I Live In a Van Down By the River!

“I live in a van down by the river!”-Matt Foley

Depending on who you ask and where the river is, then it’s not that bad, really… I’m Corey Lack, and I’m happy to announce that I live in a van down by the river! However, it’s a camper, not a van. I’m not 35, I’m not divorced, I have my entire family living with me (plus my dog) Max, and I’m not a motivational speaker. BUT other than that, it’s like we’re TWINS!


Dave Ramsey says, “If you wanna live like no other then you have to live like no other.” No truer words have been said in my opinion. He’s talking about money matters, but I believe that extends into any area of life.

Course Correction: To get here, we sold most of our stuff, moved to Wyoming, and are now living in a camper down by the Greys Rivers — and we’re SO eager for what’s next. We as a family have jumped in with both feet, and we’ll see if we sink or swim.

(I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m a really good swimmer, and I’ve had a lot practice over the years. Plus, Jesus is my swimming coach.)

Working for Junk! The Realization.

A quick google search of the word junk told me old or discarded articles that are considered useless or of little value. I don’t find value in stuff anymore. I used to. It was familiar and comfortable. But it always breaks, deteriorates, or gets jammed up with peanut butter from your 3 year old, who was playing with it last. (I love you, son!) So I was filling my house with stuff, only to try to get rid of it at my in-laws neighborhood garage sale… in order make room for more of it. Vicious cycle, a bad investment — and I was tethered to it.

My ignorance of life up to this point tells me that you’d rather really live now, while you have people of significance around you, the energy to explore, the passion for adventure, and the desire to improve upon yourself — instead of when you’ve retired and can finally “afford” to START. The problem is, if we wait, everyone has grown and gone, you’re tired all the time, and you’re too old for what your younger self wanted to do (or, frankly, you just forgot all together). Remember, I’m speaking to my own ignorance.

Some of the best advice I’ve ever received was from my pre-marital counselor. He said, “You’ll never be ready or have enough money. Just commit to it.” Thanks Bro Jim. In my mind at the time, I was thinking about all the “yeah buts…” “what if’s…” and “you don’t knows…” This is known as fear and insecurity, my friends, and I’d rather work towards something so much more significant now.
For me it’s the relationships and experiences with people that mean the most to me. Not the stuff, the junk. We have one pass at this life, and I’d much rather not live for the Junk considering the alternative.

Breaking Fear

Have you ever had a pair of old underwear? Boxers, whitey tiddies, or granny panties, ladies? Of course you have! After wearing them for 5 years, the elastic stretches out. You’ve gained a few pounds because your wife cooks “real good.” You’re delusional because your waist is a 36 now but the undies still say 32 on the faded tag. You ignore the size new jeans you had to buy last month from Old Navy. They run big anyway.

Those undies’ elastic stretches to make room for the additional bits of YOU that’r now squeezed into them. But one day, your wife tells you that your family is going on the Daniel Fast and for 21 days you’re going to eat nothing you like and drink only water. It’s super uncomfortable for the first few days — no caffeine, no sugar. You gripe and complain about how many things you miss, but it gets a little easier as the days creep on. At the end of the 21 days and some 30 pounds lighter, you feel pretty good! You no longer miss the foods or sodas you desired at the beginning, and you can actually function in the morning without a hot cup of coffee. But there’s a problem…

Those 5 year old undies have been stretched to fit the heftier “old” version of yourself. They fall off when you’re flexing your once forgotten abs in the mirror after a shower. “Where are the safety pins?!” You yell from a steam-filled bathroom. I’ve gotta pin these dudes up! Oh no, you realize they’re all being used in a craft project that’s dangling around your oldest son’s neck… Do you wreck his creative process and steal a couple safety pins from him, thus demonstrating that you really don’t think his necklace is a new hipster trend, or do you reevaluate some Junk? What to do?!

The oversized undies in this illustration are the old fearful version of yourself, you see. The tag says it fits you, but in actuality they don’t. You’ve changed, and a hard word with a lot of discomfort got you there. Keep ‘em or throw ‘em away? Put them back on and start the cycle once more, or donate them to the grease rag supply?

They’re Junk! We don’t want junk, remember? Junk is what has been holding us back. The stuff or junk we surround ourselves with is familiar, and with familiarity comes comfort! The complacent comfort.

Not following? For the life of me I can’t see why not. Haha! Okay, I’ll round it up with this. I wrote a blog article recently for another photographer, and in it I made this statement.

“Nothing amazing in life happens inside of comfort.”

Think about it. In exercise, where do you have the most gains? Reps 1-10? Nope, it’s 11 and 12. Giving birth to a baby or climbing a mountain? They are all outside of comfort but provide such an amazing experience on the other side. I didn’t like the 21 day fast (I mean a guy I know), but I liked what I/he got out of it. I don’t like climbing mountains — it hurts and is requires loads of effort — but I love the view and feeling of accomplishment. I’ve never gone through birthing a child myself (shivers), but I’ve been there and witnessed my three sons and have seen the love and happiness coming from my wife at the end. Beautiful at the end and not-so-much in the middle.

Over the last 10 years, my family has had hard lessons in this. Being self employed gives you a very clear and personal relationship of what the word means — FEAR. Where’s your next job coming from? When’s “that” check going to come in? How are we going to pay “that” bill? Holy cow! I get where you’re coming from.

Where Are You Going with This?

The truth is, I don’t know. Should that scare me? Probably. Does it scare me? Not one bit!

I’ve thrown my old undies away and I’m going commando!

Too much? Dang. It really illustrates the point though. Ha!

I’ll continue to write about this adventure we’ve jumped into in hopes that it might encourage some of you, but I’m writing this as a reminder to myself. I don’t expect anyone to follow our lead and cash in roots for wings, but I do know from experience that fear has a funny way of controlling your life, and I would love to see people lose a little junk from the trunk. I’m sure you can think of countless reasons you can’t do something, and for certain I did for the longest time.

The Lord has not given me a spirit of fear, but power, love, and a sound mind. Now, go be powerful, love on someone, and rock it out in peace.

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