I did some in-depth #VanLife research recently. Was considering making a 3D-printing van interior company. Probably not going to do it, for personal reasons more than industry ones (i.e. there’s a solid opportunity!). Here‘s that research: do with it what you will!
Individuals (and small teams) have always been the ones acting, but now they’re more movable (you could imagine the Google phone team basically “stealing” the Apple phone team by wooing them over. This seems unlikely 20-100 years ago). The game for corporations, therefore, becomes more along the lines of “make an environment that’s attractive to the right sort of individuals/teams”. Now, this is probably obvious for anyone who asks the question “why does every startup have pingpong tables and free lunch?” but let’s take it a step further:
The top performers have always been eccentrics. Weirdos. I live in a van and drive around the country. (Not that I’m necessarily a top performer, but I’m certainly working with more successful people than most people who have the job title “writer”.) These are people who will form their own unique strategy for working (I’ve been nocturnal for the last week because it seems to help my novel writing).
This is mainly interesting to me because it creates opportunities for people to create highly-specialized products/services that assist very specific (i.e. unusual) people with very specific needs.
If an individual is such a great, high, top performer, they often have an assistant. I bet the assistants for top performers in many fields have similar jobs, though, and there wasn’t previously enough value created by these oddballs to warrant tools to help them.
Now, we’re recognizing that (a) no number of Walmart greeters could equate to one Sam Walton (just as no number of gazelles would ever hunt a lion [it’s a bad analogy but you get the point]), and (b) we can see how much value Sam Walton created (he built Walmart!) as compared to your average joe, so we’re able to create tools that will help, say, the 10 Sam Waltons in the world be 1% better, which is huge value but would previously be uncapturable. (Or, more accurately, provide tools to make the 1000 people in the world who are 2 orders of magnitude lower than Sam Walton be 5% more effective.)
I guess, what I’m saying is: could someone please make me a business-casual onesie that I could wear in public?
On a cold Sunday night with my van heater blasting and a bit of white wine still seeping from my blood, I don’t feel misplaced. Not in the wrong place. Just alone, lonely, sad, and wanting. Maybe that’s this place.
The thing about travel? They don’t tell you it’s lonely. “An adventure of excitement and eye-opening growth.”
Yes, that’s travel. But it’s lonely, too.
It’s me and my dog, one month in our roadtrip. Atlanta, then Texas, now in New Orleans. Friends—some great friends—we met along the way. Yet still it’s just us— me and my dog.
Last night, out til 5, surrounded by parties, I made two new friends that I’m now gonna see. Interesting people with lives and opinions. Better than that, unique, fun, funny, too.
But now, when it’s late, and my sleep schedule’s fucked, I see why someone would get drunk again. Then it’s tomorrow. Who knows what could happen? Who wouldn’t have fun at a New Orleans club?
That’s not a solution. That’s open containers. Vessels transporting liquid from one place to place. People vibrating where they stand, moving forward only in time. Bleary, wide-eyed blobs drink to replace their cold sweat.
Why has this city not changed since Katrina? Why did my cabbie say there’s really no dif?
If you spend your life dancing, you’ve nothing to celebrate. That’s what this is: just an empty, wet kiss. But not one from your grandma or a dog or a lover. Just tongue from someone who, right now, like you, feels alone. Together will be great for the time that it’s lasting, but morning will come and you’ll have to go home.
“Little boy or little girl?” yelled the toothless man from his garage across the street.
“She’s a little girl,” I hollered back. It’s 9:30am on a Thursday as I walk Smidge, my 5lb chihuahua.
“Well, I got a little boy about the same size. Does she wanna be a momma?”
“I don’t think she can.”
“Well, thought I might give it a try.”
My thoughts, in retrospect:
A second salami (unsliced)
Stop at a grocery store en route to the gym.
Find the burrata cheese.
Consider buying two burratas.
Notice there’s a sale.Buy three, and tack on a package of salami for good measure.
When opening the burrata, be careful not to spill any of the salt water. (This will be important later.)
Open the package of salami.
Slice off bits of the burrata using the plastic fork.
Add burrata to salami and consume.
Retrieve from your fridge the rosemary salami you recently purchased at a farmer’s market.
Slice off bits of the salami with a knife.
Add burrata to salami and consume.
When the burrata is gone, drink the milky salt watery goodness. (I told you it would be important).
Use a fork to remove the small delicious curds from the bottom of the bowl.
Eat a second burrata, because you lifted weights today.
Be glad you purchased three.
Did you enjoy this post? Want me to consume a specific food? Comment on this article so I know what you want me to write.
You drove for 7 hours. Got gas twice. Called 9 friends. 498 miles down, 34 to go.
Yes, that few. Only 38 mins.
But you’re tired. It’s 11pm. Why rush?
Pull over. Crack the windows. Listen to Neil Young. Sleep a full night.
Enjoy a final stretch. Then, tomorrow, finish it.
“Thwack!” goes my head, pummeling the van door.
See bright spots of light. Can’t balance no more.
Closed out my phone call, “I love you. Uh, bye.”
Stumbled to my knees, my head hanging high.
Called my chum Em’ly, the reason I’m here
Coordinated as if drunk on beer.
“I’ll call you in ten,” she said and hung up,
so I wondered whether I was wrung up.
Am I concussed? I had seen stars. And my
neck mashed. From whacking it hard and uh, high.
Big ol’ thwackin’! A painful a-whackin’!
I pray the world fades not to, uh, black, and
but if it does, at least I’d’ve learned… Not
much of anything. An accident turned
me into a grave. A silly way to
die. In future, I’ll be A-More-Aware-of-Surroundings Guy.
7 tins Yogurt, in any flavor (Note: individually-wrapped tins of cottage cheese are also acceptable, but only if they have fruit on the bottom. For this meal, I used 4 yogurt, 3 cottage cheese.)
1 can Campbell’s® Tomato Bisque
Grow a beard.
Eat 6 Yogurts.
Remove lid from the Campbell’s® Tomato Bisque.
Sip half the Campbell’s® Tomato Bisque.
Eat the final Yogurt.
Sip the rest of the Bisque.
Fall asleep in your van.
For three months, You’ve driven around with a twin-sized mattress, originally acquired as a gift from a friend. You thought you might use it in your #VanLife #Van. After a week’s trial, however, you elect to use your previous queen-sized foam squishies instead. What to do with this large nuisance?
Option 1: Give it away.
- You posted on facebook–one nibble but no bites.
Option 2: Donate it.
- Goodwill doesn’t take mattresses. They’ll accept it for disposal, however… if you pay them $20.
Option 3: Discard it.
- You can’t just put it in a dumpster. Grrrrrr.
Option 4: Ask that homeless man steering his bicycle up the hill, “Hey – would you like a twin-sized mattress?”
- “Yeah!” he’ll say, and a huge weight will lift as you drive up to the gate of the forest where he lives.
- His name is Pete. He has rough hands and a nice smile. You feel giddy that you made him smile.
- You park your van on the street near his place.
- As the rain begins to plink, you feel a kinship with the misfit.
Xfinity, you tease
In the unlikeliest of places
By stoking my hopes with the promise of bars
Then dashing them all with a “cannot connect!”
I must say I’d rather
Have no WiFi at all—
Be forced ‘pon my phone’s hotspot
Than hear your wispy false claims.
But sometimes, my dear,
You appease this old soul—
Like this ‘forenoon, when I video called
My boss from the street.
Though your robustness did waver
So we switched to “just audio,”
You did remain connected! Aye, you stood strong throughout,
Leaving boss none the wiser
That I’m a van-confined hobo.
Why do you toy so, dear Xfinity,
With me, of all people—loyal lover of your service
As I try to log in
With my dad’s friend’s account?