Last Monday we packed up the car once again and got on the highway, heading west. I had piled all of my stuff to one side of the back seat, so that Murray could have two spots: his blankey on the front seat, and his basket on the back seat, with his litter box on the floor. He likes to have options on long rides.
Not only did he reject both carefully laid out beds in favour of wedging himself on top of my mountain of things, but about a half an hour into the seven hour drive, he also decided to poop on the mountain of things. So there I was on the side of the highway, truckers zooming past while I tried to clean up my poopy cat and the blankets, backpack, and embroidery basket he was roosting in with a spare roll of toilet paper I found in my trunk. He showed little to no remorse.
We’re back in Ontario now, camped out/squatting on the property of a century old farmhouse that’s being restored, where the camper I bought on a whim last month without actually seeing was located. The camper is adorable: a classic little vintage road tripper, which I‘ve already started ripping apart. My clothes and belongings (now washed since the incident) are all stuffed in the back of my car, and Murray and I sleep on a futon mattress in the half gutted trailer. If I want a shower on a weekday, I have to do so before eight when the crew arrives for work, as the bathroom door has no handle, and a habit of blowing open at inopportune moments.
While it’s a bit disorienting having nowhere to really unpack or settle, this feeling of being totally untethered is very freeing. I’ve set up a blanket island under a big old maple tree where I drink my tea and for now it’s as much of a home as I need. I’ll spend the next two (?) weeks here trying to get as much renovating done as possible on the camper before moving it for the summer. Sometimes I find myself scrolling through Instagram accounts of van-lifers, thinking damn, that’s so cool that they live like that, and then I realize with a smile that I, too, am living like that. The modern day nomad. Life on the road is becoming far less of an abstract idea for our generation, who have found ourselves coming up against significant barriers when trying to replicate the lifestyle that our parents had by our age. The good old you know when I was your age refrain now holds no logic, like comparing apples to overpriced oranges.
I’m planner, by nature. But I never could have planned the events that led me here. I never would have gotten to this place of total freedom, road tripping across the country with my cat had I not just jumped in, then worked things out as I went along. And nothing bad has happened so far…