Living in a campervan for 28 staight days allows one the opportunity to truly understand the difference between her needs and her wants. My mouth is no stranger to saying that I “need” a new pair of jeans, “need” a haircut, “need” to upgrade my phone. Our consumer-driven society blurs actual needs with wants. I do not “need” any of the previously listed items, but unfortunately I have thrown the term around loosely. Truth is…I need very little of what Brandon and I are fortunate to have back home in Oregon. I realize this more now.
We lived within the metal casing and among the outskirts of our cozy campervan for nearly a month. We cooked most of our meals over a single burner with one saucepan and one frying pan. We had three cups, three mugs, three bowls, three plates, three sets of basic flatware and minimal get-by gadgetry (can opener, wooden spoon, etc). As for personal hygiene, we utilized the van’s small pump sink and cherished our time in campsite showers.
We lived in unfamiliar campervan territory for the month, and lived for a total of three months with only the belongings that we carried by backpack. We also spent several weeks in third world communities throughout Asia. The time and experience reconfirmed the common disparity between our many wants and our actual needs.
Brandon and I live in a community that is fortunate to have basic needs that are met, and it is easy to forget that there are parts of the world and parts of our own country that are unable to consider their wants because they are still searching for the fulfillment of their needs. I recognize this more now.
As you may expect, spring cleaning came easier to us this year, but more importantly in my opinion is our regained appreciation for the finer things that we are able to enjoy. I recognize that there are others who have less and others who have experienced misfortune, but I also believe that hard work and determination can provide the opportunity to have and to enjoy more.
Brandon and I do not “need” a house with a backyard or a pillow-top mattress with 1200 thread-count sheets and five pillows. We know this, but recognize it more after sleeping with much less for the three months and after seeing several single-room homes built with dirt floors. I understand that we have more belongings than needed. I will also admit however that when we slipped into our own bed in our own home on the first night after this incredible trip, I was reminded of the many “wants” that our hard work has provided. And for this greater sense of appreciation, I am thankful.