While traveling I’m always on the lookout for interesting places and things. Place names are especially fun. Did you know there is a Hot Coffee, Mississippi? It’s actually an abandoned hamlet that used to be a rest stop for travelers going from Natchez to Mobile. It has lots of signs still and is a roadside attraction/photo opportunity.
There is one person I met who I want to mention. I have never found the courage to go up to someone who looks like they might be a fellow nomad until this trip. I was at a rest stop somewhere in New Mexico. There was a woman in the car in front of me who was rearranging things in the car. Looked like she had a whole home in there. So I took a deep breath, walked over and said hello to her dog. (Always a great conversation starter) We chatted a bit and I asked her if she was indeed a nomad. Well…that started a half hour talk. She told me about living in India and Mexico and I told her my story. She designs and creates jewelry and hand knit bikinis and has a children’s line. I told her about my books and she was interested in them. We talked about selling our own products, she mentioned she was starting a website and offered to put a link on it to my books! We exchanged info and promised to stay in touch. Thus a friendship is born.
Being an introvert all my life, it’s been hard for me to make long lasting friends. I have a few who I always turn to for companionship, but I admit, most of my friendships are casual. However, I believe I am getting much better at it. Having a common subject to talk about is a great thing. And when it’s somewhat unusual, like being a nomad, it’s even wonderful.
One way I made a few friends here at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous was through yet another car problem. Somewhere along the way I must have picked up a nail in a tire. It was quite flat after sitting a couple of days. There is a group of guys across the road from me who all offered many suggestions. One has an air pump, which he gave to me to use to inflate the tire so I could go into town and get it repaired. I pumped it myself, which, being older gentlemen, they all thought was crazy. (They should have done it for me, ya know.) But my independent streak got the better of me and I persevered. I might get a pump myself, it’s great exercise.
How safe is it to travel alone?
Actually, pretty safe. One thing I saw over and over during my research phase was that Rv’rs and truckers are the friendliest and most helpful people on the road. If you ever need anything, ask a nomad!
But there are several tips about being safe on the road. Here’s my list.
- Remember the RV maxim – “My house has wheels.” Pay attention to your intuition. If a place looks dicey, if a person seems dangerous, listen to your inner safety director and leave. Keep your keys with you, even when you sleep.
- Be prepared. Remember the first aid kit, extra flashlight and batteries. But even if you forget something, getting supplies is easy. I think every small town with a population of at least 500 a has dollar store. And a Subway!
- When you don’t want to pay for a campground or motel, truck stops are good for parking overnight. And, as I’ve said before, Walmart welcomes travelers for overnight stays. Both are well lit and since they’re open 24 hours there are always people around.
- Use your electronics. Get the apps that will help you. I use Allstays which pinpoints on a map all the places an RV or camper can spend a night, campgrounds, Walmarts, truck stops, etc. It includes reviews by other users so you can pick the one that best suits you. For directions, use Google maps or Waze.
- Pay attention to the weather. Be aware of severe conditions by using the weather app on your phone or other devices. Most them have weather maps you can use to determine which direction to go in.
- If it’s hot, stock up on water. Your air conditioning won’t help you if you get out of the vehicle. Always carry a water bottle with you when exploring.
- And speaking of exploring, know your limits. Unknown territory is always risky, even if it looks easy. Tree roots, mud holes, and sticker bushes are plentiful everywhere. Use a walking stick or pole. It helps when going up and down steep hills. Wear walking or hiking shoes or boots, long pants, and sleeves, even when on a path.
- When you’re traveling, always let someone know where you are. I text a sister and a daughter every night and tell them where I’m staying.
- Cell phone coverage is NOT continuous throughout the country. Carry a hotpsot from a different company than your phone or a cell booster.. To find out about using electronics while traveling I think a good source is the blog of Technomadia.com. They are a nomadic couple who run an online business specializing in this field.
- And if you’re afraid of being mugged out there in the wilderness, just remember: criminals are not going to go wandering around in the woods to find someone to rob, they’ll stay in the city where there’s big opportunity for little effort.
So that’s my list. If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments. I love hearing your ideas and suggestions.
Being a nomad isn’t all fun and games. Today I learned that no matter where you are, the right people can find you.
I locked my keys in the van last night.
Oh hush, you know me… I can be scatter-brained at times. (Pay no attention to my daughters.) I was watching movies in the van. When I went into the tent to sleep, I locked the doors with the automatic lock. This morning it dawned on me that the car keys were in my jacket pocket. In the van. After a hour or so of berating myself, I thought the tow truck place in town might be open by now, so I called and they were. And they came out after I gave detailed directions and promised to meet the truck at the entrance to the camp.
So NOW…I pat my pocket every few minutes to make sure the keys are with me. I may start wearing them around my neck.
The rest of the day was good. The morning session was people showing off their favorite travel gadgets.
And the afternoon was a women’s meeting. We all shared why we were on the road and what interested us in this kind of life. There were some sad stories about divorce, illness, and plain hard times. Although more than half were women just like me, wanting adventure and a non-conformist life. There were 102 female travelers in the group, all ages, some solo, some with a husband/boyfriend/companion. I even met one woman who’s blog I had been reading for a couple of years.
So, even though Friday the 13th proved its reputation, the day turned out to be a great one after all.