That’s what I’ve been yelling, in all caps, at my loved ones for years now.  Sometimes I switch it up and I whine that I don’t know how to start.  I don’t know what to say, or how to say it, and also who the hell do I think I am saying anything at all?  I don’t even have anything to sell.

But it turns out none of that matters.  If you want a different life, you have to just go ahead and live differently.

I don’t want to go into some boring introduction at the moment, but I do want to lay out my intentions for this blog.  For starters, you absolutely will not find climbing beta. Gross. You can just google that. If I talk about climbing...sorry, *when* I inevitably talk about climbing it’ll be to pull metaphors and lessons from the lifestyle, like calculated risk taking or becoming comfortable with failure.  But please stop me from becoming one of those people who only thinks and talks about rock climbing.

I’m honestly starting a blog because blogs and podcasts are the tramp stamp of my generation and I want to fit in.

Also, I used to have this dream of making money writing, and I even landed myself a little journalism gig many moons ago that I should really have stayed at forever and acquired some skills, but instead I bailed because the writing didn’t “mean” anything to me.   (Apparently the paycheck didn’t either? Idiot.) I figured my best bet for getting into the freelance writing and content development world was creating an online pool of a bunch of my writing samples, a la a blog, with links to some of the work I did all those many years ago when I was just a bright-eyed naive little idealist.  That’s the real honest truth; I want to make money writing, and to do that I’ll have to get good at writing. You learn to do by doing, so I figure if I write a bunch here, I’ll learn how to be a better writer and eventually maybe I’ll be good at it. Good enough to sell it.

Also, I got tired of seeing so many vanlife profiles depicting perfect people and perfect lives, where I, as a reader, inevitably figured these individuals had massive trust funds or else were lying about something.  I don’t want to be like that. I want to show that you can be from a lower socioeconomic background and still live the life you want. I want to show that you don’t have to be perfect or have all of it planned to live adventurously and intentionally.  You can do it poor. You can do it ugly. Your dog can be a total asshole and you can still travel with him. I have a lot of inherent privilege, but wealth isn’t one of them. I didn’t graduate from college because I was scared of debt, and I don’t have a van because I can’t afford one.  It’s me, my dog, and my subaru, folks.

Also also, I wanted to remind everyone that the hero stories are wrong; you don’t have to be the best at something to love your life.  You don’t have to be a professional and sponsored rock climber to love rock climbing. You don’t have to be a music prodigy to enjoy jamming out with your friends.  You don’t have to be good at whatever it is that you love. You can just love it. You are still the main character of your story.

That’s the jist of it.  I want to get better at writing, at rock climbing, at playing guitar, at being informed before committing to political ideologies, at loving my friends.  I want to be better at living, and this blog is part of my commitment to learning how.

I’m Jess.  I’m moving into my 2001 Subaru Impreza in March and heading to Smith Rock State Park, where I spent the bulk of last year working at a gear shop and living in my friend’s backyard.  My four-year-old pitbull mix Maroussi acts as my reluctant copilot. I’m trying to live the kind of life a wrinkly old lady would be proud to look back on. I want to love well, be informed, be passionate, be genuine, and make life easier and better for the people I come into contact with.

And I want to have a lot of fun.  

As that one song goes,

“Since we’ll all return to dirt
let's bring some stories for the worms.”

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