So…Anyone else have an awkward Christmas this year? Finding ourselves in yet another lockdown here in CA, Matthew and I decided to stay home and do, well, nothing at all. We thought it would be fun to have a marathon of our favorite Christmas movies and enjoy being carefree adults for a day. The problem was each feel-good movie promising holiday cheer just served as a reminder of what we were missing out on: Family and friends gathered together, the parties featuring sparking libations and figgy pudding, and traveling to be with loved ones.
The Christmas music pumping out of our Sonos seemed mocking at times.
Rockin' around the Christmas tree
Have a happy holiday
Everyone dancin' merrily
and others were just downright eerie.
It's the most wonderful time
Yes the most wonderful time
Oh the most wonderful time
Of the year
The only thing that resonated with me was I’ll be home for Christmas.
We both just kind of wanted it to be over.
I thought back to the care packages I put together for our local shelter last week. On the list of most needed items were shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap. I thought about how grateful I was that I never needed to put these items on my list to Santa. I thought about the tents that were setup alongside the coves on the Santa Barbara beaches and how they’d fare through the upcoming rainstorm and heavy winds. I knew I had so much to be grateful for this Christmas, but I still felt sad. Christmas was always my favorite holiday and I'd celebrated all month long as my birthday was just two weeks before. This year I found myself feeling a bit lost… and angry.
With not much to do, we took our Aussie pup, Luca, on a nice long walk. Well, three long walks to be exact. Stepping outside to grab some fresh air used to be a reprieve, now it has turned into a stressful ordeal – who’s wearing a mask, and who’s isn’t?. Who’s been tested, who’s asymptotic, and who’s been vaccinated? It seems we cannot go outside without the standard armor of sunglasses, hats, neck scarves and Airpods. Maybe if I make myself invisible Covid can’t get me. Are we even going to be recognizable after all of this is over?
Sometimes, I feel like I cannot breathe and there is not enough yoga in the world to get through it all. I, maybe like you, am so tired of it all. I know people that have carried on as if nothing has changed at all. I know people that have been so cautious and stuck to the ever-changing rules and haven’t ventured outside of their zip code all year. However we’ve chosen to respond, it seems we have all kind of gotten used to this and accepted is as the new status quo. Perhaps we have just gone numb.
When this all started it felt surreal, like we were stuck inside of a movie, like The Truman Show, hoping for a happy ending but not sure how this was all going to play out. We put our bravest faces on, stocked our pantries, signed up for Zoom accounts, and waited for our latest lockdown marching orders.
I remember everyone up in arms when the initial lockdown was announced in March of 2020 and not being able to go to work and school for two whole weeks and worried how it was going to disrupt their families lives and how we were all going to manage. That was nine months ago and yet, it doesn’t seem like much has changed. We’re all just trapped in another movie, Groundhog Day.
Where is that fight, that sense of urgency now? Yes, we are on the brink of releasing mass vaccines, but a good number of people are skeptical and have voiced that they will not take them. How and when, I ask you, will this all finally come to an end? History shows us we have made it through darker times before and have come out humbler and wiser if not a bit scarred.
I recently read in the news that it’s likely we’ll be wearing our masks for the better part of 2021 and even if you get the vaccine you still need to wear a mask. I’m not sure how credible this prophesizing source was, but it doesn’t seem outrageously out of the question at the rate we are going.
So, here we are on the brink of the New Year with Christmas trees already strewn out on the curb left for the dogs of the neighborhood to sniff and mark. As we are ready to say to heck with 2020, what are our expectations for 2021 and are they based in reality? What’s next now that the Christmas spirit has run out?
Well, I don’t know about you, but my immediate plan was to go down a dangerous rabbit hole of end-of-the-world movies (I was proud to have held off this long) and sit in my misery, annoyed, repressed, agitated and feeling alone. Maybe I’lld pick up some tips and get some good ideas for items to stock in our emergency “go- bags”, I thought to myself, trying to justify what I knew was a slippery slope.
I was ready to dive in deep and then I read this wonderful message that popped up in my inbox:
I was reading your blogs and learning how your family is about so much more than the design of the Living Vehicle. You are obviously inspired, creative people accomplishing good things for the planet. I’m looking forward to a visit to SB to walk through an LV in person.
It was a slap in the face in the best possible way.
I dropped the remote and was immediately transported back to the day when Matthew and I were stopped at a gas station pulling our very first prototype, then called Axia, behind us in the middle of nowhere and I shouted out to Matthew, “I know what we’re going to call this thing – Living Vehicle!”
It’s funny how the more real something becomes the more you lose sight of why you started it in the first place. Because my job, or purpose if you will, is not really about selling trailers. Matthew and I started this company because we truly believed this was our opportunity to create something meaningful to share with the world; Our dream just happened to be made out of aluminum.
The name Living Vehicle has implications far beyond a trailer designed to surpass the limitations of a vehicle designed for casual recreating, or an RV. Beyond our goal for a truly self-sustaining home from a resource perspective (power, water, waste, etc.), Living Vehicle represents a conduit for transforming the way you connect with your world and those around you. It is a vehicle designed to support your best life and find not only your freedom but more importantly your strength. It’s a vehicle for discovery and new beginnings. It’s a vehicle for fun, adventure and play that can take you to the most beautiful places or create lifelong memories right in your backyard.
These three sentences in the email I received reminded me that each one of us is so powerful. It reminded me of my true purpose and passion, and that I am more useful to you and our society as a whole when I am doing something I love, rather than settle for than slowly disintegrating sitting in front of a digital screen. It reminded me of our ability to touch so many lives and make an impact. Sometimes we forget, especially when we are growing more disconnected by the minute, that we need each other to survive and thrive in this world.
I turned the TV off and went on yet another walk to clear my head. I thought about how the only way out of my funk and through my anger was by doing something I loved; by creating something better. We all have the power to create, whether it be through song, dance or any other art form that calls out to us. We can create movements and human lives. We also hold the power to create a better future.
As it goes with our business, we are already well into designing our 2022 model and believe in this passion more than ever. Back in 2019, when we attended REBU, an event focused on rebuilding the Malibu community after the Woolsey fires, Matthew proclaimed during a panel conversation:
“I have this hallucination that one day we can all travel around, not bound by any one site, living a very freedom-driven life, where we get to choose where we want to live without a resource drain on our world.”
As we are seeing more and more people transitioning away from the congestion of city life that was once so glamorous and at the epicenter for opportunity, we are returning home to nature as our jobs are remote and we’re favoring being surrounded by mountains and wildflowers instead of skyscrapers and Uber drivers. We have a duty to protect our planet as we are expecting, and extracting, so much out of it. We think you’ll see this message continue to be reflected for many years to come.
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So, in case you were thinking about throwing New Year’s resolutions out the window this year, let’s think about what we can collectively do to create a better world for one another. All of us at Living Vehicle are doing our best to do our part.
We know there is a light at the end of this tunnel, but it will not be a straight shot. So, whatever your gift, whether it be word or visual storytelling, a surgeon’s skilled hands, packing a gift box for those in need, or the compassionate touch of a caregiver. Maybe you’re a budding entrepreneur or a courageous teacher on the front lines. We need it; We need you. Together, we are hurting and together we can help each other heal.
Several of our customers from fire-stricken areas from Malibu and Santa Rosa, have shared that going through struggles like losing their homes in the fires and living in LV while they rebuild their homes and lives have brought their families closer together. These words inspire me. Yes, Covid has been a bitter pill to swallow, but our can-do spirit gives us a leg up on a year we’d all like to forget. However, we choose not to forget, but to learn from and grow out of what we’ve been through.
So, let’s join our sanitized hands as one and enter 2021 with determination and a renewed spark and eagerness. Let us work together towards triumph and feel what it’s like to deeply inhale a fresh breath of air again. Because we are not victims of the past, we are creators of the future.
MG, this blog is dedicated to you. Thank you for the kind reminder about the power within us all.
See you next year!