We started out the weekend by replicating much of our first date in the RV. We baked Vegan Sweet Potatoes.
We loaded up and headed to Lafayette, IN to work on the old place. My friend Travis whom I met on Facebook Marketplace, of all places, offered for us to park the rig in his backyard. He owns a gorgeous property!
I found that the replacement for the bus, a Ford F250 with a 6.2L V8 to be more than adequate for pulling the ~8,000Lbs trailer. We averaged 8MPG with mostly highway driving. Compared to the overtaxed 5.4L Triton on the aerodynamic brick of the E350 bus, it was a confidence inspiring experience.
Saturday night we headed to Logansport, IN to see family in celebration of my mother’s and brother’s birthday. A cookout and bonfire out in the country. We finished out the night stargazing.
RVLyfe, minimalism, anxiety, and agoraphobia
I find that while the novelty has worn off, I remain excited to experience independence and exploration. There is and always will be more minimalism and organization to achieve. After all, everything I own resides in this rig.
Something my daughter said still reverberates in my head, that I’m “running away from my problems.” She is nine years old. Let’s explore that a bit as it’s been bothering me. Maybe she will read this one day.
I could see that within a society which idealizes home ownership, consumerism, “settling down” and judging personal happiness on the quest of acquiring material goods – that my chosen path may seem unusual.
There could be other reasons, such as living in Lafayette for the better half of five years, most of that time spent while I was with Elaine. Lafayette may represent “home” for her.
Regardless of the reason, I have to say that, instead, I’m running head-on into my problems. Do you have any idea how terrifying this life I have chosen can be to someone who has agoraphobia and anxiety?
A few years ago I couldn’t drive a block away to the store by myself. If I got stopped at a red light, I started panicking, turned around and drove home as quickly as I could. I felt trapped and in extreme danger.
A few years before that, I stopped eating solid food for fear of choking. I was so hyped up that I’d gag and end up choking. This went on for a few months until I became so miserable that I wanted to choke on food and die. DIY exposure therapy, I began eating again once the pain of remaining the same became more than the pain of change.
I remember going to the Chinese Buffet, preparing an enormous plate of food that I can muster, and screamed to myself, “You are going to choke and die on this.” It became more comfortable, and more natural until I had sufficient exposure to normalize eating again.
Last December, when my life fell apart, I was at a rather dark place. Up until that point in my life, I spent my life in the pursuit of being a people pleaser. I was co-dependent and changed myself to appease others. I stayed in relationships far past their sell-by date in fear of not being able to exist alone. I was a fraud.
I have no greater fear than vomiting and this catalyst for change is much like vomiting for me. One time I consumed a large bag of spoiled pistachios. I became ill, yet through some extreme meditation, I managed to hold it in for a few days. I was more than miserable, the contents of my stomach were poison.
But I’ll never forget the moment that I chose that enough was enough. I went to the bathroom in terror, yet with the sheer determination that if vomiting would kill me, I invited it. I then proceeded to projectile vomit everywhere, all over everything. The feeling of relief was so thick that it was spiritual. I felt like I was born again.
Through sheer determination, I began driving alone. I started traveling. I severed connections to the possessions that I found the illusion of comfort in, distractions. Escapes from my problems. I cut everything and everyone out of my life that tried forcing an identity upon me. I let go.
At that critical juncture of my life, where I could choose to keep holding it in like I did for so many years, meditations to distract me from my problems. Relationships, possessions, hobbies, time wasters. I chose instead to engage in the terrifying thing that I could imagine: An independent lifestyle of travel, as a minimalist.
#RVLyfe for me isn’t a hashtag Instagram curated life. It’s the willful exposure to discomfort, challenge for continued growth and achievement. I often go to bed emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted, but with a humbling feeling of accomplishment and growth.
As for Manda? I’ve accepted that for myself; life is more fulfilling spent with a partner. We have more than adequate communication, problem-solving skills. We share more intimacy and vulnerability than I’ve ever experienced before in a relationship. There will undoubtedly come times in which we will need to support each other when we are weak.
But I think that we both have had our fill of emotionally unavailable, co-dependent relationships to not slip into toxicity. It’s easy, yet challenging enough to continue inspiring growth for the both of us, just as it should be.
I look forward to our trip to Myrtle Beach this summer. It’s going to be a growing experience for both of us, punctuated with the sound of the ocean to fall asleep to.