Arcturus: The True Blue Hippie Van that Started at Ikea and Brought Happiness.
The story of how a bus reminds me that you can build your own happiness.
The true blue hippie van that started at Ikea. A little while ago I wrote an article about my 1973 VW bus titled Ikea, The Stars, and a Dying Dream. However, the dream is still living and has yet to die.
I may not be out of the water yet but with a part-time job, the COVID Stimulus check and New Hampshire finally getting the message that it is springtime as of this past week I am finally able to start working on my bus again.
When I look at Arcturus, my bus, I can’t help but smile. He is magnificent, beautiful and a labor of love. Last summer I spent any free time I had cleaning him out and cleaning the rust on the inside. Right now I am putting him up on jacks so I can work on cleaning the rust from the underside and complete the bodywork. I was fortunate enough that he does not need much in the way of bodywork but I want to make sure that it gets done now before it gets too bad.
Then its the engine, interior and all the other little things that I need to do to make him perfect. I will be working on him for a very long time. However, once the bodywork, engine, and floor are in I will be able to live in while I complete the rest of the interior and other modifications.
When I was nearing my college graduation date all I could think about was moving into an apartment, finding a significant other, starting a life together because I would have a career job. I never thought that I would be two years out of college having completed a Masters’s Degree going back for a second bachelor’s degree and still not having a career job. I have done everything possible and applied to hundreds of jobs at this point but I have not found my path. I thought my happiness was going to be with a standard career job, apartment, significant other that built into a house and a family.
Right now my happiness is tied to my bus and the satisfaction it gives me to build something with my own two hands. The constant reminder that true freedom exists and you can create happiness where you are. That is why I follow groups like Responsible Van Life on Instagram and Van Life Pride because they are people who are redefining what happiness looks like.
I may still be in the baby stages with my bus and struggling to make ends meet but van life is not my end goal. It is just a stop-gap. I still want to work in an office setting and for a commercial space company. I want that apartment, just not so sure anymore about the significant other that goes with it, but I still want the reminder that I can create my happiness and build it anywhere I see fit. Who knows maybe I will be a full-time Vanlifer working remotely out of a bus, I am trying to become more comfortable with the unknown and the unplanned because I hoping that maybe there is a plan for me somewhere, it just may not be what I expect.
Even though I may not anticipate living in my bus for an extended amount of time to do intend to take three extensive road trips. The first is the inaugural New York to San Francisco and as Scott Mackenzie said, I will wear flowers in my hair. This is one of my favorite songs and for a strange reason, it gets stuck in my head often. I will also be playing a bunch of other music from the 60s and 70s specifically relating to protesting and the hippie movement that made the VW bus iconic and one of the reasons I love it so much. I think I might also take some small detours and stop at some iconic landmarks along the way from this time in history when people were not afraid to stand up for what was right.
My second road trip will be to see all the National Parks in the Continental United States. I know this one is totally clique but I have always wanted to go to Glacier National park and Yellowstone.
My third road trip is to see my friends all the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle Capsule in the United States. I know I am a total space nerd but so are my friends which is why I am bringing them along for this one. In addition, this road trip would not be complete without my favorite podcast MarsCorp. Let’s face it Mars will one day be colonized and need to be terraformed, hopefully we will have our shit together unlike MarsCorp. You never know though but maybe we can all find some happiness, even though there won’t be any 73 VW buses.