Carol ~ Van Life

I was right in the middle of where fires were happening, which made me feel really dumb."

“For the past year and a half, I’ve been living in a Toyota Sienna minivan, which has 148.9 cubic feet of interior space. I was always the kind of kid who wanted a little fort in the woods or a tree house. Now the minivan is my ultimate secret nook, where I feel cozy and safe and have everything I need, which turns out to be not that much.


When the shutdown started in March, I was in South Carolina. I had been planning to visit my dad in North Carolina, but we agreed it was not a good idea. I immediately started heading northwest to chase cooler temperatures in the northern tier states like Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana. Despite all of the recommendations to be wearing masks and not be out in public, in that particular part of the country, there was such disregard for the science and the recommendations, which was extremely upsetting to me. Having people telling me, 'You don't have to wear a mask, there's no mandate,' made me want to be away from populated areas.


One night on the Oregon coast last month, it became obvious there was a fire nearby. But it didn't click in my brain that it was a wildfire. I just thought, ‘Maybe we're getting smoke and ash from somewhere else.’ Only after spending the night during what they called a ’historic wind event’ did I understand what was happening. I was right in the middle of where fires were happening, which made me feel really dumb.


I checked my fire map and there were not a lot of options. I couldn’t go east and I couldn’t go south. So I went north to Washington. Now I’m feeling restless and trapped, which makes no sense to people who aren't traveling because I can simply start my car and drive. I'm feeling trapped because I want to leave here and have more adventures. But I still have to wait. There are fires in eastern Washington, Idaho and Colorado. So I'm just sitting tight. I'm very fortunate, though. I have a full time job that allows me to work remotely and I have side gigs with writing. So I'm hunkering down for now with my blind cat, Samus." -- Carol, @betterdaysroadtrip (Instagram) #EverywhereUSA

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