I’d like to introduce you all to Billie, the van. Billie is basically my new found child. I talk about her like she is at least and always call her by things that make it seem like I am talking about a human — but no she’s a van. Sorry about it.
I know I have been posting about this for awhile, little things here and there but I want to truly let you guys in on this and tell you everything.
Here’s the back story to this new found adventure that I am about to go on and that I am about to document so that all y’all can be apart of it as much as possible. Yay, how freaking exciting! Can I ask you a favor? To keep the movement moving and move with me — literally and figuratively. Pretty please with sprinkles on top (because I don’t like cherries). Whether you doing this means following along on social media (@livinthedreamthemovement), reading my blog posts because I am going to get real consistent here (me holding myself accountable), watching my crazy videos of adventure or even flying somewhere to meet Billie and I when we’re on the road. Do it (please).
On June 24th 2018 I got a reality check. The reality check I needed. The fuel to put a little bit of fire under my ass. I wrote a little about this in my last blog post about “being better” but this was the inspiration behind it. The weekend of the 24th I spoke at a conference in Tucson, Arizona (thanks Sam) and was floored by all the solidifying moments I had this weekend. The other change makers I met, the stories I heard, the students that inspired, and the relationships that started.
I had the chance to meet Mike Smith, a badass speaker who is relentlessly him and I love that shit. He sat me down at Starbucks over some coffee and shared many insights. He asked a ton of questions about how I live, what I want and where I want to go. Eventually I told him that I wanted to buy an airstream and travel in it doing a book tour and speaking tour (the dream is so real). I have been “talking” about this for awhile now but never really believed it was tangible or that it wasn’t the right time because … excuse after excuse.
After I said this he goes “Finally!!! I have been trying to figure out for the last hour and a half!” I smiled and got nervous all at once. He said “Okay, let me get this straight.” I had instant nerves because I knew shit was about to get real. “You talk about livin’ the dream. You tell people how to live the dream, but you’re not living yours?!” I looked at him like my brain had just exploded and went “Yeah … basically. That’s exactly right. Shit, I am a talker not a doer!” and he said “You said it not me” and smiled. His big thing is that there are three types of people in this world — wishers, talkers and doers. After hearing his speech that day and then having this conversation it all became very full circle for me.
This is a conversation I will never forget because it was the first time someone held me accountable for my own dreams. I hold people accountable all day long but never looked from the outside in on my own life. Damn. He asked me why I didn’t already have a van. “You don’t have debt. You’re single. You’re 26. No kids. Not pets. It’s literally just you and your dreams. You have so much time for the other things.” Basically from that moment on I was so bought into van life and all the fears, worries and risks that came along with it (I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any).
I had a 6 hour drive back to Vegas after this conversation and was so inspired. Mike told me that he could tell I was on a high after that conversation and not to lose it. Which meant — don’t talk about it to people that are going to make you lose that high. With that said, I kept it to myself for a little bit around certain people and started doing my research on how to make this actually happen. To prepare myself for the many conversations I would have with people that didn’t necessarily agree with this decision. To prepare myself for the many questions I had about van life and others would have.
When I said those three scary little words — risk, fear and worry … this is what I am talking about.
The risk of investing so much money into something like this. A van is not cheap and I am a saver beyond belief. Always have been and thought I always would be but damn being a passionate entrepreneur says otherwise. I prided myself on quitting my salary job in November in order to fulfill my dream and that was hard enough to not have that consistency. Not have that flow of money going into a savings account, or in my checking for that matter. My motto at the time though was to sink or swim (ask my friends they heard it every other day) and it was to reassure myself what I was doing was okay. That it was worth it. But to not know how long my savings would last or when my business would start making money was scary but I am happier because of it.
As a business owner you have to take another risk. That real money risk that takes your business to the next level. My business risk looks a lot different than others … it’s not a store front, paying a ton of employees (buttttttttt I am feeling the need for a team very soon. Interns anyone?), it’s not paying for a bunch of equipment, or a ton of inventory. It’s a van and taking my mission very seriously. To become a minimalist. To do something most people would never do. To break societies norms and not live in a house but on wheels. This is my risk, my many risks.
When you’re ready to risk it all. That money risk. When you look at money vs. time, to me time always wins. We can’t bring the money with us but at the same time we need it to live in the now. I feel the struggle. But if time wins, that means we can bring with us, the experience. The time spent doing the things we love. Doing the things that scare us to pieces. So here I am with my first adult purchase — a house and a car all in one. Yikes, here goes nothing.
Then there’s fear. The fear of telling my mom. Quite honestly I wasn’t going to tell her until after I bought the van because I had made up my mind and didn’t want to get “mom’d” … but eventually caved because a.) she knows me best and knew something was up and b.) I deserve to get “mom’d” by my own mother and c) expectation vs. reality means it took waaaay longer to find a van than I expected and those that know me know I can not lie or keep a secret to save my life especially one as exciting as this. She isn’t fully in love with this idea ( sorry mom) but also isn’t surprised by it. She supports the decision regardless even though she is worried about it (a ton). God love her because I am her current crazy child and she loves me unconditionally anyway. I lucked out in the mom department. She never told me I was dumb, she never even said out loud that I am crazy. She just put it all out on the table so I could consider all my options. I appreciate her even though those worries and ideas she threw at me made me cry sometimes.
Finally the worry. The worry of this working out. Can I make it work? Will I have people to talk to? Will people help this movement move? Am I going to fail and end up embarrassed that I thought this could work out? How lonely am I going to get? Am I going to make money while on the road — because uh bills?
All in all … the risk, fear and worry was worth it to me. Which is why you are here reading this blog of me introducing you to my shag wagon. Don’t get me wrong those three very scary words, they are all still very real emotions, even after the purchase. But on September 6th, 2018 Billie became mine. Yippy, dancing on cloud nine, terrified, tears, butterflies, all the freaking feels you guys!
People ask a lot of questions about this. Van life? This is a thing? YESSS and a ton of people are going it! I have noticed many people ask these questions because they think it’s crazy and they think I am unprepared for what’s next. Many times though I feel like it doesn’t come out of a place of love it comes out of a place arrogance. “Alexa are you serious? You must be crazy. Where do you plan on parking? Showering? Eating? You actually are going to live in this thing? and alone as a female … Aren’t you scared? What if a, b or c happens? Where are you going to go? Do you have a plan?” blah blah blah …
First, I have done my research and continue to do so. Secondly, I am serious. Very serious. Thirdly, I am crazy and I am okay with it. Parking? It’s called campsites, rest stops, Walmart parking lots and any other place that it is legal to park and probably some places that aren’t legal to park but I can’t resist the beauty of the location. Showering? Again, planet fitness memberships, truck stops, campsites, friends and families houses, and honestly the river in a random national park. Maybe some baby wipes at times too … Eating? I am going to have a refrigerator, stove and sink in my van that’s how. Scared? Duh. If a, b, or c happens? I’ll figure it out, we always do. Where to go? Everywhere. I want to see everything. A plan? ha I wish but nah.
For those of you that worry, you’re allowed, just do it in a way that isn’t belittling someones mission. I worry too. It’s the tone in your voice and the looks you may give. It’s having a conversation with someone and not talking at them.
Then you have the people who don’t care about those questions. They still worry about me, trust me but … They support full heartedly. THANK YOU. They know it’s crazy and they love it. They know this is an Alexa move and they ask the right questions. “When are you starting? Where is the first place you want to go? When you’re here can I meet up with you?” Then they follow it up with “Wow Alexa you are about to change so much as a human I can’t wait to watch this unfold. You’re going to meet so many amazing people and hear amazing stories. This is your mission and you’re actually doing it. Your movement is about to actually move and I couldn’t be more pumped for you!”
I get it though we worry about people. People that we care about. People that do crazy things. People who do things that aren’t the social norm.
I challenge you to do something that scares you this week. Something a little risky. Something that you may fear a little. Something that brings about some worry. These feelings are healthy it means you care.
Let me know what you’re thinking. Let me, help you, hold you accountable.