Guest Post: Safety for the Single Female Traveler

(Today we have a guest post from Becky Schade, a young, single woman who full-times solo in her Casita Travel Trailer. Visit her wonderful blog here: http://www.interstellarorchard.com/)

As a young, female, solo, full-time nomad, I get asked a lot about safety on the road.  Do I feel safe going it alone?  Aren’t I worried about something bad happening?

This is the good life! With reasonable precautions, you can be totally safe.

Don’t let being a young, single, female keep you from living your best life!

When I was a college student living in an apartment complex next to campus, a girl coming back from class one afternoon got held at knife point in our parking lot by some members of a gang.  They thought she was affiliated with a rival gang.  Turns out she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, they let her go unharmed before the authorities showed up.  I was at class when this happened, but it could have been me on a different day.

The point I’m trying to make is, I don’t feel like the world is any less safe on the road as it is off.  There are risks no matter what lifestyle you choose to live.  The only way to insulate yourself from all risks is to avoid getting out and living at all.

When you’re traveling solo, one of the oft expressed concerns is for your personal safety against ‘bad people’.  Because stories of violence are so often reported to the public, it can sound like these bad people are all over.  They aren’t.  Most people are good, although random acts of kindness rarely make the front page of the newspaper.

Solo-1 RV Electrics

I don’t know much about RV electric systems, luckily I’ve made some wonderful new friends who do. There are many friendly people who are glad to help.

Since I’ve started RVing (I use ‘RV’ and ‘RVing’ as a sort of catch-all to include everything from vandwelling, travel trailers, on up to the large Class A motorhomes and 5th wheels), I’ve been on the receiving end of many random acts of kindness – especially from my fellow RVers.  I’ve been invited over for dinner, loaned tools to perform work on my RV, and when my electrical system stopped working one day at the first campground I was staying in, my neighbor whom I’d never talked to before came over to peek at my fuses and breakers to see what the problem was.  I’ve had help replacing my tank vents when I was getting a leak, help replacing my water heater’s anode rod when I thought it was rusted in too tight for me to move, and help replacing one of the friction pads on my fancy hitch when it wore out and needed changing.  About 20% of the time when I’m hitching or unhitching my RV in a place where people are around someone will walk over and ask if I need help.  I actually prefer no help at these times because I have a system down for remembering all the steps and if I’m interrupted or if someone tries to step in, something vital might get missed.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve never once had a run in with a ‘bad person’.  I’ve over-nighted at truck stops and in Walmart parking lots at least a dozen times with nary an issue.  This makes a lot of people (especially my parents) cringe, but really I’m not flaunting danger to come and find me.  Most of what keeps you safe on the road is common sense, let me share some things I do and have heard of others doing:

Solo-2 Worn Out Breakpad

A worn out friction pad on my hitch, time for replacement with some help from a friendly neighbor.

  1. I never stop at rest stops or stay in parking lots or campgrounds that are empty.
  2. When over-nighting outside of a campground, I choose parking lots that are well lit, I park under the lights where security cameras can see me easily.
  3. I always lock my doors at night.
  4. I keep aware of my surroundings when I’m not in a place I’m familiar with.
  5. If I pull in somewhere and get a gut feeling that something is off – I move on.  And really as a RVer that’s one of your best defenses: your house has wheels, so when something or someone is making you uncomfortable, just keep driving until you find something better.
  6. If you’re here reading this you’re probably interested in van living which is a plus for safety over some other types of RVs, because you don’t need to step outside to get from the living quarters to the driver’s area.
  7. Mace is a good thing to have.
  8. An air horn also wouldn’t hurt.
  9. Carry around a big flashlight that doubles as a weapon when you need to go out at night.
  10. Having a dog with you also reduces the chances of being bothered by unsavory sorts.
  11. A firearm is an option too, but if you go this route please take classes so that you know how to use it, if you don’t know how to use a gun and your assailant does and manages to get it away from you, you could be in real trouble.  Also look up gun laws in your domicile state and the states you’ll be visiting, you don’t want to get in trouble for not having the right permits.
  12. I have also heard of women who have used decoys as a way to deter would-be assailants.  For instance putting hunting decals or pro-gun stickers on a tow vehicle, leaving a pair of big men’s boots or a large pet bowl and chain outside the RV door at night.
  13. I even heard of a lady who had an inflatable doll that sat in the passenger seat of her tow vehicle, dressed up in a flannel shirt and cap.
3 Rest Stop Company

A rest stop with other people around is a safer option than an empty one. Staying safe isn’t hard, it’s mostly a matter of common sense and awareness.

As for other bad stuff happening, I can guarantee that if you’re on the road long enough it will.  But don’t despair, because you’ll be getting better and better at dealing with the problems as you go.

Going off on an adventure like this alone will greatly improve your self-reliance.  I live and travel in a 17′ molded fiberglass travel trailer which I pull with a mid-size truck.  I bought it used from a private seller in Florida, and hauling it back home to South Carolina was the first time I ever hitched up a trailer, or drove towing one for that matter.  I noticed half-way home that one of my roof rivets was missing, and rain was in the forecast.  So I picked up a ladder and a roll of duct tape at a Walmart to temporarily solve the problem until I could get home and and could look up online to how to replace a rivet.  And thus began my education in RV ownership.

Solo-learning-to Caulk

Learning how to caulk, it’s really not that hard to do. Don’t be too intimidated, problems will arise, but you’ll find solutions.

Overcoming obstacles like these has improved my self-confidence immensely and made me feel a lot more comfortable about dealing with issues that may crop up on the road.  Now I realize that no matter what happens, I have the strength to deal with the problem, and the peace of mind that I get from believing in myself is so satisfying.  At first I was sad that I was going to be going RVing alone, but now I’m happy it worked out this way, because I’ve grown so much as a person.

Here are a few other safety tips to make getting on the road a little less intimidating:

  1. Learn as much as you can about your type of RV before you start living in it.  Scour the internet, take a class, read all the manuals, find someone else who has the same kind of RV in your area and ask for tips.  Most fear comes from a lack of information or understanding.  The more you know, the less scary it’ll seem.
  2. If you can manage it, set some money aside as an emergency fund not to be touched unless there really is an emergency, like a breakdown or if you were to get sick.  If you can’t manage this right now, start budgeting your money so you can make one.  Even a small amount regularly put aside will add up over time, and it’s nice to know that cushion will be there if ever you need it.
  3. Join an online forum community for the type of RV you plan to get.  That way when something does invariably break down on it, you’ll have ready access to a whole slew of people to ask how to fix it – chances are someone will have already gone through what you’re going through now and will have the answer.

Becky Schade lives full-time in her Casita Travel Trailer and tows it with a Dodge Durango. She is determined to live a deliberate life which for her means RVing. To follow her interesting and  informative blog go here: http://www.interstellarorchard.com/

Go to the bottom of the post for some of my recommendations for Safety Supplies

Solo-5 Worth It

Going RVing as a solo? It’s totally worth it!!

 Bob’s Recommended Safety Supplies

Some of these things are not commonly available so I am including links to Amazon.com.

Bear Spray: Much better than mace, it is a liquid that shoots out to 30 feet and works perfectly on ALL predators (mace is a spray and wind can blow it into your face blinding you but leaving your assailant unharmed!). Non-lethal but very, very effective! Some people will tell you it doesn’t work They are wrong! In Alaska it has proven itself as the ONLY truly effective tool against bears. Every government agency in Alaska recommends it above everything else. Bears are so fast that time is critical so only buy one with the chest holster for nature walks. The chest holster puts it instantly at hand. This is the one I carry:
9.2oz.-Magnum Bear Spray W/ Chest Holster

Air Horn: Again, this is a non-lethal but very effective tool so it should be the very first thing you reach for in a true scare. As a bonus it is cheap!
Super Blast Pump Air Horn

Large Flashlight: Be sure to get an LED bulb. Perfect safety tool because it is gives you a very strong light and makes an outstanding weapon!
MagLite 3-D Cell LED Flashlight, Black

Emergency Whistle. A whistle is probably not as effective as an air horn, but you can carry one around with you all the time, so it’s still recommended. Very good tool against 2 and 4 legged predators.
Sonik Blast Whistle, Orange/Black

Auto-Opening Pocket knife: For safety and survival a good knife is number one! Close-quarter blade combat is one of the hardest things a human can do, but to me it’s worth carrying just for the piece of mind. I carry it mainly for badly behaved dogs who might attack me or Homer. After that happened a few times I always have a pocket knife. My arm means I can’t “flick” a knife well so I am in love with the assisted opening knives and only recommend them. They are fully legal.
Kershaw Black Clash Folding Serrated SpeedSafe Knife

Hatchet: Very few things make you feel as safe as a hatchet. I like the Gerber ones because they are light enough to carry with reasonable ease.

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet with Nylon Sheath

 

 

 

Bob
About

I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

91 comments on “Guest Post: Safety for the Single Female Traveler
  1. Misty says:

    Haha, I’m convinced that most of these tactics (men’s boots outside the door and blow up dolls in the front seat in particular) do more to make the women feel safe than to actually make them safer. 😛

    I traveled as a single woman alone for a year and a half and I really didn’t do any of this stuff, and I only had one real incident. (And oddly, that was at a gas station where I was trying to buy gas with cash, and it was the cashier who stole the money! Moral of the story: always get the receipt…)

    I had a couple of instances where I got spooked and moved on. Probably your biggest defense as a woman traveling alone is to stay alert. If there are shady people lurking around, move on asap. When you walk to and from your car, stand tall, walk confidently, and look around to show that you’re aware of your surroundings. Sometimes I would wear clothing that was somewhat more masculine, so that in low light, it wasn’t obvious that I was a woman (it helps to pull this off if you are tall).

    But honestly? I suspect that the reason I wasn’t assaulted by criminals had more to do with the fact that it just doesn’t happen as often as you think. Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to be beat up by a boyfriend than a stranger in a parking lot.

    So I guess the point to all that is that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Bad things happen, but they happen everywhere, and your odds aren’t significantly increased just because you’re on the road. 🙂 So if you want to travel, just do it.
    Misty recently posted…What I’m Reading: The Emperor’s Edge seriesMy Profile

    • LaVonne says:

      Misty, your comment reminds me of an NPR story about a young man who decided to walk across America. Everywhere he went along the way, people invited him into their homes and treated him like an honored guest… and warned him to be careful of the dangerous people down the road… who took him in and treated him like an honored guest… etc., etc. The fear level in this country is astonishing.

      Bob, my Amazon wishlist is crammed with your wonderful recommended products. When I’m ready to start buying, you will get a nice little affiliate check! 🙂
      LaVonne recently posted…So I had this idea…My Profile

      • Bob Bob says:

        laVonne, you are so right, the fear level in this country is astonishing! And yet we are actually the safest people ever on in the history of the planet. That doesn’t add up. Something is definitely wrong with our society.

        You’ll be lucky when you finally escape!
        Bob

        • Diane Overcash says:

          Bob and LaVonne,

          I read an article recently that said violence has actually decreased in the last 10 years. If you watch a lot of media you would think this is true. That’s why I don’t watch much tv or read newspapers.
          Also the hole in the ozone layer is closing. That’s good news.
          It’s a wonderful world if we look for and notice the wonderfulness.
          Diane

      • Diane Overcash says:

        LaVonne,

        Are you talking about Peter Jenkins’ “A Walk Across America”? I loved that book. He is close to my age. I was very dismayed by the reactions he received by some folks in my home state of NC. Intriguing book. I lesson in following your heart.

        Diane

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks for the good information! I totally agree with you, the risks and dangers are really very minimal. That doesn’t mean you don’t act responsibly and use caution, but it does mean you don’t cower in fear. Simply live!

      Thanks for setting such a good example for us to follow!
      Bob

    • BeckyIO says:

      Haha, why hello Misty. 😉

      Yep, what it comes down to is that the world isn’t nearly as unsafe of a place as everyone makes it out to be.

      Be careful, keep aware, use common sense. That’s the bulk of it right there.
      BeckyIO recently posted…Seasonal Jobs and CommunityMy Profile

  2. Desert Rat says:

    I’ve been camping alone since I was a kid. Tents, trailers, pickup campers, you name it. I boondock exclusively. But I’ve never ever had anything even remotely dangerous happen, unless you count lightning and such. I think the fear in this country is nuts, especially among women.

    My safety advantage is my three dog buddies. When I talk with other women, they all act like I’m nuts to camp alone, but I think real danger comes primarily from other humans. So, the more remote you are, the safer, IMO.

    • Bob Bob says:

      I agree totally Desert Rat, the more remote you are the safer you are. The further you are away from a phenomenally sick civilization, the better and safer you are. It sounds like all your life you tried to protect yourself from it by going into nature. Society kept telling you that you were going toward danger, but instinctively you knew you were going toward safety.

      You were right!
      Bob

    • BeckyIO says:

      I follow another female solo RVer named RVSue, she’s been boondocking for over a year now almost exclusively in remote areas (she hates crowds) and like you she has reported no problems. I think you’re both on to something.
      BeckyIO recently posted…Seasonal Jobs and CommunityMy Profile

  3. Tom says:

    Wow, I had no idea what a “friction pad” was. And I’m guy who has rebuilt an engine and driven big trucks over the road in all 48 states and Canada. So I’m an old “biker” guy that’s learned something from a woman…. Thanks.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Tom, I still don’t know what it is! You are both smarter than I am.
      Bob

      • BeckyIO says:

        For inquiring minds, my hitch is a Reese #66151 (http://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Distribution/Reese/RP66151.html) and has both a weight distribution component and a anti-sway component.

        Two trunnion bars have rotating heads that fits into slots on the ‘hitch’ that is connected to the back of my truck, and extend back following the A frame of the trailer. The tail of the trunnion bar sits on a friction pad which is bolted to the frame of the trailer. When I turn, the trunnion bar slides across the friction pad, it keeps the trailer from swaying back and forth when I’m driving down the highway by use of friction, But the pads wears down with use and need replacing every now and then.

        It’s a bit hard to explain, but if you follow the link you’ll see it put together and it makes more sense. 😛 I can be driving at 60 mph down a highway and have 20-30 mph crosswinds and take my hands off the wheel and not worry about going off the road. I’ve never had issues with fish tailing. Semis passing me at fast speeds pose no problem. Yeah, I kinda love my hitch.
        BeckyIO recently posted…Seasonal Jobs and CommunityMy Profile

        • Tom says:

          Thanks, that’s great information. And better then what I found on the Internet. Oh – Bob,,, not smart, just have access to the Internet.

          With the collective knowledge of the Internet, and stuff like solar, GPS, and dish T.V. I can’t thing of a better time for this kind of life style.

          • Bob Bob says:

            Tom I couldn’t agree more. Technology has eliminated so many problems that the old-time vandwellers used to face. Things like cell-phones, ATM machines, laptops, smart phones, the internet, gps just solves so many problems. Just as helpful is the huge improvement in automobiles. Todays vans are MUCH more reliable and fuel efficient, making this life much easier.

            Now is the BEST time to be a vandweller!
            Bob

        • Bob Bob says:

          Thanks for teaching us old guys some new tricks Becky!
          Bob

  4. Linda Sand says:

    When my husband decided he was done traveling, I started snowbirding as a solo. I am in my mid 60s and mobility handicapped. But, I have never felt unsafe. And I don’t do any of those special things besides pay attention to my surroundings. Statistics make it clear I am more at risk on the road than I am when parked. Come join us; the living out here is wonderful.
    Linda Sand recently posted…I have a dreamMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Linda, like you, I have never felt unsafe out here. We are remarkably safe, just too afraid to reach out and take our lives into our own hands and live.
      Bob

  5. Been waiting for a post like this. Thanks for the great info. I too prefer well lit areas and cameras. The bear spray should really do the job if someone is dumb or drugged up enough to want to cause harm. As an alternative I have a can of carpenter bee spray. It sprays 10 feet easily but could cause permanent eye damage and is petroleum based. Get the bear spray if you can afford it. Cheers.
    Martin

  6. Calvin R says:

    I agree with Linda Sand’s point that a person is more at risk on the road than when parked. I have been commuting to a city from a rural place for my assignment these past four weeks. People’s driving scares me more than their behavior otherwise.

    I will make use of some of Becky’s experience, especially the bear spray and the air horn, but I will remember that the reason assaults make the news is that they are newsworthy; they are not what usually happens. I also agree that most of us are in more danger from family or so-called “friends” than from strangers.

    In my past travels, I have been very slack and, I would think today, obviously vulnerable. Nevertheless, I have not been attacked and nothing has been stolen from me on the road. My record at “home” is less perfect but not all that bad either.

    Remember, this is not a rehearsal, this is your life.

    • Calvin R says:

      I need to amend that about not having any trouble on the road. I ran into a pair of New Orleans police officers once who made a mess of my brothers’ and my possessions that were packed in my car. They broke a lunch box and confiscated a magazine. Moral of the story: know where the real dangers lie.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Calvin, statistically, driving a car is one of the most dangerous things you can do. I haven’t heard any statistics but I suspect that traveling on the road (other than when you are actually driving) is less dangerous than city life. But that is just a guess.

      I very firmly believe that boondocking is by far the safest way you can live! It’s very unusual to hear about a crime out on public land. And in the rare times it does happen it makes ALL the news outlets. How many crimes in most cities don’t get reported because it’s just another routine murder or robbery?

      Bob

  7. PamP says:

    Bob; Thanks so much for the info you provide. Each RVer is different. I’m a 73 year old female and have to admit I’m not able to do what I did 10 years ago. That doesn’t mean I must give up my rving – just modify it.

    I live on a very small SS and tiny pension. Your advice on living cheaply is very, very important to keep me as independent as possible. This winter, I’ve found resident volunteer positions in state parks meaning no campground fees to pay.

    An important indulgence is internet access. What do you advise there? I now have a Verizon aircard with 250mb a month – pretty slim, but it only costs $40 a month. Is there something better?

    Thanks for your ‘sunday sermon’ too. I feel much as you do on most issues.

    • Mario says:

      PamP,I admire your strength and will power to continue with this lifestyle…I know what you mean about making adjustments,aging does not mean having to give up all your dreams and i quote you”just modify it”.You said it just right.
      It is frustrating watching your body refusing to obey your “instructions” and does whatever it wants!
      It happens to all of us (Nature at work) but those “modifications” you are talking about will do wonders and we can all continue enjoying the “freedom” that RVing offers within our limitations.

      Bob’s site is indeed a great source of info and inspiration for everyone that is living or planning to live this lifestyle. As long as your body moves keep following your heart :). Mario

    • Bob Bob says:

      Pam, you can always upgrade your plan to 5 gigs for $60 a month or 10 gigs for $80 a month. That is what I have. But there is something better.

      A company named Millenicom buys minutes on the Verizon towers and resells them. They off 20 gigs a month for $70. That is much cheaper then Verizon and yet they use the same exact towers. I know 7 people who use them and they have all been very happy with them. The problem is the initial cost is higher, about $200 to buy the device and fees. Find info on them here. You don’t want the unlimited plan because it is on Sprint towers.
      http://millenicom.com/plans/#hotspot-plan

      That’s the most data you can get for the least money. Other people offer unlimited plans, but none on the Verizon network. No matter what, you want to be on the Verizon towers.
      Bob

  8. Good post. I have one item for people to consider adding to there safety list. Since I solo kayak and backpack in wilderness areas I got a SPOT device. “The SPOT Personal Tracker raised the safety factor for millions who took to the outdoors each year. SPOT notifies friends, family or an international rescue coordination center with your GPS location and status based on situation and need – all with the push of a button.” See http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=101 for more information. This device allows me to get help if I am hurt, get road service if I don’t have a cell signal and to notify 10 people on my email list that I am OK and gives them a map with my exact location. I can’t begin to tell you the peace of mind I have because I have this device with me. Yes, it is expensive, but what price can be put on “peace of mind?” In four years I have never used the HELP or 911 button, only the OK button… BUT if I needed it… I’d have it and it could save my life and the lives of others.
    Charlene Swankie recently posted…Desert TortoisesMy Profile

  9. Curtis says:

    Great post Becky, thank you.:)

    About the fear level in this country, we should not be surprised.

    Between being programed with it when we were kids to the national media news only highlighting the “bad news” and forgetting the good to so called reality tv and most video games being created around violence and killing is it any wonder why?

    Common sense does go a long way but believing there are more decent folks around than bad helps also.:)

    LaVonne I remember that story of the young man who did that.

    He found wonderful, kind and helping people all across this great country and I believe those folks still live here.:)

  10. Mary says:

    Good post. I’ve got 1000’s of miles traveling alone using all manner of conveyances and have never once been attacked. As Becky Said, most people are at least ok if not downright nice. Only a few are criminal and as a cop once told me, they are looking for easy pickings. I walk tall with purpose so I don’t look easy. I now travel with a dog who looks like she could take your arm off when she isn’t asking for pets. Lets hope she is never tested.

    The only time I ever got scared was when a man knocked on my van in the very early morning in a Walmart parking lot. Turns out I had somehow not latched a door and the dog got out along with the cat and was running around “helping” them. He was only trying to get the dog put back – very nice. I avoid staying in large cities if I can – density is just harder to deal with and there are more rules. I don’t hang out in bars because there is some increased risk but I do take myself out to eat from time to time.

    We tend to take our perceptions of safety from all the TV murders but the reality is that those are very, very rare. When traveling, you have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to encounter one of those. This is where real data is your friend. It shows that it is pretty safe out there over all, even for solo women. I get the aren’t you afraid question too. But there again, the data show that women are in more danger from people they know than the random strangers out there.
    Mary recently posted…It’s Always Something …My Profile

  11. Dan, Phx. says:

    Bob, just to be on the safe side, I think all single female travelers should check in with me when they start there journey and check back in from time to time. You know, just to be safe.

  12. Linda Sand says:

    Another tool I use is my iPad. It has “find my iPad” capability which my husband has access to. He know where I am at all times. In fact, when I came home last spring he was sitting on a bench outside waiting for me since he knew I was about to arrive. Spooky but reassuring.

    • Bob Bob says:

      linda, very good info, thanks! The problem is that it only works where there is cell signal. The devices we are talking about are satellite so they work to send a “Rescue Me” signal even where there isn’t any cell.
      Bob

  13. I highly recommend training in any martial art, but particularly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Not only will it get you in outstanding shape, but it also teaches smaller people to defeat bigger, stronger opponents without even throwing a punch. And when you know for a fact that you can choke out someone twice your size, then the confidence that knowledge gives you exudes from you and you’ll never actually need to defend yourself. And it’s fun as heck!
    Cyrus A Palmer recently posted…The best job I’ve ever had!My Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      I agree 100% Cyrus! I have become completely convinced that learning a martial art is one of the very best things a person can do. If I am in a place long enough I plan on starting this winter.
      Bob

      • Good for you Bob! Some people make excuses like they are too old, out of shape, or they don’t have the time. Nonsense! You’re never too old or out of shape for martial arts, and you can always make time for what you love! And most everyone who tries martial arts ends up loving it! If I was in Arizona like you I’d train at The MMA Lab. I think it’s in Phoenix?… It’s a great gym, as evidenced by it’s best fighter the former ufc champ Ben Henderson. He only lost that title last Sat too. He’s a down to earth, chill guy. You’d like him, they call him God’s fighter. I met him a few times when he came up to my gym in Tacoma.
        Cyrus A Palmer recently posted…The best job I’ve ever had!My Profile

        • Bob Bob says:

          Cyrus, that kind of shows my problem, if it is hard I won’t do it and I am usually 2 hours from Phoenix and I know myself well enough to know i won’t do it. I am close to Blythe, CA though so I might make that happen. I goggled it and they show at least one. I’m sure both Flagstaff and Prescott have them and they are in my regular route of travel.

          I’ll just have to see if it is possible for a full-time snowbird. I’m not looking for a martial arts, more along the lines of street brawling like the Israelis do.
          Bob

      • A lot of people seem interested in the isreali system. Krav maga it’s called. I train in several different martial arts, and the one that I have experience with that is similar is Jeet Kune Do. Bruce Lee developed jkd by combining the what works on the street from lots of different martial arts and discarding what didn’t. My jkd class also incorporates the weapon skills of fillipino stick fighting, including knife techniques. So yes, I do have edged weapons training. So I would recommend trying a jkd class and seeing if it’s what you’re looking for!
        Cyrus A Palmer recently posted…The best job I’ve ever had!My Profile

    • motown says:

      I am a judo jujitsu practioner. Even though
      its an amazing art, it takes years to become good enough to use it effectively I have spent years learning it and also having used it in combatives, so I consiter myself proficient, yet for a novice I would not ever recomend they would ever get into a ground and pround fight and expect to assert the skill set to choke out an agresser. Ground fights offten lead to getting stabbed or worse. Te only self defense I would recomend that would be easy to learn and deploy would be a Russian martial art used by

      • motown says:

        Spatznaz, Russian Special Forces, called Systema. This by far is the simples most effective martial art designed to be devistating fighting style ever. I recomend it to any one look it up on you tube and start commiting the system movments to memory. Its that easy. Forget about joining a dojo, and learning the same moves over and over. The warm ups alone will destroy most peoples will to return again. In Systema theres no bowing rituals if you ever go to a systema workout training you dress casual or generaly in army bdu pants and combat boots. Its worth while to check them out.and its fun work out. Just a thought

        • Bob Bob says:

          motown, thanks for that tip. I had never heard of them. My first choice is Israeli Krav Maga but if I can’t find it I will look for Systema. They look to be very similar.
          Bob

      • Sounds interesting. But style choice is all moot really. Every style has it’s strengths and weaknesses, but you can effectively defend yourself if you are proficient in any martial art. Yes jiu jitsu isn’t the best style for multiple opponents or weapons, but it is the best style to know if the fight does go to the ground, which 90% of them do. The most important part though is the confidence that training martial arts gives you, and any style can provide that. It’s just all personal preference.

  14. Lois says:

    Thanks, Bob, for posting Becky’s article yesterday. Lots of good info and great suggestions for gear.

    I turned 61 this year and I’ve been living in my little trailer for the better part of 5 years now, some boondocking, some parking lots and rest areas, some campgrounds, some staying-on-the-property-of-friends. The only time I ever felt the location was a little sketchy was last spring in a Washington State Park in Federal Way – the campground had several homeless people living in it and I just kept my awareness at high-level and left after one night. (I also submitted a comment card with my opinion and observations re: that campground – if I’m going to pay $22 for a night of camping, I want to at least feel safe.)

    In the off-season, I’m often the only person in the campground, which I really like because it’s so nice and quiet (read that: no preschoolers in the space next to me). I’m also fully aware that once I get out of my tow vehicle into my trailer, I’m a sitting duck since I can’t really get out of my trailer and drive away should something happen that I need to get away from, whether that’s a “bad” person or a flash flood. I just trust my instincts and go with it. It’s worked for me so far.

    Thanks again, Bob and Becky – keep up the great work!
    Lois recently posted…Nothing to it but to do it…My Profile

    • Yeah that’s not the best area. I park outside of my school weekdays, and I go to Bates technical college in hilltop Tacoma! It’s like the bum superhighway right on my street. They buy and smoke crack right in front of my van all day. I’m never worried at all. They are just people. Although my situation is a bit different than yours. I’m an ex Marine martial artist, so I feel pretty confident that I’ll be ok no matter what.
      Cyrus A Palmer recently posted…The best job I’ve ever had!My Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      lois it sounds like you have mastered the number one mean of staying safe: Staying Alert!! That alone should keep you as safe as you reasonably can be!
      Bob

    • BeckyIO says:

      Glad you liked it Lois!

      When I was working last winter in Georgia I was hunting for a monthly rate place to park my RV, I found one through an online search that was a dump when I saw it in person, tucked back out of site from the main road all mud and run down RVs that had obviously been there a long time. I’m glad I checked it out in just my truck first before making a reservation for sure.
      BeckyIO recently posted…Seasonal Jobs and CommunityMy Profile

  15. Dang it Bob, your ad made me buy that knife. It is a good price for a good looking knife. I keep a karambit on me when I go out because it’s the world’s best self defense knife, but I’ve been messing it up with general knife tasks. So that Kershaw will make a good general use knife while the karambit stays sharp in case it’s needed.

    http://www.theultimateknife.com/479-fox-karambit-g10-folder-fighting-knife-emerson-wave-size-xxl/
    Cyrus A Palmer recently posted…The best job I’ve ever had!My Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Cyrus, that is a beautiful knife, but is the idea behind it that you slash rather than stab? And is that generally considered best for self-defense? So are you now carrying both?
      Bob

      • It’s a tiger claw basically. It makes vicious ripping wounds, but you can also punch with it and ‘pick’ at them with the point. It is also very useful for joint manipulations. I would say it’s the best knife for self defense if you know how to use it. I can draw and attack with that knife from my pocket in tenths of a second. Way, way faster than I can unholster and shoot a pistol. And I’m fast with a pistol…Yeah, I’ll probably carry both. I’d hate to damage my significantly more expensive kbit just because I didn’t have a work knife on hand. Again…
        Cyrus A Palmer recently posted…The best job I’ve ever had!My Profile

  16. David Carter says:

    I have a couple of friends and a close relative that are the greatest folks you would ever want to meet until their ‘demons’ are released by alcohol. When I see that they are drinking I leave. Please be aware that that great neighbor you met yesterday who helped you with a project may not be the same person after they sit in his/her van taking shots of liquor. I have nothing against social drinking, but some people have dramatic changes of personality when intoxicated. Stay aware.

    • Bob Bob says:

      David, you are totally right! I’ve been pretty fortunate though and almost never have problems with drunks. But it is always good to be aware.
      Bob

  17. Tom says:

    I’m recently disabiled. And although it’s tempting to carry something for defense I also realize that anything a carry could be taken away from me and use against me. And I think many of you are right, just be aware of your surroundings and it’s all overblown.

    The One thing I do cary is a small, AA battery, LED flashlight at night in case I need to see into the shadows. But it certinly wouldn’t make a good weapon.

    I think if someone was really concerned,,, a self defense class should be considered. Not only can these skills not be taken away from you, you always carry them with you where ever you go.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Tom, that is certainly one good way to look at it. Some people like weapons just for the comfort they bring them. I think everyone would agree that a self-defense class is an outstanding idea.
      Bob

  18. Hi Bob & Becky — it is so cool to have two of the favourite blogs I follow merge into one! Such synergy! I hope you’ll find more opportunities to partner together. (Becky you should join Bob in his tv reality series audition — you are a shoe-in to get picked to be featured on the show. The appearance fees could be much more lucrative than the Amazon gig. Bob may have the awesome zztop beard they are looking for but you have the x-factor! You are both reality stars in the waiting).

    Anyways, I have to say that the reality of almost any life is far safer than most of us tend to mistakenly believe. I’ve given up watching the news as it is way too depressing. I used to get caught up in ‘current events’. I guess it fed into obsessive/compulsive tendencies and I worried needlessly about things that had no connection to my real life. My perceptions were tainted by the sensationalist drivel pumped by tv networks. With it turned off & tuned out I find I’m far more free to engage the world around me. It is a pretty great world! The vast-vast majority of people are nice! Sure ‘strangers’ can seem aloof – but that’s just ’cause you haven’t met them yet. All those millions of houses, apartments (and vans) we see are full of nice interesting people. Most of us live our lives with just a small circle of friends, co-workers, and family. Unfortunately it seems modern life has us effectively fearing everyone else, and we put up barriers to our meeting others.

    Where I’m headed with this is to say getting out of our super-conservative small-world comfort spots (i.e. cocooned in front of a tv) can give us true freedom. Travel, commune with nature, get out and garden (or pick berries), see what’s around the next corner — and don’t worry about what you might find!
    Ross Macintosh recently posted…Oh Shit…My Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Ross, I know the real truth, you just read our blogs because we are both so HOT! Well, at least Becky is!

      I agree totally, the amount of fear we all carry around with us is totally our of proportion to the real danger around us–which is very, very little!
      Bob

  19. Swords says:

    Ia women travels alone then she should have some protection with her so that she can easily get rid of any problem . She also have some arm like short gun or sword o knife.

  20. April says:

    This is a great share to everybody especially to all the ladies who love to travel and have road trips as well. I’m glad I was able to read and learn from this because it is really important to be safe on the road especially when you are travelling alone and get to meet a lot of strangers. Thanks for sharing this post!

  21. These are really great tips! I tell my dad the same thing all of the time – I usually feel safer on the road than in the city where I grew up. You just have to be smart, use common sense and trust your instincts. You can’t be scared to live life!

    Keep on truckin..
    Best Multi-tool recently posted…Mini Multi Tool: Are They Worth it?My Profile

  22. flora says:

    Hi there!

    How are you doing today?!!

    I am Flora and like you writing is my passion. It soothes me, somehow! Your blog “cheaprvliving.com” is probably one of the most interesting ones I’ve seen recently. Like minds I guess! I was also wondering if I could do a guest post for your blog.
    The best part is I won’t be charging you a penny, but in return all I need is just one link within the article or to my author bio.

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Regards,
    Flora.

  23. CAS says:

    Hello out there! To all of you that are living my dream. I have thought about living a nomad life for longer than I would like to admit. I am now up to my neck in a mortgage, car payment and job that has brought me more stress than I can take. I’m so close to retirement that people tell me I would be crazy to quit now. Anyway, I have started looking at different rigs and I am planning on putting my house on the market. I will be a solo traveler. I’m not afraid of traveling alone but I am nervous about buying the right rig and having the funds to live. I look forward to making new friends and any advise that you want to send my way. Take care and safe travels! CAS

    • Bob Bob says:

      Hi CAS, if you are still a few years away from retirement, one thing to consider is selling the house, buying a small used RV and putting it into an RV Park. That will 1) help you see if you like living in an RV, 2) save money for you new life, 3) on your vacations take it for trips and really get a taste of the life.

      It’s a simple way to transition into a new life without a total disruption. If it doesn’t work out then you’ve saved some money and sell the RV for about what you paid for it. No harm done.

      Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
      Bob

      • CAS says:

        Thanks Bob. I’m hoping to connect with people who will help me make a good decision about purchasing an RV. I’m also curious as to how to find inexpensive places to park the RV. I’ve been looking on line just to get an idea of what my monthly expenses will be and it seems it can get pretty expensive just to park.
        Thanks again and safe travels:) CAS

        • Bob Bob says:

          CAS, in the last 6 years I’ve spent $34 on camping. Out west there is so much free pubic land you don’t have to stay in RV Parks. There are also many very cheap RV Parks. You can stay at an RV Park in Quartzsite with full-hookups for $170 a month. Finding a place for $300 is easy in lots of places.

          Most tourist places in the high season will be very expensive though. Just avoid them!
          Bob

  24. Eva says:

    Very good site you have here but I was curious if you knew
    of any discussion boards that cover the same topics discussed here?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I
    can get advice from other experienced individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Thank you!

  25. Derek Towne says:

    No, no,no.

    You country folk are looking at the crime statistics for urban areas all wrong.

    Yes, there are more “bad guys”, but there are also more potential victims. A hell of a lot more.

    Your likelihood of a problem in an urban area is *exactly the same* as it would be boondocking. Exactly.

    You are just being as fearful as you are all saying everyone else is about traveling alone. Except, your fears are of big, busy places.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Derek, I’m going to have to disagree. Understand, I’m not talking about small-town America, I’m talking about Public land–BLM and National Forest.

      Let me offer some evidence. At the last RTR we had a BLM Ranger speak to us. The subject of crime came up and he warned us about generator thefts. I asked him about violent crime. He said he had been there for 11 years and had never seen a violent crime on BLM land.

      Yeah, but how many are there out there on BLM land, not many right? WRONG!!!

      The estimates are that there are around a million RVers on BLM land around Quartzsite at it’s peak of the season!!! Let’s cut that in half just to be safe. 500,000 people per year for 11 years and never one violent crime. There are a whole bunch of million dollar RVs out there, and never a violent crime.

      I’m sorry, but there is no comparison in any way, shape or form between the level of violent crime in cities compared to public land.
      Bob

  26. AZClaimjumper says:

    My PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON, is in a pant pocket when I’m getting dressed every morning. I hike/geocache solo & do so in some very remove places. I figure my biggest danger is getting bitten by a rattlesnake, if provoked.

    I carry ResQLink, the one recommended by the Coast Guard. It will transmit a 5 watt signal directly to SAR Satellite, even through a dense tree canopy. The SPOT transmit a .4 watt signal, let me emphasize .4 watt (less than 1 watt)which is really a very weak signal.

    No annual fee, you can’t send an OK message; it does just one thing, send a STRONG signal to a satellite that includes my co ords of exactly where I am.
    https://www.amazon.com/ACR-PLB-375-Personal-Locating-Beacon/dp/B005E1OU1A/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1485758683&sr=8-2&keywords=ResQLink

  27. Samantha K. Nelums says:

    Hi there I’m hitting the road to be a full-time rver and would like to connect as I’m trying to find a community of rvers out there. Any suggestions for low-cost monthly parks in any south western states for the winter?

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