Living Intently

The last time Shana and Marcus wrote for us was back in July, when they were outfitting their van, Black Betty, to live in full-time.  Since then they’ve experimented with other living situations, and now they’re back in Black Betty, plus a huge, kick-ass tent, traveling the southern coast of California. An undercurrent to all they do is healing (with grace and a strong sense of humor) after the death of their son, Tyler.




1. with earnest and eager attention.

We vacated our condo in Vegas and put our 45-foot toy hauler in storage, bought a tent and won’t be going back indoors any time soon. 

While several of our friends say we must be insane, this is what addressing mental health actually looks like. 

The ease and conveniences that our condo and toy hauler provide had become a problem. Their luxuries: cable television in every room, an ice maker inside a person-sized refrigerator. A cozy couch and bed. A dreamy amount of hot water running endlessly. Central heat. A kitchen, fully loaded with select tools we need to create the made-from-scratch delicious meals we love to share with our beloved onesies and twosies (shamelessly including our dogs’ food recipes in this love for cooking). 

All these had to be left behind in search of self. To live with a true, earnest investment of full attention to every second of every day, intently. To escape the “matrix” (although we hate this term). To remove ourselves completely from the default mode of day-to-day living that had imprisoned us. 

What we’ve gained: Watching and listening to a train go down the track. Incredible. Being aware of bees pollinating flowers. Remarkable. Witnessing the thunderous roar of a complete gullywasher of a storm trying to turn your tent into a life raft. These make it very easy to stay in the present and avoid getting lost in the past.

This is our constant challenge as beings. Living intently allows us to stay in the present as much as possible by removing the digital distractions we face in our day-to-day lives.

Almost everything we do in our new lives takes much longer, but there is time to be truly present for the process. In a tent, you can’t hide from the sun or the sounds around you. The weekends provide an influx of people along with their sounds, like kids playing and couples figuring out that driving off with an RV slide out is bad.

At night and on weekdays, human sounds give way to birds calling, the crashing ocean waves, the howling of something in the distance that seems way too close. You can’t create artificial darkness. You are up with the sun and down with the sun. Our circadian rhythms are in sync with Mother Earth. We are intently focused on healing our souls. 

This is how we face the challenge of building new pathways in our brains.  Absent from our reality are the thieves that steal the time people need to focus on what’s necessary to create that growth.

In that space, now, is:

  • The ability to live in the present moment with full intent all the time, ready to embrace every challenge that Mother Nature chooses to bestow upon us. 
  • An adventure that allows us to utilize our problem-solving skills and to test our stress responses.
  • A relationship that allows each of us lots and lots of grace with plenty of room to safely continue to make mistakes while we rebuild those pathways. 
  • Opportunities  to continually see new places and have new experiences, to embrace living in an ever-changing world. To build upon our strengths while we learn about ourselves until we decide where we go next.

Where are we going next? Physically, we are thinking Spain or Greece; we just have to determine the right time to jump ye old pond. Until then, we will be somewhere in California in our tent, living intently.

Shana And Marcus

We are a post-pandemic retired duo who decided society was too much of a crazy breed. We bought an RV, then a tent, and took off on the road so we could get back to nature, reflect on the beauty that goes unnoticed and focus on recreation. (For more posts by these authors, click on their names, above.)

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