Time & Life

I'd really love to tell you the story of how I was unhappy with my WallStreet cubicle and wanted to see the world, or how I became some crazy entrepreneur, but this isn't that kind of story. This is a real life testimonial of van life.

Yes, I do want to see the world, and yes I am trying to start my own business in a sense, but that's not how this journey begins. This journey begins with the bank...or rather, the lack of it. To accurately describe to you where I began, let's start before the van.

photo courtesy of the Steve Rokks van

photo courtesy of the Steve Rokks van

Quantum tunnel, ok, it's 2009, and I've just graduated from Colorado High School. I'm 17 and have no fucking clue what I want to do with life. Scene cut to an academic advisors office, I express my interest in Pediatric Oncology and a desire to help children suffering of various cancers and bad side effects of chemo therapy, imagine a few grimaces and a belittling voice pointing out my struggle with bookwork, and suggesting I stick to something more artistic because that's what I'm good at. 

Ok, so its fall and I've enrolled in college at Texas Tech for Apparel Design and Manufacturing because I don't know shit about fabrication, but I drew a pretty dope picture with a frilly dress once. First class in a room of more people than I even went to high school with, a lot of words I don't understand, curriculum that looks like hieroglyphs, and expensive ass books and materials to buy that was NOT covered in my already-over-priced tuition. I go to my dorm and cry.

A few months in, I have no friends, my job is pretentious, I'm failing everything, and I hate my life. Crying is normal. Have mental breakdown, Grandma allows me to drop out and go to cosmetology school. At least that will provide income.

2011, Salon life starts off ok, expect to slowly build clientele, coworkers are friendly, finally make friends. Suddenly corporate pressure to sell product rather than be good at your job, clients leaving their current dresser to be your client causes social problems in the work place, home is in ghetto, clients being morally bad people who bring their girlfriend when their wife is going to pay, and boyfriend has been cheating happens and the first month of honeymoon phase is over. Become suicidal.

Move home for summer 2014, emotional therapy, family mends wounds, and off to the real world again. Find apartment in Dallas, overpriced, but safe. Get job at outdoor store, find passion in yoga and rock climbing. Another year goes by. Suddenly understand being broke. Get new boyfriend, rollercoaster relationship, emotional trainwreck, ends in surgery, which leads to more surgeries, debt, can't pay hospital bill, let alone even toll bill, and more poor.

Move in with friends, bank account overdrawn, hours get cut, gas prices go  up, still poor. Need to find way to save money.


Find van, convert van, live in van. Not a bad idea. Thus, begins our journey. Bring it back to real time, 2017, you here now, reading this entry. So now that you've had a very rushed, "I'm not ready to be that personal with you yet," version of how things began, welcome to my story. Let's find a van.


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stay positive.


KariDane Matlock