What do I do About My Crippling Fears

I get lots of emails and some of them strike a cord deeply in my heart. This one did:

Hi Bob,  I am a 56 yo woman and will be living in my car soon.  I’m scared to death.  I have a Toyota and I believe all my things will fit with a little room left for me to sleep. How can I get over this crippling fear?  The economy has left me without many resources. Thank you,

This post is my answer to her, but because so many of us find ourselves in her situation, I wanted to share my answer with all of you.

I know it is counter-intuitive, but I believe the best way to overcome fear is by embracing it. Fear is a good and healthy thing, we need it. In fact, you are doing something that appears and feels so extreme, that it is normal and healthy to feel that fear. Fear is a gift to keep us safe and I think it’s best to be grateful for it.

So I suggest you assume that the fear is a loving message from a friendly Universe that wants only the best for you. Instead of seeing it as crippling enemy, see it as a love message sent to keep you safe. Just like the ghosts that came to see Scrooge in the Dickens book, “A Christmas Story,”, these are warnings to tell you what could happen, but they are not written in stone, in fact, their purpose is to give you the chance now to take steps to see the happiest possible outcome to your new way of life.

Just like Scrooge had to make changes after he saw the dreams, you too must do work and cooperate with the fear. Make a list of all the negative things that the fear is telling you about living in the car. But instead of seeing them as a reason not to do it, see them as a loving warning message of things you need to be extra cautious and sure of.Starting with the biggest fear, take a very realistic look at what bad things could happen. But instead of being terrified of it, imagine it happening in your mind and look for all the things you could do to prevent it from happening and for all the ways you could minimize the harm that could come from itSome potential  fears:

  1. Running out of money
  2. Breaking down
  3. Being assaulted by a bad person
  4. Car accident
  5. Being lonely
  6. Being embarrassed and ashamed of living in a car
  7. Feeling like a failure
  8. Health problems

Now use the full power of your imagination and try to see yourself with each of those things happening to you, and not just once, but often. Go so far as to actually meditate and ponder how it might happen and what will it be like afterward. Then, answer these questions:

  1. How do you feel when you imagine it?  Don’t run away from the feelings, just sit with them.
  2. How likely is to really happen? Is it a real risk, or an imagined risk? Do research and study to see just how unlikely any of it really is to happen
  3. What can you do to prevent it from happening? Visualize taking concrete actions on a daily basis to see it never happens!
  4. If it does happen, how can you prepare for the worst so it does you minimum harm?

Picturing it in your mind should take away it’s power, but more important, it should allow your imagination to find ways to prevent it. Knowing how and why it could happen should give you ideas to take to prevent it.Next, and most important–DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE PARALYZED! Remember, these are love messages from the Universe to prepare you so you can take concrete ACTIONS now, before they happen, to prevent them, and if they still do happen, will do you little harm.

Starting today, make a list of specific things you can do to address each fear. I’m going to throw out some ideas, but don’t feel obligated to them, they are just brainstorming ideas  to get your creative juices going:

  • Write a budget and stick to it. (Running out of money)
  • Start looking for jobs to supplement your income. (Running out of money)
  • Be faithful about all preventative maintenance on your car. (Breaking down)
  • Build up an emergency fund (Breaking Down and Running Out of Money)
  • Get AAA roadside assistance. (Breaking Down)
  • Take a Self-defense class (Being Assaulted)
  • Carry a Whistle and Bear Spray (Being Assaulted)
  • Develop Situational Awareness. (Being Assaulted)
  • Follow and develop your gut instinct (Being Assaulted)

Those are just a few ideas I’ve thrown out there for you, but for each fear, there are dozens or hundreds of real steps you can take to minimize your risk. Your job is to start doing intensive research on the best ways to prevent your fears from coming true. But research isn’t enough, you MUST take actions!!! START METHODICALLY DOING THOSE THINGS!!From now on, when the fear assaults you, embrace the fear! Sincerely thank it for such a loving warning! Then go-over the list of things you are doing to take away the risk from living in a car.The way to overcome fear is with Faith and Confidence!

You are going to build up faith and confidence in the concrete actions you are taking to keep you safe!

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I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

Posted in Fear, Inspiration-Spirituality
36 comments on “What do I do About My Crippling Fears
  1. Sue says:

    That’s a good one, the fear of running out of money (on a micro scale, just you personally and not everyone). I don’t reccomend this, but it might help you with that fear, after you have saved up, got a job lined up, trimmed down every item in your budget. Then if you are still afraid about money, think of this guy. I know a guy who panhandles when he is low on funds and nothing expected to come in soon. He says he gets the most when it is bad weather out, and he puts on all of his warm clothes and stands on the exit from Wal Mart by the nearest burger joint. He says he can get between $100 to $200 in about 5 hours of steadily putting himself out there. He is so bundled up that you can’t tell who he is, and he does warmly thank everyone who stops and he waves at those who don’t stop. He positions himself right by the curb so you can’t miss him. So be hopeful. That guy is worse off than you, and he just made $100.

    • Mary Koon says:

      When you are left with little options, your imagination will come to your aid. But like Bob warns, we can’t let fear paralyze us into giving up.

    • Lucy says:

      Bob Wells, as usual, you have posted A GREAT article, thanks !!
      Bob, you’re missed on the blog…I know, I know U’re busy making videos, enjoy & make lots of them!

      My regards, Lucy.

  2. Elaine says:

    Great post! I was scared too when I started to live in VR. After 10 years I’m still a little afraid but all that things can happen even if I live in the house too.

    • Lucy says:

      Elaine, so true, just by living in a sticks & bricks doesn’t give you the insurance you’ll be safe & sound…many things can go wrong !

      My regards, Lucy.

  3. SnowGypsy (Cathy) says:

    I often give people the same advice, but in short “Imagine the worst case scenario and how you would deal with it, and if you can handle that……..” I would also encourage people to make a barebones budget, no matter your current financial situation, which lets you know the minimum required.

    Great blog, reading it just once won’t be enough. Bob, I appreciate what you do SO much! I get it!

  4. Mike says:

    Bob you are the new patron Saint of travelers.

  5. Miker says:

    Great advise Bob! Who hasn’t experienced fear? I remember being paralyzed by it: Fear of success, of failure, cause paralysis! I see fear as a big scary black cloud. I give it strength and energy. When I walk through it, it just dissipates like a puff of smoke, then I can reclaim the strength and energy.

  6. I have a friend who lives in her car and she carries a small cheap tent. This lets her move some of the stuff out of the car and gives her more space inside when she’s camped, and also looks less like she’s sleeping in her car.

  7. Tammi Padilla says:

    Starting out alone, is a big fear when you’re doing this for the first time. “Where do I go, and how do I make sure I have everything to survive?” In addition to the above recommendations, I would suggest connecting with people who are already living this lifestyle, and either camp or travel with them for a short time, until you acquire a little more confidence. Even for people who are perfectly comfortable being alone in a house or apartment, casting off alone into the great unknown can be terrifying.

    • Lucy says:

      Tammi, you are right on the money, girl !! So true, we can be nice, comfy & relaxed at home all alone, but once we get in our van & on a trip insecurity about the unknown can erode our confidence.
      Great comment Tammi !

      My regards, Lucy.

  8. Rita says:

    I am living out of a 2001 Subaru Forester and selling off the last few things in my little storage unit to get the money to fix the brakes, etc before I take off. I live on the streets. I use black out curtains and pee in a jar.

    To deal with fear, I decided not to keep much stuff but instead make my bed area more like a sofa for when not sleeping. I have an old wooden stool for a “coffee table” and am making it cozy and pretty inside. I will be looking for a less public place to sleep when it gets too hot to leave the windows up.

    I also play calming music and smoke a little herb. It gets easier with time.

    • Lucy says:

      Rita, I don’t live in my car, but if’s fair to say that I have observed more & more people living in their wheeled-homes. As hard times increase more people will take to the streets; rents are sky high & buying a stick & bricks is unreachable for millions of people. So is ok to live on wheels & pee in a jar, why not ? we all have to do… what we have to do. We have to live !!
      Bless be. Lucy.

  9. Joe S says:

    I am five days into my new life and loving it. So far I haven’t had any run ins with mean folks or anything like that. I think we manufacture a lot of our fear. We also get so caught up in trying to control every aspect of our existence that we end up freezing up.

    I’m north of Cottonwood and west of Sedona at the moment. If anyone is close and wants to meet up that would be fun. I’ve been exploring the forest roads for the last few days and it’s beautiful around here.

    • Lucy says:

      Joe S:

      Glad U’re enjoying your mobile life. It’s been stated by guru Bob Wells that it’s much easier to live off towns where we have more chances to encounter ‘ bad, nasty guys’, than living up on the open road.

      My regards,Lucy.
      PD: keep on having fun!

    • Steve says:

      Hi Joe,
      I’m in the area. Are you still around? Steve on 525c

      • Joe S says:

        Wish I could of met up with you Steve. I was on 525C for a while then went east to the Mogollon rim. My dog passed so I decided to leave the road and took a job on a remote ranch in Utah. Best of luck, I couldn’t be happier.

  10. Myddy says:

    Interesting post Bob and on point as usual. I meditated a lot on my fears when I first moved 1000 miles from home. It appears my fears are more anxieties when I get to the heart of them. Every time I think I will need to relocate I panic. “I can’t pack my things back in the van in time, not everything will fit, I’ll never get where I need to be in time!” But it turns out all of that is always false. So now, when I start feeling them I can reassure myself and say no, it will all be fine because it always is. This is just another step on the adventure!

  11. Wendy Nichols says:

    I also am a 56 year old woman. I travel in a 2011 Ford Fiesta. I sleep in the back. It’s tight, but I find it easier than putting up a tent in every new place. I feel safer in a locked car, and the weather is easier to deal with under a solid roof. I live this way by choice–sold my stuff, took early retirement, mystified family and friends. I have an emergency fund, but live off of $600/mo. (Don’t get caught up in the gotta haves, like solar power or cell boosters. You don’t need that stuff!)
    I got over my fears by educating myself about this lifestyle (Thank you, Bob, and many others), and by taking short camping trips every chance I got over a 1-1/2 year period before I could retire. When I went full-time, I felt confident in my skills.
    Ultimately, taking control of my own life is the most euphoric, empowering thing I’ve ever done, and I did it just for me!

  12. Wheelingit says:

    Love this post! All of life is uncertain, and overcoming fear is part of the process. It reminds me if a book that was famous in the 70’s “feel the fear and do it anyway”. I’ve always subscribed to that…and I do carry a lot of fears. I’m also a huge believer in positive affirmations. Much of your life can be changed by your mind, and positive affirmations can re-wire many of those fear brain-connections we all carry. They helped me overcome near crippling depression and I still do them everyday. Wonderful post!


  13. Jenn P says:

    Thank you! I am dealing with fears continually as I prepare to make RVing a reality. I just wrote out all of my fears, imagined them, and then wrote positive affirmations (I will…) of what I can do to prevent and work through those situations. I have a tight feeling in my chest but the weight is off my shoulders and I know that I can make this happen.

  14. Tony says:

    Thanks Bob for another great post and everyone else for the helpful comments. Conquering fears is easier said than done. We all have fears and anxieties and we all have different triggers for these. In addition to many of the fears listed here, I have a particularly difficult fear for a prospective van dweller and traveler. I have gephyrophobia, which is the fear of crossing over or driving over bridges. For me it’s large bridges, especially over water. I’ve been through therapy, and I’m trying hard to conquer it. Anyone else have this particular fear or phobia?

  15. Kevin says:

    There is a youtuber “Paul from Cleveland” who talks about this in a video “MGTOW Leave the system”

    He gives an excellent shoutout to you at the 11:30 mark. Says you are trying to help people escape the rat race and haters heap the abuse on you for it.

  16. Diane Ely says:

    Bob: You haven’t updated this blog in nearly a month – hope everything’s OK with you.

    • Lucy says:

      Diane Ely, you’re right, Bob has not made an entry on the blog in a looo00ng time & we wonder / worry about him. I’m sort of inclined to believe he’s busy making videos & having ‘ too much fun ‘ LOL.

      My regards: Lucy.

      • Diane Ely says:

        Yes, undoubtedly Bob’s busy with full-timing matters and we’ll hear from him soon.

        If I may, I’d like to ask if anyone knows the current status of another full-timer – Jim Melvin, of the blog “Jimbo’s Journeys”. Jim hasn’t updated his blog since last October. Actually he had purchased a tiny house in Oregon and was scaling back to being a “part-timer”, but I thought he was going to keep his blog going. In March I posted a comment there, expressing concern for his well-being, but this has gone unanswered. Does anyone here know about Jim?

      • Linda Sand says:

        I’ve been concerned, too, so came to comments to see if anyone had already checked in. I’d like Bob to post at least an “I’m OK” note. Or someone who has seen him recently can post a note saying something along those lines.

      • Greg says:

        He’s been doing lots of van building and he mentioned his mom is sick so he’s moving to east coast for a year or so

  17. Carol Joos says:

    The best tool I know for overcoming fear is The Work, Byron Katie’s method, which you can find described more fully on line.
    You ask yourself four questions, in writing, and answer them in writing: Is it true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (If your answer to the first question was “yes”) How do you feel when you think that thought? How do you feel without the thought?
    There’s more, which you’ll find on line, but the best resource is her book, Loving What Is.
    This has been of huge value to me for many years.

  18. Larry Stone says:

    the emperor has no clothes

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