Mind Matters

Living, Not Surviving (or, This Is Not A Test)

Stranger: “So how far are you going to take this thing?”

Us: “We don’t know…… Greece?”

Unfortunately for him, W.E. (William and Elizabeth) misunderstood his question. We’ve had a lot of visitors to Dixie by now, and we have visited a lot of our friends at their houses, sometimes for a few hours and sometimes for a few days. We always stay overnight in Dixie, because it is our home. No offense intended to the lovely comfortable spare room you may have offered us, but Dixie is where we live and where our stuff is. Perhaps one day we will need to use your spare room, and we are extremely grateful for the offer! As long as Dixie is still driving though, today is not that day.

Dixie in the sunshine

We are not undergoing some gruelling survival challenge in here, as the friendly stranger implied above. Surviving means trying not to die. This is not some kind of test, we are not trying to “find ourselves”, we are not lost! We are not trying to prove a point to anyone, we are not attempting to find the lowest temperatures we can withstand, how far we can get into the wild or how many nights we can “survive” in this “situation”. We are all about comfort, we have a gas heater, wool blankets and a stove. We have fresh drinking water, plenty of light, a warm shower and a toilet. We have a bed, a table, a new couch and a tv (although seldom used). We have a fridge for food, we have plates and cups and bowls in our kitchen just like you. We are not merely “surviving”, we are living, and this little van is our home.

Our garden for today is Lough Derg, County Tipperary

Dixie is as well equipped as an entire apartment, although somewhat smaller in floorspace. Sometimes we have nowhere to hang the bananas, or store the washing, sometimes we lose things and have to rip the place apart to find a roll of tape or the torch. We live just like you live mostly, we cook all our meals here and spend all of our “indoor time” here, playing music, watching movies, reading, writing. We are not out in remote woodlands in extreme temperatures building shelters, trapping animals for food or drinking our own piss, we are not seeking out danger or any kind of obstacles to overcome. We are just living. In a van.

New couch layout, so much more room!

We don’t see our choices as too unusual to grasp. We want to keep doing what we are doing now, travelling from town to town, country to country, taking in all the sights we can, meeting as many new people as possible, for as long as we can. People ask how we can afford this lifestyle, thats easy- it’s cheaper to run Dixie wherever we want to go and feed us too than it ever would be to rent a house. Given the lack of utility bills and all the other sky high costs associated with renting or owning a house, we get by very comfortably and happily on less than €150 a week, about €20 a day for each of us (we will break down our costs further in another blog for those interested, eventually) The real bonus is the longer we live here, the cheaper it gets.

Chocolate money is tastier than real money anyway

After 14 weeks full-time living in Dixie, taking in 5 countries so far and motoring about 8,700 miles, we are not stopping anytime soon. Right now we are touring the Wild Atlantic Way, parked up in County Cork by a quiet little pier. In February we will be taking the ferry from England onwards to the continent, no fixed route yet. That’s what’s so great about this lifestyle, the freedom to choose every single aspect of your day, from sunrise to sunset. (Follow us on FB for daily ‘Where We Are Now’ updates and stories at https://www.facebook.com/TheBackwardsVan/ ) We have never had an opportunity to travel like this before and we are making the most of it!

Where to next Dixie?

In a way, we are all surviving. We all need to eat, to sleep, to stay warm and healthy, we all need to poop. The difference for us between living and surviving is what you do, who you do it with, your attitude towards adventure, your general outlook and what you personally want out of your life. Making the most of what you have, being grateful and positive. John Lennon said “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” He was right.

So, how far are we going to take this thing you ask? We dont know, hopefully all the way to Greece. Watch this space 😊


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