Well, we’ve finally hit the most critical stage of bus conversion: painting and decorating.
Okay, okay, I’m not actually serious about this being the most critical stage of the whole process. However it is certainly the stage that I’ve been most anticipating. By the end of September, the interior of the bus was technically complete, however it remained quite rough. At the time, we dubbed it good enough. Since then, we’ve been engaged in performing engine diagnostics & improvements. Following the successful completion of some mechanical upgrades and a few equally successful road-tests to confirm the engine’s soundness, we’ve since switched gears. So far, the month of January has been about making the bus not just habitable, but homey.
Yes, this process includes the aforementioned painting and decorating (though currently, more of the former than the latter), and yes, I will include pictures. However it’s important to mention that it is also accompanied by an equally important, and somewhat more challenging task: downsizing.
When I first moved to Austin, all of my worldly possessions could be contained, quite literally, into a space half the size of my car. At the time, I had completely streamlined the material contents of my life to fit into either the trunk or the back seat of my car. Far from being austere, this minimalism was actually quite exhilarating. I had exactly what I needed and was free from the urge to accumulate more (and more, and more).
Of course, this didn’t last. As our lives in Austin changed shape over the years, the number of things acquired increased. And then of course, Ryan and I moved in together and our two individual streams of stuff merged into one large enough to fill up an 800 square foot duplex (plus two exterior storage sheds). So now, as we prepare to move into a space that is roughly 200 square feet, each of us is having to engage in a process of discarding what is no longer needed.
I’m specifically using the word “process” here in light of a the interesting realization of just how much emotional and psychological energy we can invest into the objects that surround us.
So far, the act of getting rid of things has been an interesting crash course in recognizing where, and quite literally in what, each of us has invested our individual psychic energy – and how the objects we’ve chosen to surround ourselves with relate to the inner lives we’ve each built for ourselves.Confronting our stuff, is in a sense, confronting past, present, and future versions of ourselves.
And now to deliver the previously promised photos! Here are some shots of us doing work on the bus. Most are quick snapshots, we’ll post nicer, more extensive ones soon.