• Devan

Reborn: Zō Gets A Second Chance

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

Zō Is Reborn From The Ashes…

Ok, ok.  Reborn from the ashes might be a little dramatic.  🙂  In my defense, it was a long 38 days without her.  And… she was close to being gone from my life altogether!  So yeah, ‘reborn’ doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to me


The Repairs

10 days after the accident, I got the call.   Zō was going to be repaired instead of totaled.  Yippeee!!!!


I felt like a weight was lifted.  Until they detailed the damage and the repair cost involved (almost $10,000 when all was said and done).   Suddenly I was nervous.  What if she wasn’t ever the same?  What if I started having all kinds of problems?  I decided to ask my adjuster and the lead mechanic about potential future issues.


The lead mechanic assured me Zō was not technically totaled.  The adjuster agreed, stating she was close to being ‘financially’ totaled, but the damage was entirely fixable.


My insurance adjuster reminded me the repairs were warranted for life, nationwide (though my insurance company).  Even better, if I experienced any issues while in AZ, I would have an additional lifetime warranty through the collision center.


A lifetime warranty on the repair work and anything they can relate back to the accident? Yes, please.  Thank you!


They’ve lived up to that already.  Zō was completed and back with me Thursday evening.   I took her back in this morning for a minor issue.  They fixed her right up while I waited.

Yup, we’re going to be just fine.


I Was Reborn Too

There have been a lot of tears.  Especially in those first days.  I would just break down sometimes, often while driving the rental car.  The thought of having to stop my travels to start over again – and the possibility of it taking another 3 years of my life – was devastating to me.


However, one of the things I like the most about myself 😛 is my ability to see the bright side of even the worst situations.  That doesn’t mean I am not human.  It doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t break.  That people can’t hurt me.  And it certainly doesn’t mean I don’t get sad or depressed.  I just work really hard to dig myself out of the muck.  This situation was no exception.


I have a few favorite quotes, affirmations, meditations, and mantras that I repeat to myself in these situations.  Those practices always lift me up, even if It feels like I’m just saying words at first, they eventually stick.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya Angelou

Nothing helped me more than knowing I would be back on the road in just a matter of weeks.  If this accident taught me anything, it is that I made the right choice for my life.


Working Through Trauma

I am a pretty happy person, but I was struck by the level discomfort and sadness I felt during the time I was without Zō.  I felt… STUCK.  I couldn’t really go anywhere fun, I had to live with someone else, and completely disrupt my routine and schedule (not to mention the disruption to the life of the person I stayed with).  More than anything else, I did not feel free anymore.


I am a restless spirit and I don’t do well when I feel confined.  Freedom and flexibility are vital to my emotional and physical wellbeing.  If I ever doubted this before, I have zero uncertainty now.


I still have some medical stuff to deal with, but emotionally I am truly doing better.  I’m still having nightmares about car accidents and some other lingering trauma (I can’t drive in the area of the accident without having a panic attack and I’m weirdly over-cautious about intersections when I have the right of way). My Dr says it’s all normal and will go away.  Horray for that!


The Inside of Zō

‘Not yet reborn’ is the best way to describe it.  When I got her back it looked like Godzilla picked her up, shook her around, and then discarded her.


My bed frame was steel and it was bent in the corners and the legs on one side buckled inward.   Definite confirmation of how hard the impact was as this bed was solid! (the man who hit me was going around 40-45 mph per the police report)


My butane camp stove was bent/twisted and the case destroyed.  My Mr. Heater Buddy is dented, rattling inside, and the sides are separated and unhinged.  Multiple plastic storage containers are completely busted as well as a couple of 3 drawer plastic shelves. 


There was way less damage inside than I thought there would be.  It was more of a mess than anything.


I took every single thing out, replaced a couple of containers, and bought a couple extra.  For now, I have sorted almost everything in containers and placed the mattress on top.  It isn’t ideal but it will do until I decide if I want to redo the same bed scenario.


I wasn’t particularly organized in the van before, but my bed was solid and I had a workable system for my daily routine.  I’m struggling with that right now.  I feel like everything is out of place and I really don’t like the instability of the bed on the plastic storage containers.


An Opportunity For Change?

I have decided to use the opportunity to reassess my layout.  I’ve even contemplated not replacing the bed since it took up so much space (39x75x18 – but it was sooooo comfy and had awesome storage underneath).  Perhaps I’ll configure something with the bed in the back – to give me more floor space?


I am not rushing into anything.  I’m going to take my time and discover ways to make life even easier than before.  I can handle a little struggle for a perfect finish.  Right?  Right!  Who knows, maybe I will even find someone who can help me put in a floor, build a bed, and a kitchen.  Haha.


My Support Network

My incredibly supportive parents sent me several Denny’s gift cards over the last 6+ weeks (because they know breakfast food makes me happy), offered endless encouragement, and fabulous advice.  They’ve been a constant support and they’re kind of amazing.


I sent Patrick a text the day after the accident to let him know what happened and he immediately called.  He listened to me cry, detail the accident, cry some more, share my feelings, and my biggest fears. 


He then effectively pulled me up by my bootstraps, reminded me who I was, and what I needed to do.  (he’s super good at that)  His advice (not surprisingly) mirrored that of my parents.  grin


My awesome non-nomad friends Rhonda and Dwight reached out right away and Rhonda has sent several messages of encouragement and support.  She understands energy really well (it’s one of her many superpowers) and knows exactly what I need to hear.  I swear she senses those times when I need it most.  That’s pretty helpful when you’re feeling down.


My friend Blaize showed up shortly after the accident and took me out for ice cream at The Lost Dutchman Coffee Shop (yes, ice cream at a coffee shop).  She even offered to drive back (2 hrs one way) if I needed help moving things out of the van.


LaVonne has not only provided support and friendship in the last several weeks, but she has been great at helping me look forward to what’s next instead of what happened.  That’s kind of awesome.


A Million Thank You’s

Between my parents, my closest friends, and many more supportive friends – known through various other channels (including Facebook, previous workplaces, the RTR and other nomad-y things) – I got enough emotional support and love to see me through this situation so far.


A huge and loving Thank You to every single person who offered me support and encouragement.  Every single word mattered and made a difference to me.


Next Update?

I should be back on the road the 2nd of May.  Fall and Winter didn’t pan out exactly as I planned, but I’m where I am for a reason.  Spring is here now and nature is doing its annual reset.  The trees are blooming, the colors are vibrant all around me, and I am ready to roam.


Besides, it was 98 in PHX today.  If you ask me, that’s unlivable.  🙂

More to come from the road!


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#accident #vanrebuild #vanlife #gettingbackontheroad #overcomingobstacles #happiness #nomad #freedom #resilient #Zō #IGOTTHIS #anxiety #stress #challenges #beingstrong #startingover

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