Living On Your Own Terms, By Your Own Rules

It is never too late to live the life of your dreams.

I want to die while living fully.

When some people see the Peace Love Car they simply see a jalopy car that should be taken off the streets; a sick stray dog that would be best to be put down. What we see tells a different story, a story that has taught us to live fully. In this beat-up hunk of junk we see possibility, because the PLC’s life didn’t fully start until it had already been pronounced legally dead.

In 2002 the PLC was totaled and sent to the junkyard. A friend saw life in it and revived the car. That was 440,000 miles ago! After having been pronounced dead the PLC has crisscrossed the country, traversing roads and highways and winding paths. It has provided housing, transportation and memories for hundreds of people. It has taken countless people on climbing trips, camping adventures, up mountains, down valleys, and to beaches. It has been photographed, smiled at, and flipped off. People either love or hate this car and that’s the beauty of it—like it or not—it will leave an impression and it will make you question something.

My favorite memory of the car was when the transmission broke in Ohio. Sam and I were on our way to Michigan for a festival and we had two days to get there. It seems like the universe sent help from all directions. A guy helped us push the car, another took us to the store, another drove all night to bring us a transmission, installed it and then drove back to work at 8 a.m. A person across the street brought us pizza, another one corn on the cob, and another one bought us drinks. The ridiculousness of the car inspired a sense of cooperation, community, and communication in others.

In 2012 the PLC got a second death sentence. The mechanic said it would last only two more years. With the sight of death around the corner, we decided to give as much life to those two years left. We decided that if the car had to die, then it was going to die out of exhaustion, not of boredom.

That, of course, was three years ago. The PLC is not in it’s best shape but it continues to drive us everywhere. Even though we know its demise is imminent, we continue to make improvements. If you knew you were going to die in two years you wouldn’t stop brushing your teeth… Same with the PLC. We continue to put stickers on it and to fix every little sound it has.

Living in the PLC has been a constant reminder that we need to live life fully and that we need to do it now. Because we don’t know when our last day is around the corner. Similarly, we don’t know when the car’s final day will come, and until that happens we will continue to live and travel on it. We love showing by example that is possible to live, work and travel out of a $400 car.

If you knew you were going to die in two years you wouldn’t stop brushing your teeth… Same with the Peace Love Car.

The PLC taught us the beauty of thoroughly enjoying and using everything you own. I see friends and family purchasing fancy cars and then worrying too much about scratching them. Not daring to modify their vehicle to make it more useful because it will decrease its resale value. If we want to drill a hole in the dash to add a table for navigation, we simply do it. The value we worry about is the value of the experience. Similarly with our lives. We modify our lives to fit our goals and understand that our goals are not the same goals of our friends and family and therefore, we cannot live by their standards. It has taken us years to make peace with this. It has taken years for our friends and families to make peace with this too.

The biggest lesson we learned—and continue to learn—while living in a decrepit car is that it is never too late to live the life of your dreams. There’s no reason to give up in life. Someone gave up on the PLC 440,000 miles ago, and since then it has lived a life unimaginable to most vehicles. Same with us and you. It doesn’t matter what stage you are in life, if you are not living a life you love, is never too late to change it.

My goal in life is to live fully every single day. I want to go to bed knowing that I did as much as possible during my day. I want to go to bed exhausted without any energy to worry about what will happen tomorrow because tomorrow will take care of itself. I want to live and eventually die while living!

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”” – Hunter S. Thompson

Living in the PLC has inspired us to live our lives in totally different way… That life itself shouldn’t be a slow, cautious walk to the finish line, but a wild ride in which we give maximum credence to our spirit’s ability to burn, ignite, spark, evolve, and change. Now we are ready for Round Two.

We are not giving up on our 1988 Ford Festiva just yet. Foreseeing the possibility of needing a new road trip machine we started designing the Second Generation Peace Love Car. A year ago we purchased a 1963 P10 and a 1986 Chevy Blazer. The two cars and a lot of ingenuity will be used to build a 4×4 Hybrid Diesel Micro Mobile Home. One thing we learned during this adventure is that we do not want limit ourselves to the constraints of political boundaries. We want to travel the world and it will be really amazing to have a home everywhere we go. Plus… We need a place to hold all our stickers.

Featuring Sam Salwei and Raquel Hernandez of the YogaSlackers
Filmed & Edited by Ben Fullerton
Produced by Wanderlust
Special thanks to Yakima for supporting this episode
Music: Side By Side by The Parson Red Heads (Written by The Dimes) Coming In by General Benson


About the Road to Wanderlust

The Road to Wanderlust Journals were first published by Wanderlust Festival when Sam and Raquel set out to travel to all 50 states in less than one year. Driving to all Continental States in their 1988 Ford Festiva.

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