MAN VAN DOG - MEET JOE HAWLEY
Hello, my name is Joe Hawley. I am currently traveling around the country in my sprinter van with my rescue pup Freedom, living the dream, visiting beautiful places and connecting with like-minded people. You might be wondering how I got so lucky. Well, not without a lot of hard work and sacrifice. You see, before I was able to make this dream a reality, I had to work my entire life to accomplish another dream of mine, playing professional football on Sundays. After 16 total years of football and 8 long years in the NFL, playing for both the Falcons and the Buccaneers, I made the decision to walk away from my childhood dream to find out who I was without it.
Dreams change, desires change, and that’s okay, as long as we listen to ourselves and, especially in my case, our bodies. Change is not a bad thing, it is a necessary part of our growth as human beings. For me, after years of grinding my body into the ground and countless injuries, I knew it was time for a change. I no longer wanted to sacrifice my health for a pay check, I no longer wanted to suffer through a grueling NFL schedule and deal with all the pressure that comes with competing at the highest level. So, I decided to leave millions of dollars on the table and walked away from the game.
In search of something that would make me feel alive again, as well as trying to figure out who I was without football, I decided to hit the road. I wanted to experience the freedom and adventure of traveling across this amazing country without a real plan in mind, while trying to find answers to some of the bigger questions I had stirring deep down in my soul.
What I’ve learned over the last year, while on the road, has completely changed my life in some incredibly profound ways. By constantly pushing myself outside my comfort zone; traveling to new places, meeting new people, and staying open to the lessons that come my way, I’ve cultivated this inner peace and a new found confidence in who I am. I’ve realized that there is more to this life than accumulating wealth and fame. Don’t get me wrong, I am so damn grateful every day for the opportunity and security that those things have provided, but they are no longer correlated to my self-worth as a human being. I judge my life on the ability to be present in each and every moment. I’m learning to experience the gift of life as it unfolds around me. So many of us are stuck in the future or the past but never really connect with our lives as they are, right here, right now. That is where I find my real happiness and the beautiful thing is, no one can take that away from me.
Because of this unique opportunity, I felt responsible to share my journey with others. So, I thought it would be a cool idea to share the experience through a blog. So, I started Man Van Dog Blog, not really knowing what I was doing or what I was getting into, I just started posting about where I was and what I was learning. Much to my surprise, the blog began to grow and I started getting a lot of positive feedback which really inspired me to continue to share what I was learning and promote travel and positivity online. It has also led to some very cool opportunities. Some of those opportunities include different brands reaching out about partnerships. I have been very conscious about who I’ve wanted to attach myself to for multiple reasons. I’ve always wanted my content to be authentic and true to who I am as a person and not about pushing products or getting free kickbacks. For those reasons I have turned down a lot of offers to work with different companies because they just didn’t align with who I was and quite honestly, I just wasn’t that into their product or service. That was until Hey Dude Shoes reached out and sent me some of their shoes. After giving them a try for a few weeks, I realized that they were the only shoes I wanted to wear. They are comfortable, light weight and are perfect for my minimalist, travel van, life style. It’s like wearing a comfy sock with great support. On top of being the most comfortable and practical shoe I’ve ever worn, they are really stylish and come in a variety of different options and colors. After doing a little research about their brand and what they stood for, I knew that this was a company I wanted to work with.
So here I am, not really knowing what I’m doing or where I’m headed, just traveling the country trying to spread positivity and connect with this ever-fleeting present moment. I’m just happy to have the most comfortable shoes on my feet while I do it. I appreciate everyone for all of the continued support on this amazing journey called life. If you want to follow along on my trip, I am most active on Instagram. I try to respond to most of my DMs so reach out and say what’s up, I would love to hear from you. I’m also rebooting my website manvandogblog.com so check it out and let me know what you think.
Remember, happiness is an inside job, you have a choice during every moment of every day to decide how you want to live your life, don’t give that power away. If you want to learn more about how you can cultivate that inner peace, check out my blog. I’ll see y’all out on the road! PEACE!!
Follow Joe on Instagram @ManVanDogBlog
8 comments #WeTakeYouAnywhere
Mike Patterson says...
Just passed you up on I-10 in Boerne Tx, keep on keeping on.On October 02, 2019
Craig Stanfield says...
just passed you on I40, west of Albuquerque. Keep on truckin!On September 20, 2019
Wesley McLawhorn says...
Keep your dream alive brother and live it every single day! Thank you for spreading the positivity as this world is truly in need of it at this time! Best of luck!On September 14, 2019
Weston Graham says...
I also played ball, both football and baseball since a child and grew up playing over the years, and as we all know, with playing sports comes the injuries with it. I was born with both feet flatter than a 2×4 which has always made me more prone to ankle injuries, multiple bad sprains, stretched ligaments, right ankle broke good the day my wife went into labor to have our son, and also planter fasciitis. All are very painful. Over the years after moving away from sports I’ve been on the hunt for a shoe that would benefit me in both comfort as well as light weight. I just recently bought my shoes and I swear so help me they have made all of my pain and ankle issues, clicking and popping go completely away. I thought it was just in my mind and that the shoes probably are not that comfortable and I just thought so being new and all….. but no! I wore them three days in a row to work…. not the first pain or discomfort….. work my regular new balance running shoes…. pain and discomfort at such a high level that I couldn’t walk without limping. Needless to say, this shoe is the s#%* and I don’t care what anyone has to say about them because to me that’s exactly what they are…… the s#%*! Thanks for the shoes and a phenomenal product that keeps me going.On July 12, 2019
Ryan art says...
Man! Such a great read. I can so relate to your life’s journey. I’m rite there with you I’m at a crossroad also in my life. Thanks for the great inspiration you share!!On July 11, 2019
Tom Hardy says...
So Kool that You’re Getting 2 do this !!!On July 01, 2019
Sarah Church says...
I admire you for your passion. I myself am a traveling nurse an enjoy exploring new destinations with my dog Motley. Life an happiness is what you do proactively to accomplish it!On July 01, 2019
I love you. This is a great article.On July 01, 2019