As a solo female on the road, safety is my number one concern at all times and it should be yours as well. We choose an adventurous life which is awesome, but doesn’t mean we can ignore potential dangers that are in fact out there. Every loud noise outside the van at 2am (usually a shopping cart hitting a railing, etc.) makes my eyes shoot open and imagine someone is definitely going to kill me this time. Dramatic? Probably. But because of this fear and wanting to get the best sleep possible on the road, I make sure I am 100% prepared for any situation. These are the things I recommend doing to make sure you are as safe as you can be on the road alone.
TAKE A SELF- DEFENSE CLASS
I was really reluctant to take a course because I honestly just didn’t think one or two classes would teach me much. I was wrong, like super wrong. The instructor taught me the absolute basics and I was mind blown from the small techniques you can learn to avoid some situations. He showed me how to defend myself against someone attacking from the front, back, and with multiple attackers. If anything it gives you an idea of what is possible and how to fight against some of our natural instincts. I highly recommend any woman on the road to take a simple course in your local area especially if you’ll be by yourself.
HAVE A PLAN EVERY NIGHT
Every night when you pull into a location, take notice of where you are. Are there street lights? Cameras? Text someone in your family or close friend where you are. I send my location to my parents every night just in case something happens, someone knows where I was last. I always try to park in a way that frees the front and back of the van so I can pull forward or backwards if I need to get out of there. You don’t want anyone to be able to block you in from either side. If you’re in a business parking lot, there’s a chance other travelers will be there too. Park by them! It’s nice to form a mini community in the back of a parking lot because there’s an unspoken bond.
DEVELOP A ROUTINE
Develop some kind of nightly routine or habit of putting your keys in the exact same spot, preferably in arms reach, so you can grab them and go if needed. Know exactly where a weapon is if needed. I make sure all of my dishes are at least in the sink before I go to sleep so if I do have to leave quickly, stuff isn’t flying everywhere. Get into a 5 minute routine before going to sleep of making sure everything is in order.
HAVE SOME KIND OF WEAPON
.. And know how to use it. Carrying a firearm in a van can be very tricky because of state laws. So if you aren’t comfortable going that route, you should definitely have a knife specifically for this purpose. A pocket knife is a great tool to have on you at all times even when hiking or doing anything alone during the day or at night. I also have pepper spray on my keys and a spare in the van. A knife is great but you don’t want to have to use it considering that means someone is incredibly close to you. Pepper spray can shoot out 10 feet away from you before even needing the knife.
Recommended Safety Items
ALWAYS BE ON HIGH ALERT
Do you always want to be thinking that something is going to happen? Of course not. Being on high alert is different than being scared. You should never be scared to travel alone. It’s so empowering and you will undoubtedly love the experience. But you have to stay realistic and recognize that it is more dangerous than traveling with a man. As women, we have a target on our back and get more attention by ourselves. So be aware of this and always know what is going on. I never walk out of a store with headphones in; there’s been too many stories! I always look like I know where I’m going and what I’m doing.. even when I don’t. If you ever feel uncomfortable, call someone to talk to you until whatever is freaking you out has passed.
Be safe lovely ladies and do not let anything scare you from traveling alone! It’s the experience of a lifetime and we are all here to support one another. Safety is key and when you’re prepare, you will feel 10x better.