Keep it Simple Sunday: Choose life–Reject Fear!

Fear-Thermometer

It”s human nature to take a small risk or problem and turn it into a giant disaster in your mind. If you will learn that about yourself, and learn how to deal with it, your life will be much, much better!

I get lots of emails from readers about safety; it is probably one of the most common topics. People write me and ask if they will be safe or if they can be vandwellers/RVers if they aren’t mechanics. I often get letters from women asking if they will be safe. Fear is the root of many of those emails. I’ve concluded that fear is probably the one thing more than any other that keeps people from following their dreams. They long to make a change in their lives but they are paralyzed by the “what-if’s” and perceived dangers and risks of following their dreams. I think there are many of you out there who fall into that category. You are daydreaming and planning, but never actually doing anything to make your dreams come true. You live vicariously through my and other blogs. There is nothing wrong with that!! If I my writing makes your life better in any way, I am grateful for the opportunity. But I hate to see you miss out on a better life because of fear.

Numerous times I get in extended email conversations with people who are very frustrated with their lives, and really love the idea of mobile living, but their fears hold them back. I want to help them so I always try to calm their fears as best I can. I address their fears directly and try to show them reasonable solutions to help them get over them. With many people fear is so ingrained they can’t overcome it and they find a reason why my every reassurance can’t help them. Every time I offer a solution, they tell me why it can’t possibly work. Sometimes they just ignore me like I never said anything.

Having lived with a lot of fear in my life I understand how powerful its death grip is on our heart and minds so sometimes I give up on logical reassurance and turn to shock tactics instead–trying to break through the fear. In this post I want to share some of the answers I have given to a reader that I have been writing to for a very long time (over 40 emails back and forth). Every time I offered a solution this person responded by a repeating all the reasons she/he couldn’t go mobile and claiming that what I suggested couldn’t work. I finally decided logic could not work so I just started talking straight to him/her.

Fear-Transform-SignI know there are many of you out there enslaved by fear as well. I’m hoping that perhaps my answers to her/him will shock you out of your fear as well. There is nothing in his/her questions that could identify the person, but if you are reading this I hope you aren’t offended by my sharing my answers to you with the other readers. I hope you are grateful for the chance to indirectly help other people.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.”   ~ Attributed to Mark Twain

Question:May 31, 2013: I’m a little bit fearful on heading out…. I’m so frustrated at things mechanical going wrong for me I’m about to give up. Maybe I’m meant to be in an apartment and just drive to where I want to visit once in a while.

Answer: May, 31, 2013: I will do everything I possibly can to help you. I know very little about RVs but I do know a lot about solar. Here is my advice so you can have your best possible life:

  • Relax!
  • Take it easy!!
  •  Set Sail!

What’s the worst thing can happen? You don’t have enough power and have to do with out your microwave, coffee maker or refrigerator.

My friend, if that is the worst thing that can happen to you, then you are better off than 80% of the people on the planet. You have the potential of a great and wonderful life but instead of living it you spend all your time worrying it won’t be perfect.

I will take all the suspense out of it for you. IT WILL NOT BE PERFECT. There will be problems and there will sacrifices. Horror of horror, you may have to drink instant coffee, cook over your propane stove and buy an ice chest. You may have to dig cat holes and poop in the woods. You may have to bathe with wet wipes and a spray bottle. NONE of that is likely, but it is possible.

But let me tell you what you will get in return.

  • You will wake up every day in a beautiful National Forest or Desert and thank God you are so lucky!!
  • You can reconnect with nature and feel human again.
  • You can camp with some wonderful people who will do anything they can to help you and will also give you all the privacy you need and help when you need it. We are a true community.
  • You can chase the best weather and avoid extremes.
  • You can travel and see a lot of gorgeous country.
  • To me, that is worth any sacrifice I have to make, but only you can decide if it worth it to you.

I don’t know if you will need more batteries for your fridge. Come on out here and we will find out. If you need new batteries I will drive you into Flagstaff and you can buy them whenever you can afford them. We will deal with the problems as they come up.

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow than a sleepy and permanent planet.

The function of a man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. “ ~Jack London

Question: June 18, 2013: Here I am getting the RV finally able to go somewhere and I’m feeling reluctant and scared to leave. I know it’s mostly because I’m afraid something is going to go wrong with the RV and I shouldn’t because I’ve worked so hard and spent so much in getting it ready to be used…. I wish there was a way I can get over this and I know I’ve done all that I could do to make me road worthy but that fear is still there.

Answer: June 19, 2013: …fear is normal and healthy! The little voice that nags at us that there is danger reminds us to do our due diligence and take all the precautions and prep work we should. But sometimes that voice just goes on and on even when it shouldn’t.

You have done all the work to make yourself as safe as you can, and you are going to be with other people which always make you safer. So I suggest when the voice nags you that you literally thank it for its good service, tell it you’re glad it’s helping you stay safe. Then just keep reminding it over-and-over again that you have done everything you can to eliminate the risks and you aren’t going to be alone.

Hopefully after a while it will calm down and you will feel better just by hearing yourself say it. But the day will come when you are just going to have to screw up your courage, ignore the voice, and set sail.

Embrace the risks and danger as a reassurance that you are still alive and life is to be lived and not just endured and survived.

You are at a crossroads, Will you spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair waiting to die, or will you grab life by the throat and demand all the joy and fullness out of it that you can get?

Only you can make that choice.

But once you make it, don’t look back, don’t think about it again–just take action.

Either buy the best rocking chair you can and start making provisions for your funeral, or get in that RV and drive away and let the chips fall where they may—good or bad!

Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out.

     That is what it is for.

Spend all you have before you die;

     do not outlive yourself.

~George Bernard Shaw

Fear-Choice-001Question: June 20, 2013: I’m so tired of this I’m at a point of giving up. I need a generator and one that is reliable…. Down and out and about to give up…..

Answer: June 20, 2013: Your fear has you paralyzed, it has nothing to do with generators that is just the excuse your fear is using to paralyze you. Lack of electricity should not keep you from traveling. At worst you might be without it for a month or two while we figure it out and you save money.

You simply have to choose to either sit back and wait to die, or take a chance and start traveling. Generators aren’t part of the decision! You are choosing between embracing life with all its potential problems or a comfortable “living death” for the remainder of your years on this planet.

You can have a comfortable life in an apartment while you wait to die or can throw caution to the wind, get in your RV and drive away.

You may have to do without electricity and use an ice chest, drink instant coffee and use a propane stove. BUT you will be alive and embracing life. I also suspect that when we put our heads together this terrible problem that is tearing you apart with the generators will actually turn out to be no big deal at all. But maybe not, maybe it will be an insurmountable problem. SO WHAT!

Life or death, choose.

It is very important that you only do what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live.

And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do.

Otherwise…  you will do things only for a reason, to please other people, and you will never have lived. And you will not have a pleasant death.”  ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Adventure-Mark-Twain-001


“A ship is safe in harbor,
but that’s not what ships are built for.” 

~John A. Shedd 

 

 

 

 

Bob
About

I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

Posted in Fear, Inspiration-Spirituality, Security/Safety Versus Freedom, Vandwelling Philosophy
103 comments on “Keep it Simple Sunday: Choose life–Reject Fear!
  1. HoboBerg says:

    Well said Bob. My fears of the unknown kept me locked in a job, and a mortgage for years.

    Giving all that up was one of the best choices I’ve made. This morning I woke up 9400 feet up a mountain. You cant beat that!

    Hope your enjoying the RTR. Take Care!

    • Bob Bob says:

      HoboBerg, it would be all the better if you were here! It’s been very pleasant here, but the heat i coming back later this week. Then we will be wishing we were at 9400 feet.

      Are you going to blog your location, I’d be interested in where you are. How is the internet there?
      Bob

  2. Sheri says:

    HI Bob! I first found you on Kindle when I read your book. Then I found you on-line. I have thoroughly enjoyed every single post that I have read and also your book. I really look forward to reading what you have to say and also the comments from other people…all in all an excellent learning environment and lots of caring people!! I appreciate the energy it must take to keep doing all the work you do to help other people!! This is my first comment because I am usually pretty quiet but I had to tell you that you are very appreciated!!!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Sheri, that is very nice of you to be so kind. I appreciate hearing it!

      Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you!
      Bob

  3. Naomi says:

    Fear is horribly paralyzing, and so hard to overcome. While it may not be the healthiest way to deal with it, I find that when I get angry/frustrated (at the universe? I dunno) about being afraid, I can then act on it and move forward. I’d rather risk having regrets for doing the wrong thing than regret not trying. It’s been a difficult road getting to this point.

    ~~Naomi

    • Bob Bob says:

      Naomi, you are so right fear is a terrible thing. I was fortunate that my fear has never been debilitating, but it was always a source of low level misery that kept me from knowing any joy or happiness.

      I’m really glad you found a way that works for you and allows you to move forward.
      Bob

  4. HoboHounds says:

    Great advice! I admire you for the amount of time you take out of your daily life to help other people. Just wanted to let you know that it is greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work, and good Karma!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks HoboHounds, I do what I can. I find a lot of meaning in doing what little I can to help others.

      I appreciate your very kind words.
      Bob

  5. Diane says:

    Hello again Bob 🙂
    It was great meeting you and some of the other RTR folks, sorry I couldn’t stay longer but Sedona and then the Grand Canyon were calling for me 🙂 I have a picture of Homer at the lake I will email to you, Sierra had a blast…my two little dogs…not so much lol, they were over the whole adventure on day two lol. OK, in response to this post on safety…it is very timely. I was debating sharing an experience I had, but figure this is the right time and place. So, last week when I left the RTR camp (at first light) my intent was to get a camp spot in the grand canyon or come back to the RTR camp. The campgrounds were full and on the drive out I thought it might be time to try boondocking alone and did just that. I got a spot about 1/2 mile off the main road and had absolute solitude…it was great until someone else had the same idea. The other camper kept his distance and I had no issues. I did however go from feeling completely safe and free to feeling “on guard” So, I went against my instinct to leave and find another spot and told myself to just stay put. I called it a night early but could not fall asleep until after midnight. At this point my cell had 26%, I had it in arms reach along with my van keys. I awoke to Sierra’s low pre-bark growl followed by a flashlight sweep across the front windows. Holly crap!!! I grabbed my phone it was 3:28am and my phone had drained to 1% (no lie…1 F’ing percent) not only could I not call out with 1% I couldn’t remember the name of the road I exited to get to where I was. So…long story short…nothing happened, no one came to look in the van…well, something did actually happen. I learned several little lessons that night. The previous two nights I spent in the company folks who I had never met before the RTR and my only concern was me and or my dogs making too much noise in the early morning when we got up to start our day. So, take what you will from my experience. My desire for adventure has always been strong and I have no intention of letting fear keep me homebound…but, I also want to as safe as possible. Sooooo….that’s my 2 cents worth.

    • Bob Bob says:

      I apologize, but I’m not sure I understand Diane, did you decide you were really in danger? What were the lessons you took from the whole experience?
      Bob

  6. Clarence says:

    Bob, my biggest fear about mobile living is not being able to shower at least twice a day. I understand wipes can be a solution to that, but I feel like I wouldn’t sustain. I know there’s products like the water bag and private shower enclosure but the main problem is the availability of water. How do you and others in your camp go about bathing?

    Clarence

    • Clarence… body type (oily or dry skin) and sweating have a lot to do with being able to take showers less often. In cold weather when I don’t get all sweaty (I have very dry skin), I can go many days with only doing sponge bathes and using handiwipes. If it’s hot (and or humid) I feel the desire for a shower and usually my solar shower bag (3 gallons) is more than adequate. I usually hang it at my rear van doors, backed up to brush, and keep my bathing suit on just in case.

      In sticks and bricks, we waste a lot of water, just letting it run across out bodies and down the drain without really doing much to make us cleaner. I have been amazed at how fresh and clean I feel after a sponge bath (using less than one gallon of water) or after a quick shower (using less than 3 gallons).

      If a person has oily skin or sweats a lot, I doubt that my methods would work for them… but I’d sure suggest people try it at home… that’s easy enough to do. Take a plastic gallon jug and spray paint it black. Set it in the sun to heat up (you could stick a candy thermonitor in the top). I’ve had the water in a one-gallon jug get up to 140 degrees F. Poor 1/2 the water (you might have to add some cold water) in a plastic dish pan, using a washcloth, wash yourself head to toe. I straddle the dishpan and splash water between my legs. And finally, I will soak my feet in the same water, and scrub them really well. I dump that water outside… and add the rise water… and make sure I’ve rinsed the soap from my body. I use less soap than I did in sticks and bricks… with dry skin I don’t need a lot of soap. In reality, I’m not getting really dirty out here anyway. I keep clean daily by using handiwipes anyway… so usually, I’m just getting the sweat and dead skin off my body when I sponge bath or shower.

      You can try this in your home sticks and bricks shower stall as well… heat water on your stove and pour it into the solar water bag… hang it in your shower and try to make do with just 3 gallons to shower with. Do that for a few days and see how it feels. There are also 5 gallon solar water bags. I don’t use them anymore, as it takes much longer for five gallons to heat in the sun and I never needed that much.

      It really can be a much more simple process… keeping clean. Make it part of your pre-trip experiments.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Clarence, I can tell you a lot about how to stay clean and nearly all vandwellers figure out a good method that works for them. In fact your question makes me realize I’ve written very little about it on the blog, so I will do a post on it soon.

      But I have to wonder if a need to shower at least twice a day is about cleanliness. For most people showering is about comfort as much as about being clean but two or more showers a day seems to be beyond cleanliness or comfort. Have you considered the possibility that there is something else going on their psychologically than the need to stay clean.

      Of course some people have more more body odor than others and it is much harder for them to stay clean and keep from smelling, but everyone I know has figured it out and I think you can as well.
      Bob

  7. Al Christensen says:

    Fear is really good at finding reasons to keep being fearful.

  8. Walt says:

    Great post! I read through this and tried to figure out where my wife and I fit along this spectrum. If I were on my own, I think I might try to find a way to pull up stakes tomorrow. (I’m losing my job in another month or so anyway.)

    My wife is the more realistic (perhaps fearful?) one. I tried a few times to talk her into a more nomadic lifestyle. She feels we need to continue to save money so we can also provide for the care of an autistic son. (He’s 17 now.)

    My fear, I suppose, is that providing care for our son will lock us into a lifestyle I increasingly dislike and prevent us from pursuing our escape from the rat race. (That and the fact that, so far, my wife has yet to find an RV floorplan she thinks she can live in, but that’s another story.) I try to keep a hopeful eye toward the future. Unfortunately, my other eye is looking at the fact that I’m 56 and is seeing that time is passing me by.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Walt, I can relate a little bit to what you are going through. Family comes first and their needs are a priority over our happiness.

      The only thing I can suggest is to try to find some kind of compromise. I know several women whose husbands does NOT want to travel, so they go without them. One of them takes long trips in a Toyota Prius and the other in a Roadtrek Class B. In my second marriage my wife had to work after I retired so we agreed I would just take extended trips in my F150, but come home at the end. Perhaps something like that could work for you. I can see that you are young so unless you have a source of income that may not work. My only suggestion is to look for some kind of compromise.
      Bob

      • Walt says:

        Thanks for calling me “young”! I haven’t been called that for a while. 🙂 I realize that in some ways 56 is not that old, yet I sometimes feel that I let a lot of time and opportunity slip away, especially right at this moment as I prepare to go back on the job market. I guess everything will work out as it is meant to work out so that when the moment finally does come it will be that much sweeter.

  9. Mimi says:

    Why does it have to be all or nothing for this individual ?? Why not try baby steps and take the RV on the road for a small trip, then if that goes well, then an extended trip. If fears are calmed this person might feel so free and comfortable that he/she may not want to go back home and then they can make the transition more smoothly.
    When we see ourselves face our fears and overcome them it builds our self esteem and confidence and we feel like we can overcome the next fear etc…
    Some people like to take the plunge and jump right in, others like to stick a toe in and ease into it !!
    Each works for each personality. I say if your fears are paralyzing you take your time, your will get there. Just try small steps. It’s not all or nothing. Good luck.

    • Diane says:

      I like your train of thought Mimi. Each individual needs to work within their own comfort and responsibility level. I am all for constant tweaking to improve my life, on occasion huge adjustments are needed but often small repetitive tweaks are a more livable option.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Mimi, that’s very good advice! Often looking for an intermediate step or making compromises is a great idea and my first suggestion!

      However, many of us are on such low, fixed income, having an apartment or home takes all our income. At the end of the month there is no money left over to buy a van or pay for gas for trips. We end up stuck in a rut in a house and not able to break out.

      Often the only way out is to let go of the apartment and move into whatever vehicle you have. Then you can take the money that would go to rent and save it toward a van or toward trips. The problem is that during that transition period you may have no money and be living very uncomfortably. Your car is now your home and if it breaks down and you have no money to fix it, you are literally homeless. That can easily push you into a terrible downward spiral some people never get out of and they literally end up on the streets. So I understand how difficult it is to make the initial leap of faith that is required.

      I see my camp as a buffer zone offering safety for people making that initial leap of faith. More than once I have told a person that if they can make it to my camp, I will see them safely through the first few months. usually that is all a person needs, some safety net they think can help them through the first hard step.
      Bob

  10. Susan says:

    I remember when I had to live in my tiny little car, how terrifying it was at first, but then there were so many wonderful experiences with the terrifying ones…now I dream of going back to that life almost constantly. However, at this point in my life, I want to do it with a little more comfort than a tiny celica can provide. I want a bed to sleep on, and entertainment, and a little kitchen in my van, and solar power so that I don’t need to worry about draining my battery. Which means I need a van. So, until I have saved up enough to make my dreams come true, I need to live in a house.

    Someone above asked above how do they stay clean? Salvation Army and other shelters often offer showers, but if you are like me, going into a place like that is very scary and full of all sorts of people who may be dangerous to me. I usually found gas stations that had outlets in their bathrooms so I could wash and dry and style my hair and give myself a washdown. Make sure you let the gas station attendants know that you have fallen on hard times and need some help and if is okay for you to use their facilities that you wont leave a mess, and that you will also exit the bathroom if any customers need it. I also would buy at least a cup of coffee so that I was a paying customer. The station attendants would also keep an eye out for me so that no one would harass or bother me. (There are a lot more kind and understanding people in the world than we are aware of sometimes.) Also, there are often showers at RV Parks or Pilot Travel stations that you can pay to use, though I would just use their public bathrooms for free of charge. I intend to have plumbing in my van when it is done so I will be able to give myself little baths when I need to and also I will get a solar shower so I can go out in the boondocks to shower if I ever need to. I also just found this amazing product, that I intend to try out because if it works it would be AWESOME. I will share that here:

    http://www.expressionoftruth.com/2013/06/stick-this-portable-outlet-to-your.html

    It is a solar powered outlet that you charge by sticking on your window. I know that if it does work it might change vandweller lives forever! =)

    Anyhow, thanks for the great post Bob. =)

    • Bob Bob says:

      Susan, thanks for this great comment! I’m afraid you might be stuck in a viscous circle; the bad economy means you need to live in a van but it also makes it so you can’t save any money to buy one. Some people are able to find a running van for so little they can move in and that lets them save the money to buy a better van. You might see if that would work for you. I know you don’t want to live in a car long term, but if you could make yourself do it for just a few months while you saved all your rent money and utility money, maybe you could afford a cheap van.

      All good suggestions on cleaning up, thanks!
      Bob

  11. Susan says:

    Just watched the whole video on the solar powered outlet and i guess it isn’t on the market yet… =( But hopefully soon! =)

  12. Susan says:

    I just had one more comment to add, it always helped me feel much safer to have roadside assistance, that way if I had a dead battery or got stuck in a ditch, I would get pulled out. I believe Verizon has a roadside assistance plan for about $3 a month that you can add on to your plan.

    It might also help to look into a mechanical auto insurance so that if your car breaks down you can get it repaired for the price of the deductible. I don’t have any specific companies to recommend for that one, but I know that they are out there.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Susan, for me, there have been two critical elements to overcome my fear;

      1) Taking control over everything I could control. You give two very good examples of that, Roadside Assistance and repair insurance. Just taking every reasonable step you can to stay safe.

      2) Giving up control of the things you can’t control and having faith in some Higher Power (whatever works for you) to keep you safe the rest of the time.

      That combination has set me from my obsessive fears.
      Bob

  13. Fred says:

    Timely post Bob. There is a very old saying in advertising, and I paraphrase, “A terrible thing happens when you don’t advertise…..”NOTHING”. So many people “what if” themselves into inaction. They spend more time worrying about what “might” happen when the reality is it probably won’t. The fact is, IMO, we can only control about 3% of the things around us, and the rest we have no control over. So relax and enjoy. For me, I figure if it gets any better than this, they’ll find a way to make it illegal or tax it …….

    Fred

    • Fred, you sure have that right. I think that is what NV is trying to do by adding a tax to people visiting the state longer than a month. I fear as many more of us hit the road in the years to come, THEY will be looking for a way to tax all of us for trying to live FREE on the road. Only reason they haven’t already done it, is that it’s a pretty tough thing to manage AND they have no clue how many of us there are.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Very, very good comment Fred. I agree 100%.
      Bob

  14. NICUGypsy says:

    wow, you definitely could have been writing those emails to me! I finally got the courage to take the plunge last October. Took my vintage camper halfway across the country to spend some time with another full-timer who was willing to help me get my sea legs. Unfortunately that was a HUGE mistake when I discovered after about 5 days this was not what I had expected. One the trip out I learned of all the problems associated with a 30 year old camper! I left there after my prepaid month’s rent ran out and moved to a place about 250 miles away. I’ve been here since then, paralyzed with the fear of getting out there. I physically can’t do work on the camper myself and find I can’t afford to venture out while getting my camper renovated. So here I sit. The longer I sit the more afraid I become. So your words were a great start for me to get on the ball and face my fears, make a list of what-ifs and potential solutions to get this show on the road.

    BTW- I cannot boondock because I am oxygen dependent and need electricity for by concentrator.

    I have a specific trip in mind but can’t seem to get going. Took me almost a year to get going the first time (ignorance WAS bliss) but now I’m in the quicksand and loosing footing slowly but surely. Can’t even get the courage to drive the 1200 miles back “home”.

    Your posts are the highlight of my day when they arrive and I join the bandwagon in singing your praises for what you do! Thanks for being here.

    • There are vandwellers out here on Oxygen… I’m sure some of them will tell you how it can be done independently. Worth checking into just for the freedom. I also suspect there might be someone near you who could help??? Please read Bob’s article again and again. I BELIEVE you can get rid of some of your fear!

    • Bob Bob says:

      NICU gypsy, I am very sympathetic toward your situation. When you are on a fixed low income it is very hard to make any changes because everything requires money in hand and you may have enough money to get by on, but you can never seem to get money ahead. Where are you located at? If you are anywhere nearby maybe I can help you.

      I’m about to do a story on running a CPAP off solar, maybe I can learn something about oxygen concentrators as well.

      Email me and we will talk.
      Bob

  15. Dixie says:

    Hi Bob,I totally “dido” what Sheri and Hobohounds said!!! I can’t tell you how much I look forward to your blog and all the experience you willingly share with everyone.——I saw this saying a long time ago and always try and remember it—“FEAR the THIEF of DREAMS!!!!! So so true!! Dixie

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words Dixie! In right proportions fear is a wonderful ally, but when it gets out of control it is a horrible taskmaster, destroying our lives. I wish you the very best!
      Bob

  16. Very good post Bob! How true. Overcoming fear is the answer. If something happens then i’m still better off than 80% of the crowd. Love those pictures and quotes.

  17. Diane says:

    I really enjoy reading so many opinions and ideas on the concept and reality of this alternative way of living. Fear can motivate as much as it can cripple. My earlier response addressed a “fearful” encounter I had last week while camping alone. How in the middle of the night I was aware that there was someone outside my van with a flashlight. Bob, you asked if I was or felt as though I was in real danger. I don’t think so…but the fear was real either way. So, fast forward to this week, back at “home”. 2 nights ago my neighbor’s truck was vandalized & last night car alarms were going off around 3am. Was I in danger here? I would say about as much danger as when I was in the woods. Nothing physically happened to me in either situation, but mentally/emotionally I was affected by each situation. So, back to my statement of fear being able to motivate as well as cripple. Seeing how the town I live in is changing drastically and going from a quiet/safe neighborhood to the kind of place that it now is…is great motivation to contemplate other lifestyle options. What I learned from my fearful night in the Az. forest was this. make friends with your “fear” give it the respect it deserves. Listen to its concerns, if you want to move camp to another location…do it, don’t pretend that you don’t feel uncomfortable. I could/should have moved a couple miles up the road – or back to the RTR camp. But I didn’t…I wanted to kick fears ass, but, the opposite happened lol. We each have our background stories and we each have our individual motivating factors. My advice is to find your individual “right fit”. I have no intention of hiding from life or adventure…but I would like to find ways to optimize my choices for maximum enjoyment 🙂

    • Walt says:

      Diane, I like your idea of giving fear the respect it deserves and of listening to its concerns. From my vantage point in cyberspace, I interpret that as follows (apologies if I am going in a direction you did not intend): by respecting your fear and “listening,” you give your emotions (or your emotional state, if you will) the time and space they need to return to an equilibrium or balance.

      Once a person is able to restore their emotional state to one more in balance, they are more able to make a reasoned decision (taking multiple elements into consideration) about what to do rather than one based solely on the emotion of fear. Again, I hope I am not totally misconstruing or misinterpreting your words or their intent.

      Walt

      • Bob Bob says:

        Walt, thanks for pointing that out, it is very helpful! Another way I have heard put said, is to just “sit with your fear” and not try to run away from it, dney it or push it aside. embrace it and listen to it and allow it to speak it’s mind. You said it perfectly:

        you give your emotions (or your emotional state, if you will) the time and space they need to return to an equilibrium or balance.


        Thanks for that!
        Bob

        • Walt says:

          Having working in television news in a past life (as it were), I guess you could say I used to have a way with words. 🙂

          By the way, I’m curious about the site of the current RTR (and spots like it). I know a van or 4-wheel drive vehicle might be best for truly getting off the beaten path, but are some of the spots you go (like the current one) more accessible for more conventional RVs, such as motorhomes? I’m just doing some thinking/dreaming/planning for the future. 🙂 Thanks.

          • Walt says:

            That should say “having worked”. That’s what I get for being in such a hurry to post.

          • Bob Bob says:

            Walt, I’ve come to believe that I have a skewed view of roads. The roads I think are just fine everyone else acts like they were the road to Hell! Nearly all my camps are on roads that are good for everybody. The last two were not, Big Rigs couldn’t get in. This one is no problem, you just have to go slow. The next one I am going to will be no problem either.

            Now that I am aware of my skewed opinions about roads, I will try to make sure all my camps are open to everybody.
            Bob

    • Bob Bob says:

      Very good Diane, that is a very good point to turn your fear into a tool to improve you life instead of harm it. That little voice in our gut is very often right and one of the best things we can do is learn to listen to it and do what it says! It might seem like that is giving in to the fear–and it is– in the proper way.

      Thanks for pointing that out!
      Bob

    • m.a. says:

      “don’t pretend that you don’t feel uncomfortable” I think this is great to honor, Diane. Life changes take time, & we do have to push out of our comfort zones and through some ‘primal’ fears, but I think it’s really wise to honor the ‘gut feelings’ we have as well. I’m happily full time now. I’ve camped in all kinds of situations, but I don’t think I’ll ever be as comfortable as many of the others camping in remote places alone. That’s just me. I know the chances of anything bad happening are slim, but I also know that I’m not at ease & don’t sleep well when I don’t feel safe, and I’ve come to accept that. I’ve boondocked with Bob & the gang, as well as in remote places with friends and family, which has been great. And when I’m by myself I tend to camp closer to others and in the less expensive campgrounds as well. I don’t feel like it diminishes my experience on the road at all. Go with what you feel. x, m.a.

      • Bob Bob says:

        m.a., very wise advice! We are all so different there can’t be a one-size-fits-all answer to anything! Especially about the issue of safety! Whatever makes you feel comfortable is what you should do.
        Bob

  18. Mimi says:

    Diane,
    Have you ever thought about packing some heat ?
    I remember a story my Grandfather told us about the time when they lived way out in the country. In the middle of the night a ‘prowler’ came walking up the lane to the house. The dog started barking in the house and alerted him that something was amiss.
    He stepped out onto the porch in the shadows and cocked his shotgun, when out of the darkness a voice said ” Never mind man I was just leaving”.
    He said he had no intention of shooting anyone but the ‘prowler’ didn’t know that.
    You had the advantage over the other camper because you had been alerted. They didn’t know who or how many people where in your vehicle or what kind of weapons if any you may or may not have had. Maybe something as simple as an alarm.
    I remember a time when I was a teenager and I went on a long trip. I had to drive a long lonely road with absolutely nothing on it. My dad didn’t believe in guns, so he gave me a fire extinguisher in case I had a fire or I needed to protect myself. LOL
    Well, it might give you some time to get away, but at least you wouldn’t be a vulnerable female out in the wilderness with only 1 bar left on your cellphone,
    Think about it. Be safe out there and always listen to your gut instincts. Most people don’t and then wish they had.
    Cheers

    • Bob Bob says:

      Mimi, I’m debating writing on firearm ownership and haven’t made up my mind. It is an incredibly complex topic and I’m not sure I have anything special to offer. But I can say this with absolute certainty:

      1) One of the best sounds a good guy/gal can hear at the moment of danger is the sound of a shell being racked into his/her 12 gauge shotgun.
      2) One of the worst sounds a bad guy/gal can hear at the moment of danger is the sound of a shell being racked into the victims 12 gauge shotgun.
      Bob

    • Diane says:

      Mimi,
      Great question. I used to hike in the eastern Sierra mountains alone and carried a small revolver. I wanted to try backpacking and had a couple friends that backpacked frequently and invited me to join them so I could learn the basics (what to pack and more importantly…what not to pack). When I brought up the subject of taking my gun, one of the two said she would not go if I took the gun. Her position was…if you take a firearm you are going to attract negativity to you. She assured me that people do not backpack deep into the woods to cause harm to others…that “those people” would do harm where it would be easier to get away. So…I liked that idea, but…on this last trip (in my van)I realized that I was not backpacking and that I put myself in a very secluded area and the “bad guy” could do his damage and get the hell out without anyone catching on…I was out of view from the street…the bad guy could get a few days heads start from the law before my body was found…ugggggg. So, When I go again (and I will go again)I will most likely be sleeping next to my short barrel 12 gauge Mossberg. I guess the point I want to make about fear is this – if it is there…deal with it, don’t downplay or ignore it. It can be like a screaming kid that won’t shut up until given attention. For me personally…fear has saved my ass on several occasions…when fear says “go” it’s usually spot on. Now, some folks have made comments about van dwelling to get out of bad situations…I have much respect for these folks. My background is social science & counseling (mainly school age children) and I see what the outcomes are when we deny or ignore our emotions…they don’t go away. So, listen to that little voice, make friends with it, give fear the respect it deserves. You will be able to reach a compromise with fear. Some folks can jump off the deep end right away, some need to take the plunge slowly from the shallow end. My opinion…as long as we find the courage to get in the water…we are all winners 🙂

    • m.a. says:

      that post made reminded me of the advice of one of the vandwellers who suggested I get an airhorn! that could scare the heck out of someone in the middle of the night! :))

  19. CAE says:

    Why are people so fear based? Look at main stream media. It’s all fear based. What’s the most common tool used by any power structure for control?? FEAR! So think about it…everywhere you look, from the govt to the news services, they are pushing fear every single hour of the day.
    Is it any wonder that most people have fear???

    • HoboHounds says:

      It’s just simple conditioning to keep us in our place in society.

    • Bob Bob says:

      CAE, I am not a conspiracy theorist at all, but I think you are right, FEAR WORKS as a method of control and civilization requires control to work. The more afraid we are the more docile and dependent we are.

      Since I have been living on public land fear has almost disappeared from my life and I think the main reason is I don’t get the news.

      There is almost nothing around me to be afraid of and when I stopped pumping fear into my life constantly through the media, why should I be afraid?
      Bob

  20. Calvin R says:

    In addition to the other issues with fear, I have found that unwelcome things happen but they’re rarely the ones I have wasted energy worrying about. About the biggest negative I have actually experienced in car living was being asked to move along, usually with apologies included from the law enforcement officer involved.

    I would not carry a firearm. My fear of shooting the wrong person or some other accident outweighs my fear of intruders. However, Bob’s recent post on dogs included the their existence and barking as a safety measure. Now that’s a solid idea if one is equipped to take good care of the dog. Dogs also give one the many other benefits Bob discussed in his posting.

  21. Fear! I’m not sure I understand what I am thinking here, but will attempt to explain it anyway. Maybe others can relate.

    Sometimes I think I have no empathy or sympathy for others expressing fear. That’s really not the case, it’s just hard for me to relate to it, as I think I have seldom felt fearful. Reading Bob’s article, I was trying to figure out why that is the case.

    One thing I came up with was “background.” I have been observing a family with small children. Their schedules and daily/weekly routines are so regimented that I think any deviation from the normal causes them anxiety or stress. I believe the parents see the routine as “stability” or “security.” My kids weren’t raised that way… they probably had too much variety. I was not raised that way… I know I had way too much variety… too many homes, too many step-dads, too much verbal abuse, too many heart aches. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel fear today… I was desensitized very early to things hurting me… it was the only way I could survive. Maybe I became “numb?” All I know is now I seem to be a person who doesn’t feel or react to fear!

    Maybe that is good, maybe not??? Maybe it will be harder for those kids to adjust to changes in their lives… since they seldom experience change. I mean if you grow up from birth with everything the same every day, furniture always in the same place, very exact rules about everything you do everyday, isn’t it going to be harder to be flexible and take risks???

    So, if our fear is some old baggage from childhood, like I outlined above, it is certainly a pity to let it continue to control our adult lives. Just a thought.

    • DougB says:

      “Maybe it will be harder for those kids to adjust to changes in their lives… since they seldom experience change. I mean if you grow up from birth with everything the same every day, furniture always in the same place, very exact rules about everything you do everyday, isn’t it going to be harder to be flexible and take risks???”

      I would have certainly thought so. I never lived anywhere more than a few years as a kid, so when I became an adult (a debatable point) I determined that my kids were going to have a stable neighborhood and not be ripped away from one friend after another. I was so proud of achieving that until, in their mid-teens, my kids both pleaded for us to move somewhere else, anywhere else, just for change. When older, my son always wanted to work for himself – something I could never carry off. And my daughter handled major life changes no sweat. Go figure – I’m the one who is risk/change adverse, not them.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Intriguing thoughts Charlene! Perhaps it comes down balance, it seems like most things in life revolve around that. maybe just the right amount of risk and safety leads to healthy, well-adjusted adults.

      Of course I am also a big believer in the power of genetics. Fear is a natural born instinct we are each born with. Like all the other instincts, some of us are born with too much and some are born with too little fear. We each just have to play the hand we have been dealt.
      Bob

  22. truthsoldier says:

    Bob ,
    I love this blog! Ive been on it for a year now and it is inspiring to say the least. I have tried to live a mininmalist life for years and I am so pshyced that there are others who feel as I do. I don’t live in a vehicle now , as my life is pretty happy how it is but if the day comes , I am ready. Thanks for all your great work and God bless you and all the other boondockers.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks for reading the blog truthsoldier. There are as many different ways to follow the minimalist path as their are people, I’m glad you have found one that works for yoU! To me it is all about a constant connection with nature and I don’t know any other way to get that!
      Bob

  23. Sameer says:

    Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to read this morning. It is food for my soul! When I first got my Van I gave notice on my apt, slapped everything into storage. Put plywood on top of four plastic storage tubs and crammed the Van full of everything I ‘thought’ I would need and headed from Boise to Corpus Christi. I soon realized that less would have been better. I broke down in Texas when I drained my battery listening to the radio and fried my alternator trying to charge it with a generator I didn’t know how to operate. Feeling hopeless and doomed I kicked my self in the butt and hiked to a Walmart and bought a new battery and found an Auto parts and bought a alternator. I am not a mechanic and it took me a day and a half to replace the alternator and get rolling again. The experience was invigorating and empowering. I made many other mistakes on this journey and when I returned to Boise two months later, I thought to my self…”I am too old for this!” Rented a little place, got my ‘crap’ out of storage and was miserable. I had tasted ‘True Freedom’. Made a trip to California to the ocean near Oxnard traveling down Hwy 95 with much less and had a wonderful journey. Came back and gutted my Van and am rebuilding it for ‘living free’. I have learned that I can do this. I have sold off all my ‘stuff’ and will be leaving in October when my lease is up. Once I tasted ‘True Freedom’ the fear and anxiety went away. At 64 years old I have found a new life for me and my dog. Without the support of your website and the ability to read all the information and adventures from other Van dwellers I wouldn’t have the guts.

    • Walt says:

      Boise, huh? It is a small world, as that is where I live with my wife and son. Best of luck on pursuing your new life and on this “rebirth.”

    • Sameer, congradulations. Happy trails and thanks for sharing.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Sameer, thank you so much for sharing that with us!! I am delighted to have played some small role in your finding your best life and I know that there are other readers that will read your words and think to themselves, “If he can do it maybe I can too!”

      The road isn’t always easy, in fact some times it is pretty shitty, but that’s life!! It is an all or nothing deal. You either take the good times with the bad times or you settle for a living death of safety.
      Bob

  24. Tim says:

    As a single man, the only thing I fear about living in van and boon docking is the lack of female presence. I know I can go in town and go to bar but what about when I am out in the middle of nowhere deep in a forest? I think I would go crazy after long period of time and wouldn’t sustain.

    Tim

    • Bob Bob says:

      Tim, loneliness and lack of intimacy is a very valid fear. In fact it is very common among vandwellers. Everybody deals with it differently, so you have to follow your own path.

    • m.a. says:

      One thing I can add, Tim, is that boondocking doesn’t have to be “out in the middle of nowhere deep in a forest”! I mean – it CAN be – if that’s your choice, and then you’d be lacking ANYone’s presence. But lots of boondocking areas are populated…loosely…with many interesting friendly people. Including women. I’ve met so many people, traveling around – some who I may only see once to visit or sit around a campfire with, others who I may travel, hike and camp with for a while, some who I remain in touch with and plan to see again. If you’re a friendly person and comfortable with opening a conversation, there are many opportunities, maybe even more so, for the people out there with you are ‘kindred spirits’ in many ways.

      The women I’ve met on the road do tend to be cautious. It’s nice when you meet someone and find you have a connection in some way. But I’ve met people ‘cold’ who I quickly felt comfortable with and now call friends.

      If what you’re looking for is a more serious relationship, it seems to be as tricky as it is anywhere else! It’s almost a bit like 8th grade – I might like a guy – who’s after someone else – but she “isn’t looking for a partner” – unless, of course, that guy over there in the Class C might be interested in her. :)))) Life is pretty much the same all over.

      • Bob Bob says:

        m.a. I would add that you almost have to go out of your way to be totally alone, for the most part there will be others around if you are close to a town and have internet.

        I may have added some confusion because I am going out of my way to find places where NObody else is around so I gave the impression that is the norm. It usually isn’t the norm, having others around is.
        Bob

        • Walt says:

          These days, we mostly RV in state park campgrounds. Even though these can sometimes be crowded, one can still find privacy when desired or needed (except perhaps on holiday weekends 🙂 ) Not exactly the same as solitude, but in a pinch . . .

  25. Andrea says:

    Bob,

    Thank you so much for this post – it really speaks to me.

    I am a 51 year old mom of three high school/college age kids. My husband is older and already approaching retirement. We used to live in a way-too-big house packed to the gills with stuff accumulated by two generations of pack-rats.

    Then about a year and a half ago I found your book and blog and felt in my heart that, regardless of my life’s outward appearance, I had found my tribe! You inspire me so much!

    Trying very hard to take your fear-fighting advice to heart, here is what I have done so far:

    1) Sweet-talked, connived, bullied and otherwise cajoled my family into getting rid of at least – no exaggeration – 80% of our stuff.

    2) Instead of moving my 96 year old mom into our house to take care of her, we moved into her little house and put our way-too-big one on the market. It hasn’t sold yet, but even if it never does I will find a way to end up living in a van!

    3)Started taking our kids camping – even the two more-techie-than-outdoorsy boys in college!

    Started looking for a van. Your “Comfort VS Freedom” posts came at just the right time. In addition to your inspiration and warm-hearted attitude, thank you for all of your practical advice! We are leaning towards a simple used truck like the one on the cover of your book, minus the hi-top.

    5) Next, dare I say? I would love to visit your RTR this winter. My plan is to get the van in decent enough shape to drive it out west by then. I would be alone though – hubby working, daughter in high school, sons in college. That would be the scary part for me – also trusting everyone to be responsible in my absence.

    6) Faced my fear of posting on your blog. This is my first time. I just couldn’t go any longer without thanking you so much for all your help.

    It will be some years before we are living in a van full-time. My youngest has to get through high school first and now we also have grandma. Until then, with your inspiring attitude and practical advice to guide us, I will keep taking baby steps and longer and longer camping trips until we are finally able to launch into the van-dwelling lifestyle permanently.

    And yes, all of this is really scary to me. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night submerged in fear and think, what the heck am I doing? Is my husband really with me or is he just humoring me, etc., etc., etc. But then I remember how far we have already come, go back to your website for more inspiration, and remind myself to focus on the now while taking baby steps.

    Bob, thanks again to you and to all the great people on your blog for all your help!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Andrea, any woman strong enough to raise three healthy, happy kids and take care of a husband is a force of nature to be reckoned with!! You don’t need to be afraid of the world, the world needs to be afraid of you!! I really hope you can make it to the RTR this winter, trying to get vandwellers to do anything is just like herding cats and you can be my “muscle.”

      I’m just kidding, but I really can’t tell you how much I admire what you are doing. I’m sure if you ever tell your friends and extended family what you have in mind they must all think you have lost it and gone crazy. It’s not easy to stand up to peer pressure however old you are–even if you are a force of nature!

      My only suggestion is to be open to some compromise. Be true to your dream, but there is seldom only one right way to do things. Find a balance that works for both you and hubby.

      I truly wish you the very best as you follow your dreams, I believe you can find a way around every problem as they arise. If there is anything I can do to help, please, feel free to ask!
      Bob

      • Andrea says:

        Bob, your kind words are so healing – and please know that I will do anything I can to help out you and the others here!

        • Bob Bob says:

          Andrea, broken people understand what it is like to go through life with hardships and pain. Having been there, I want to help others as much as I can.
          Bob

  26. HoboHounds says:

    Exposure really is the best solution to face irrational fears. Most things that people fear are not really dangerous, so exposing yourself to the cause of that fear (at your own pace)will help you deal with coping with the feeling of fear, which is often the worst part for people. What they fear are the sensations of fear itself. Exposure to your fears is scary for most people because they expect their fear to escalate indefinitely in presence of feared object or situation, but it doesn’t and eventually subsides or becomes tolerable. Confronting your fear instead of backing down brings about a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. Every time you confront your fear you gain power while your anxiety loses strength, and you accumulate confidence in your ability to cope. Confronting your fear repeatedly helps develop skills and mastery, which decreases the chance of failure and therefore reduces the need to worry. Voluntarily exposing youself to your fears isn’t easy. However, living in the prison of avoidance isn’t easy either, and it isn’t much of a life. The short-term discomfort of exposure is the price we must pay to acheive a valuable long-term asset–a life free from debilitating anxiety. Now if only I could manage to hold that tarantula in my hand….

  27. Diane says:

    Thought I would throw another post in the ring. I am a 45 year old female, I am a US Army veteran, familiar and comfortable with using many types of weapons. I choose not to travel with a weapon (other than my mind…and a big dog) for various reasons. Now…by choosing to “roll” this way means I need to be aware of my surroundings, it means I need to be aware of…well…just aware. Now, I am going to make a big generalization here when I share a discussion I had with my dad about camping alone and the subject of fear. He shared with me that he went camping in the mountains alone as a young man. He set up a tent (not far from his vehicle). At some point in the middle of the night he heard sounds letting him know that he was not alone. sounds that scared him to the point that he could not go from the tent to the safety of his car…just 20 or so feet away. He shared this story with me after I shared my story about the flashlight at 3:28am last week. When I asked him what he thought the sounds were…he said in his state of mind he knew it had to be a bear of a mountain lion…I found this so very interesting because it detailed the differences of the sexes to me so clearly (again I am generalizing) When men are afraid, its of a “bear or mountain lion” what women fear is “man”. So…if this relates to you, acknowledge that fact and find a way to work around it. The answer might be to find other like minded folks to boondock with…whatever the case, the solution is there and can be as unique as each individual.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Very good point Diane! We each fear different monsters in the dark and it makes sense that for men it would be natural animals like bears and lions, but it equally makes sense that to women it would be men. When we were hunter-gatherers the men would be out hunting for game–and be hunted themselves. But the women would be in camp caring for the children and their greatest fear was probably the warring tribe.

      Now men’s great fears are at work, but for many women it is still the two-legged beast next door or roaming the street.
      Bob

      • Diane says:

        good point…I really like the way your mind works Bob 🙂
        Its primal, going back to the beginning when our male ancestors feared and fought animals and sheltered the women by keeping them close to the caves. Women were vulnerable not to the animals but to the men from other tribes…I like that, makes sense.

        • Bob Bob says:

          Diane, it’s been my observation that the most basic of all human behaviors can be traced back to our ancient history as humans and pre-humans. Carl Jung called it the 2,000,000 year old self that we all carried around with us. One of his main points was to reconnect with nature and pacify that ancient artifact or pre-history. His idea was that it came to us in our dreams and he did a lot of study on how similiar human dreams are no matter how advanced or how primitive a society was and no matter what country or culture you were in. He said we all had the same dreams and they came from the 2,000,000 year old self.
          Bob

  28. Bev says:

    Hello Everyone,
    Just subscribed to Bob’s Blog 2 days ago and very happy to be here.
    I’m a woman of 50, ‘looking’ to buy a camper van and do some exploring now that my children are grown and independent. There’s a part of me that longs for the freedom and peace I can see this life-style offers, BUT, I’m apprehensive (and quite nervous) about spending nights alone in a van.
    Diane, my fear is definitely of ‘man’ and not wild life! A cell phone would probably be a wise investment for peace of mind before I take that leap of faith!!
    Thank you Bob and Everyone here for all the good advice you offer – I truly appreciate the info. 🙂

    • Mimi says:

      Fear of ‘man’ is rational as most serial killer’s are men !!! Sorry to say , but true none the less. Killing for ‘sport’ is incomprehensible to us sane folks but those that study it say they are ‘born that way’ There is no reasoning. They are driven to kill. Dianne just a question. Curious as to why you are trained and don’t want a take weapon of any kind along on a trip ?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Bev, I am so glad you are here, and if there is anything I can do to help, feel free to ask! After a lifetime of serving others its time to think about yourself first, don’t ever feel bad about that!

      Since I am a man, I don’t think I can really address your (normal and healthy) fear of traveling alone. So my suggestion is to read some of the many blogs by solo women RVers. Nothing I can say will allay your fears like reading the stories of women who have been doing it for years without any problems. So here are just a few that I know of. Check them out and most of them have links leading to other women RVer blogs.

      http://rvsueandcrew.net/
      http://kimbopolo.blogspot.com/
      http://lifeontheopenroad.blogspot.com/
      http://dewelldesigns.blogspot.com/
      http://suanneonline.blogspot.com/

      Of course I would also say come visit us in my camp when you start out. Spending times with others in the beginning makes it much easier!
      Bob

  29. Lynn says:

    I understand the women’s concerns. I don’t like to just take off and figure it out along the way. I am a very adventurous person and have traveled a lot to different parts of the world on my own and am very comfortable with the unknown. RV’s/trailers make me nervous because I don’t have a basic understanding of electrical systems, generators, solar, inverters etc. When I don’t feel prepared I get nervous too. The solution for me was to educate myself to the point that all my fears disappeared.

    I am just now returning from a 3 day course that was so thorough and educational that I feel very comfortable now. My suggestion to that women would be to find courses, read books, read blogs – understand how things work and the fear will go away.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Very good point Lyn, proper preparation is the single most important thing you can do to calm your fears and when you step this far out of the “normal”, it’s even more important to do your homework first. Taking courses on RVing is an outstanding idea! You are setting yourself up for success instead of failure!
      Bob

  30. Suzann says:

    We all have challenges in life & mine was needing/wanting to leave a situation that had sucked the life out of me. I’m still van dwelling four to five days a week & returning to my former home to resupply, pick up mail, attend church & return library books. ONCE I realized that this is EXACTLY what I do once a week, I gave myself a big ol’ hug and pat on the back.

    Sure, I’m not making enough money yet to van dwell the way I want to; certainly the van isn’t well enough equipped to provide some conveniences/comforts.

    But, I have FREEDOM from negativity, abuse, controlling behavior and small minded thinking. And, I have ME back!

    So, I eat out of cans; buy soft tortillas for sandwiches; have no stove, refrigeration or toilet; cool myself with a 12vlt/D battery fan & wet washcloth; get two showers a week and take sponge baths in between and am getting to know Gainesville, Fl.

    It’s my life as it is NOW and all of it has been a lesson & it’s slowly evolving as it should.

    When the pain of NOT changing becomes more than the fears, the transformation has begun.

    Thanks for all your help Bob!

    • Mimi says:

      Good for you Suzann !!!
      I applaud you and your determination to take back your life and regain your self !! BRAVO ….
      How are you coping with the Gainesville heat in the summer months ? Also have you had any thoughts about what you would do if any hurricane activity or bad storms head your way ?

    • Andrea says:

      I applaud you also, Suzann! And I do hope you are enjoying Gainesville. I think it has held onto a real “Old Florida” feel in some areas. In case you haven’t been there already, you might really enjoy Ichetucknee Springs. I last visited it 20 years ago, but recently googled it and it looks beautiful as ever.

      Peace and warmest wishes to you!

  31. Frank says:

    Bob, I just read the comment of HoboBerg. Is there really an elevation that high of 9,400Ft. in AZ state? If not, are the 80’s the best temp. durring the summer time.

    How cool does it really get in the summer time?
    Or Would New Mexico be a cooler state elevation wise for summer time weather?

  32. Ed says:

    The Hobbit. Always gives me great comfort dealing with the unknown.

    Ed

    The Greatest Adventure, The Ballad of The Hobbit
    From the animated movie The Hobbit

    The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
    Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
    The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
    The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

    The greatest adventure is there if you’re bold.
    Let go of the moment that life makes you hold.
    To measure the meaning can make you delay;
    It’s time you stop thinkin’ and wasting the day.

    The man who’s a dreamer and never takes leave
    Who thinks of a world that is just make-believe
    Will never know passion, will never know pain.
    Who sits by the window will one day see rain.

    The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
    Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
    The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
    The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

    The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.

  33. Jim says:

    Bob, well said. It is a good thing that you are trying to do.

    Prior to leaving our home and hitting the road about 5 years ago we had some of those same fears. I had lived there for over 50 years.

    However, the experience of getting rid of the stuff we had accumulated made me realize that our stuff owned us not the other way round.

    We have met a lot of good people out here and enjoyed it enormously.

    Barring health problems we don’t plan stopping.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Jim, it was great meeting you all and I’m sure our paths will cross again!! It’s people like you living happily and safely the mobile life and writing about it that makes it easier for others to follow in your footsteps!! Keep it up!
      Bob

  34. Frank says:

    For protection i now have no fear when i sleep at night.

    For I have surrounded may van with a powerful, mighty, and fearless army.

    The king of the wilderness, the SkUNK!

    Only problem now is I’m too scared to step outside the van the next morning. LOL.

  35. Gennifer says:

    I too have been afraid of ‘man’ and what might happen to me while traveling alone. Although my husband has been with me during our van trips, I have traveled alone in the past.

    What helped me feel safer was taking a self-defense course. The one I took was free and offered by the local sheriff’s department. It was for women only and designed to use a woman’s strengths (lower center of gravity, more lower body strength, etc.) in a defensive situation.

    I was actually scared to even take the class, worried that I would look stupid or wouldn’t physically be able to do it. But I realized once we got started that there was no reason to be afraid. There were women of all ages, shapes and abilities there, and we were all there with the same goal: to learn a skill that would allow us to let go of our fear.

    Although this exact class may not be available everywhere, there are many places were you can take a basic self-defense class for free.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Gennifer, what a great idea! Statistically, the odds of any of us actually being in a violent crime are very low, but because we are constantly bombarded by it by the media it becomes tremendously exaggerated in our minds. So I think anything that increases our confidence and decreases our fear is an outstanding idea!

      Taking a self-defense course is probably one of the most valuable things you can do in life!! Of course that is especially true for women but nearly as valuable for men.

      Thanks for the great tip!
      Bob

  36. David Thoreau says:

    Definition – ASKHOLE – someone who constantly asks you for your advice and yet always does the opposite of what you tell them.
    http://vintagemetalart.com/store/images/askhole.jpg

    • Bob Bob says:

      David, I prefer to take a kinder view of the situation!! Having been fearful most of my life I am pretty sympathetic of how powerful its hold is on our lives and generally just a few letters aren’t going to break its stranglehold.

      I try to not take things too personally (but often fail) and I know this situation has nothing to do with me but is the reader working really hard to overcome a problem in his/her life. If I can help (even if it is a little frustrating) I am glad to try!
      Bob

  37. Susan says:

    Self-Protection for me = Tazer, Pepper Spray, Dog (for alarm purposes) a knife, all within easy reach. I also let someone know where I am camped, and if with someone else, who it is. Try to park within cell phone range, and plan exits accordingly. I was going to get a gun, but after going to a gun show, and talking to gun owners, I decided it wasn’t for me. Being female, it is far easier to take the gun away from me and use it on me instead of me using it on them, and I am still on the edge about whether I could shoot another human being. I am not against having a gun, but if you have one, I do believe you should know how to correctly use it, not be afraid to use it, but also not be trigger happy.

  38. Douglas says:

    I used to not go camping for fear of something, because I was used to the convenience of the city and the perceived safety it held. Nowadays, that I have gotten older, I find that overall the city is less safe than the wild, especially when you respect nature. Usually, if you leave it alone, it will leave you alone.

    Some people think that someone may come steal their stuff, mug them or do something like that. This happens in the city and I realize that this may happen while I am boon docking or stealthing in the city. I have some weapons and hand to hand training (not that I am special forces), this helps, at least in my mind, safe and helps relieve fears. Plus, demeanor and confidence help with your safety. If you walk upright and confident, predators (the humans ones) tend, remember tend, to keep their distance and will seek out other pray. Even if they do attack, I have the ability to defend myself in multiple ways. Women, get some training to fight off and/or avoid being attacked, this way, the fear goes down.

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