People often say I’m brave, all cause I lived in a van. HA! Brave? I relate a bit more to ignorant or dumbass. “How can living in a van make you brave?” was always my thought. It’s small, limiting, sometimes dirty and usually pretty smelly, especially when you aren’t able to find that apple core you dropped in-between the seats. Hoping it ended up in the land of trolls where they give thanks to the giant gods above for the unexpected feast. The sweet rotting smell of decaying arbor fruits smashes that fantasy. Van life, I thought, was not brave just dirty wheels of exploration.
But yes, I’ve faced my fair share of fears! Traveling alone and camping by myself was pretty frightening, even with a protective boxer dog. The constant struggle to support myself financially while traveling was one of the biggest challenges that I feared every month! Teaching workshops and speaking about my travels made me face my own insecurities and self-worth. (Btw, public speaking is the #1 fear in the US, #2 is death!)
“Do I really know my shit or am I a poser?”
“What the hell could I teach someone?”
“I just live in a van, who could gain anything from this?”
“What the F*CK am I doing????”
(this last one has become the constant question of fear even beyond van life)
The change in relationships with my friends, family and myself brought on some totally new fears that I didn’t even expect. Bonds have become stronger, yes, but different. I feel closer to everyone yet I feel very much alone. My values have changed. My thoughts on life have changed. My views on the earth, pollution, and waste have changed. My ideas on marriage, kids, and “normal living” have changed, then changed again. My beliefs about the universe have madly changed! All this change has brought on even more fears.
But what have I found, spending all this time with fears? That fear is just that, fear and we are all in control of it. Once I stopped trying to fight or push away my fears, I totally succumbed to and welcomed fear with open arms. I then started to do more and fear less. I still face fears EVERY day, just like the rest of the world, but instead of fighting with it I just chill with it.