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Didn't want to hijack the THOUGHTS ON VANDWELLING thread.

How many women, and of what age/ (age group) , vandwell / boondock by themselves? What length of time? Do you generally feel safe, whether from humans or other critters? Have you had problems with either? Elaborate, please. Do you boondock pretty isolated, away from others, or within shouting distance? Do people bother you when they see you are alone?
I am a 70 year old woman with a 20 year old van. Before my husband died 2 years ago, we camped and boondocked all over the Unied States. Since he died, I've gone on several short trips alone - well, me and my two little dogs. We live in Montana, so there are LOTS of places to boondock. My biggest fear is getting way off the beaten path, and having the van break down. I now usually camp closer to other people, maybe in a free or cheap campground. I'm not scared of stealth camping: both I and my van look pretty "normal" and don't draw the attention of the law.  We also look like we wouldn't have much worth stealing. I often carry some sort of protection - for those surprise incidents that just might happen! Never once, knock on wood, has a LEO or anyone else come knocking on my door at night. Did see a black bear last weekend at Warm Springs campground near Sula, Montana, but he just wandered off, and the dogs and I stayed in the van!
Like Marie, my biggest fear would be breaking down far from civilization with no cell phone service. Not overly concerned about large critters (it's the dang mice that are killing me!) and don't anticipate much trouble with people if I'm boondocking. I am 49, traveling with a dog, lived in the RV in Oregon for a year on rented acreage, then hit the road 8 weeks ago, and came down to Sequoia National Forest where I'm camp hosting. October will see me in Haslet, TX working for Amazon for 12 weeks.
I'm 58 and traveling with my dog. I've made the cross country trip, from the SW desert to MA and back 9 times.

I've traveled cross country, boondocking most of the way across, 4 times in the last 3 years. I camp in a variety of places, none of them too far off the beaten track because I don't have 4x4. I prefer no neighbors. Mostly, unless you're in the SW desert you're going to have neighbors at some point during your stay.

I never announce or advertise that I am on my own, no matter where I park.

Once when casino parking I actually lied because I felt unsure. I told my neighbors my husband was gambling all night and sleeping all day. When I realized I was among friends I told the truth and we all had a good laugh. They were all feeling pretty bad for me; my husband must have had the gambling bug pretty bad.

If I don't feel good about a place, I leave. You can kind of tell when you pull into a possible campsite what kind of people frequent the area. If I see lots of trash, cigarette butts and general upheaval in an area I move on, unless I'm just staying for the night. Usually, if I am just staying somewhere for a night I'm dry camping on black top or something similar.
I have been boondocking since 1988 part time 2-5 days/week and since last July full time. I generally feel safe. I only boondock in populated areas. My whole secret is to look stealth all the time. I go to great lengths to blend in and look like everyone in my environment. NO ONE has ever thought I was boondocking. It is quite difficult, as I also have a 14 year old dog. The only time I have ever been approached is at truck stops as I have been walking my dog or preparing food. I have been approached more than once even though I have dressed very low-key. I look the man square in the eye. I ask him directly what he wants in a non-threatening manner. Once he confirms what I thought he was inquiring about, I respectfully and gently start seriously, seriously, and very seriously talking about religion. He wants to get away from me so bad, it's not even funny. But, I just keep talking and I don't let him leave until he finds he has to be rude to me and get away. This way I am assured that as he is at the rest stop all night, and I am at the rest stop all night, I will not get approached again later, by him.  
I know you may be scared. Just remember guys hate: religious freaks and crazy people. Master acting like both of these and it will always come in handy. Enjoy!
I'm 66 and male, but I have the same concerns about being alone in some isolated spot with no cell signal (my usual situation).  Not only for breakdowns, but weather (trees down, flooding, snow), medical emergency, etc.  I am currently looking at inReach satellite emergency communications.

This thread on Wander the West discusses:
 -- Spiff
I'm 61-going-on-30 with the re-invigoration of being able to spend lots of time alone in nature. I'm temporarily grounded with some parental care-taking, but hope to be back in the Rockies before summer is gone and to be at RTR in January.

Last year, I got in more than 6 months of solo vandwelling and loved it. I was mostly in Montana ( and I'm feeling jealous of Marie).

In the 90s, I did quite a lot of camping while living in that gorgeous state, so the idea of sleeping out in the boonies was not frightening to me at all. With a van to live in instead of a tent, it is even less so. I stayed in free FS campgrounds or at dispersed campsites along FS roads. Even the thought of getting "stuck" from a breakdown way out in the boonies does not frighten me from a survival standpoint - only from how much money it would cost to get me out eventually.

Last year, I had a blown-out tire while on a narrow road along the Little Blackfoot River near Avon, MT. Helena tow services were quoting me a minimum of $200 just to come and put on my spare. Luckily a local man stopped to see if I needed help. He is a banker by profession but lives on his mini ranch by the river. He ended up coming back with his small tractor and his floor jack in the shovel to help me out. And then a couple of his friends stopped to help, too. Mine is an extended van with a high top (used to be a wheelchair public transit van), so getting it lifted to change the tire was a feat! The next day I purchased Good Sam Roadside Assistance -- which is designed for RVers like us. One use would more than pay for the year's membership.

I had a midnight visitor once. A young elk in velvet who found my van ideal for rubbing his antlers and jostling me awake with my heart pounding. My air horn convinced him to move along.

So my philosophy is to be as prepared and as aware as possible and then just do it. Like Suanne and so many other solo women travelers, I do keep handy an air horn, high intensity flashlight, wasp spray and sharp cutting tool (like a big, fixed blade knife, a hatchet, etc.).

I very much second listening to your gut feeling about any place you might stay. When I'm going from point to point, I usually stay in truck plaza or Walmart or Cracker Barrel parking lots. Have never been hassled or felt unsafe (I do double check that overnighting is allowed).
Thinking of what a good list Suanne put together on her blog, I thought I'd post a link. She also uses a Spot GPS emergency satellite signaler (I can't remember the real term for it but you get the idea). Her model is on Amazon for about $149 (so I don't have one yet).

Here is a link to her post about safety and security:

Also, I forgot to mention that my regular purse (with me at all times) contains at least the bare minimum of survival essentials. These include a very loud whistle which is attention-getting (when the air horn would be out of reach). For a walk in nature I have my survival fanny pack with essentials it would be silly to be without.
Dear Mr. Spiff,
If you were having an emergency, and your satellite signal went off that you were in trouble, I would let you land wherever I was just so I could see your cool Jetson-mobile! When I'd hear you coming in from "Spacely Sprockets" I would quickly grab my flashlights and direct you into the nearest 100ft X 100ft landing zone!
(06-11-2015, 03:05 PM)WriterMs Wrote: [ -> ]The next day I purchased Good Sam Roadside Assistance  -- which is designed for RVers like us. One use would more than pay for the year's membership.

How much research did you do before buying that?  I see a lot of posts about Good Sam RA and it's competitors.  Some good, some bad.  But there seem to be a LOT of posts claiming that GS won't leave paved roads to come help you.

Some posts have said that they WILL do gravel roads, IF they are regular, official county routes.  But it does look like boondockers off on BLM or National Forest land should NOT expect help from any of them if they get stuck or need service like changing a flat or jump starting a dead battery.

Wondering if your GS policy says anything different?

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