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Anxiety as a passenger
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woodshopbrewer
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:18 am    Post subject: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Just got home safe and sound from a family spring break trip - Ohio to the FL panhandle. Discovered an issue that Iím not sure how to fix and wondered if anyone else has experienced it. Iím not a mechanic but Iíve done a lot of work on our van over the years, including a subi swap. Van runs great - but as a passenger with my wife driving and our daughters and dogs along for the ride, I have begun to experience pretty severe anxiety imagining catastrophes resulting from all the possible causes of various sounds the van makes as we cruise down the road.
Wondering if anyone can relate or if this is likely some pandemic-induced disorder that should be posted in a different forum!
-Jon
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Does this happen in other cars or only the vanagon?

Are you anxious in other situations?
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Current: 1990 Westy Camper - Bostig RG4, 2wd, manual trans w/Peloquin, NAHT high-top, Flash Silver, seam rust, bondo, etc., etc.

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Howesight
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:20 am    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Compared with driving a car on a long trip, any anxiety I have about breakdowns in the Westy is heavily ameliorated by knowing that in a Westy, wherever you go, you are already home.

I think of tasty "breakdown meals" I can cook inside the Westy!

If you have an engine problem, even the worst kind, you can still pull the wires from the spark plugs and crank the starter with the van in gear to move it off the road.
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VicVan
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:24 am    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

I'd say that's not unusual.
First, on the safety side of things, as a passenger, you're not in control, so it can be more stressful.
Before taking my motorcycle licence, I had no problem being a passenger on a motorcycle, as long as I trusted the driver. After learning to drive one myself, I just couldn't be in the back seat. I was too freaked out. I'm drivin or I'm walkin.
Second, on the reliability side of things, I can relate too. After working on my van, I know what can go wrong, what can break down. As a passenger you hear and feel the car even more, there's nothing else for you to do.

Not a lot you can physically, apart from making sure your van is in good shape. The rest is acceptance. Accepting that the Vanagon was designed nearly half a century ago, along with the safety feaures it carries. Accepting that, yes, something will eventually break and you'll have to stop on the side of the road. Accepting that it's going to be part of the journey, and that you're lucky enough to break down in a car you can live in.

Breathe, relax (easier said than done, I know), and enjoy the movie playing on the windshield.
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:37 am    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

You get to choose what you focus your mind on although habit plays a large part. If you focus on undesirable future events, you will feel anxiety. If you focus on desirable future events, you will feel excitement. It really is that simple. If there is something that can or should be addressed in order to prevent an undesirable outcome, then doing so is prudent, but simply focusing on imagined catastrophes is just a bad habit with no positive result. If there isn't anything that should be addressed, then you can relieve your anxiety by adopting better habits of thought.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

I have AAA Premier in my wallet and I find that gives me a lot of piece of mind.
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old_man
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:
You get to choose what you focus your mind on although habit plays a large part. If you focus on undesirable future events, you will feel anxiety. If you focus on desirable future events, you will feel excitement. It really is that simple. If there is something that can or should be addressed in order to prevent an undesirable outcome, then doing so is prudent, but simply focusing on imagined catastrophes is just a bad habit with no positive result. If there isn't anything that should be addressed, then you can relieve your anxiety by adopting better habits of thought.


I don't know why but you suddenly made me think of this. Except replace the word helicopter with Vanagon and plane with generic minivan.

That being said my transmission exploded just a few days ago leaving me stranded on the highway 100km from home. It happens, I dealt with it, I'm still dealing with it but I'm not spending my time worrying about it.
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khughes
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Pay more attention when you're driving the van. Get to know the sounds it makes so you know what you're listening to when you're a passenger. That way you know what's "normal" in these beasts and when to worry. Then keep in mind that the sounds change with more passengers and gear in it, and over unfamiliar roads.

Or, like I do...just do all of the driving. My wife doesn't like to drive, I don't like to be a passenger so it works.
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Sure it's not anxiety 'cause somebody else is driving "your" Vanagon?
[/u]
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

You are traveling cross country in a 35 year old Conestoga wagon with your family. I suggest watching reruns of Wagon Train. Iíd be more concerned if you werenít a worry wort.

Iíve spent my entire life worrying about things that never happen. So I can relate. My wife balances me out.
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alaskadan
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
Sure it's not anxiety 'cause somebody else is driving "your" Vanagon?
[/u]


I get nervous when my wife is driving Very Happy . Woke up in the passenger seat once to her doing 85 in the oncoming lane passing rvs. Not my style, there's just another one ahead of that one.
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drj434343
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Definitely have the Westy related travel anxiety though it isn't related to who is driving. It's more thinking of the one thing that's going to break that I forgot to address. The thing that will leave us stranded and eat away 3 of our 5 precious days of family vacation. It's sometimes so severe I wonder if I should own and transport my family in an old van. Though it is out of my control when on the road, I can't help but beating myself up because I should have remembered to address or replace "xyz" part in the garage. This is all theoretical at this point, we've never actually broken down; which makes my worry even less supported by evidence.

The worry stems from the desire to be prepared. However, I've learned I can't 100% prepare when in a 35 year old van. It's hard to get over that. It does mean my van is insanely well maintained. But whether the enjoyment outweighs the worry? That's still up in the air.
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DanHoug
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

it's my work job to worry about things that may happen. i've taken that to the Westy and done things to reduce the worry and now would drive it coast to coast.... hardened the weak systems, carry spares for that which has a high potiential to strand.

you're driving an friggin' antique... you SHOULD worry. this ain't a 4 year old Honda Civic with 60k miles. iff'n you break down, you need to be prepared with either parts + knowledge or Plan B.

truly, if the stress is bothersome, get a new Sprinter or some such. the coolness ain't worth it if you can't swing with the issues. but if you CAN swing it, it is a very cool ride that as you know, ganders smiles and street cred.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:
You get to choose what you focus your mind on although habit plays a large part. If you focus on undesirable future events, you will feel anxiety. If you focus on desirable future events, you will feel excitement. It really is that simple. If there is something that can or should be addressed in order to prevent an undesirable outcome, then doing so is prudent, but simply focusing on imagined catastrophes is just a bad habit with no positive result. If there isn't anything that should be addressed, then you can relieve your anxiety by adopting better habits of thought.


Agreed on all points. Vanagons should be fun and if maintained well they rarely break down in my experience. In 23 years I recall one tow and a few roadside repairs, none of which spoiled the day. I also enjoy sitting in the passenger seat while my partner drives but she's a darn good driver.

How's your coffee intake? Caffeine can make me anxious.
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Current: 1990 Westy Camper - Bostig RG4, 2wd, manual trans w/Peloquin, NAHT high-top, Flash Silver, seam rust, bondo, etc., etc.

Past: 1985 Westy Camper - 1.9 wbx, 2wd, manual trans, Merian Brown, (sold after 17 years to Northwesty who converted it to a Syncro).
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RufusRockwell
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Sometimes when my wife is driving I become way more aware of all the random clunks, rattles, and squeaks to the point that I'll crawl around inside trying to determine the source of the sounds! It causes me some anxiety in that I tend to register it as one more exploratory project that I'll have to do to achieve the Lexus like ride that I'm striving for Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Anxiety, or any mental health challenge, is not a switch you flip. If it was, Bob Newhart would be the worldís most renowned therapist.

Anyway, a couple suggestions. What does calm you, or engages your brain more than the van? Of those things, would any help, even some?

My wife is a pretty anxious passenger on all forms of transportation. Flight attendants ask her if she is ok. She trusts me, though, and it helps her a lot (when Iím the one driving) if I donít react emotionally and tell her, calmly, I got this. The not reacting emotionally part, of course, ainít always easy.
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Californio
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Interesting post. I've been scared sheet-free watching my GF try to downshift going up some two-lane road in the Sierras...these are hard cars for most to drive. It's not so much the clucks and knocks for me, just the skill required to manage one of these on the road.
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ledogboy
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Reminds me of a Tom Perry lyric:

ďIím so tired of being tired
And sure as night will follow day
Most things I worry about
Never happen anywayĒ
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woodshopbrewer
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

Really appreciate everyoneís responses - especially regarding empty vs. loaded sounds and caffeine intake which I found particularly relevant for me. Test drove today empty and could not hear what I thought was a cv joint ready to quit. My anxiety was specifically related to something catastrophic rather than a break down/stranded situation, which I figure will happen each time I get in the van.
I tend to do most of the driving which also might be part of the issue since one definitely develops a feel for these old vans over time.

When I first started as a cabinetmaker 20 plus years ago I remember my boss commenting that my informal past experience with woodworking gave me just enough knowledge to be dangerous. Sometimes I wonder if thatís the level Iím at as a Vanagon mechanic.

Anyway I feel better having read everyoneís responses and am grateful for this forum not only for the sharing of knowledge but also of wisdom and perspective. And also the funny stories and pictures of dogs in vans!
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Anxiety as a passenger Reply with quote

It would be a cold day in Hell before my wife drove me around in a vanagon. I can barely tolerate her driving in her Equinox.

Hans
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