I remember being where you are now, about to take the plunge and hit the road. You’re excited for this new chapter in your life, glad that the day is finally set and can’t wait for the experiences you’re about to have, for the feeling of freedom to wash over you.
But it’s also very scary. What was once a daydream of days on the beach, nights under the stars and trips to tourist destinations has become a logistical quagmire. There are still so many details to take care of, so many thing that could go wrong. The whole prospect of full-timing has suddenly become very real and raw. You feel like you’re on a roller coaster, at times ecstatic for this big change in your life and feeling like you can move mountains. At other times, you seriously wonder if you’ll be able to pull this off, you doubt everything you do and wonder if you should pull the plug on this dream.
These feelings are perfectly normal. I went through the same things in the weeks (and months) before I hit the road and I haven’t spoken to a full-timer yet who didn’t experience anxiety about hitting the road. Going full-timing is a huge lifestyle change, and change is nerve-wracking. Anytime you step outside your comfort zone, you can expect to feel some resistance, and the farther from your comfort zone you get, the more resistance you feel.
There is no way to eliminate the fear, but that’s okay. Courage isn’t a lack of fear, courage is acting despite it.
I’ll tell you truthfully, the fear will never completely go away. Nearly four years on the road, and I still worry about mountain grades, finding a place to park, and leaving the Casita unattended when I go somewhere. But the fear has lost its sharpness over time as I’ve gained more confidence in my ability to handle adversity.
Yes, if you go full-timing, sooner or later you’ll run into problems. But you’ll learn how to overcome them. The first few months on the road are the hardest, but it gets easier, the fear becomes less pressing.
Be smart about it of course. Fear exists to warn you about potentially dangerous situations. Do your research and practice common sense, but understand that fear is more of a caution light than a stop sign. Don’t let fear make your decisions for you. Don’t let it keep you from the life you’ve been dreaming of.
Trust me, you’ve got this.
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There’s been a number of posts recently on the women’s RVing groups I’m a member of about fear and preparing to hit the road, this is a slightly more fleshed out version of what I usually respond with. I hope those of you reading this who are preparing to hit the road find it similarly helpful.
It also seemed appropriate to write about today given the ongoing saga of my truck. Several of you have already asked and yes, Bertha does need additional repairs beyond the radiator hose, head gasket failure being the main problem.
I got the feeling from my post about the breakdown that some of you think I must be some sort of zen master to have handled the situation so well. I want to be truthful and say that of course I felt upset and angry about my travel plans being derailed, I just didn’t let those emotions keep me from doing what had to be done. Of course I spent the holiday weekend wondering what the shop was going to say about my truck, but I didn’t let the worry keep me from enjoying the kayak tour or feeling accomplished for getting to the top of Mt. Elbert.
I don’t think it’s possible to get rid of fear, anger, or worry. But if you can learn to focus more on what’s going right instead of what is – or could go – wrong, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of most people.
As for the logistics, right now RPM (the shop) is giving me a tentative date of the 20th for having Bertha fixed (being the only reputable repair place in the area, they have quite a backlog to work on before they can get to her and she needs to be sent to a machine shop as part of the head gasket repair). Ethan has moved on to other adventures, but on Wednesday he took me to stock up on groceries, pick some things up from Bertha, and buy a used bike, so I’m pretty well prepared for my time without motorized transportation.
When you have an older vehicle and a considerable repair bill, it’s worth thinking about replacement rather than repair and I did look into this option. I also looked into having both truck and trailer towed to Denver for a faster repair. But in the end, fixing Bertha and staying in Leadville was the best choice for me. Amazon is cool with me showing up a couple weeks later.
As I’ve now overstayed the 14 day limit at the dispersed camping area off of 48 and my waste tanks were due to be dumped last Friday when I tried to leave, today I’m having Cas towed to a dump station, and then taken to a campground near Turquoise Lake that is free now that the summer season is officially over. The cell signal at this campground is marginal, so expect slower response times to e-mails and comments (thanks for your understanding). It is a nice area and pretty close to the lake, hopefully I’ll be able to share pictures soon.
I’d also like to state again that I do have enough money to cover everything thanks to my emergency fund, but I’d also like to thank those of you who’ve donated using PayPal and shopped on Amazon using my affiliate link in the past week. I appreciate your support and generosity.
If you’re looking for more detailed information about ways to combat the fear that comes with RVing, try this blog post. There’s also a chapter in my e-book, The Little Guide To Dreaming Big, about managing fear.