Thinking about commitment & individualism: being committed to your tribe (human or animal) asks a lot. The world tells us to follow our dreams, & I believe we should, but what if that conflicts with our commitments? More & more I read the advice to cut free & do whatever we want, but how does that marry with the rise in lonely people? Just living with dogs is a commitment that means we can’t go off when we want. We could ditch them. Life would be easier. But they bring immense joy to our days & they adore Vanlife. This pair of rescue sighthounds come with their own baggage, as do we. We love all animals, they like to hunt, so they stay on leads unless in a place we can keep track of them. It’s a compromise we all have to make, & they are a gloriously, furry handful who enrich our lives immeasurably.
Can I take this lesson further? Andy & I aren’t perfect, we’re less furry – I make as much mess as a hound, he’s as highly strung as one. But still, solo vanlife would be less… well I think it would be less of everything really: less fun, less arguments, less laughter, less compromise. I could totally dedicate my life to myself. But perhaps once you get that, what you also get is the feeling something’s missing. Being together is a constant negotiation: learning to ask for your own needs instead of putting pressure on the other to guess; being invested in the other & sometimes prioritising their needs; being committed to your own growth & holding space for theirs so that it doesn’t descend into codependency; being aware when your own toxic behaviours arise & being willing to work on those instead of getting frustrated at the other’s ‘faults’; having healthy boundaries & faith that the other person is also putting the same effort into all of these things. When we met we’d both done a lot of work: we were happy in our own skins, happy by ourselves. That bit is so important. How any of this translates into a bigger tribe I have no idea. Anyway – we continue to grow into the people we always knew we were; keep loving each other; keep our individual characters & space for growth; remaining committed to sharing our lives & dreams on this crazy exploration of Europe ♥️