#VanChurch …”unusual name for a book” I thought.
But when I considered it, our Cree motorhome has so often afforded me the complete sense of calm and serenity that one absorbs from churches.
She takes us to awe-inspiring places – scenery where one can only marvel at creation. We see the cathedral that is Planet Earth through her windows. Mountains, seas, rivers, the tangled wilderness – even a muddy puddle in a car park can be beautiful if approached with that sense of wonder.
The motorhome is a fellow pilgrimage companion on our spiritual journeys to ancient and sacred places, waiting at base camp whilst we slog up hills her engine would not even consider. Returning to her comforts, she gives us the space to consider what the walk has taught us.
She has opened our eyes to what the open road can offer – the freedom, the peace, the spirituality, and the difficult times which are labelled as “opportunities for growth”.
And even with her engine roaring, we hear the voice of our God speaking to us.
Meet Anna and Jim Hall. And #VanChurch–
A journey was born when Anna realised that her life had become stuck. There was no clear road in front of her that excited her – like driving into a light mist. Or along a never-ending motorway. Life had become a series of contented workaday chores. A comfortable rut.
But that rut had become so deep that she could not see any bright lights from within it.
Anna feared that her life was petering out, that she was
“Running out of road…”
Wow, that is chilling.
So Anna and Jim made plans. Plans which were memories of dreams from so long ago: The Great American Road Trip! The open road, the freedom to just get up and go, roaming from one State to the next. Dreams which needed common sense and hard work to bring to fruition.
Then they made a map.
Their map planned their journey, but equally it was a map out of the rut they had settled into towards a fuller life.
Travelling in a 2017 Chevy City Express, they journeyed across the United States. Then they wrote about it. Read on for a link.
About #VanChurch: Spiritual Lessons From Life On The Road
#VanChurch is a slice of Mom’s apple pie in a world of fast food and kitchen dramas. It serves up home comforts with a huge side helping of heartbreak, sense and education.
I enjoyed the general North American history and particularly the knowledgeable realism with which Anna and Jim spoke of the indigenous American peoples. They have suffered indignities at the hands of immigrants – from near extermination though to modern over-romanticisation.
But primarily this is a travel journal. A spiritual and physical journey. A personal tale written for those who may drive along the same roads, with helpful tips and advice. But also for those who may never set foot – or tyre – on American soil. Those who seek their own personal paths.
#VanChurch showed me a side of America that is real, not television footage, painting the stories of the old places with a brush only slightly dampened with tears of nostalgia. Naming each river crossed brought the land to life, allowing it to speak above the roads and settlements.
I feel that I know and understand North America that little bit better.
But Van Life is not all sunshine and flowers
Written openly and honestly, Anna and Jim allow us to see their less glamorous moments. They share the raw emotions of life’s injustices without self-pity and make no pretences about their road trip. Van life is not all sunshine and flowers – there are times when things go wrong. Reactions to those times is magnified in such a small space. Their acceptance of each other’s right to be moody is impressive. Emotional intelligence is one of the best things to pack on such travels.
Anna and Bill learned about themselves and their partner as they journeyed across the States.
#Vanchurch also leads the reader towards an inner journey as the gentle questioning encouraged me to ground myself in my geographical location and my own situation.
“To get anywhere, we first have to know where we are.”
That’s something to consider….! Where am I? Where am I going? Does it excite me any more? Time to make a map!!
The final pages are devoted to the lessons learned on the road and prompt the reader to make their own journey inwards to self-discovery then to branch outwards. In reaching out to family and friends, then to the wider world, one can seek and find the signs along the route which lead us in our own direction.
Thank you #Vanchurch – Anna, Jim and dogs – I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. A book I will revisit. Not only did I get to know North America, I learned about my own life path.
THE BOOK: https://www.canemillpress.com/home/vanchurch
Are you seeking your own life map? Here is our Van Life Health And Wellbeing Suite .
Are you inspired to get your own van and take to the open road? Our book HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT MOTORHOME may save you from making the mistakes that we did! Find your RV with confidence!
Or maybe you want to TRY BEFORE YOU BUY? Rent a motorhome from our colleagues at SPACESHIPS RENTAL
Read about THREE OF THE BEST ROAD TRIPS AND DAY DRIVES IN THE UK
Blog post – Preparing the inside of the van for winter
Tell us about your adventures or about your favourite travel book in the comments below…