OS61: Kathleen Morton – Vanlife, Breaking The Rules & Creating Your Own Life Story
Kathleen Morton never understood why people seem to live by the same unwritten rules. As a child, she most enjoyed the sanctuary of her bedroom, where her natural creativity flourished. Like many of us, when she graduated high school and moved into the larger world, Kathleen believed, as her parents encouraged her to, that a traditional education and career path would bring her happiness, money and success in life. Returning home after college, one potential story of her life flashed before her eyes: hanging out with the same friends, doing the same things every day, in a mechanical urban environment and routine. Something inside her knew there was more to life, and called out for the vast, open expanses of nature, which spoke of unlimited possibility. She moved to Colorado, and soon, the city girl who didn’t know how to hike found herself more and more at home in the outdoors. As she spent more time in nature, she began to question the way she lived, and the footprint she was making on the Earth. To live closer to nature, she bought a pop-up camper with her then boyfriend for $1,800. Finding space with a local family, she and her boyfriend made home there anew. They felt the changes of seasons and morning dew directly through the permeable camper walls, and comingled with the local wildlife. Kathleen wondered – finding more financial and personal freedom – why more people didn’t live this way. What began as an experiment with tiny, off-grid living soon revealed itself as a calling, and a new story for Kathleen’s life: to live closely and in flow with nature, minimize her impact on the environment, and tell her story – and those of others making life this way – to show others that this is, in fact possible, and maybe inspire them to do the same. Today, Kathleen lives and wanders through nature in a 1987 Toyota van, together with her dog, Peaches. She has created a blog and podcast where she tells her story and the stories of other van dwellers, and she serves this community by creating monthly #vanlife gatherings around the country, where the growing community of mobile, alternative home explorers can gather on the frontier, support one another in the lifestyle and movement they are pioneering. She talks in this intimate interview about what it’s really like to live and work all over the country in a van, and why – despite the challenges – she feels endlessly fortunate that she is able to live in this way, enjoy the open freedom of her days, and create her own story of her life each day. Enjoy!