Archive for the ‘fear’ Category

Sustainability

Just as I realized how this project is redefining what a home is, it also has me examining our life in terms of sustainability.  I don’t mean our carbon footprint, I don’t mean taking steps to be organic and reduce our impact on natural resources.

Our dream to be sustainable nomads really hits home the point of what is sustainable about our lives.  For me, staying in the traditional path (work hard just to take a 2 week vacation and buy expensive toys for our free time) is becoming less and less sustainable.  I love my life, but if certain things stayed the same until retirement age, I wouldn’t make it that long.

We went through an odd period of planning for this project (ironically right after my post on fear), and it made us rethink each step.  We don’t know what the final goal will be, or if it will change several times.  Actually I expect it to.  But we stopped when we both felt we were spinning our wheels and said (of ourselves and each other) – what do we want?  What do we want to change in our current situation? What kinds of ways could this project end up that could be considered a failure (as not sticking to the original plan) but we could see being a sustainable lifestyle in terms of our happiness and accomplishment?

One of my biggest fears is not finishing something.  I’ve started many things in life, only to run off to do something else before it’s done.  I feel a pressure (from who?) to see things through to the end, but I need to admit when the end may not be the best solution.  I now see this journey not as one big “do it all or else we fail” – that would just be setting ourselves up for failure.  I see it as a long term goal or guideline, but recognize that it’s the direction we move towards rather than the distance we travel that matters.

After our analysis of the state of the project and our commitment to it, we both felt that our topmost priority remains the same.  Purchase an RV, convert it to WVO, and drive to Burning Man this year.  Where we go beyond that, no one knows yet.  However we do know that pursuing this is helping us to change our lives into a more sustainable lifestyle – meaning spiritually, financially, socially, ecologically, and in terms of our life happiness.  (I couldn’t find an -ly word for that! :P)  We’ve also taken the next big step in the project, which is getting loan info from the bank – we now have a budget to work with!  It’s not a large budget, but we don’t want to go deeply into debt or have monthly payments that we can’t meet.  Luckily, I have a hankering to redecorate/renovate and Nathan is a tinkerer who wants to learn more hardcore DIY.  Somewhere out there, there is a Class A or Class C motorhome with a diesel engine calling our name!

Pushing Past the Fear

I want to write about this a bit today, for a few reasons.  I crawled out of 4 days of a nasty head cold and avoiding the internet, and already in my catching up a bunch of great blog posts are related to this in one way or another.  Also, today is a day the fear is small, so it’s a good day to talk about how to keep it from winning.  Apologies in advance for being too rambly or confusing, we’ll just blame the cold medicine if I am!

I was thrilled to see some comments coming in from a guest post I wrote on a site that’s not live yet – it’s in beta testing until Sunday – and that’s what has me excited.  And already I see comments that sound like they could be me, in the past or even now – saying “Oh I wish I could do that! But I could never because……”  Whether our dream adventure is something they truly want or just briefly fantasize about (hey I’ve done that a lot with adventures that are not meant to be mine! It’s fun to pretend!), I hear the fear.  It’s my fear too.

Changing our dream to a goal last year did not get rid of that fear.  It probably added to it.  For every ounce of excitement, sometimes there’s a pound of fearful voices in my head.  How will we afford this?  How will the cats adapt?  How will WE adapt?  How will I ever downsize enough to do this?  What about when we break down? What about health insurance? The questions are endless.  Sometimes they are loud enough to paralyze me, to convince me that this won’t happen.

But you know what?  We aren’t doing anything new.  New to us, sure, but it’s been done before and people survived to talk about it!

The last time I remember this kind of fear was before my first trip to Burning Man.

I heard about it and thought, “That’s amazing! I would LOVE to do that, but I NEVER could camp in the desert!!!” The next year, the same person who brought it my attention the year before posted again that tickets were on sale.  She offered that anyone on our online forum could stay at her house in Reno, and get a ride out to the event.  I bought a ticket, saying to myself that I could resell it up until I bought the plane ticket.

The fears continued.  I was about to go to a stranger’s house, and then go camping with her.  Knowing the kind of questions my mother would ask and worry about, I did my best to research.  I talked with a friend from the forum that I knew in person, who had met my future host in person.  She does exist, she doesn’t appear to be an axe murderer, enough people know her and I that I felt a little better.  I read the survival guide cover to cover.  I asked her a million questions. I flew into Reno, and we immediately bonded and started a wonderful friendship (which, by the way, culminated in her officiating our wedding last fall!)

That fear aside, the moment that scared me the most was when we first glimpsed Black Rock City through the dust.  I was going to be here for a week, there was no escape if it got too dusty or hot or weird.  It was also the most exciting moment.

Not only did I survive, I went back again and again.  And I realized that no matter how loud the fears in my head were, there was a voice saying “Yes. Yes, it’s risky and dangerous, but you must do this!”  I am so glad I listened to that voice.  I did it when I said I’d never be able to spin fire, and went on to learn despite that fear.

So here I am again.  Listening to the voices of fear.  But now I know how to deal with them!

1) Research.

We fear the unknown most of all.  Reading up on it won’t spoil all the surprises, but it will give you an arsenal of knowledge of what can go wrong, how to try to avoid it, and how to fix it when it does.  Listen to those who have done it  before, and read a lot of first time accounts!

Recommended Reading: Specific for RV full-timing, I can’t recommend this enough – the Technomad’s “Answers to the Common Excuses to Not Travel Full-Time” is available for pay-what-you-will.  Their years of experience answers the biggest questions you’ll have, and we are taking much of their advice to heart!

2) Be responsible.

For me, this is also the “How are you going to convince your mother that you won’t die” approach.  I love my mom, and love her asking all these questions because even though it’s not fun to think about, it helps prepare a safety net.  It’s the keeping your feet on the ground while your head is in the clouds.

Come up with plans about the major pitfalls you may hit.  They aren’t reasons NOT to do it, they are just reasons to do it with care.  We could quit our jobs tomorrow if we had an RV in our hands and just take off, but we would not be ready to face even minor problems without turning tail and heading home being homeless.  We have so many uncertainties, especially without a mobile business going yet, that an escape plan and enough money to relocate on a moment’s notice is crucial for us.

There will be dangers, but they probably won’t be much worse than the ones you face today.  Even the most dangerous hobbies, like fire spinning, can be approached with common sense and reduce your risks of being hurt.  But there is absolutely no promise that following the “safe” path will keep you safe – so you may as well be doing what you love, not what you hate!

Being Practical Isn’t All That Great – one of my nomadic mentors, The Organic Sister, tells it straight about why practical or playing it safe won’t always get you what you want.

3) Be INSPIRED!

Get inspired by others success stories!  If you’ve read too much about the worst going wrong, stop, and read about things going right.  Have faith that as long as you have half a brain, some AAA coverage, a little savings, and a good support network of family and friends – everything will work out, even if it’s not as you expected. Maybe some of those successes came easily to others, but I’m sure the majority faced the same fears you are – and overcame them.

“I’m not here to chase my dreams, I’m here to live them.” A great post on Roots of She to get you out of dream mode and into goal mode!

The Flip Side of Unconventional – It may take more work, but it’s worth it for a life worth living.

Chris Guillebeau has a treasure trove of blog posts, e-books, and courses to inspire a life of non-conformity – I first read his “A Brief Guide to World Domination” (free) and most recently his book “The Art of Non-Conformity

For a great kick in the pants, ride the wild donkey with Leonie!

4) Find community.

No matter how outrageous and crazy you think your idea is, you probably aren’t alone.  Once you start looking, you may be astonished at how large the community already is – we are surprised to find out just how many others have done or are planning the same thing as us!  When being the risk-taker or dream chaser among the naysayers is wearing you out, find like-minded people to rejuvenate you and help you along your journey.

For RVers, there are some links to communities in the right sidebar.  If your passion is something else, google the hell out of every term you can think of and you’ll be sure to find your people!

Fear is healthy, in small doses, but don’t let it get the best of you.  When you feel the urge to keep going despite that fear, when it’s something that you are passionate about pursuing, don’t let anything stop you!