Today marks the 11 year anniversary of my brother’s fall from a tree which resulted in a severe brain injury. Yesterday I gave my notice at a job I’ve had for over six years in anticipation of converting to 24/7/365 van life starting in March. Coincidence? Probably not.
As Jon, Penny Love and I embark on our year long adventure of living in our tiny house on wheels, it seems fitting to reflect on how we got here. Previous posts have eluded to a few reasons for our decision, but I’ve yet to mention Nicholas’ accident. It does not define me, but it has shaped me greatly. It seems trite to say that “life is short”, but it is and we could each fall out of the proverbial tree tomorrow.
Eleven years and one day ago that brother of mine was a fierce adventurer, a non-conformist wanderer to the core. I miss him, at times more than others, but always. The brain injured version of my brother probably will not remember, despite being told many times, that Jon and I are on a year long adventure around North America. The current iteration of Nicholas is incredibly strong and determined, but he’s not the rule-breaker that he once was. Therefore, fed in part by a desire to honor the guy I grew up with, the Roaming Robos are going to start living life as a series of mini-retirements starting in March. It’s official! My work community knows and now everyone knows, which feels incredibly comforting and exciting.
If you do a bit of digging, you will quickly find that van life is a bit of a movement these days. Do more with less, take the road less traveled, slow down, live in the moment, breathe. If you had the pleasure of knowing my big brother before he got hurt, you would probably agree that the vibe I just described feels awfully familiar. The ironic thing is that as I write this I realize that, due to difficulty with memory and learning, the Nicholas of today is still the definition of living “in the moment”. However, the biggest difference is that his independence has been replaced with a great deal of dependence, and it’s that independence that I miss the most. So, fueled by love for the present and in honor of the past, the Robos are going to take a break from the norm and adopt an adventurous and non-conformist approach to life for a bit. Thank you, Nicholas and the “village”, as my mom put it, that surrounds you.
(photo credit to my dad, Peter Robbins)