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How have you overcome whatever fears you faced when living in a vehicle for the first time? Especially if you hadn't done it before.
Like anything for the first time you just try it.
I think the most common fear is, "where the hell am I gonna sleep tonight". And the next night and the night after that. It takes practice but after awhile you get the hang of it and the fear goes away.

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I'm thinking to start my journey on sort of a "vacation" . Stay at a familiar campground for a few days, and wander away from there. First night will be scary anyhow.
Maybe it will be time to get a cat.
I was never really fearful. Uncomfortable maybe. Or feeling weird. But never scared. When I slept at Walmart for the first time, I chose one where there were plenty of other RVers and truckers. I got into my van, locked the doors and shut the windows, turned everything off, laid on the bed and went to sleep. No TV, no video games, no reading a book. Nothing like that. I slept like a baby. Left as soon as I woke up. I did the same thing at my second and third Walmart. 

My first time sleeping on BLM was a piece of cake. Nobody around me other than 2 fellow campers. I locked my doors, cracked a couple of windows open, played candy crush on my phone, then went night-night right after hearing coyotes in the distance. I slept like a baby. 

I have 2 small dogs and I do worry about their safety when it comes to walking them on BLM. I've stayed at 5 different BLM places this summer and never had an issue with wildlife until I stayed at a friend's house in Santa Fe. That's when I encountered coyotes up close. So close that I hit a coyote with a few pebbles from the driveway to scare it off.

Van break down: My check engine light came on. I wasn't scared about that. I took my van in and had the intake hose replaced. Since I have a little money set aside for stuff like that (including unexpected dog/vet care) I don't get too worried. I just have to be a little frugal.

That's all I got. For now.
My alternator just went out in Beef Basin as far out as you can get in Utah. My solar panels charged up my battery enough to drive out-5-10 miles at a pop over two days. It was another 24 hours to get all the parts.
Fear is very real, some of us have it more than others do. Someone else's fear should never be discounted or looked down upon. Anything new can be a fearful situation.  Sometimes I have to force myself to do anything new. When I started out, I was alone and afraid. I left friends and family and took off alone. I had met a few men online from here and met them in Florida, I traveled from Ohio.
I suppose I was lucky, they are kind and safe, I was concerned but met them anyway. They ( Larry and Steve) showed me the ropes about boondocking and with their help I became confident.

My suggestion is to find someone from here to meet up with. It may take several days of travel alone but you will get through it. This is a wonderful life and country. Bad things happen every where so you must be aware. Strange people are out here but you can leave if you feel a vibe. There are usually people from the forum that will mentor you.

When you find mentors, make yourself useful. Don't take up all there time telling them how horrible your previous life was, there's probably was too. This last sentence wasn't directed at you . You will learn and build confidence quickly with someone to take you on.

Red
Thank you for your responses thus far! I think I need to build some confidence trying out staying overnight in the truck before I go full time. 

I work so I'll be around the same area. I already have some places in mind to park overnight. It will take actually living in the truck and not paying room rent anymore to save any appreciable amount toward an emergency fund tho. 

I don't know how I'd go about finding a mentor. Once I give it a try, perhaps I'd meet someone. I'm a bit wary of letting people in general know I'm planning on living in a vehicle, and others might be the same way. 

This forum has been enormously helpful trying to formulate a plan and learn how you do this. Thank you all!
You will meet great folks randomly, that’s one of my favorite things - both learning and being the wise eccentric for those still in rat race.
Take baby steps and take the fears on one at a time. Do whatever it takes to feel safe because it's that feeling that will guide you as you go on. Get to a area that doesn't feel good, move on. As time goes on you will find the things that feel safe and comfortable for you. You will learn what you need to see to feel safe in a new area, your confidence will build.
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