In the Travel Tarot series I share stories and pictures from my life out on the road, reading tarot, tour managing for Kristen Ford, and seeing the USA out the window of our converted camper van named Lady. I take quite a few photos each day, and many of them end up on my Instagram account with a hashtag for a corresponding tarot card that reminds me of the image, mood, or theme of the photo. Sometimes the connections between life and tarot are obvious, and other times an explanation brings us deeper into the meaning of the card, the energies of our lives, and the connection between these energies and our daily existence. This series offers that deeper exploration of a photo, a tarot card, and how that relates to my day to day life on the road.
In 2014, I bought a Ford Econoline E250 off a guy in Medford, MA who had used the van to transport some fancy laser from New Mexico to MIT. I found it on Craigslist for $2700 and had my girlfriend, Kristen, go test drive it, take it to the mechanic to get it checked out, and then buy it with an envelope of cash. The dudes selling the van didn’t even count the cash- but suspicions died there because this was a truly awesome van. She showed up magically at the right price just at the moment we were looking for her. Kristen and I named her Lady Van and we have been happy together ever since. My dad and my brother helped us build out a bed, table, cabinets and a second battery inside for electricity. We drove about 15,000 miles in 5 months all over the country, Kristen playing her music and me helping tour manager and growing my tarot business.
2014 was the year of The Chariot. 2+0+1+4=7. The Chariot is the 7th card of the tarot. That’s some pretty simple numerology but some very powerful life energy. The Chariot represents determination and the will-power to succeed. Kristen and I had a big goal in 2014 to live out our dream to tour full time, making money playing music and reading tarot. Manifesting this vision was no walk in the park as we had to do a shit ton of planning, goal setting, and work. We spent the first half of 2014 being super ambitious and focused in our efforts to plan a sustainable and fun tour. During the second half of 2014, we courageously set out on our adventure, exploring, learning, and growing all along the way, channeling this powerful energy of The Chariot.
Lady Van herself is a symbol of The Chariot. She drives us towards our goals. She is strong and courageous in her own way. In the photo above we took her up and over a 10,000 foot pass in the Rocky’s just days before the road became impassable with winter snow. Up she chugged, winding around the crazy curves up the side of the mountain, snowflakes swirling around her gleaming white exterior. All that climbing up and up and then a long, controlled descent, brakes smoking. We had to pull over once or twice to cool her brakes, but never did Lady bulk at her goal or lose control of her momentum. That’s the Chariot in action, that’s what it feels like to drive and be driven. The determination and ambition of The Chariot helps us to climb mountains, overcome obstacles, and achieve our goals victoriously.
For anyone out there considering moving into a van to travel around the country, or just for everyone that has a huge dream- use the energy of The Chariot to get your ass in gear. You can live that dream, I’m speaking from a place of experience here. Your fantasies may seem far-flung, but how can you make them fit into reality? My dream life living in a van isn’t all sunshine and roses. Sometimes we have setbacks, but that’s life. Don’t wait for your perfect moment, or insist that your dream be realized perfectly. Make compromises, make decisions, push harder, be persistent, follow your dream. Take the reins of your own life, follow your passions, set a crazy ambitious goal and then attack!
The Chariot reversed:
Lack of progress
Loss of will
Loss of Self-Confidence
Out of Control
Sometimes Lady has to go to the mechanic shop and get repaired. We try to take good care of her with oil changes every 3,000 miles and 6 month check ups on all her Lady parts, but mysterious car things still happen that are out of our control. This is the big lesson of the Chariot reversed: things are not always within our control, sometimes we can’t make progress, and we all experience setbacks. The most we can hope for and attract into our hearts is the will to keep going. We can’t let setbacks lead to total loss of drive and ambition- to giving up and quitting. Kristen and I always manage to fix up the Lady Van, and keep going down the road. We invest our time, money, and positive vibes into Lady, believing that vanlife is a life worth living, that our dream can be manifested into reality because we deserve it and we work for it. Oftentimes, the reversed Chariot shows up in a tarot reading to remind you of the importance of your ambition and a need to increase your determination.
Lady Van broke down on the very first day of the tour in June of 2014. We weren’t even 100 miles outside of Boston when I crashed over a pothole on I-90 and Lady started making a crazy creaking and grinding noise. Metal on metal. It sounded pretty atrocious but we drove on to the first gig in Philadelphia and then made an appointment at the mechanics for in the morning. We brought Lady to a place called Ken’s and it turned out her driveshaft was busted. So they fixed it. 6,000 miles later in Michigan, same story: pothole, crazy crunching, broken driveshaft. Great, it seems that this will be a constant problem for us. So what did we do? Last month we got the driveshaft part preemptively repaired before it could completely wear out again. This is our determination, this is our never-say-die mentality at work. Dreams are hard, but a good dream is so worth while, worth the effort, worth it, period.
What if we just ran out of steam on the whole project? What if all the repairs, cancelled shows, and “lost” hours waiting at mechanic shops totally drained our spirits and ambitions and we just stopped the tour? Or what if Lady Van was beyond repair? How do we overcome the obstacles of the reversed Chariot? How do you know when to call it quits? That’s some deep reflective work, that’s the next step we learn along the tarot journey with card number 8: Strength.
I hope you enjoyed this first installation of Travel Tarot. I plan to add a new photo and travel life story as often as I can, so follow this blog, or hop on over to Facebook and follow me there so you never miss a Travel Tarot story. Yay!