How I got started and how it's going...

This is an exploration of my explorations.

6/9/20212 min read

I've been an artist all my life, sometimes for fun, sometimes for money, and sometimes to express my deepest and most complicated emotions. So when my last multi-year run in the studio left me feeling desperate for money and like I had sold my soul in the form of commissioned works for very little compensation, I realized I didn't want to fall back on the family support network that I had been slowly chipping away at for years now. So I got a job. I know, it's not a happy story. At the time I was so relieved just to have a source of income, even though I started out as an as-needed contractor in a museum setting up installations and hanging artwork, touching up paint on walls and making a few things in the woodshop. My background is in visual arts, with an emphasis on sculpture, so I had a great experience for the first few years, gradually elbowed my way into a full time gig, and started getting serious about working long term in the museum world.

The only way to really advance in this small museum staff, was to get a new qualification and become a Registrar, which I did. I now have a Professional Specialization Certificate in Collections Management. Try saying that 10 times fast. Anyway, they gradually brought my hourly wage up to the low end of industry standard, but it was always financial struggle. I was always told not to expect great pay, and that love of the job is the real payoff. But around the time Covid was winding down, I realized that I wanted more for my life. Somehow working a 40 hour week translated into only about 3 hours a day of actual free time after sleep, making sure my dogs were walked and feeling loved, mowing the lawn, eating and doing the dishes, etc. During this time, I was able to leverage my job stability and high credit score to buy an underpriced house, and so at least I knew I wasn't wasting money on rent in progressively crappier and crappier apartments.

Finally came the day when I was not acting right at work, and was rude to my boss, and he gave me a well deserved talking to. I broke down crying and apologized, admitting that I wasn't being my best. My supervisor is actually a sensitive and caring person and he was willing to listen and let me try to fix things. But in the aftermath of this incident (which in hindsight really wasn't the first sign of my deep unhappiness) I realized I needed to make a BIG change in my life.

So I've always had a wander bug. A sort of well planned spontaneity. Without telling anyone, I started seriously looking into vanlife, what had previously been a daydream. I asked my sister and her boys to move in with me, and bought a cargo van. At that point, I gave my immediate supervisor a quiet indication of my plan, and 5 months later, I left my job, rented my house fully to my sister, and immediately got horribly sick and quietly ruminated on the universe's dry sense of humor while coughing on the lower bunk in my parent's guest room.

To be continued...