Post Traumatic Rest Area Syndrome



When we travel between gigs, we boondock.  It maximizes driving time and saves money on campground fees.  We usually stay in rest areas, squeezed in-between the 18-wheelers.   I always have trouble falling asleep on those nights.  Part of it is the rumble of the trucks mixed with smell of exhaust.  Part of it is a niggling worry about someone breaking into the motorhome in the dark hours.

But there’s something else. Something I’ve noticed happening after we’ve settled into our next RV park.

Post Traumatic Rest Area Syndrome

I wake up in the night, not sure where I am and feeling the coach swaying, even though there’s no wind… even though the jacks are down… even though we’re in a level, spacious spot with no trucks lined up beside us.  In the morning, I’m disoriented and slightly nauseous with an odd urgency thumping in my chest.  The feeling that we need to get moving overwhelms me for a moment before I realize where we are and that we don’t have any miles to put behind us.

It’s not as serious, of course, as the P.T.S.D. that plagues soldiers returning from combat.  But it’s unpleasant and disconcerting.  I suppose I’ll get past my P.T.R.A.S. eventually as I adapt to our new lifestyle.  For now, at least I have a name for what I’m feeling.


4 responses »

  1. I hope it’s not catching! I’m in my 5th wheel, but have not left yet, the house has not sold. I imagine I won’t be able to sleep very well at rest areas, but I hope it doesn’t affect me like it does you.

    • I’m sure it’ll be fine, Betty. 🙂 There are other places to sleep: Wal-Mart parking lots, truck stops, etc. And, when you do have to stay at at rest area, you can always look for spaces away from the big trucks. Also, you may not have the urgency carryover that I have if your schedule is more flexible. Because we are frequently traveling to Mike’s gigs, we have to be there by a certain time. We allow a cushion, of course, but we can’t really be leisurely about it. If you’re not traveling like that, you’ll be okay. I hope that helps!

  2. Ah! Rest area boondocking 🙂 We’ve started using black towels over the windows and earplugs. The latter aren’t very comfortable and the ones that work best seem to fall out of my ears, but playing mental games sometimes helps: I count seconds between trucks as they rumble by on the highway (a Rest Area boondock version of counting sheep, I guess).

    Walmart? Usually more quiet. Definitely more secure (and more brightly lit). Sometimes as noisy, especially if you happen to be at a store where they send the parking lot sweeper around (and around and around) in the wee hours of the morning. (Don’t for get to ask permission and DON’T put down jacks on their pavement!)

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