The starter went out somewhere in New Mexico, or was it Arizona? Regardless, it wouldn’t get replaced till Oklahoma City. I would pass through a lot of country before finally being able to start the van with a key again. Every parking spot was first scouted for incline and clearance. Gas stations were timed to ensure easy exit pushes. Every stop was questioned. Did I really want to explain to one more person that I didn’t need their help and that everything was fine?
Life wasn’t always like this, but in some ways it was always leading me here. There are lessons in everything we do, if you care to look for them, acknowledge them, and perhaps even learn from them. The VW Vanagon is not special, it is not a devine creation put here to bestow wisdom to it’s drivers. No, it is simply an old car, that like many old things, breaks down at the most inopportune times.
While some owners may choose to fill these vans with the scents of patchouli and burnt sage, they do not receive the same tax breaks as a church, they are simply a vessel for seekers. While that may not be enough for the IRS, I think it is enough for me. So I ask what attributes make something a place of spirituality? Is the van not a place to seek peace? Is it not a place to congregate with like minded individuals? Perhaps due to the forced simplicity of the space, it is a temple. Perhaps due to the shortcomings, it is a school for enlightenment. Perhaps its ability to give you a safe place to rest, it is a sanctuary. Is that not a temple? Perhaps the VW Vanagon lends itself to being more than a car.
It is with this in mind that I would like to invite you on a journey, one filled with personal stories, about the life lessons the Vanagon has to offer it’s owners. I believe these lessons will be universal, so even if you are unfortunate enough to not own one, I hope for there to still be some potentially useful insights. Who knows, perhaps these stories will lead you down the path to van ownership!
~ Continuous Camper