It’s been almost 2 months since I left Florida with my husband, Nate, and dog, Mash, in tow for the van life. We’ve been living and traveling in a van up the east coast of the United States. It’s crazy to think it’s only been 2 months. It feels like it’s been a lot longer because we’ve done so much and been so many new places in such a short amount of time.
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We started out in Florida and along the way we’ve met up with friends and stayed with them for different periods of time, using the time in between to explore and have adventures just the 3 of us.
Besides seeing all these amazing new places, I think my favorite part of the trip so far has been staying with friends. A few of our best friends have moved from Florida to Washington DC, Massachusetts, and more recently New York! So, of course, we were going to visit them.
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Curtis, in Washington DC, a bridesman at my wedding and one of my oldest friends, recently graduated from Corcoran School of Art for Graphic Design. He invited a bunch of us up to see him graduate as well as go to dinner. But it was more than that; Curtis had been planning to propose at dinner to his boyfriend Darrin. I get choked up remembering it because it was so incredibly special for me to witness this special moment. I truly feel so honored to be a part of such a beautiful night. It was so special to be a part of their lives in such a different way for those 5 days we stayed with them.
Then we moved towards Rachel, another bridesmaid at my wedding, and longtime soul sister. She moved to Massachusetts about 7 years ago, but she’s still one of my best friends in the world despite the distance. Getting to stay at her house with her family was also really special for me. We stayed for 2 weeks and I honestly feel like Nate, Mash, and I have been inducted into their family.
There’s a difference between visiting someone for a short time versus living with them for a short time. Rachel and her husband still had to work, still had to live their lives, and we just got to be a part of it. When Rachel got home from work, we were there. We went on adventures, we went shopping, we made dinner together. For 2 people who haven’t spent more than a few days together visiting over the last 7 years, it was really special and unique to be a part of their family. Part of me never wanted to leave.
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But the trip must go on.
We got to New York a week later to stay with Rodney, Nate’s best man at our wedding, and Jessica and their beautiful family. And that is where we are now! The theme of all of our visits has been how amazing it is to stay with friends. But more than that, these people are our family. To welcome us into their home, shower us, feed us, and accommodate us – it’s the best feeling in the world to know we have people that care about us this much.
Staying with Rodney and Jessica and being a part of their family has been particularly unique for me. Rodney has always been Nate’s best friend but he’s married with 2 kids and so the dynamic is a little different. And of course, Jessica and I have been friends because our husbands love each other so much. But now staying with them, it’s allowed me to feel that warmth and welcome, as well as, gain a new great friend.
I think living with people changes the bond and dynamic of a relationship. It pushes and bends and sometimes wants to break but if you let it, it strengthens and grows. And that’s what all of these bonds have done.
I feel incredibly lucky to have such amazing people in my life who would welcome me and my family into their homes. I just hope one day I can do the same for all of them. They won’t all fit in the van though!
Christina is a twenty-something living with her beagle, Mash, and husband, Nate in their van. She loves traveling, shopping, art, and photography. She’s also a vegetarian, pop-culture enthusiast, book-lover, and Dave Matthews Band fanatic. Catch her somewhere around the country in a converted camper van or at home in Florida for a visit.