Spain, the struggle of not-knowing

The past month has been more about my inner journey. A pretty bumpy one. Like I said in my last blog, I felt a big need to not travel for a while, and so I didn’t (and partly couldn’t). Instead I spend time in the area of Los Caños and El Palmar with friends from last year, this year and new ones. Surfing, cooking, playing card games, chilling, macramé-ing, being part of family life with babies and having conversations about the lives we’re living. Some were on the road (again) for a shorter while, others more long term travelling/living. But most had a ‘different’ way of life. With different I mean not the year-round same work in a pretty fixed place, but able to travel for several months and/or work remotely. We also had in common that we all didn’t really have a long-term life plan. It’s usually not much more than the coming month(s). And most, with a general idea of wanting to be part of a community somewhere. But we all share a feeling of wanting to be free, creative and trusting in life’s processes and dealing with them as best as we can.

Vanlife family BBQ with sea view. Life’s good! Photo by Stefan (@sunchasin)

For me that was a big struggle this time. I had returned to Spain with the idea of wanting to stay here and be at Carlos his land to help him with his project and be part of the process. We had had conversations about what his idea is for what he wants to create, which really resonated with a place I can see myself living. We both see us working together and collaborating in the future. But, as with everything in the south, things move slow. And living on his land is not going to be possible for the coming years. The idea I had created in my mind and had been looking forward to for several months, wasn’t going to happen, at least not in the coming years. That messed me up. I hadn’t figured out yet how to make enough money to be able to sustain myself yet, but figured I could do that while I was here. But now, everything changed. I decided it would be best to not make any big decisions till next year, but really try to feel what, where and how I was going to continue. So many questions and ideas have crossed my mind. Do I want to stay in my van, in Spain or not? Travel to eco-communities and spend time there? Would I like to buy a place here or maybe even land for myself? Sabrina and Stefan were considering to buy land here and create a small community, would I want to be part of that? Or just go back to Rotterdam and live in my house and focus on my bodywork and/or maybe see if I could work in the lab again? Or maybe live somewhere else, in a community, in the Netherlands… So many options… Also, as I’m living in my van and am not traveling much, I barely need to earn money to be able to live, while if I would go back to living in my house I would really need to earn money.

Vancreativity: macrame, figuresawing, sewing, it’s all possible.

One night I woke up at 3 in the morning with an idea of exploring the possibility of giving bodywork at the AMC. First for personnel and, maybe, somewhere in the future, patients. It made so much sense to try and use the network I already have there and implementing bodywork with health care. Also, my sister works as an OR assistant and having been in an OR once myself I can totally see the benefit of treating OR personnel. So, that kept me awake for 3 hours. Ideas, ideas…

Being back in the South of Spain meant that I finally got back into the water. Finally I had the first surfsession on my ‘new’ longboard. It’s a different feel, but I’m getting better at it and it’s so much fun! Especially when surrounded by (longboarding)friends.

That will not stay attached to the clutchpedal…

But then, as I was driving to another surfspot, my clutchpedal stopped working because the attachment of the cable broke. Luckily, it was a beautiful day, so I called my insurance and they were going to tow me to a garage. I figured it would be an easy and quick fix, so I didn’t worry too much. I was surrounded by friends in an area that I knew and the weather was beautiful, how bad could it be? Carlos picked me up from the mechanic and offered me to stay at his place, while Lotje would be fixed. The next day we went back to check if they had any news. They told me that the cable was indeed broken and they needed to find a new one, which might be there tomorrow. In the afternoon they send me a message that they couldn’t order a cable and if I could maybe look for one myself. That really frustrated me. But with some help of friends and my LT network it turned out to be fairly easy to find one (why the garage couldn’t manage that, no clue…). Syncronauta, an incredibly helpful garage, that focusses on old Volkswagens in Barcelona, had one and would send it with express courier. The cable would arrive the next day and I’d be on the road again before the weekend. Unfortunately, I’m in Spain and with black Friday just passed, mail turned out to be crap. My package got stuck. With the help of Syncronauta, I was told the package should be at a depot in Chiclana de la Frontera, about 30 kilometers from where I was. Carlos drove me there only to find out that the package was stuck at a depot before this one and that they hadn’t bothered to do anything yet. They were going to pick it up right away and call Carlos (they don’t call foreign numbers) when we could pick it up. In the afternoon we picked it up, brought it to the garage and next they, Sinterklaas day, I could finally pick Lotje up again. I drove away and noticed my brake was barely responding… I returned to the garage in the afternoon, where they reattached a tube that had come loose. Now, she really was ok again 🙂

Sabrina’s happy birthday breakfast party at Panateria, where they have amazing food!

In the meantime, I had spent a week with Carlos. I feel really grateful for his help and space. We enjoyed the time together, playing house, talking about (van)life, his plans with his land and my ideas about my life, the dreams we have. He also introduced me to the whole Marvel comic movie series, 16 up to now, which we watched together. I can totally recommend them, great entertainment! Be sure to watch them in the right order though ;). But after the week we were also really happy to have our own spaces again. It also made me realise how much I don’t like being dependent on someone (involuntarily) and the uncertainties of vanlife. If the van breaks down, you can be homeless for a while… I do have insurance though, whom are also very helpful and told me that I should have let them arrange the cable, because that might have been quicker (I didn’t know they do that). It made me realise that my feeling of needing to sort everything out myself is not true, there is more help to be had. Although that gets me into that ‘being dependent on others’ place. I consider myself to be a pretty patient person, but sometimes I’m just not and prefer to do it myself, cause I can kick ass (if I need to ;)). It also brought me back to the whole mindfuck of ‘is this really what I want to be doing?’

Up to now, I still haven’t quite figured it out. The idea of going back to the Netherlands and having a base from which I can build something, gives me the most peace, even though it also feels that I’m giving up my freedom. But then again, is the way I’m living my life now, really freedom? And does it really make me happy? I mean, up to now, it has been a beautiful adventure, but it’s shifting. (see the confusion? I’m like a freaking yoyo, I’m not used to that ;))

Waves, surf, sun, beach 🙂

In this moment I’m missing having a purpose. Being able to share my gift of bodywork, for which the market, in this area in Spain, is currently not so big. I’ve also noticed that whenever I want to make something happen myself and put a lot of effort into it, it just doesn’t work. Not with relationships, nor in trying to set up my own business. I have to allow things to happen, hold space, be patient, no hope or expectations. Then it works and I can get into a natural flow where manifestation happens, but that’s a difficult one for me. Sometimes I just feel that I want to be ahead of where I am.

Fortunately, I don’t have to decide right now. There is still about half a year left, before my tenant leaves my house and I don’t have that income anymore (unless I find a new one of course). I have applied for temporary jobs at retreat centers in the South of Spain and even a permaculture design course, which I would love to enrol in. Let’s see if anything happens there. I will hear more about that in January. If not, I’ll just relax and enjoy the last few months of vanlife in Spain, maybe travel a bit, maybe not. It would be such a waste to look back on my last half year of vanlife, as one filled with stress about needing to do and know something. Besides, life is still really good, I’m finetuning… Like I said before, I’m really good at being by myself and have been for a long time, but I’m really enjoying that I’m not. Maybe also because I’m getting better at making space for myself while I’m with others, so I always have a bit of both, solitude and togetherness. It feels great to have been reunited with Miranda, Stefan, Sabrina & Mavie, Carlos and all the new and old friends who are exploring living life in a different way.

With this year slowly coming to an end, I can say that I’m a happy and grateful soul, who had a slight freak-out over the basic/luxurious life position she has put herself in. Thankful for the journey I have been able to make this year, the inner and outer one. Shifting from kind of an unaware, ‘not really knowing what I’m doing’, to a more aware knowing that ‘there is not much to know’. Things just always change, do not go as planned and that’s just how it is. I’ve driven from Morocco to Scandinavia and back to Spain, with too many repairs. And had great company, either traveling with me in my van or around me with their own vans.

So through, or maybe because of all the struggles, I do still have to say that life is pretty damn magical.

Thank you all for taking the time to read all this stuff about me and what I’m getting myself and Lotje into.

Happy holidays, much love and hasta el año proxima! <3   

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