The long hair is framing the face with the striking glasses. Indigo is laughing with her dog on her shoulders by waving and showing the V sign. In the background lies show. The young woman is on the road. Somewhere in Montana (USA).
Next to the beautiful landscape there would be a lot to mention. But the only thing that remains on my mind is the way Indigo is laughing. The tiny wrinkles around her smiling eyes. The pureness of the joy that’s brightening her heart.
Indigo and her dog Zelda are living full time in a truck they converted into a camper. “We used to live in a converted van, but it bit the bullet and now we have the camper,” she tells me. “Altogether we’ve been living this lifestyle for a couple of years now, and I stand firm in the belief that it’s the best decision that I’ve ever made.” She did not need to say it out loud. Seeing her sparkling eyes would have been enough.
“Within a year, I typically dedicate between four and six months to working. I will work as much as I can and stockpile as much money as I can”, Indigo explains her life script. Then she takes the rest of the year to explore and adventure. “People ask how I can afford to travel as I do, and the answer is simple. I don’t pay rent! Not only does that allow me to save a lot of money in a short period of time, but it allows for more freedom in between my bigger adventures.”
Before Indigo took to this lifestyle, she was much less happy. But she didn’t allow herself to follow her heart because it wasn’t socially accepted. “I tried tirelessly to follow suit as my friends bought shiny new cars and houses with white picket fences, but the harder that I tried to fulfill these goals, the more exhausted I became.”
She was working third shift at a factory in South Carolina with a few friends. “I had very few people who genuinely understood my desires. I had tried for so long to follow what others had told me was happiness, that I had forgotten what actually made me happy.” All the more she remembers the exact moment that she changed the course of her life.
“One morning after work I got into my car and I started to cry. I wasn’t sure why I was crying, but the tears were relentless and they just wouldn’t stop.” She started to drive home, but two hours later she found herself sitting in a pew at a mountainside chapel in North Carolina. “I must have sat there for hours crying and praying, but I guess I found the answers that I needed because the next day I left the south.”
Instead of returning to the best paying job that Indigo has ever had, she packed her car with everything that she owned and drove west with no particular destination.
“Eventually, I stumbled upon a town in Montana and fell in love. I had never before felt love for a place, nor had I felt so accepted.” She found her home at long last, and felt that she had never experienced such happiness before. “One year later I bought my first van, and her name was “Vanna White”. Thus began my journey of living a full life.”
When “Vanna” and Indigo first hit the road, the vehicle was literally nothing but an empty shell. “I didn’t know anything about carpentry, but I did my best and learned along the way,” the lovely and lively woman remembers. After a few months of trial and error she made it to build a bed frame and a small kitchen with room to cook. ““Vanna” very quickly became my home. The longer I stayed on the road, the better I felt. It wasn’t happiness, it was euphoria!”
Indigo was always told – mostly by other women – that it was dangerous to travel as a single woman. She would be attacked and stolen from and she would eventually have to admit defeat and come home. “But the funny thing is, I found the exact opposite.” Indigo smiles. “As a single woman, the only thing that I found on the road was a loving community and an eternity of reasons to never go back home. In my opinion, it is much more dangerous to live a safe life that leaves you unsatisfied.“
Vanlife never took getting used to, it was almost natural for her. “This is the life that I should have been living for my entire existence”, is something she thinks. There was not a single thing about living a stagnant life that she missed. “This lifestyle is the only one that allows my soul to breathe.” A feeling many more people do have. But they do not talk about it. Maybe for the same reasons why Indigo hesitated first to change something about her life.
“I adore having the ability to wake up beneath a different sky every night. I love not having running water or electricity in my home, because it forces me into a constant state of gratitude.” But mostly, she loves being able to live on her own terms. “William Ernest Henley said it best: I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”
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All pictures by © Indigo/hippiegirlgoingtoplaces