I am obsessed with my campervan and the vanlife and it is my fourth love [after Mr BOTRA, son and daughter-in-law] what I am trying to avoid is an obsession that leads to anxiety every time we park up the ‘van. It isn’t surprising really that in the seven-weeks since we had our campervan returned to us I still get that sick feeling of panic in my stomach regularly when I remember seeing our lovely campervan roll down the Greek slope and hit a wall. Even though we fortunately were not in the ‘van when the incident happened, these feelings of panic are worse when I am in the camper and we are parked on a bit of a gradient, in my head I can start to feel that the ‘van is moving and I am gripped by anxiety. On our trip to Scotland I kept waking in the night [everything is worse in the dark] and eventually I would have to get up and check that we had left the van securely in gear.
We have thought about buying chocks to hold the ‘van but these would take up space and I know in my rational mind that when the handbrake is fully on and the Renault is in gear it won’t go anywhere.
Clearly being in the ‘van should be relaxing rather than anxiety-creating and we needed to come up with a way to stop this pattern of behaviour. We have now developed a routine to follow every time we park up that we hope will ease the anxiety. The handbrake will be engaged and the van will be put in gear and then we chorus, ‘reverse gear engaged’ or ‘first gear engaged,’ depending on the direction of the slope, no matter how slight this slope is. We laugh as we do this as we feel pretty stupid but hope that by voicing the procedure we will remember that it is done and we can then both either leave the ‘van confidently or relax while we sit in it, certain that we have made the van safe.
What we want to avoid is sleepless nights [for me, Mr BOTRA is anxiety-free] or finding ourselves a mile or two in to a walk and starting to have doubts as we ask each other if we can remember putting the ‘van in gear. This self-imposed torture would end up with the absurd situation of us running back to the ‘van just to check and we would never be relaxed.