In less than two weeks we are leaving this cozy log cabin in Olympia, WA and moving into our cargo van for the summer (hopefully longer if we’re allowed back in the US in the fall!). We’re both super excited because we’ve been wanting to do this for years, and because we’ve put a lot of time, effort, and money into getting the van ready for the roadtrip of a lifetime.
Beyond the excitement, we’re also terrified and keep asking ourselves: “what the heck are we doing?” and “why do we want to live in a tiny space with no running water and no toilet?” If I’m completely honest with you, there is a lot of fear and self-doubt going on at this stage in the game, but after going through this process so many times we know that feeling fear before a big change is normal.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela
I usually dissolve into a messy puddle of tears before a trip because I am afraid of leaving my friends and family, afraid of leaving the comfort and safety of home, afraid of the unknown. Strangely enough, my meltdown about our van life project happened 2 years ago when Mat and I were on a 2-week road trip along the West Coast of Australia.
We’d been having the time of our lives driving to remote beaches, looking for kangaroos, and showering with wet wipes. We loved being on the road so much that we were talking about buying a van when we got home so that we could take a road trip across Canada. Then one night, when we were camping in the front seats of our rental car (surrounded by other campervans and RV’s), Mat came back from the outhouse and told me that all of the other campers had disappeared. His story convinced me that we had somehow missed a warning to evacuate the area or that all of the campers had mysteriously vanished and, out of fear, I swore that I would never go camping again – especially not in B.C. because of the grizzly bears.
Fast forward to the present, and we’re about to do exactly what I was afraid of.
Even though we’re often terrified before a big change we try not to let it stop us because we’ve learned that there’s (almost) always something amazing waiting for us on the other side. We put our plans in motion despite our fears so that it’s too late to change our minds when the time comes.
A really good example of this “technique” is a video we just watched from the First Retirement Sabbatical Adventure blog when Jackson goes bungee jumping. He managed to get to the site, pay the fee, learn how to jump and was at the edge of the platform before his fear tried to stop him from doing what he obviously wanted to do. By then it was too late for him to change his mind and the momentum of his actions (a.k.a. the bungee jumping instructor) pushed him the rest of the way.
How do you cope with fear of the unknown? With fear of change? Do you let it stop you or do you find a way past it?