70mph Short Film #1/7 “THE CLEANSE”

I lit a match and threw it on my most prestigious Emmy award. It was soaked in lighter fluid, so it erupted immediately into a big ball of flame. I watched as the “Nick Conedera” printed on the award slowly disintegrated into black death.

For a second I feared that seeing my name fade into black oblivion meant that I was fading into black oblivion myself. But once the flames transmuted my attachment into a pile of carbon, I felt a weight lift. I felt lighter. And it became easier. So I followed suit with the rest of my awards – 30 or so trophies, certificates, glass, and plastic that I had been carrying around for over a decade to prove my worth to the world.

I knew that part of the process of preparing for the minimalism of vanlife meant getting rid of my possessions. I’m not a very material person (in fact I hate Christmas), but getting rid of certain objects was really hard for me. Not surprisingly, the more I did it, the easier it got, until I was able to get rid of everything that was not a direct daily contribution to my survival. I sold all my electronics and old equipment on Craigslist. I donated or gifted all my furniture. And burned the rest.

“My greatest skill has been to want little.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)