I lived in three towns in western Massachusetts during undergrad. This is where I fell in love with solitude and hiking. It’s where I met people doing things that no one in my community had ever done—poly, art as a lifestyle, goth dancing, and daily Paganism. I discovered the Durfee Conservatory, a greenhouse filled with plants from different climates: a hot humid room, a cold humid room, a dry cool room, a dry hot room.
Free from social constraints and obligations, I hiked up to Skinner State Park, participated in a free tour, and took notes. Then I drove to a farm stand that still exists and got a cupcake and tried to figure out what a story is, brainstorming on paper. At the Montague Book Mill I found a book called “Tramping,” and a couple books about nature. The tramping book worked itself into a writing exercise, where I started to write about my tramping lifestyle as I begin van life.
I was a little panicked about camping, because the campgrounds out here suck (KOA charges $50/night PLUS taxes for a tent site, the small places don’t answer the phone, and there are no Hipcamps or campendiums or national forest land out here). I tried thinking outside the box. Maybe I could sleep in the Mount Skinner parking lot, as long as I got there after 10, and left before 6 am. And then I remembered Yankee Candle. I gave them a call and they said if course I could camp in their lot! So here I am, set up in my rig, nighttime falling, listening to cicadas and crickets and traffic on the not-so-distant highway.
I can’t wait to get back to my virtual assistant business tomorrow. I can go to the library, or Yankee candle, or just sit in my car and use my hotspot for internet and house batteries for power. I can turn off the volume on my phone and focus on what needs doing.
Finally, I have my own space. I don’t feel trapped anymore.