Is Fear Holding You Back From Trying the Van Life?

Dee | Lady Bugout
by Dee | Lady Bugout

Is fear keeping you from pursuing van life or the life that you want in any way? If so, I am here to give you a few steps that I have followed that have helped me to overcome fear so that I can live my best life. Let’s dive into how to tackle those fears that stop you from doing what you want in life.

When I first had the crazy idea that van life might be something that I would enjoy, the immediate emotion that followed was fear.

What will people think? Will they make fun of me? What if conditions are dangerous on the road? What if I can't afford it? What if I encounter scary animals or scary people? What happens if I get sick?

All those fears were real and very powerful, and I had to make the choice whether I was going to somehow overcome them or let them overwhelm me and hold me back from doing what I really felt that I wanted to do.

Van life

The first step is to identify your fears. That may seem obvious, but it is very important. What are you specifically afraid of? When I read your comments, I can see that your fears fall into five main categories. Injury or poor health, dangerous animals, dangerous people, vehicle troubles, bad weather, or road conditions.

Of course, I could go on for hours telling you about the safety protocols for each, but for now just try to understand which category (or categories) your main fears fall into. You may be fearful of some of the general aspects of van life, like what kind of vehicle you want or where you are going to get your mail.

On the other hand, you may have some more specific fears, like once you are on the road, how do you find a good place to park? How do you know what is safe or not safe? What do you do when your vehicle breaks down? Or you may find all of that stuff pretty easy, but may be more fearful of dangerous people or animals that you might encounter, or maybe bad weather. Knowing exactly what you are afraid of is a very important step.

The second step is to do your research. Once you have your fears identified, try to learn as much as you can about that specific fear and about van life in general. The more you know, the less scary it will seem. By watching van-lifers’ vlogs on YouTube, I began to picture myself in their shoes and that helped me to imagine what I would do if I were in that situation.

Even if they did not handle it well or did things differently than I would have done, I still gained helpful information and knowledge. I also learned about things I had not even thought of. I would encourage you to watch, read, Google, everything you can about others’ experiences in the situations that scare you.

Van life

The third step is to talk to other van-lifers. There are so many people out there who have been on the road for years and reaching out to them for advice and opinions can be so valuable. Most of us are more than happy to share what we can about what we do, what has been helpful to us and how we have overcome our fears. Maybe it will be useful, maybe it will not, but you can always ask.

To finish this, I want to tell you a personal story about how I became pretty much fearless about most things in life, including van life. About 18 years ago now, which seems like a very long time, I became very ill and doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me. I began to lose a lot of weight and I could not keep food down.

They did all kinds of tests, but they could not get a good look at what was happening because it was right in an area that they just could not get to through any other means but surgery. They suspected that it was cancer, so I was referred to an oncological surgeon so that he could do exploratory surgery.

I had three young children at the time, and my amazing straightforward surgeon told me that he was not sure I could survive the surgery because I was very weak and my organs were already in a cascade for failure. He said that before the surgery, I should spend as much time as I can with my loved ones and say my goodbyes, just in case. So I did.

And it was a very bittersweet time because all of my friends and family gathered around me, each of them saying what they wanted to say, just in case it was the last time they were going to see me. Getting all of these living eulogies and finding out what people really thought of me was a really beautiful thing. I was feeling very content about my life, feeling like I had lived a hundred different lifetimes in my short life already.

I was really making peace with dying, as I had lived a good life, but of course there was also a deep sadness because I would be missing my daughters growing up. When people asked me if I was afraid, I said I was not afraid of dying, but I was afraid of not really having lived.

Van life

Obviously, I am still here. I survived the surgery and found out I did not have cancer. I had a rare disorder which was affecting all of my intestine function, which led me to maintain a healthier diet and live a healthier lifestyle. But most importantly, it is the reason I am not afraid, because I am more afraid of not truly living than I am of anything that might stop me.

Van life

I hope that you are encouraged to take the steps that are necessary to overcome your fears, whatever they are, so they do not hold you back from van life or living whatever life you dream of. What are you most scared of when it comes to van life? Share in the comments!

Next, check out my Top Nomad Hacks From the People Living Their Best Van Life.

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