Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Day #365 #VanLife: One Year Later or Life Is What Happens When You're Making Other Plans

It's hard to believe that I've been living in a rolling home for exactly one year as of today.  So much has happened since that fateful day, some of it wonderful, some of it extraordinary, some of it beautiful, some of it challenging, and some of it beyond heartbreaking.  In short, what a ride it's been! 

There's an old John Lennon lyric that goes something like this, "Life is what happens when you're making other plans."

I learned long ago that the sentiment expressed in that simple observation was profound and it certainly has rang true for me this year.  I started out with one set of goals, dreams, and vision and ended up with almost none of those plans working out or even mattering now.  What a difference a year makes.

This leads me to ruminate on something that I've been working on for a while and that is, that I think it's important to manage our expectations.  Expectations left to their own devices and desires can run amok in our lives and steal our joy if we let them.

Now I'm not suggesting that we do away with hopes and dreams but what I am suggesting is that we don't let our natural expectations define our moment.  I don't think we should use them as a litmus test of success but instead, we should use them as a measuring device of where we were, where we hoped to go, and where we are now.  We should always try to look for the joy of the moment, even in despair, frustration, and or perceived defeat.  It's there, if only we'll look.

My journey in #VanLife, when I first started out, was littered with expectations and if I let them, those expectations would convince me I had failed in my journey.  Almost every one of them played out in a different way for me than I had expected.

Some of those ways have been very hard to adjust to and some of them have been very uncomfortable but they have all introduced some much needed introspection and ultimately personal growth for me as a person, a glassblower, a writer, and as a person of faith.  It's important to state that, left to my own devices and desires, I would have not chosen a single one of them for myself and yet, here I am.

For those of you thinking about embarking upon #VanLife I would invite you to hold your expectations lightly.  I would invite you to be gentle with yourselves as you approach a new way of life.  I would invite you to be open to the beauty of the moment instead of getting caught up in perceived projections and or half-assed assumptions.  Try to be supple rather than rigid.  You won't break that way.

Let yourself be; let yourself breathe; let yourself grow.  Give yourself the gift of time and exploration.  Don't rush or try to control the journey but rather simply live it.

For what it's worth, that's my reflection after a year of living on the road in a rolling home. 

I will turn half a century old soon.  Statistics would suggest I could easily live to be a century old before I retire this ole body.  Regardless of how long I have left, I plan on living my life radically different than I did for the first fifty years.

I'm going to try to let myself be; let myself breathe; let myself grow.  I'm going to give myself the gift of time and exploration.  I'm going to try not to rush or control the journey but rather simply live it.  I would invite you to do the same.

Be safe and do what you love and love what you do!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Day #350 #VanLife: Meet Milton or #RVLife

Oh my goodness, life has taken another turn on the wheel.  For me it's a time of transition, metamorphosis, and rediscovery but then that could be everyday really.

While visiting Arizona this winter, I went on a side adventure to Tucson and then to Sedona Arizona. When I returned to Quartzsite, my little world would change forever.

There was a Class C motorhome for sale in the vendors' lot where I had set up camp. It was a great temptation. It was an older motorhome but in great shape. As a matter of fact, I hadn't seen one this old in as good a shape for so little money perhaps ever.

The little treasure was a 1985 Chevrolet MRV Freeport Signature Class C Motorhome. In so many ways it was everything that I had originally looked for and hoped for when shopping for a vehicle in which to travel and stay in.

When I was originally looking for something to travel in for my glass business I was looking at Class C motorhomes but couldn't find one that suited my needs, in the condition I needed be it to be in, that I could afford. So I settled on my full-size van affectionately named the Kraken.

The Kraken was a thing of beauty and was in fabulous shape, a most handsome grey 1995 Ford Econoline E150 Clubwagon Chateau. I was able to do the build-out on the inside and make it everything that I needed it to be with a few glaring exceptions and best of all he was beautifully grey inside and out, more than 50 shades I might add.

Those exceptions weighed heavily upon me during this last year. Because of my storage needs for inventory and things for my business, my bunk had to be built a little higher off the floor then I would have liked. As a result I could never sit straight up in the van while in back. I also could not make glass in the van because there was no space to do it safely or even really at all. Entertaining was also a challenge and if I was ever to have a social life I thought perhaps I needed something larger with a full kitchen, a place for two people to comfortably dine, and more sleeping room. While I had grown used to personal hygiene practices in a van, I still felt that I would like a shower unit and the van was not conveniently conducive to that.

The Kraken had checked off all of my needs but the new motorhome seemed to check off most of the rest of my checklist in terms of both needs and wants.

All said and done the Class C cost me seven hundred crystal glass hummingbird suncatchers wholesale.

I ended up acquiring the motorhome and then began to decide what to do with two vehicles, which one to sell and which one to keep as I certainly couldn't keep both. After putting them both up for sale and taking them both down several different times I ended up selling the Kraken.

It was a bitter sweet day. The Kraken had carried me on the beginning of my journey and had seen me through some real heartache and struggle. He had provided sanctuary in a topsy-turvy world in which I unexpectedly found myself. He was my safe place. He went to a good home though. A good guy who was living the #VanLife from Washington State adopted him. They will, hopefully, have many adventures together!

Everyone who knows me knows that I think everything must have a name. The new RV, however, wouldn't give me its name for the longest time and people were asking, "what did you name it?" I usually like to live with a thing for a bit while we get to know one another. Eventually the thing usually offers it's name, we come up with a name together, or a friend offers a name that sticks. That wasn't happening.

When I was preparing to leave Arizona, I started the motorhome and was pulling out. As is my custom with all vehicles I've owned, I patted the dash and said , "okay, let's get going...Milton."

Wait! WTF? Where did that come from?! It felt like an epiphany but I thought, Milton huh?!  Next thought, Milton who? John Milton? Strange enough, it resonated.

It was weird but it felt/feels right. Not a name I would have necessarily chosen but Milton it was.

I have to brush up on my reading a bit. It's been many, many years since I read any Milton. He of course was the seventeenth century English poet who wrote, most notably, "Paradise Lost" and also, less notably, "Paradise Regained" among other works.

Perhaps I was channeling my anxiety about selling the Kraken and I felt that paradise was indeed lost. Who knows?! The name was a complete surprise to me. Hopefully I will find that while paradise was lost, it has also been regained.

Be that as it may, Milton is my new home on my continuing adventure.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

He Who Learns

Sculpture by Brenda Cossé

"He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God." -Aeschylus

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Glory of #VanLife

Ahhh, #VanLife in all of its glory! It can't always be good-looking sexy people on beaches at sunset cooking gourmet meals. Sometimes it's simply shades of grey and a good book. LOL! Here's to #RealVanLife 😎

Sunday, February 10, 2019

5 Days of Eros Writing Challenge Day 1: Hunger

I've taken up a writing challenge with Fleassy Malay entitled:


Day 1

"Eating Glass"
By Brian Ernest Brown

Sometimes I find myself eating glass in my dreams.

I feel an odd compulsion to take a bite and then another.

I watch horrified and yet transfixed at the very sight.

Wondering what the outcome might be.

My hunger for you is much the same as my dream of eating glass.

Deliciously alluring but most assuredly deadly.

And I intuitively know the outcome.

You would shred me from the inside out.

Even still, I ache with an insatiable craving for you.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Living Fully

"If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for." -Thomas Merton

Friday, February 8, 2019


By Brian Ernest Brown

You broke everything you touched
You broke everyone you touched
You had even broken yourself
Only I didn't yet know how badly

You broke cars
You broke glass
You broke dishes
You broke phones
You broke momentos
You broke furniture
You broke promises
You broke decency
You broke sobriety
You broke me for the first time

As time went by you broke others
You broke relationships
You broke hearts
You broke them
You broke trust
You broke jobs
You broke life
You broke her
You broke us

I should have known
You'd break me again
I should have known
You'd break me again

In my hubris
I thought I could
Unbreak you

In our breakup
You left me so broken
That I've lost my pieces
And I'm left less than whole

In your brokenness
You break anything and anyone
But it is you who is broken most
And I wonder if you can ever be whole

The real heartbreak is that
I'd risk breaking again
Just to help you
Put your pieces
Back together
If I could