Dealing with the fear of getting out again in your RV. Are you ready?

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CAVEAT: Polite, respectful comments are welcome. However, anti-vaxxer and anti-masker comments are not welcome in this discussion about Coronavirus Anxiety and will be deleted. We’re attempting to help calm people down, not get anyone riled up or more nervous. If you’re rude or obnoxious, you will be banned from commenting on RVTravel.com. BTW: “The First Amendment’s constitutional right of free speech, which is applicable to state and local governments under the incorporation doctrine, prevents only government restrictions on speech, not restrictions imposed by private individuals or businesses unless they are acting on behalf of the government.” [Dunn, Christopher (April 28, 2009). “Column: Applying the Constitution to Private Actors (New York Law Journal)”. New York Civil Liberties Union.] 

By Mike Gast
OK, you’ve gotten your shots. The campgrounds are open. You can’t wait to get the RV out and hit the road, right? That’s the way you think you should feel, anyway. But what if you don’t?

The COVID-19 pandemic and the long series of start-and-stop lockdowns have given birth to a new disorder. It lies somewhere between a slight hesitancy to leave the house, and a full-blown case of agoraphobia.

The new malady, already recognized by many healthcare professionals, is called Coronavirus Anxiety. Doctors and psychologists first started talking about the condition last summer. But more people – especially those over 55 who are more likely to have spent a lot of time at home – are starting to show symptoms of Coronavirus Anxiety as more cities and states begin relaxing pandemic guidelines.

What is Coronavirus Anxiety?

Coronavirus Anxiety shouldn’t be confused with actual agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder in which people feel extreme immediate fear. It causes them to avoid places or situations that make them feel extremely helpless or seriously threatened. If you have a diagnosed case of agoraphobia, you likely weren’t comfortable with the RV lifestyle even before the pandemic.

Coronavirus Anxiety is much more subtle. However, it can make even the thought of hitting the road again comfortably tucked into your RV seem insurmountable.

COVID-19 has likely given everyone – me included – some level of Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Who’d have thought that, after more than 60 years on the planet, I really didn’t know the right way to wash my hands? Is it one mask, two masks, or no mask? My six-foot buffer zone just never feels like enough.

Psychiatrist Dr. Amit Anand of the Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute says we’ve entered new territory with Coronavirus Anxiety. He likened it more to OCD than a phobia, since reentering society without the safeguards many of us have deployed for the past year seems risky and leads to at least a small level of anxiety. If you’re like me, even after receiving both doses of the vaccine you still think about getting contaminated every time you pass an unmasked group crowding you on the sidewalk. And for the rest of your natural life, you just know you’ll sing the Happy Birthday Song twice through while washing up.

Dr. Anand said the new virus-related anxieties have qualities of both OCD and agoraphobia. However, the new condition lies somewhere in the middle. “I don’t think people in psychiatry who would make a diagnosis (of acute anxiety) ever thought of this situation,” he said recently.

Take it slow

First, understand that your Coronavirus Anxiety is a real thing, and you’re not alone. There are likely going to be millions of folks of all ages who are going to be more than reticent to immediately rejoin life as it was at the very beginning of 2020. This summer, you’ll see a lot of RVers at campgrounds who are still sticking close to their rigs. If you’re one of those who enjoy making your campsite home base for Happy Hour, understand that some of your regular guests might not feel comfortable yet. Give them some time (and space).

If you think you may be suffering from a touch of Coronavirus Anxiety, take it slow. Expose yourself to the outside world – including your old RVing lifestyle – a little bit at a time. If it’s your spouse or travel companion who is feeling the angst, offer to be their understanding escort as they reenter the world. What they are feeling really isn’t much different than “guests of the state” feel when they are let out of jail after a long stretch of confinement.

Filter your information

We’ve all been inundated with tons of pretty scary stories in the media over the months. Now might be a good time to start cutting back on social media or other news sources you take in. Misinformation, and overloading yourself with information, will only add to the anxiety.

For those of you who aren’t feeling anxious and are itching to hit the road again, congratulations. I’m happy you’re emerging from 2020 relatively unscathed. For the rest of you, take a big, deep breath and visualize your past favorite RV trips. It might take some time, but you’ll get back there.

Now, where did I put the soap?

Mike Gast was the Vice President of Communications for Kampgrounds of America, Inc. for the past 20 years. Now, he’s on to new adventures, helping others tell their stories through his freelance company, ‘Imi Ola Group. You can reach Mike at mike.imiolagroup@gmail.com .

Read Mike’s previous posts on RVtravel.com here.

##RVT994

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Janet Herrell
1 day ago

We have not stopped traveling through Covid. We used commonsense and handwashing and yes , we have had friends get it in varying degrees, but my life didn’t stop because of it.

Steve
6 days ago

Will simply say we believe in the science so we have both have been vaccinated. Currently on a 6 week multi state trip. We don’t take extra chances but we do not avoid things. Regarding the vaccines, why would you not want to protect yourself and your family?

john brennan
6 days ago

We took a 3 week trip to the big 5 in September. Masked up and sanitized, Order out when we were too tired from hiking but had a great time. We try to make, at least a weekend trip every month and sometimes longer when work allows. We stayed in a hotel 2 weeks ago but not the same in the “Super Beast” or as my kids call it the “tour bus”. That is the reason we glamp is for the outdoors and having our own space.

Judy S
7 days ago

I plan to keep some pandemic habits like hand sanitizer, hand washing, cleaning my phone, not out of anxiety but because I’ve been healthier overall.

SLaflamme
7 days ago

Just waiting for the Canadian border to open up so we can take our Alaska RV trip this summer. Masked up and Vaxd up, good to go!

Vincee
7 days ago

Just back from a five-week trip from WNY to Key West and many points in Florida and the Carolina’s. The first few days my wife had a sense of trepidation about dining indoors or having a cocktail at a bar. But as time went on we both got more comfortable, especially since both of us had Covid last year and much has been said about the immunity we have, while still practicing mask-wearing as you enter, use the restroom, and leave any indoor establishment. Most folks throughout our travels did the same. Outdoors we weren’t as concerned.

Bill N Stacey
7 days ago

Americasfrontlinedoctors dot com is a factual based group that is gaining traction… (Censored) because it does not follow the “Narrative” Please look into this group….

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
7 days ago
Reply to  Bill N Stacey

Here’s the beginning of the article about America’s Frontline Doctors in Wikipedia: “America’s Frontline Doctors is an American right-wing political organization. Founded by Simone Gold and promoted by the Tea Party Patriots, it has opposed lockdowns and social distancing mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic by citing alleged and unapproved treatments for COVID-19. In January 2021, Gold and the group’s communications director John Strand were both arrested in connection with the January 6 storming of the United States Capitol. On July 27, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tea Party Patriots hosted and funded a press conference in Washington, D.C., in front of the Supreme Court Building by a group founded by Simone Gold which referred to themselves as “America’s Frontline Doctors”. Without peer-reviewed evidence or formal approval from health bodies, the group claimed that a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine, Zithromax, and zinc could be used as a “cure” for COVID-19, and that public health measures (such as lockdowns and mandating face masks in public spaces) were therefore unnecessary.” Yeah, no. —Diane at RVtravel.com

Michael Kavanagh
8 days ago

No anxiety. No changes. No experimental shots for us.
We get out in our rv as much as our essential jobs allow us. With that said, no flu government checks our way, either time.
We live in the Free State of Florida Thank God. Have really enjoyed all the campers that have been out camping this past year. A real sense of patriotism and understanding of statistics, beyond the hype, gave us all much solace in an upside down woke world.

Neal Davis
8 days ago

Thankfully, we are free of this anxiety (we have others, but not this one) and have gone on several (8) RV trips of at least 4 days since June 2020. One was actually because of the pandemic. We drove my elderly in-laws 1200 miles over 3 days to spend time with their grandchildren for 4 days, and then drove them home, again, over 3 days.

I certainly hope and pray that any afflicted with this phobia are able to overcome it with time, and, if necessary, counselling.

Jay Ward
8 days ago

What phobia? We’re ready to hit the road! Have trips to Big Bend, Central City Colorado and a fall excursion to Steamboat Springs Colorado already planned and booked. The 40 foot fiver is getting cabin fever. (Yes, we’ve gotten both shots).

Lissa
8 days ago

We’ve stayed on top of the research and data since the beginning, to stay well informed about the pandemic, so we can make sound decisions about our activities. We bought our first RV so that we could continue traveling, as well as taking other trips by road and air. We pretty much haven’t stopped doing anything, at least out of fear.

Our only concern now is if passports restrict our ability to visit places, because the vax is something I cannot do, not until safety concerns are addressed through short and long term monitoring of people my age, and with my health issues. We also object to the idea of passports in general. Otherwise, we are going to keep on traveling as much as we can.

Kamwick
8 days ago

Haven’t even considered this possibility. Didn’t know it was a thing. We wear masks, socially distance and have our vaccines. The only thing we worry about is finding campsites and possibly being harassed in some states for wearing masks.

Diane Mc
8 days ago
Reply to  Kamwick

We were in Florida for 6 weeks, other states on the southern route going from CA to FL and back. A number of those states, especially FL & TX have no mask mandate, which means recommend they be worn but not mandatory & up to businesses and individuals. Both states, probably 90 to 95% of people wore masks. Most restaurants had tables social distanced and no condiments on table, you had to ask for them. 6000 miles and no one ever harassed us for wearing a mask. Which we did, everywhere we went.

Rodney
8 days ago

We started camping again in September last year by staying in state parks. We stopped in March 2020 after getting home from a trip to AZ, NM and west Texas. In December we made a trip to western Oklahoma and one to western Kentucky. We received our Covid vaccine a few weeks ago and have started camping for 2021 nearby state park and will be headed out again end of month for Oklahoma to the Texas gulf coast. We have always social distanced, purchase groceries online for pickup and take out restaurants.

Rich
8 days ago

the ONLY fear we have is finding space.

RobinT
8 days ago

We enjoyed an 8 week trip through much of the country last fall and it was glorious…a great way to vacation safely. Many restaurants and attractions were limited, but that’s ok when you carry your kitchen with you and love hiking! Unfortunately it looks like everyone else has figured out that RVing is the way to get out of the house now, as I encountered nothing but “no availabilty” in my efforts yesterday to book a spring trip to Bryce and elsewhere. We are going to sit this spring and summer out and hope that the crowds dwindle. Not out of fear of the virus…just dont like crowds on the trails.

Diane Mc
8 days ago

We started “living” again last May, while still being careful. Resumed taking my 3 granddaughters to my 92 yr old mother’s home every week, as I did before. Visited our 3 children & 7 grandchildren from then on. In Jan, while in rehab for a fall, my Mom tested positive for Covid, 2 tests, no symptoms.🤷‍♀️ In August headed for Indy500. Fans canceled while traveling. Roamed around for a couple of weeks. In January we headed from CA to FL. Gone for 8 weeks. In FL 95% wearing masks, social distancing, restaurants santizing, etc. Felt safe. Ate out at restaurants, kept hand sanitizer with us at all times. Will start to get ready for Indy500 trip first part of May in the next few weeks. Time is ticking, we are in our 70’s. Not sure how much longer we can RV travel, so enjoying while we can.

George
8 days ago

We did decrease RV trips last year. But didn’t entirely stop. One reason is the lack of events to attend. Festivals, music venues, and natural attractions, etc. were closed or cancelled. Not as much fun just wandering. the campground or driving our TOAD to find an open restaurant. We both had the ***** in Oct 2020 and as of Feb 2021 blood tests, still have antibodies. We’re over it! Already done one music festival this year and 5 more trips on the calendar – so far. We just bought a new motorhome and the vision the current administration has for fuel prices, control of travel, and culture change worries us more than “fear of *****.” [Bleeped by Diane.]

Bob Palin
8 days ago

The only anxiety I have about getting out there is the huge number of people doing it and not being able to find peaceful places to camp. (Got my shots, wear my mask)

Tommy Molnar
8 days ago

Nothing changed last year in the way we RV’d.

BILLY Bob Thronton
8 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Ditto. Wait a year or two and let’s revisit this. There will be enough hard data out there to assess what happened.

Doneitall
8 days ago

Haven’t gotten any shots but have travelled all most all last year. Missed a couple of early spring trips as reservations were cancelled by the campground but managed to work around. We generally go out for a week each month throughout 12 months of the year. Went to whatever restaurants that were open or did carry out. Wore a mask when required but otherwise, not so much. Life goes on…

Hosting family for Easter today!

Happy Easter everyone!

Last edited 8 days ago by Doneitall
Bob Davies
8 days ago
Reply to  Doneitall

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