A caravan owner works on his van outside of his house. A stranger pulls into the driveway, exits the car, and begins the following conversation:

Stranger: Excuse me, can I ask you a question?

Owner: Yes, sure thing.

Stranger: Are you busy?

Owner: I’m just fixing this hole in the side of my van and then I will paint it.

Stranger: I love this van.

Owner: Thank you.

Stranger: Hey, I want to buy your caravan.

Owner: Funny you should ask me this question.

Stranger: Well, it wasn’t a question. I was stating my desire.

Owner: I was thinking of selling, maybe.

Stranger: Do you know when you might sell?

Owner: I am thinking to buy a boat.

Stranger: I own a boat! Maybe we could exchange.

Owner: I want to live on the boat, so I doubt it: how big is your boat?

Stranger: Oh, just 24 feet. A small sailboat.

Owner: If I find a good boat, I might sell this caravan.

Stranger: Will you call me if you sell it? Can I give you my phone number?

Owner: Yes. Give me your phone number.

Stranger: Can I see inside?

The owner opens the van and the two men climb around inside the van together for a while.

Owner: Here is the bathroom. The kitchen. The living room. The bedrooms. We fold this down and place another bed here. The dog sleeps here. It is a miniature apartment with an enormous garden.

Stranger: Marvelous. I want to change my life and go camp in the country with this van.

Owner: We love it because it is so small, but it has everything we need: kitchen, bathroom, beds, and we can park anywhere in a city: near a museum, at a public beach on a river, or next to the public park in the middle of a town.

Stranger: Marvelous. I am getting older; I have three grown sons and, well, I realize that my time is limited and I need to buy a van soon and go where the wind takes me.

Owner: I was thinking the same, which is why I want a boat.

Stranger: How much did you pay to buy this van?

Owner: Seven thousand. It had many problems, but we’ve fixed some things. Others are difficult to correct.

Stranger: Of course: it is an old car. Do you have any idea when you will move to your boat?

Owner: There are many steps first. I believe my boat will arrive in my life at the proper time.

Stranger: Yes, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Owner: Yes, that’s the idea. Nothing like buying a boat in order to learn to sail.

Stranger: And you wife lives with you in this van?

Owner: Oh, yes, the whole family. Wife, kids, and a dog.

Stranger: And she wants to go live on a boat, too?

Owner: Yes, she does.

Stranger: How marvelous that your wife is at peace with your dreams. This is a precious thing: to have a spouse who shares life with you. So many people are at war with either spouses.

Owner: Ah, that’s lovely to hear. Thank you for telling me this. I do forget, but I know you are right. Stranger: What do you forget?

Owner: I’m used to my own life, so I take it for granted, and some days, you know, one becomes angry or annoyed and forgets the bigger picture of the whole life: How lucky to own this caravan, for example.

Stranger: I hope that a caravan like this one will help me see the big picture of my own life.

Owner: It will. In a van, one notices one’s consumption: how much water, electricity, and gas one uses. And, living in a small space helps one realize what is necessary and what is not necessary. There is no room for extra stuff, so one must leave it behind and pack only the essentials. Owning lots of things adds stress to our lives, so when we remove lots of things, we suddenly obtain a less stressful life. Of course, there are other stresses when one lives in a van, but one can sit and meditate more easily upon the sunset.

Stranger: Marvelous. What are the stresses of a van life?

Owner: Well, one should be careful stepping out of one’s front door because one never knows where the road leads; the same road that crosses one’s little town is the same road that leads to the Lonely Mountain, a quest, and a dragon.

Stranger: Marvelous.

The end.