Traveling Diary: Bus Life in Tucson, Arizona
Hi, I’m Robyn. This year my family and I are traveling the United States in a converted Thomas school bus. Outside the bus, we will speak against the stigma and shame surrounding mental health and addiction, and inside the bus, we’ll each take our own personal journeys, and we’ll connect as a family. I’m learning to live a life beyond fear, anxiety, the hustle, and a to-do list. This blog is essentially my traveling diary. It's personal, raw, honest and my way to be witnessed and connect with you all. ~ Robyn
Life on the road is unpredictable. It represents everything I have trained myself to avoid. I’m a rookie at this way of living.
I just realized something. I’m doing it! I’m living in an environment where I have little to no control, or rather an environment that is continuously changing, and even though I am able to adapt, I find the unknown a little scary. I automatically think of anything I don’t know as a threat, as opposed to an adventure.
Right now, I’m finding life on the road a little tough because it's new. I’m up front and personal with my fears. I’m grinding against the need to stay stuck. Quite honestly, it’s a fight I do not want to win. That’s why I’m here—on this big beast of a bus.
I remember now.
Moving from location every few days, homeschooling our girls, sleeping in a tin box close to nature is something that sounds exciting in theory—and it is—it’s just I'm not used to it. I’m learning to get fluid instead of stiff. That’s a change that doesn’t happen overnight.
While Tim and I are using our voices outside of the bus to break the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction, I’m inside the bus walking the walk. I’m giving myself permission to be seen when I feel messy.
Tucson, Arizona, has taken me into the thick of discovering a new way of living. My whole life has been about protecting myself from the same fear and grief I experienced when our family was told my Mum was going to die. When I was 11 years old, Mum’s doctor adamantly suggested that she prepare us for her death because her kidneys were failing, due to Lupus attacking them.
Since then, I have focused on protecting my 11-year-old self from having to feel that out-of-control-ness. I’ve made up little ways that I can convince myself that I am in control—overworking, keeping my daughters close at all times (I know, what have I been teaching them?) Making sure that Tim is as cautious as I am.
He says things like “Drive fast. Take chances.” I say things like, “Lock the door. Please be safe. What if we end up homeless?”
Thank God for Tim. I want more of what he has.
Anxiety disorder is real. Many of us feel scared and stuck, which diminishes life experiences. I chose to take this bus trip so that I could expand my recovery and learn to rewire my brain by confronting the very thing I feared the most—which is feeling as if I have no control.
The truth is, this trip is one of a lifetime. I’m learning that the unknown doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, some of the best experiences in my life thus far had happened to me when I decided to let go and to allow myself to fall into something bigger and brighter and not live so suffocatingly safe.
And at times, I have lived, really lived. Taking a one-way ticket to London from Sydney, Australia with only $500 in my pocket; undergoing my master's degree in Glasgow, Scotland, to challenge myself to write a one-woman show and then perform it; and meeting my husband on the steps of a log cabin when I hit rock-bottom. Those experiences too were amazing and initially came with their own challenges.
You see, my history tells me that I am both anxious AND brave, controlling AND adventurous.
So here I am. Living it—in it—and through it, I go. I hope you’ll join me in this adventure!