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“I refuse to spend Thanksgiving with anyone”

I started living in a van in early 2018, but wasn’t happy with the way it was built. So, in November 2020, I bought a new van for $40,000 and immediately started renovating it.

I put modern luxuries in there, like an oven, fridge and heater so I could be comfortable while living on the road. It took over three months to convert and when it was finished in February 2020 I started traveling again.

Life in a van with my dog

I chose to live in a van because I was at a low point in my life and needed a change to rekindle my love for life. Originally, I was planning to do a 3 month road trip, but I really liked living and traveling in a van. Because I had the means to support myself, I continued to live this lifestyle.

Millie, my dog, lives and travels with me in my van; She is full of love and very cuddly. The story of how she came into my life is awesome.

In 2017, before I decided to live and travel full time in a van, I lived in a house just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. At the time, I had another dog. I let her out at night and left the back door open for her while I got ready for bed.

Trent Arant and his dog, Millie.
Thirty Arant

One night in the summer of 2017, I was waiting for my dog ​​to come in and I felt a presence in my room. I looked around but saw nothing. I then heard a small growl. I looked to my side and saw a small, cute Staffordshire Bull Terrier staring at me with big googly eyes and a wide smile, waiting for me to pet her.

I was confused because I didn’t live in a neighborhood at the time; I lived on a few acres of land. So, it was odd that a random dog wandered into my house and was quite comfortable approaching me. I decided to name her Millie and took her to the vet. I was told that she had no badge or chip, but that she was being treated.

Trent Millie's dog
Millie is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Thirty Arant

I then put a missing dog post on Craigslist and Facebook, but no one asked for it. So I kept Millie. She was the best addition to my life and brought me a lot of joy. It also makes it easier to travel alone as I often feel lonely, especially when traveling in desolate areas for weeks.

Unfortunately, I had to relocate my other dog with a friend of mine in 2018 because she was disabled and couldn’t handle my traveling lifestyle. But I still see her quite often.

Thanksgiving 2022

A week before Thanksgiving, I created a video and shared it on my YouTube channel, telling my subscribers that I would be spending Thanksgiving alone. In the video, I also cooked a Thanksgiving meal, although I’m by no means a chef. A lot of times I make macaroni and cheese or canned brownies, and I have fun doing it.

Trent Arant and his van
Trent decided to live and travel full time in a van in 2018.
Thirty Arant

I made and posted the video early because my viewers might want to watch something on Thanksgiving, especially if they’re spending the day alone. I know there are a lot of people who don’t have family or friends who want to feel part of a community. I wanted these people to feel part of my community. I wanted them to feel seen on Thanksgiving. I can’t imagine how hard it is to be alone on vacation when you really don’t have anyone.

The food I made in the video was nothing particularly special. I made vegan white cheddar mac and cheese and green beans which I sautéed with garlic, salt and pepper. I then baked a sweet potato dish and drizzled with honey and cinnamon. Finally, I chose to cook ham instead of turkey because I think it tastes better. The meal was delicious.

The interior of Trent's van
Trent purchased a Ram Promaster minivan in November 2020.
Thirty Arant

Millie stays away when I’m in the kitchen because it’s a very small space. I created a small room for her under my bed; she often lays there while I’m in the kitchen, waiting for me to put food on the floor for her to eat.

I try not to give him human food because I know it might upset his stomach. But of course, I didn’t forget my Millie at the start of my Thanksgiving. I prepared a dish just for her. It was a traditional croquette that I gave him every evening, topped with mashed pumpkin and a few slices of ham. She liked it; she was on top of the world.

Towards the end of my video, I sat down and ate, while detailing to my followers the things I am grateful for in life.

Trent Arant's Thanksgiving Meal
Trent Arant’s Homemade Thanksgiving Meal.
Thirty Arant

Choosing to be alone for Thanksgiving

For as long as I can remember, I’ve made an effort to see my family and friends for Thanksgiving. But this year it’s different. I am currently going through a transition phase in my life. I’m incredibly uncomfortable being alone, but I force myself to be comfortable with myself. I realize that being alone is part of life.

I realize that my life is amazing because I can live and travel while taking my home and my beautiful dog with me. Yet I have so many days where I wake up feeling very miserable. Spending time alone allows me to realize this.

I’m going back to the East Coast to spend Christmas with my family, but this Thanksgiving I’m going to sit down with myself and learn to be grateful for the life I have. When something feels good, it’s often hard to explain. That’s what I’m going through right now.

Even if I have the possibility of meeting other nomads who live in vans or buses, I have the impression of teaching myself something by choosing to be alone.

I got great feedback on my first Thanksgiving video, which I thought was odd because on the surface it was just a video of me making food in my van. However, I realized that it was ordinary for me because I live this life every day. But for people who only dream of having this lifestyle, it’s a special experience to see me exist in a unique space.

Many people were very grateful for the gratitude I expressed in the video, as it helped them become more aware of their situation. Even though they don’t live in a van and travel full time, it reminded some of them that they need to be present in the moment and be grateful for what they have right now.

I feel like the world needs a little more vulnerability. I try to put all my emotions online to let people know that it’s okay to feel lonely and it’s okay to feel grateful. it’s part of being human.

Being alone can be difficult, but it’s empowering because it forces you to sit with yourself. I also believe that you can learn a lot about yourself when you are alone. In the end, no matter who you are with, you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. And if you’re not comfortable with yourself, how will you ever be comfortable with anyone else?

Trent is a full time traveler. He lives in his van full time with his dog, Millie. He is also a content creator on Youtube and freelancer in the film industry. You can find out more about him here.

All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

As Carine Harb, Deputy Editor of Newsweek, put it.

#refuse #spend #Thanksgiving

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