The Claustrophobic Glamper…the final chapter…


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Let’s try this again. Voyage #2. Will I or will I not, freak out again?! The Claustrophobic Glamper (me) goes to Palomar Mountain.

 

 

 

 

If you’ve read my earliest posts, you know that I’m claustrophobic. For some reason, per pound of body weight, and per square inch of body surface, I seem to require more air and space around me than the average bear.

 

And if you’ve read my earliest posts, you know that I completely freaked out my first night in our new RV. I’ve left you hanging with that saga, ’cause there was so much other newer funny stuff that I had to write about.

 

Nothing new and funny to write about today, except that I did ask some of you to pray for me because I was getting my hair cut today. And thank you for that, ’cause I love my new crazy ‘do. (pic below)

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A week or two following our maiden voyage to Santa Barbara, we did a weekend trip to Palomar Mountain to practice our glamping skills. After a visit to the Palomar Observatory (a cool place!), we drove over to Palomar Mountain State Park, and got ourselves a campsite at Doane Valley Campground . Gorgeous campground!

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Palomar Mountain Observatory

 

 

 

 

 

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Doane Pond @

Doane Valley Campground

 

 

 

 

 

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Fiona @ Campsite #1 @ Doane Valley Campground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long story short….because it got dark and cold by 5:30pm, and we had no wood to make a fire outside, we piled ourselves and the dogs inside the RV at 5:30pm. We ate dinner, watched a video, and went to bed early.

 

It was really really dark out. We went to bed with most of the shades up, so that I could see outside, since that seemed to help calm my freak-out a bit on our maiden voyage. But it was so dark, that I couldn’t see a bloody thing!

 

I did manage to sleep a bit. But I woke up around midnight. I was still weirded out about how dark it was outside. I got out of bed and went and sat in one of the chairs up front. I calculated…if it was midnight, then I still had about six more hours to kill before daybreak. WHAT THE HELL WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO FOR SIX MORE HOURS??!! We’d already been inside what is basically, a large van, for seven freakin’ hours!

 

I got out a flashlight and read a magazine for a while. OK. That killed like 15 minutes. NOW WHAT??!!

 

I WAS CRAZY ITCHIN’ TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THAT RV! But I couldn’t even get out and take a walk. We were in the woods, it was pitch black out, and I was afraid an animal might attack me. You laugh, but shit like that happens!

 

What a looooooooong freakin’ night that was. As soon as day broke, I leashed up the dogs and took them for a walk. Finally, fresh air and freedom…for me…not the dogs…they didn’t really want to get up and go outside that early. But I had to get the hell out of there.

 

This long night led to another great epiphany about my panic attacks. This attack wasn’t so much a claustrophobic attack, as it was that I realized I just cannot be stuck inside for that long of a time. Think about it, I was inside the RV for 13 hours. I wasn’t actually claustrophobic, I was totally bat-shit stir-crazy!

 

You’ll be happy to know that, for each awful night I endured at the beginning, I learned valuable things about my triggers and about how to cope with and prevent these episodes. I’ll do a little recap here, in the hopes that, if you or someone you know is struggling with the same issues, that something here might actually help.

 

1. I like to be able to see outside, so we don’t pull the privacy shades closed all the way. This gives me a sense of space. It also opens up opportunities for perv’s to look in, but for some reason, I don’t care.

2. I can not be inside the RV for abnormally long periods of time at night. Now we stay outside as long as possible, around a campfire, or with our battery operated lantern burning low, and we talk or play music until it’s time to go to bed.

3. Unless it gets pretty darn cold, we don’t run the heater at night. We’ll usually set the thermostat to around 55ºF so that it doesn’t get too stifling inside. In our small space, once that heater kicks on, it can get hot and stuffy real fast, and me no likey.

4. If,  for some reason, we have to be inside the RV earlier in the evening, I’ll spend time sitting up front and reading until I’m ready to go to bed.

5. I always sleep on the side of the RV that does NOT have the bathroom and tall cabinets. This way, I have a better view of the whole RV, and I can see how spacious it is.

 

So there you have it. Pretty simple solutions. I figured all of this out by analyzing what was going on each time I had a panic attack.

 

Happy to report, I’m doing really well now on our road-trips. I don’t even need the chewing gum or sleeping pills (see earlier posts). Makin’ myself and my family proud, one phobia at a time!

 

 

 

Ambidextrous Sleeping and the Saga of the Claustrophobic Glamper

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Welcome to the continuing story of claustrophobic me, and our new Airstream RV….

To get up to speed, you can read some of my earlier posts. But, here’s a very short recap.

– We bought an Airstream Motorhome.

– First night in it, I had a full-on claustrophobic panic attack.

– Next day, I met a man who told me to chew gum to relax. I bought gum and I bought sleeping pills

 

Now that you’re all caught up on the basics, I’ll continue with the true tale.

 

So, it was night #2, it was starting to get dark outside, and I was getting nervous. I was chewing a huge wad of gum per the stranger’s RX. I figured that it couldn’t hurt. But, I couldn’t chew gum all night, so I spit it out, and brushed my teeth. And I popped one those sleeping pills I’d bought earlier that day at the drugstore.

 

And finally, the inevitable….I crawled reluctantly into bed. As I lay face up, and looked around, I had a couple of really important epiphanies.

Listen carefully, because this is when this witty blog turns, briefly, into a real self-help tool.

 

1. I realized that Mark and I needed to switch sides of the bed. If I lay on the left side of the bed, the cabinets on that side were all low, and I could see over them. It made me feel like I had more space. The other side is the side with the bathroom, and hence, cabinets/doors that went floor to ceiling. So we switched sides. No big deal. Turns out we are both ambidextrous sleepers.

2. As soon as we closed all the privacy shades and curtains, my heart started pounding. Being visually closed in from the outside world triggered huge PANIC!! I realized that I had to sleep with most of the windows uncovered!! I had to see beyond the confines of the walls of the RV. I visually borrowed space from the outdoors and pretended there were no boundaries.

 

These were huge revelations for me, and that night I slept like a baby. (Could have been the sleeping pills!!)

 

Although these changes didn’t solve all of my claustrophobic problems, it was great progress. By the next morning, I was considering allowing Mark to fill the soap and shampoo dispensers! I saw that it just might be possible for us to keep the RV after all.

 

I was really proud of myself, and bragged all day about how resourceful I was and how I was pushing my own boundaries, and confronting my fears head-on.

 

In hindsight, I was a little too cocky, because that was not to be the end of my “issues.” Nope. They’d rear their ugly head again soon, during our trip to Palomar Mountain.

 

Stay tuned for the next installment!

The Day After the Morning After the First Night

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After the first night in our new RV, and my disturbing claustrophobic attack, after morning coffee with our friends, after NOT telling our friends what really happened that first night…after all that, we did the obvious…went shopping.

Mark was in denial about my “situation,” and was determined to carry on as if nothing had happened. I was still talking about how to return the RV, but he was ignoring me. I guess he had faith in me.

He took me to the shopping mall to buy a few things he thought we needed in the RV….a 3″ memory foam mattress pad, and new pillows.  I thought it was all a waste of time and money, since we’d be returning the RV anyway.

After the little shopping spree, we made a stop at Pete’s Coffee to regenerate. Struck up a conversation with an older man who asked us about our Airstream. I blurted out that I had had a claustrophobic attack that first night. He proceeded to tell us that he spent many years traveling around in a similar type and size RV (a Roadtrek), and that he had claustrophobic issues for the first six months. He discovered that chewing gum in the evenings would help relieve the stress.

Nice guy. Wished me luck. We said goodbye and went to the drugstore to buy a massive amount of chewing gum.

While in the drugstore, it also occurred to me that some type of sleeping pill might be of help. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket, so I wasn’t about to rely just on the chewing gum!

Now I was ready for Night #2….Chewing Gum, Sleeping Pills, Memory Foam Pad, New Pillow…I was ready to do some serious relaxation and sleeping! BRING IT ON!!

In the next installment…Night #2 and my big revelations!

Claustrophobic Crazy Naked Lady & Grace Under Pressure

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Yes, it was me. I was the Crazy Naked Lady.

It was the last evening of our ski vacation in Jackson Hole, and after four days of skiing hard, we booked massages at our hotel, The White Buffalo Club. The masseuse was a lovely young woman named Brightly, who had only recently graduated from massage school. She seemed very sweet, and I immediately felt comfortable with her.

So, into the massage room I went, stripped down, lie face down on the table, breathed, closed my eyes, and relaxed into the nice warm heated padded table. And, so the massage began.

It wasn’t even two minutes into the massage when I was suddenly very aware of how hot and stuffy the room had become. I had Brightly turn off the heated padding and turn off the little space heater in the room, but to no avail.  I raised my head up from the table to get some air, which made matters worse, because then I became acutely aware of how tiny this room was!

Holy C%$#…this massage room was micro-miniature of what a real room should be….and it had no air!

In a panic, in all my crazy naked glory, I jumped off of the massage table, gasping for air, and screaming, “I can’t do this! I have to get out of here!” Yep…I had to get the hell out of that room!!

What happened next was a minor miracle. I was in such a panic, that I don’t even remember how she did it, but, somehow this very young, very inexperienced masseuse, calmed me down enough to stop me from running out of the room. She opened the door to get some fresh air inside, and got me to lie on the table, face up, and breathe.

And then I was OK. I could feel the current of cool fresh air entering the room, and I could see beyond the borders of this horribly small massage room. I was OK. I could finally relax and let Brightly work her magic on my tired body.

When I had my claustrophobic panic attack, I think I did scare Brightly just a bit, but she handled the whole thing with such grace and calm, as if she’d seen this a million times. After my massage was over, I hugged her, and thanked her for not letting me run out of, what turned out to be, a wonderful massage.

On the walk back to my room, I replayed the whole crazy episode in my head. And I remembered the last time I had a panic attack, that first night in our Airstream. And I remembered that I must get back to the RV Chronicles…the story of our first RV.

Skiing & Claustrophobic RV-ers

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We’re in Jackson Hole, WY this week, skiing up a storm, so to speak. In fact, it did start snowing almost as soon as we arrived. Just sayin’. If you live in a ski town, and need us to bring some good snow mojo your way, we can negotiate a deal. We’re inexpensive!

Today was actually our first day on the mountain, and WOW, what a mountain it is. Big, and very vertical. In fact, over 4,000′ of vertical. Hit all kinds of runs and conditions today. Steep, mogully, powdery, icy, crunchy, plus some! Did a tour of the mountain and hit a majority of the lifts, as well as the gondola and the tram.

We met a nice couple skiing today from Quebec City, Lynn and Andre. We took a lunch break with them, and when we mentioned we have an RV, they perked up with interest. Seems they’ve talked about how much fun it would be to get an RV and travel all over, however, Lynn is worried about being confined in such a small space. Mark and I both started laughing. I told them they have to look at this blog and read about our experience with this exact issue.

And so, it was as if our day came full-circle…ski, discuss claustrophobic RV-ing, ski some more, blog about it all. A complete day, if you ask me!

We’ll be back out on the mountain on Tuesday, and out exploring the town in the evening. If you’ve been to Jackson Hole in the winter and have any “must see” things, or “must eat at” restaurants, I’d love to hear about it.