, I really mean that. Living VERY tight to the bone. Thank you for all your good advice, and for having a friendly place for other like minded folks to share their thoughts. 🙂

        • Bob

          I understand about the cats Kitty. Our furry kids give us so much but they also can make life more difficult. We can’t just jump up and go whenever we want, we have to plan for them. i also understand being broke, been there, done that. Hopefully one of these days our paths will cross! Bob

  7. maxime

    Hi bob,
    keep the good work ! I do really like when you post photos of your campsites and installations… it give me good way to see what kind of living that we can expect from a vandweller perspective…
    thank you very much, hope to see you at a rubber rendez-vous some day !

    • Bob

      Maxime, I’m glad you like the photos. The Sierras are such a pretty area, I’m afraid the photos don’t do it justice. For 6 years I lived as a city vandweller because I needed to work and be bear my kids. But now I have a pension and my kids are grown up and out of the house, so I can live anywhere I want. I MUCH PREFER LIVING ON PUBLIC LAND! It’s not for everybody, but I love waking up in a beautiful National Forest or BLM desert land everyday. I can’t imagine how my life could be any better. Bob

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