Tag: fear

RV Living Safety Tips

RV living can feel exhilarating, challenging, and scary simultaneously. After setting out in my RV in 2016, I’ve learned a lot about RV Living safety and dealing with fear. Most of my encounters with strangers have been overwhelmingly positive, friendly, and harmless. This doesn’t mean that I’ve never been afraid or questioned whether I’m in a dangerous situation.

From Fear to Freedom

I am a huge proponent of showing, through my travels and experiences, that the world is NOT a scary place. The media bombards us daily with images and commentary sensationalizing worst-case-scenarios of the human experience. Daily news stories leave many people convinced the world is scary and danger lurks in every corner. When we live in fear, we restrict ourselves. We can’t fulfill our dreams when we’re afraid to live. How did I overcome my fears? By getting out there and living my life, researching, studying, and taking precautions.

Experience and preparedness give us a greater sense of empowerment, especially as women traveling alone. Fear is a natural response to certain situations. It brings out the fight or flight instinct in everyone. Pay attention to how a situation is making you feel. If you are uncomfortable, do not talk yourself out of how you feel! So many times we dismiss our gut instincts instead of taking a minute to validate what we are feeling. If something doesn’t feel right, there’s probably a good reason. Don’t let your fear paralyze you. Instead, use it to get yourself to safety. Remember, YOU are your #1 priority!

RV Living Safety Tips

Lessons Fear Teaches Us

Fear is a primal instinct. Our bodies and minds are always on the lookout for threats to our safety and well-being. However, allowing fear to overtake our thoughts can distort reality and keep us from rational thinking. Fear can protect us or cripple our ability to live freely and make decisions. How we handle fear reveals a lot about us. Is your fear protecting you, or is it limiting you?

If You Haven’t Had a Crazy Experience, You Will!

RV and nomad life are not for the faint of heart. You will encounter unique people and challenging situations. You may even have to face and continue to deal with the same fears daily. I’ve had some interesting encounters over the years. Knocks on my door in the night, interrupted showers, and headlights glaring into my RV from big noisy pick-up trucks, to name a few. I’ve learned a few things about where to camp and where not to camp. I’ve learned where you might run into some sketchy situations or where it might take a scary turn. Whether or not I’m in danger or feel the area might put me at risk, I’ve learned to quickly assess a situation and rely on my gut instinct to keep me safe.

Below are the six best tips for RV living and camping safety.

Safety for RV Life

RV Living Safety Tips for When You Arrive at Camp

Tip # 1 The biggest thing to remember for RV living safety is to be ALERT at all times and TRUST YOUR GUT INSTINCT.  Just because you pull into a campsite, it does not mean you are now in a protective bubble. I’ve learned 99.9% of people are friendly and helpful. However, I have camped in a few locations that made me feel more on guard than others. You are not being fearful when you have your guard up. You are being alert and prepared! If someone or something doesn’t feel right, it is OK to say, I don’t want to be here and leave.

Some warning signs that a campsite might not be safe – or peaceful:

  1. Lots of garbage, especially beer cans and such. If it looks like a party spot for locals, I skip it.
  2. Drug paraphernalia. Yes, I’ve seen needles– even in the forest. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to camp in someone’s shooting up spot.
  3. Unfriendly locals. If the locals drive by and sneer at you, or worse, get out and harass you, GO!
  4. Homeless encampments. I prefer to steer clear of areas where people have taken up permanent residence. The sad fact is, there’s more crime in places like that. And even if you’re not in danger, these areas also attract people who could harass you for money and other favors.

If you are a solo female traveler, you will also want to watch the video below for more tips.

Tip #2 Have an escape route.  It’s important to know how you will exit your campsite. You want to be able to leave your parking area quickly without turning around. You should always park with your nose facing the way out. If someone is trying to break into your RV, leave whatever is outside and drive away.

Tip #3 Always leave your keys in a strategic place at night.  Select a place close to you and easy to access at night in the dark. This goes along with tip #2. If you have to flee in the middle of the night, you want to be able to grab your keys and jump in the driver’s seat quickly. The last thing you want is to be fumbling around and having to turn on every light to find your keys.

RV Living Safety Tips for When Encountering Alarming Situations

#4 Don’t Panic!  Take a minute to breathe, collect your thoughts, and remember you are the #1 priority to take care of! Just because someone is knocking or calling to you from outside, does not mean you have to immediately respond. Take your time to put your thoughts and a strategic response together. This leads to my next tip in RV living safety.

#5 Don’s admit you are alone!  If you are camping or traveling alone, do not admit you are alone. Answer in the plural. (“Yes, WE’RE camping here…” ). Carry an extra camp chair and put them both out. Put a pair of Size 14 men’s shoes outside or in the dash. To see how I handled a situation like this check out this latest video on a midnight visit by some persistent locals.

#6 Don’t open your door for anyone.  While most people are not wanting to harm you, you never know when a situation may become dangerous. You don’t have to open your RV door to communicate. You can speak through the door or ask the person to go to your driver’s side window, but do not roll down the window. Asking them to go to the driver’s window, means you can also drive away quickly if needed, as you will be sitting in the driver’s seat ready to go.

Stay Safe, Stay Prepared, Stay Fearless, and Travel On

So there you go, six simple RV living safety tips. These are my very basic tips to help keep you safe while traveling and living your best RV life. Check out my list of videos below from my YouTube channel for other helpful tips and shared experiences as I travel and live in my RV. Be sure to like and subscribe to my YouTube channel for videos on How To while living in an RV, Tips, Tricks, and more! If you are looking for more RV Life resources, visit my resource page here.

And as always…

BE HAPPY, BE FREE, BE KIND. ♥ Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more RV Life How-To and Not To.

Video Links:
Scary Visitors in the Night
Trusting Your Gut Instinct
13 Safety Tips

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel by clicking the icon above for more RV Life How-To and Not Tos.

DISCLAIMER: Carolyn’s RV Life and Carolyn Higgins share her experiences, thoughts, opinions and ideas in this blog post and on this website for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, instruction or guidance. Viewers/Readers should consult with professionals before pursing any actions or behaviors exhibited in this video. Carolyn’s RV Life or Carolyn Higgins cannot be held liable in the event of any accident or injury that may occur as a result of application of procedures and information provided in this video.


Saying Goodbye to Life as I Know It

It was a typically warm and sunny spring day in the San Francisco East Bay when I hoisted myself into my rig with padlock key in hand and backed out of the grassy knoll I’d been calling home for the past two weeks. I’d been enjoying the safety of living in the backyard of the in-law apartment I’d rented for two years and slowly transitioning from my old  life to a new one – so full of unknown adventures and uncertainties.   My landlords, Larry and Gayle had graciously offered to let me stay in the backyard as long as I needed to. But I was getting restless; it was time to fly the coop.

capone
Capone, my faithful co-pilot

As I positioned my RV toward the locked gate at the other end of the yard,  I looked over at Capone who was trying to get settled into his new bed in the passenger seat and said, “here we go buddy…Are you ready for our new life?” He stopped trying to make sense of his new perch and role as co-pilot and looked over at me with that look dogs always give their people, who insist on having human conversations with them. A look that says, “you know I can’t understand a word you’re saying unless the words “treat” or “walk” are included, so why do you even bother?”

As I rolled to a stop near the back gate, padlock key still firmly pressed in hand, I stepped out of my rig and turned to look at Larry and Gayle’s house attached to my tiny  former abode one last time.  The two years flashed through my mind; from when I first moved in, loving the new city and the idea of being 15 miles closer to San Francisco, to the friends I’d made and lost, the two men I’d dated and broken up with and my solo trips to Greece and on the John Muir Trail.

snorkeling
Snorkeling in Hawaii

I reflected on how that chapter of my life  led me to this point; two years ago I was thrilled to be back in ‘civilization’ after living in a further suburb of San Francisco for thirteen years. I was filled with excitement at being back in a place where I could hear the subway trains running on a still night. Where I could get Vegan,  Indian, Thai, Vietnamese or Mexican food within a mile of home, and take the subway into the city to attend a lecture on Economic Policy at the Commonwealth Club or go to the Ballet.

Where I finally made friends who fit me (or so I thought, until I found out they didn’t fit me at all. A long story for another day perhaps.).  And where I met and dated what should have been my Prince Charming.  The wealthy attorney who loved me and offered me everything I could have ever wanted for the rest of my life. The man who bought me expensive gifts, took me on 5-star vacations, dinners at exclusive clubs and restaurants, and World Series Play-off games (we were in Hawaii for the actual World Series, so he sold those tickets for a ridiculous amount of money).  I finally found a man who wanted to take care of me and offer me every material comfort I never had – or had to work my ass off to earn.

I tried to make it work. Oh, how I wanted it to work. But I had to be honest with myself – and with him; I didn’t love him.  And in retrospect, I realized that life – his rich and (relatively) effortless life – wasn’t for me.

Me with Will Clark
Me with Baseball Legend Will Clark

Dating him made me realize that my life isn’t meant to be easy and cushy. I’m not built for decadence and excess.  I am of the earth. I am meant to immerse myself in nature, challenge myself, get dirty, sweat, and fall down (both literally and figuratively).  I am meant to live a life full of challenges and adventures and all kinds of experiences. Money takes that away. Money white-washes life’s experiences. No. My life, at least for now, is meant to be lived in a 23-year-old rig that could break down at any moment with just a few thousand dollars to my name…anything else would be far too boring!

me with rig in tahoe
My first ever trial boon-docking trip near Tahoe

So as I looked upon my landlord’s glass house on the hill – a perfect representation of the life I was leaving behind, I swelled with happiness and contentment. I practically skipped down the hill like a giddy schoolgirl,  peeled the padlock key out of my palm, unlocked the gate, heaved myself back into the driver seat of my home on wheels and slowly rolled out of the backyard, straining my ears to hear every hum, roar and squeak the old rig made as it hobbled onto the city street.  Please don’t’ break down right now. Please. Please Please. I pleaded with the universe to not let it die before I even had a chance to embark on my new life.

Once on the other side of the gate, I jumped out, ran to the house to store the key in a safe place  then slowly walked back down to the fence, wrapped the thick rusty chain around the gate and clicked the padlock in place; forever locking me out of my old life. As I drove away, my monstrous RV lumbered down the steep street toward I-80; my road to freedom.  I went through my mental checklist of everything I’d done to prepare for this day, worrying: do I have everything? Have I done everything that needs to be done? What am I forgetting?

I’m not sure the reality of my new freedom hit me right away, but I was fully aware that everything I owned (except my car which is in storage) was tucked away behind me. Holy shit, what have I done? This is crazy. Ludicrous. Who sells everything they own at 48 to live in a 23 year old RV with their 11 year old dog and limited cash in the bank? Where will I sleep tonight?  I’ve done some crazy shit, but have I really lost my mind this time???

I smiled. Yes, maybe I have lost my mind. But I’m sure I’ll find it somewhere along the way…