Just a short few years ago I couldn’t stand to drive down to the store a block away due to anxiety, I had to turn around, hyperventilating, in sheer terror. I stayed in toxic relationships far past their due date so I wouldn’t be “alone”. I’d bend my morals to appease others, morphing into whatever would make people like me.
I’ve suffered from agoraphobia and rather intense anxiety since I was 16. Not only does it run in my family, but I’ve had an abusive childhood and several traumatic events happen in my life.
A month after turning 30, something broke inside of me and ended up being admitted to a crisis center. I found myself deeply invested in a relationship that I built under false pretenses and them leaving, living alone for the first time in my life, and felt very lost as to who I was. I felt less than worthless, my life was falling apart.
In February I found myself dedicated to completely change my life. I was so tired of living to appease others, of being homebound due to anxiety. I thought of the scariest, most impossible thing that I could possibly do. For me, this was living a life of travel, on the road.
I traded the vehicle I bought for my ex for a bus. I began work converting it. Insulation, fiberglass, moisture barriers. I put in a floor, planned the interior and solar system in Sketchup. I started selling everything that I own to embrace minimalism.
With my lease ending on my apartment, my time was running out for the conversion. I also questioned if I would be happy with such a small space. I’ve worked from home for the past several years and wanted something comfortable.
I settled on purchasing a 30-foot Travel Trailer. A full kitchen, shower, everything I needed. I then began retrofitting the Bus for tow duty. I installed a rear sway bar, purchased suspension components to completely rebuild from chassis to wheel. All seemed to be going well until the first time I had the rig on the interstate with the anemic Ford 5.4L V8.
The trailer is 6,300lbs dry. The E350 Bus is rated to tow 9,400lbs. The issue is that the bus is 10’2″ tall and has the aerodynamics of a brick. Pedal to the floor on level ground was scary, the engine would roar and struggle to keep 60MPH. Semis and other vehicles would suck me into their lane as they passed by me.
I was in a pickle. I came up with all sorts of plans, including chopping off the top and most of the rear of the bus or swapping for a single cab to reduce aerodynamic drag and weight. The Bus has 220,000 miles on it and while it runs well, did I really want to keep dumping money into it?
I picked up a 2015 Ford F250 with a 6.2L V8. This truck has 47,000 miles and I found it under book value. I originally wanted a Diesel truck but found that pricing was around $30-50,000 used and maintenance seemed expensive. There’s no way I could have afforded that.
I’ve been living and working out of an RV since March. I’ve been focusing on continuing to sell, donate and generally get rid of the stuff that I used to think would make me happy, the things that tried telling me who I am. If I’ve learned anything, stuff doesn’t make you happy, experiences do.
As for Anxiety and Agoraphobia? This life I’ve built for myself certainly has its own unique challenges to overcome. I’m finding that the more I do, the more I can do. This is my journey.