Last Update: 1/12/2018

What If You Only Had Six Months to Live?

van in the desert under the milky way

Vanholio ain't got much wisdom. But he's learned to ask hisself this question: If I only had six months to live, what would I do? Then I plan accordingly.

The power of that question come to me some years ago. I was going through a rough patch, a breakup with my ex. I'd always seen us together, growin' old. I didn't know what the fuck to do. Was totally fuckin' lost.

Then somehow, that question – What would I do if I only had six months to live? – came to me. The answer? Told myself I'd sell everything up, buy an RV, go sit my ass in Big Bend National Park, and write a novel. That was my guiding star.

After I moved out, I did something close. I stayed in my friend's country deer-hunting trailer for the summer. I wrote a crappy first draft of a novel. (It'll never see press. Trust me.) I was miserable after the breakup, but I was thrilled with how I was living.

That was a decade ago. And I went down some wrong paths since then. But that guiding star was always in my vision.

Today, the answer is almost the same: I'd travel and write. So I'm an OTR vandweller doing just that. It's a miracle life, this "living in a van down by the river."

What's *your* vision? What would *you* do if you only had six months to live?

Want to spend more time with family? Find a way to work less or maybe have longer vacations together, like going into teaching to have summers off.

Walk the Appalachian trail? Start backpacking on vacations and set aside money to take on the AP eventually.

Want to make sure your kids and SO have a house owned free and clear?
Prioritize your spending to pay that sucker off.

Want to work in your garden? Maybe look at going into market farming or community garden organizing.

In the real world, you might not bullseye your perfect vision. There's a whole lot of fuckin' considerations. But you can get damn close if you're honest about what you want.

What I found about getting into vandwelling and writing is that it wasn't that hard. Yes, I had to plan and make sacrifices. It took time to pull everything together. But the logistics flowed easier than expected once I set myself to reaching that star. It's bein' clear with yourself and makin' the fuckin' decision that's hard.

So I ask you: What would *you* do if you only had six months to live?

Get mail on the road – Traveling Mailbox! (review)

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  1. Any six months might be our last. There's no rule that someone must inform us beforehand.

  2. Anonymous12.1.18

    Six months to live and no one else to consider. That's a different thing. Kids, SO, parents. It can get so complicated when others you care about depend upon you. I get what you're saying, but I'm not in that place yet. Happy for your freedom.

    1. Not so!

      1. Practical and family considerations mean it might take many years to get to something close to the vision, but small steps can start today. Maybe the first thing you do is start a folder on your computer where you collect pictures and articles related to what you want. Maybe you and the SO work on doing one extra house payment a year so that by the time the kids go off, ya'll have more financial freedom. Journey, not destination.

      2. If you love your kids, SO, and parents, then I would imagine they're part of the vision. 2nd half of last year, I did a hardcore plan to live as if I were dying New Year's Day 2018. Top of the list? Getting my will together, finally, after dragging my heels on it for years. Part of that will was doing a Pet Care Agreement to make sure my dog had a home to go to and money to take care of her in case I croak out here. Big relief knowing she won't die alone and heartbroken in a shelter. Sounds grim, but it makes me happy.

  3. pasadenaray1 instagram13.1.18

    2 things come into mt mind. ride my bicycle to florida from my home base of Annapolis Md. I also have this reoccurring fantasy of kayaking the same, md to florida. maybe I should paddle down and ride back or vice versa. whats holding me back from doing these things you ask politely.... oh, ME ! I'm the one purtting off these things. ��
    I'm just another typical human that thinks theres always another day, or better time to actually act on the old bucket list. BTW dont under sell yourself on your wisdom & writing, I like reading what you post on here.
    cheers from Annapolis Md
    a Drinking town with a
    sailing problem.

    1. "whats holding me back from doing these things you ask politely.... oh, ME ! I'm the one purtting off these things." Painfully true for all of us most a the time.