I Finally Hit the Road With My Trusty Toyota Hiace. I Hope I Can Find Who I Want to Be

At long last, I am on the road again. I spent longer than I’d hoped at my former home, muddling through moving out and fixing up the van, arranging care for my cat, selling my 1988 Honda Prelude Si, and generally trying to get myself ready to be nomadic. But I finished and my reward is the open road. This weekend I have spent in Dallas, meeting up with a few friends, sleeping indoors in the comfort of a close friend’s home, and getting to shower and relax before I set off, but I already have begun to feel better. 

[Editor’s note: Writer Victoria Scott is taking off to travel the country this summer and explore car culture in a JDM 1995 Toyota Hiace, and we’ll be chronicling her adventures through a series on The Drive called The Vanscontinental Express. It’s natural to yearn for the open road at a moment when it feels like the world is waking up from a yearlong daze. But as a trans woman looking for her place in the world, Victoria’s journey is anything but your average road trip. This is part four; you can read parts one through three here.]

On the road, for real.

Home was definitely no longer a mental resting place; I sequestered myself in my office the entire time I was back, scared to expose myself to the surge of emotions that come with a broken heart by talking with my former lover. The moments I spent in our common areas were spent dismantling the life we had built together, thumbing through our long-since-blended vinyl collections and picking model cars off our shelves to box up the ones that had originally been mine. We have now parted ways, and my heart aches just as bad as it did when I wrote the first piece. There isn’t much that hasn’t been said about breakups before, because it’s one of the most universal human experiences, but this was my first and it hurts in the way they all do.

As a writer, I cope and heal by telling stories about the experiences I have. Realizing that my own life can have a narrative structure that I can learn from has genuinely helped me realize truths about myself and find flaws in my behavior that I can correct and improve upon. Part of what has made the past few weeks so difficult is that there is no narrative I can find in pain this fresh and physical and raw. It would be like sending an NTSB investigator to study a plane making an emergency landing with an engine currently on fire. There are no lessons to be learned from an event whose aftermath hasn’t been seen yet.

My adorable cat Burt happy in his new home.

But, on a better note, my cat is well cared for by my friend who I’ve left him with, and my things are safely tucked into a storage unit, awaiting the day I settle down again. Now I can embrace travel with open arms. I have a few key locations I need to get to—a Pride event in southern California this month, the first post-pandemic Radwood in San Francisco next—but other than that, I have intentionally kept the schedule vague and the deadlines distant. I am trying to get the hell out of Texas, though. This state is oppressive—its climate, its politics, its landscape—to me, and I know I will find nothing here. The desert is calling. 

I want the peace of a disconnect from familiar sights and people. I want to prove to myself I can be alone and find joy in myself. A road trip is one of the most beautifully chaotic undertakings an individual can tackle, especially one this unstructured. I hope that with my narrative restored—travel, feeling the wind through my many sunroofs, allowing myself to find the places I want to be—I can find the person I want to be by crafting my own story. 

My now-sold Prelude, from more stable times

In the beautiful words of Nat Puff (Left at London), don’t cry for me, for I’ve found peace in the madness. 

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