Taupō, Aotearoa New Zealand

February 14, 2021

All-new.

If there's one thing that's characterized van life traveling so far, it's the sheer volume of novel experiences.

Everything I do, every day, is new in some way.

The things I used to do. Making breakfast. Doing the dishes. Filling up a glass of water. Making the bed. Charging my phone. Using the internet.

The brand-new things I do now. Manage fresh and grey water. Check batteries and solar charging. Figure out mileage and petrol fill-ups. Planning for weather. Mosquito and sandfly-proofing the van at night. Getting sun for power and heat to flush out any overnight moisture during the day.

The past week has felt like at least three months, and nearly every day, I've gone to bed with only half the things I planned to do that day done. I'm good at planning my days. Every little thing in living in a van just takes twice as long.

But this - this is what I wanted.

I started 2021 with a year goal to seek new experiences. There's a fair bit of research that shows that having new experiences slows down our perception of time. And as the years have passed and things have speed up, I've been determined to find ways to keep my days long, my years separate. Time, present.

That desire is part of what made me sell everything and start traveling in the first place, and the years I was living nomadically - changing countries and languages every three months - were some of the richest, fullest, and slowest years of my life.

Time didn't slow down because I packed my days full of tourist sights and see-everything city tours - but because everything in my everyday life was new. Navigating the markets in Thailand. Getting a cell plan sorted in Rwanda. Figuring out a regular running route in Argentina.

And that kind of new - everything different, even the little things - is what I'm finding here. It is exhausting and stimulating and challenging - and so, so rewarding.

My days filled with new, little rewards. Seeing the batteries show 12.7v at the end of a sun-filled day. Listening to cicadas as the sun sets, and owls call in the night. Watching laundry sway in the wind, strung between two trees.

It reminds me, again, again, again, there's no right way to do this life thing.

Have a new-filled week, -Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was a tie between the first morning of van life, and this amazing short claymation video - reminding us that nobody is normal. :)

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