For the longest time (decades, really), for personal, deep-set, reasons I have always had a ‘block’ (coming from a place of severe anxiety) when it comes to longer distance driving by myself.
I am absolutely fine driving ‘local’, and fine being a passenger – I love going on adventures & roadtrips, being driven during these – and if I am driving with a passenger beside me, my anxiety is a little less too (I wouldnt have taken part, and driven the entire way, in the Charity Bike & Car “Poker Run” for SBH Qld driving many hours over two days from the Sunshine Coast to Bundaberg, and back, if “driving” in itself was a problem for me! 😉 haha) – but, asking myself to drive away from my home here on the Sunshine Coast (my home is my ‘comfort/safety zone, where I feel safe away from the stressors of the world) to somewhere completely unfamiliar to me – and it turns into an anxiety-ridden obstacle for me…one I have taken baby steps over the years to conquer, but for (again) personal reasons I’ve never quite been able to work myself through and around this, in my mind.
This past week, I took a BIG step in this Goal/Tick off my list that I’ve “always wanted to do”. This might seem like a tiny step to someone else…but, you know what, our steps towards our Goals and Dreams, whether they are ‘tiny, or massive’ to us is our personal business…steps towards a personal Goal or Dream should be measured by ourselves – not by someone elses ‘definition’ or judgement of how big or small they think the step you’ve taken is. Please don’t let anyone else talk down/trivialise or make you defend a step you have, or are about to take, in your life. No one else but you personally knows the impact this step is having on you, on the inside….and in your life. Remember, this is your life, not anyone elses! 🙂
My life has now provided the “perfect storm” of circumstances to practice this Dream of mine much more, to where this will hopefully one day become far more natural to me, and I start to go on some awesome adventures with it – I’ve decided to now grasp this opportunity with everything I have, inside of me. Now is the time to start conquering this fear/block of mine, it has been quite a number of months in the making…well, its been years in my mind – but in actually making it happen, its been a slow burn…until this “perfect storm” brewed together last week and basically forced me into taking this big step!
The ‘slow burn’…the Perfect Storm brewing together to make this happen, consisted of (since early 2021)
– my body throwing a major tantrum, which affected, and will affect moving forward, my mobility
– this incident meaning that I had to start to make plans to get a wheelchair hoist funded, and bolted onto the roof of my car, to make exiting myself & my chair much safer, plus physically and mentally less stressful & taxing on me, energy-wise
– this flowed on to, me having to sell my beloved 18yr old car I used to own, as I needed a newer (and wanted a more reliable, as it was sadly starting to falter a little due to its age) car – I loved that car!
– I was then on the hunt for ‘my perfect car’ (being a car enthusiast *this was a reason I was sad to sell my previous car, we car enthusiasts really form attachments with our cars!* and also with needs attached to my disability, I had to make sure this was THE car for me – much like when we are on the on the search for a human partner in life haha)
– July 2021, many months after this all started, was the day I spotted, and fell in love with the car that was to become mine – that in itself was a ‘slow burn’ as the very day I first viewed her in person after spotting her online at a dealership – we were then thrown into a snap lockdown…while I was there with the car!
– I went on to purchase my car, and arrange for my disability handcontrols to be fitted/transferred – this being another couple of months in the making
– Then began the process of, the whole reason I was on this mission – requesting/arranging the funding for, and obtaining the hoist that I now needed.
– Due to reasons beyond my control, in early 2022 I *finally* received notification that my hoist had arrived in Australia, and was now at the installers ready to go. (Did I mention it was a ‘slow burn’? haha)
And so we wind back to the whole reason for this post – “uh oh…the installer is away from the Sunshine Coast (where I live) – they’re an hour away, on the edge of Brisbane!” I had no choice but to get my car down there, somehow…and that meant of course – driving down to them.
It was then that it hit me – you know what, instead of hunting for someone to come with me who could be free on that day etc, as my ‘easy way to do this’ – I’m just going to do it, myself. I’m going to book it in, do my research on how to get there (I’d never been to this particular area near Brisbane, even with someone else) – and just DO it. My reward (having some kind of ‘reward’, or remembering our ‘Why?” is a major motivator, towards our Goals and Dreams!) was, finally having this hoist that I need, finally being able to let go of the stress of exiting/entering my vehicle that was my norm – I was starting to avoid driving anywhere, for this reason alone…it was just becoming ‘all too hard’.
Finally knowing I’ll have the freedom that I know I deserve – and my free spirit knows I need this, in my life. I have this beautiful (near) new car now, I’ll have my hoist…this will open my door to more new adventures – and of course, I’m all for new adventures! 😉 haha.
The day finally came, for me to head down to the installers to get my new hoist bolted on. I’d already done my research on how to get there, it looked easy enough. I knew I had my GPS on me, a full tank of fuel, and I was in my new car which I’d been dying to take it for a good run, as its such a smooth car to drive – I was excited! My anxiety was still in the background…but still, I was excited – which felt great!
After an hour of driving, my anxiety like waves in the ocean all the way down – drowning it out with Dr Dre on my car sound system, and practicing my breathwork – I finally arrived at the installers. The hoist was installed….and before I knew it, I was back on that highway, heading north back home. I was so proud of myself..and full of excitement for my new freedom that was now literally bolted onto my car!
….but, this was not the end of this ‘baby step’…as anyone who knows me, knows – I dont do things by halves! haha (I blame the bucketlist for what happened next – the ‘bucketlist gods’ knew I wasnt quite ready to end this big step I’d just taken…I needed more of it – and now!)
Two days later, while familiarising myself with my new piece of assistive equipment, I discovered that I was having an issue with it (part rookie error, part ‘we need to do this a different way, to suit your chair specs’ as I went on to find out). I called the installer – and yep, you guessed it, the only way through this issue especially given it was brand new – was to get back in my car, and head back down to them again!
The strangest thing happened though – I dont know whether it was because I was full of adrenaline/stress hormones from the actual issue I had with it – or whether I was still ‘on a high of pride’ for having driven there only a couple days prior – but, the next morning I just casually got up, fuelled up (my anxiety relies on certain things to help ease it…one being ‘more than 1/2 tank of fuel if I’m going somewhere unfamiliar’) – and headed back down on the highway to the installers again. Still with a little anxiety…but nowhere near what I had the first time. Music cranking, beautiful comfy car seat…I was actually relaxed – which felt amazing! 🙂
Looking back, this was quite possibly the best thing that could have happened, to basically force me into doing this drive again, so soon after the first time (the issue I had with the equipment, couldnt wait ‘until I felt ready to do it again’….it had to be dealt with, asap).
I got back Friday afternoon, after initially taking the first drive Tuesday – looking back on my week with a tired sense of “What the heck was that?!?” (my week haha – I’d driven 400km, all of it ‘away from the Coast’), and also such a delicious feeling of accomplishment. I know I now need to keep ‘feeding’ this Dream of mine, and not wait too long, to get back out in my car and keep practicing these longer distance/’away from my home on the Coast’ drives. But the best thing? I now WANT to feed this beast…not avoid it – and I love this feeling!
A big part of my anxiety is around ‘getting lost’, I cannot stand getting lost – it triggers something very deep, very unsafe in me (for personal reasons). I’ve often been encouraged “just think of getting lost, as an adventure, taking the scenic route” – while this makes sense and I wish I felt this way…I just dont (yet) – but, on the other hand, now – I cannot WAIT for my next driving adventure – and next time, I am going to make sure its purely for pleasure/leisure! I wonder where the road will lead me next?!? 😉 I CANT WAIT to find out!
While working on this post today, I’m reminded of my previous post “Its about the Journey, not the Destination”, in the lead-up to my Mystery Trip – that in itself, was a huge test in trusting the process, let it happen how it will, and just flow with it…much like this latest experience of mine, was/is!
On a side note…it feels so, SO good to be diving back into my little venture again, and experiencing not just the Dreams (and lead-ups) themselves…but every emotion/feeling and sensation surrounding my bucketlist life – it’s been very much hit-and-miss the last few years, for a number of personal reasons – but, I am BACK, baby!! I LIVE for this feeling! 🙂
Anything is Possible….if you just get in, sit down, belt up, and hang on – maybe for the ride of your life!! 🙂
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