Stephanie from 47Parks.com is on a mission to see every national park in the U.S. We ran into Stephanie at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in SW Colorado and had the pleasure of hosting her in Denver not long afterwards. She has excellent insight into travel safety, even more so after months of living on road in Clarence the TearDrop Camper. Stephanie was kind enough to share what she’s learned camping and driving across the country, her guest post follows:
“Feeling safe is so subjective. Some people might not necessarily feel safe going to Best Buy on Black Friday while others might not feel safe watching their five-year-old swing at a pinata. When strangers hear about my year-long solo road trip across the country, typically the first pleasantries exchanged are regarding my safety.
“You’re traveling all alone? That’s crazy.”
“Aren’t you nervous? Aren’t you scared about the wild animals?”
“Do guys bother you?”
“I wouldn’t let my daughter do something like this!”
These are all legitimate concerns spoken by well-meaning people. And based on the conversations I’ve had with other females, very few would feel safe in my situation. Yet feeling safe and being safe are two completely different concepts. Yes, intuition plays a big part in assessing a situation for possible hazards, yet logic also comes into play when I make my decisions while living on the road.
For example: I have what I deem the “scream radius” safety feature. If I can scream at an incredibly loud decibel and alert at least 4 other benevolent people of my peril, I am safe. This means no boon-docking in the middle of nowhere. This also means no late night walks down a deserted street to the 7-11 to get a Slurpee. While I haven’t had to belt out at the top of my lungs and invoke this radius rule yet, it has guided me well in my travels.
I also have loved ones holding me accountable. My dear mother knows that if she doesn’t hear from me every day that something might be amiss. Every day? Yep. She can expect an email, a text, a phone call, or if all else fails, a Spot. Spot is a GPS messenger that pings your location at the push of a button and sends it to individuals on your contact list. There have been many days when I have been truly off-the-grid and my mother has rested assured that her baby girl is still alive and kicking.
Living on the road requires constant vigilance. I truly believe that many mishaps happen when people become too comfortable and let their guard down. Sometimes I’ve been tempted to leave my teardrop trailer unlocked because I’m just going to the bathroom. But it only takes 3-seconds to open the door and take my laptop and/or purse, right? Other times that rock slide cut-through on the hiking trail looks very appealing when I’m exhausted, hot, and dehydrated. Let’s just say that almost twisting my ankle helped me learn my lesson regarding sticking to the designated path.
I do what I can to make my voyage as safe as possible. I am having the time of my life exploring the country and experiencing new things on a day-to-day basis. A fear of not feeling safe should never hold you back from taking an adventure of a lifetime. Make good choices, plan wisely, and most importantly, be safe.”