The Vandwelling Dream

Readers! So much has happened/is always happening; sometimes the constantly-forking nature of my life (all our lives?) baffles me. Currently I’m dogsitting in a beautiful house way up on a hilltop in Southern Oregon. This morning I ran in the cold and the smell of the ponderosa pines and the sun came out with its long bright bands and spread over the bunchgrass and everything felt new in that impossible way that is sometimes does, and I was happy.

These things I know for sure:

In 2013 I wrote one hundred and fifty thousand words in an eight-month period, five months of which I was hiking from Mexico to Canada. That is the first draft of my book, which I’ve decided to call Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart. Right now I’m working three days a week as a delivery driver for a very, very cute bakery (this bakery, basically the cutest bakery ever, ever) and the other days I write. This schedule suits me, and I’ve decided to stick with it until fall. As long as I don’t have to pay rent I’ll make enough money, this way, to live off of, and so I’ll have those four days each week to work on my book. I’ve been caretaking for the last couple of months and I’ve decided to continue to float from caretaking gig to caretaking gig, and to buy a camper van (!!!) in which to live in and store my things between caretaking gigs, and so that I have a vehicle. To raise funds to help me buy the van I’ve created a couple of ebay auctions that I think are interesting and unique and maybe fun for you:

I’m auctioning off the quilt I slept in on the trail. It’s an Enlightened Equipment Revelation X Zero-Degree Quilt that I have carefully laundered; it is lofty and warm and smells faintly of woodsmoke from my cabin. This fluffer-puff kept me (mostly) warm during my 156 nights on the trail; now it’s ready to go another round. I’ve decided that quilts are not for me, but maybe this quilt is for you.

In the desert I carried a tall stack of postcards and scrawled on them during breaks in the sweltering shade. When I reached Northern California I mailed home the desert postcards I hadn’t yet sent; they’ve been preserved in a small shipping carton until now. I looked through them last week and they are like magical time capsules from the beginning of the trail, where everything was new, my feet hurt like hell, and the desert was like Mars to me. There are ten of them and I’m putting them on ebay a handful at a time; right now there are four up- moon, stars, wind, and anticipation. Bid on one if you want! (Also, if I owed you a postcard during my hike and you never got one, email me at towards the end of the trail it got harder and harder to keep track of the small slips of paper in my pack on which I’d written people’s addresses, and if I forgot yours I can send you one of these!)

Everything I raise in these auctions will go towards helping me buy the ugliest, most busted-looking and/or ridiculously nineties-plush van I can find. My van will probably never be as beautifully tricked-out on the inside as Jeff Kish’s van, but it will be a sweet place to hang my hat as the weather begins to warm. And it will take me places, like to kickoff! Because I want to go to kickoff.

Speaking of going places, I’ll be heading up to Cascade Locks on February 22nd to be part of the ALDHA-West Winter Ruck; I’ll be doing pack shakedowns (fun for me, maybe not so fun for you?) and talking on a panel with some other 2013 PCT Alumni about navigational tools on the trail. If you’re in the area you should come say hi!! Cascade Locks is cute and small and I’m excited to go there and wax nostalgic about the trail with other hikers. I MISS BEING AROUND OTHER HIKERS.

I can’t wait to move into a van, people. I’m SO EXCITED.



3 thoughts on “The Vandwelling Dream

  1. Carrot,

    I always thought you should title your book “I live here now”.

    I continue to enjoy your writing.

    Best wishes,

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