Serving the planet and her people


Why over the How

So much of the Vanlife process out there focuses on the How.

How do I build this thing? How do I make this work financially? How do I find safe parking spots? How does that solar panel thingy even work? How can I get a clean shower? The list goes on…

The “how” mindset is a logic driven, left brain, Type A question. No doubt, we humans are programmed to answer the question “how?” as a form of survival. “How will I find food and shelter?” is left over from our animalistic behavior, yet, when I focus on the “how” I notice I am steered away from the heart. I use passive voice here because it ultimately feels like the how choices really do take control. Similar to horse blinders, the endless hows seem to trap my vision so that the mechanics take precedence over the curious passions. “How!?” doesn’t help my nature get in touch with…well…my nature.

I noticed from the very beginning of our brainstorming to move into a vehicle that Kyle was obsessive with the how and I was most certainly not. I daydreamed about destinations and adVantures as he spent his hours researching constantly and endlessly debating which model of whatever it was that we had to purchase. In fact, if we didn’t have a strict move out date, I’m not sure he ever would have moved into the van—that’s HOW much he loved to scroll through the hows. Ignoring the larger plan until the last second (shoving everything that was left into every spare inch of the van) was when it finally hit him: we have a lifestyle to curate, not a project to complete.

This is an ongoing process, of course. 6 months later, neither of us have a plan with all the hows, yet a far more precious emerging realization of why is starting to become more clear.

Which is why (teehee) I have been comically slapped in the face with the question “why” instead of “how,” BIG thanks to my obsession with my bike. Seeing the word WHY scrolled across the frame of my mountain bike is a beautiful reminder that we are not on this planet to constantly question how around every turn. Leaning into the curve of a cross country trail, there is no opportunity to pause with a “how?” less a tree root or a rock ledge or a rogue branch comes into view—the wheels keep turning as you relish the “why,” or you fly over the handle bars of “how?” Yea, I did that once this week already, and I realized that “how” is not the question to ask!

WhyCycles is such an acutely accurate name for my first big girl rig. She reminds me that I can’t how my way through being a bike gaper; that no number of YouTube tutorials could ever be as useful as enlisting the trail as my teacher. I push forward in my life with a focus on the why, not the how. Of course, I cannot live forever in the why; the how is necessary for many stages of the nomadic. This Blog, however, is so much more about the Why than the How, and I crave to pour out ideas in these pages. If you want a full on, step by step to Vanlife, keep searching the internet. This isn’t it.

Why I ride, why I live out of a Ford, why I write this in a vegan cafe in New Orleans with powdered sugar left over from my beignets spotting the table, why I love the sound of the rain, why I love seeing my dog sprint in front of me or lie at my feet. Why I love making little one pot meals on the camper stove, why I build fires so I can light them with a single flick of the Bic, why I sing to the mother father god, why I knot crystals, why I bend and twist and breathe.

Why I strive to serve the planet and all living creatures, why I choose in this moment to be sober and plant based and free of as many intoxicants as I can be…there are few choices the heart makes with a laundry list of how to’s. The heart doesn’t comment on the particulars; she zooms out and embraces the whole picture. The whole heart. The whole flower. The sacred feminine response is to love entirely. Not asking a guide how to love, nor to see the manual for who or what to love, nor to consult the map for where to love, she moves forward with a steadfast agreement: that Why I Love … is to Live…

improbable reality on the road
Sarah Albert3 Comments