#VANLIFE // Lucy In The Sky :: Before & After

It's official! I've stopped tip toeing around the thought of living a life I find authentic and started claiming it to the max. It all started in January 2017. I looked around the little world I had created for myself and realized that I wasn't as happy as I had pictured myself becoming.. but what could I change to make that so?!

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For as long as I can remember I've loved three things more than most other aspects of life.. designing, writing, and traveling. I realized that in order to be happy, truly happy, I had to be doing those things more often. But with the high cost of rent in the San Francisco Bay Area, I spent the majority of my time bartending just to pay my rent and gas.. just to commute to work and continue doing the same thing. Continue with the "not as happy" cycle. I was tired of that loop. I needed a way out. I looked around my apartment, which was filled with objects. Furniture and spaces I barely used even when I was home. I started to picture myself free of everything. Everything around me. The people, the places, the things, the thoughts, and most importantly the energy of it all. I was overwhelmed but that drove me in my search for what was to come. 

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Lucy In The Sky is my pride and joy. My dad, being a professional woodworker, designed and built the entire van from start to finish. When I first told him I was planning to buy a van and that I wanted him to help me fix it up into a tiny home so I could travel, he just put his hand to his forehead and said "Oh Emily (*shakes head)." This is a typical response of a loving dad who gets the butterflies everything she flaps her wings.. but he's seen me take off before to Thailand, Israel, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala.. what could be the harm in our own country!? Lot's I'm sure, but I assured my family and friends that I would be careful and use my intuition to stay in flow. He was on board before I knew it, sending me pictures of other people's van designs to get inspiration, and promising vans of interest online for sale. 

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I've probably always been obsessed with the adorably designed tiny homes I saw on TV, Instagram and Pinterest... but in January, 2017, with this new thought of starting completely fresh in every aspect of my life, I started to seriously picture myself living differently. Living tiny, mobile, and happy. I read dozens of articles and blogs and watched hundreds.. (yes, hundreds) of YouTube vlogs about the subjects of minimalism, tiny living, traveling in a van, and even learned what it meant to have a capsule wardrobe (though I also learned that I am NOT a capsule wardrobe kind of woman!) Craigslist became a full time job for me as I viciously perused the internet for buses, vans, sprinters, campers and the like. My goal in mind was to find something for $5,000 or less that would be reliable enough to take me anywhere in the US I wanted to go.

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On February 28th, 2017 I purchased a 1998 Dodge Ram Van 1500, with 86,000 original miles on the speedometer. I found this particular van in Los Angeles, where my parents reside, so I sent my Mom and Dad (aka:: the best parents and friends a girl could ask for in the world,) to check this one out for me down there. They had looked at quite a few already and we were all starting to get discouraged by my budget and perimeters, but when they went to see this one on my behalf, it felt like a great fit for me and just like that.. I became a van girl. <3 

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It only took my dad 11 half-days of working on Lucy, nights and weekends, over the course of 3 months to finish the build. When I ended my lease in June and came to my parent's home to prepare for my adventure, I was finally able to do what I had wanted to do from day one on this van journey.. DECORATE!!! I saved all of my favorite things from my apartment and sold // donated everything else. So Lucy is blessed with the energy of housing only my favorite possessions. It's freeing, to say the least. 

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#1 question I had going into this minimalist lifestyle - "Will I miss my things after I get rid of them?" .. A: Nope! Not a bit. 

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B E F O R E //

 

A F T E R //

 

// Van designed & built by my Dad :: Lowell Johnson ( message me and I can refer you to him )

// Professional closet organization by my soul sister :: Caitlin Foster ( contact - @rehabrefab )

// Custom curtains handmade by my Mom :: Kelly Johnson <3

// Interior design :: Me :) Emily Dawn 

ROAD TRIPPIN 2017 :: Zion

MONDAY, JULY 3RD, 2017

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The day was magic. Pure magic. 

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So far this adventure has been everything I have been searching for and infinitely beyond. 

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Exhaustion from traveling has hit however, and I am now visiting with family to celebrate our country's freedom. So thankful for that. <3

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I decided to record my thoughts of the day while they were still fresh on my drive from Zion to my cousin's house. This is my first audio blog I have ever recorded, even for just my own listening pleasures. I'm sharing it with you all so you can feel the energy of my words as if I am telling you directly about my experience. There are so many people I wanted to call and share this with, so I felt like this was a great way to share the story of the best day of my life so far.. which also happened to be my first truly solo day on the road. (I'll get into that later.. )

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I hope you enjoy. Whoever you are, wherever you are listening from. I hope my story ignites a fire inside of you that makes you travel too. Even if you can't physically travel now, or even for a while, don't forget to travel in you dreams. In your thoughts and in your soul. Have a traveling spirit. It will set you free. 

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P.S. If you listened and are wondering who "Joan" is and what my "magic whistle" is all about, here's a short story. 

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My great Aunt Joan on my mom's side was like a grandmother to me. She transcended her human form about a little over two years ago, and when she did, she gave me a solid gold whistle necklace, with a note that said "If you ever need me...just blow." I'm blessed to have not had to use it for dire times but I'll admit it has become one of my favorite pieces of jewelry and has come in handy for parking spots (especially when I lived in San Francisco!) Parking Lucy in The Sky is no easy task, and on a national holiday weekend of all times! ...well, let's just say I know she was with me when I got that perfect parking spot to take a quick swim! Thank's Joan, love and miss you always xo, <3

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P.S.S. If you listened and are wondering who this "Annelise" character is.. she's my best friend forever and eternity. We met when we were in pre-school and even got to work with each other this past year in SF. Good times, sad times, we've been through it all together. I can't wait for her to visit me along this journey so we can dress cute and take pics and frolic, haha <3