A General Request on Women's Safety

I'd like to make a general request on this forum that when a woman makes a statement about her personal safety while on the road, please do not challenge or negate or denigrate or minimize that strategy. If you don't agree with a woman's efforts for keeping herself feeling safe, it's best to keep that to yourself. Nothing will be lost. No one has any idea what each person has gone through in their lives, and the massive amount of courage it takes for some of us to get out there and claim the road. Whatever a woman or a man needs to do to feel safe is what they need to do. Yes, there are women's travel forums created just to avoid this kind of thing. But I'd like to think it's safe to post here about my personal safety without someone stating or insinuating that my actions are frivolous, wrong-headed, weak-minded, or whatever. So to reiterate: When a woman posts how she keeps herself feeling safe on the road, respect that.
Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
2007 DM [email protected] — Towed by 2014 Dodge Durango — Nights spent in [email protected]: 323
"Travels With The Tiny"

Comments

  • NomadNomad Posts: 7,216Member
    Do think a discussion of safety and comfort levels, and real world observations for both male and female travelers would be good. I know that I was totally surprised at how safe it's felt out here (as a male). Have only felt uncomfortable (not threatened) once and that was in a remote boondocking area, never ever in a popular designated camping area or campground.


  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 162Member
    I am totally intrigued by the potential to boondock. Not there yet! We had a similar situation on our Nextdoor community forum where a woman complained about solicitors knocking on her door and not wanting to answer. Several men jumped on her for ruining the friendly New Orleans vibe. They said they would answer the door. My position was that men and women in general have different experiences in life and in early life. The vast majority of violence against women comes from men. That is fact. So what we need to do to feel safe out on the road is valid, no matter what.
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM [email protected] — Towed by 2014 Dodge Durango — Nights spent in [email protected]: 323
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • NomadNomad Posts: 7,216Member
    Since this thread starts out more as an editorial than what I guess I'd call and tips/tricks/advice or observation thread, Am thinking maybe a new thread along these lines...
    ----------
    Safety /Camping
    How safe do you feel while camping? What do you do to make you feel safe?
    While understanding that men and women have different perceptions and life experiences on safety, and safety issues may be somewhat influenced by how and where you camp, maybe posts that are specific incidences could identify those aspects up front by labeling ones post. For instance...Female - Boondocking - Congress, AZ - Might also be helpful whether you consider it a standard occurance or an anomaly. For general safety observations or techniques maybe just start with "General"
    ----------

    What's everyone think? Suggestions?


  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 162Member
    PXLated said:
    Since this thread starts out more as an editorial than what I guess I'd call and tips/tricks/advice or observation thread, Am thinking maybe a new thread along these lines...
    ----------
    Safety /Camping
    How safe do you feel while camping? What do you do to make you feel safe?
    While understanding that men and women have different perceptions and life experiences on safety, and safety issues may be somewhat influenced by how and where you camp, maybe posts that are specific incidences could identify those aspects up front by labeling ones post. For instance...Female - Boondocking - Congress, AZ - Might also be helpful whether you consider it a standard occurance or an anomaly. For general safety observations or techniques maybe just start with "General"
    ----------

    What's everyone think? Suggestions?
    Personally, I love it! How very thoughtful! I'm sure one's sense of safety and growing "street smarts" changes over time. It would be very helpful to get responses from newbies and experienced [email protected] alike.
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM [email protected] — Towed by 2014 Dodge Durango — Nights spent in [email protected]: 323
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • NomadNomad Posts: 7,216Member
    Maybe add ones "experience level" to the mix.


  • VernaVerna Posts: 4,639Administrator
    edited February 2017
    There's a "Solo Traveler's Hints and Tips" category. 
    Verna, Indianapolis, Indiana; 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red; towed by a red 2015 Toyota Tacoma V6 TRD 4x4; [email protected] Administrator.  If not now, when?




  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,398Member
    I was on another camping forum ([email protected] or tiny trailer) and the thread of how many people "carry" loaded weapons for "protection" (despite the laws) scared the snot out of me. I used to have bear spray (for real bears), but then found out it was illegal to knowingly spray on a person (but Officer!! He looked awfully hairy without his shirt and only in shorts!). I'm an advocate of following the law.

    I like the Solo Hints and Tips that V pointed out. There are also other sources on the net. Be careful which resources you chose! If you're not careful, you'll think everyone one out there is a serial killer.

    The idea of camping is to be relaxed in the area you chose to park - you're there to enjoy yourself, not worry! There are "Sisters on the Fly" that is a great camping group if you feel more comfy in a group. Test your comfort level while in well-patrolled State and National Parks in a solo shake-down.

    One of my security layers is having my truck remote with its panic button on it - it will blow the horn until someone comes to help (I camp in State and Nat'l Parks mostly). 

    Sorry for the ramble. It's a good topic.


    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • VernaVerna Posts: 4,639Administrator
    Rather than this being in the "General" category, one would be able to find it with like topics in the "Solo...." category. It would be a wonderful addition as I know well how some do not take out solo challenges seriously. 
    Verna, Indianapolis, Indiana; 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red; towed by a red 2015 Toyota Tacoma V6 TRD 4x4; [email protected] Administrator.  If not now, when?




  • VernaVerna Posts: 4,639Administrator
    This could just be another thread, just change the category to "Solo Travel...." (I forget the entire name of the topic I created months ago ;) ). You really don't need to change this thread's name. It is very descriptive for the comment. 
    Verna, Indianapolis, Indiana; 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red; towed by a red 2015 Toyota Tacoma V6 TRD 4x4; [email protected] Administrator.  If not now, when?




  • HomebodyatheartHomebodyatheart Posts: 1,527Member
    Ratkity, somewhere in my research I was reading about bear spray, and someone said that it is illegal to carry it in DC. It may be banned in other places, too, I do't know. Wasp and hornet spray is legal and shoots 20' if one is so inclined.
    2017 [email protected] Max S silver and cherry red, TV 2015 Toyota Highlander [email protected] ("Bug" aka my [email protected] pod), towed by Big Red, or Silver
  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,398Member
    edited February 2017
    While I know wasp spray has been mentioned periodically, you really don't want it to slowly leak propellent or accidentally go off in your [email protected] (secure it well if you take it).

    I personally like the fire extinguisher/bright light method. Turn on the headlamp (bright light), exit camper with fire extinguisher - Pull pin on the fire extinguisher and empty. Then the empty fire extinguisher can be used to swing at will (watch the wind direction - you don't want pepper spray, wasp, or fire extinguisher contents to blow back at you).

    Keep in mind, the only time I'd actually confront anyone suspicious around my campsite is if they are heading for my bike - then all bets are off and I go into Mama Bear mode and lose all control. No one touches mah babeh.



    In all seriousness, I take the non-confrontational approach and move. If I don't feel safe and there is a nagging in my sub-conscious is telling me something is amiss - then it is. A person's subconscious puts together things faster than the conscious mind (which is focused on unloading). There is a book out that I would recommend to all who are concerned with personal safety. It's called "The Gift of Fear". A great explanation of intuition and instinct by an ex-profiler for the FBI.
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 4,532Member
    I have felt uncomfortable, twice while on the road. Once, when I pulled into a recreation area CG and saw a drug deal go down - I left. The second was when I was walking, in Aspen, in town. I believe that my friend and I were being followed, so I waited until we were in an area with a lot of people and stopped her and said, loudly, "He's following us." He speedily walked away and that was that. Trust your guts and try to think of the safest and quickest "out", that you can. I keep my keys, handy, as @Ratkity described and have a couple of other back-up safety plans, but I also have my SPOT tracker, which can be used to summon 911, via satellite.  But, let me reiterate, trust your gut. 

    Jenn Grover | 2015  [email protected] S Max Silver/Turquoise Trim | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk v6 | Nights spent in [email protected]: 165 | Pittsburgh PA

  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 162Member
    I felt very creeped out this last weekend when I was camping by myself at a state park. I walk my dog a lot, and I noticed a middle aged guy camping in the unimproved section of the campground (no water, no electrical). He had a small tent pitched deep into the woods, and he would lay in his truck bed in the parking pad reading and lounging. It seems like I kept seeing him driving around the improved part of the campground looking very closely at everything. Thinking back, I need to get better at noticing particulars about suspicious vehicles or people, like the make of the truck, the model, the color. I was followed extensively here in New Orleans one day by a guy in beret in a red truck with a king cab. He followed me with at least 8 turns and only drove on when I drove into the driveway of a random house. When I made a police report, the cop praised me for noticing that someone was following me. He suggested next time that I dial 911 immediately. Actually he gave me his cell phone number to have on speed dial. I need to practice my observation skills so I can identify the color, make, and model of vehicles when needed, and maybe even the license plate number.
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM [email protected] — Towed by 2014 Dodge Durango — Nights spent in [email protected]: 323
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • RollingLagrimaRollingLagrima Posts: 433Member
    Along those lines, trying to mentally store and remember whole license plates is not easy especially when you are short on time, under stress and/or unable to snap a photo. If you can at least get the last three numbers or letters correctly along with state, make, model  and color, the chances of recognizing the same plate/vehicle later on will be increased. This will also be more useful to law enforcement if need be, than a botched attempt to get the full plate.  A solid three is always better than a soupy six or seven!

    I play a game of intentionally focusing on the last three of all plates as I am out and about. It has become muscle memory at this point, and has come in handy on many occasions over the years.
    Sally, "[email protected]" 2016 [email protected] Sofitel Maxx-S (plata=silver; SP), previously Little Guy 2014 Silver Shadow LE, TV -- 2013 Chevy Avalanche + two hounds.
  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,398Member
    edited February 2017
    For extra $$ in college, I did 3rd shift dispatching for the police.

    Things your mind can process for quick drive-bys of possible suspicious vehicles:
      
    1. Look hard at the driver: skin color, hair color, what type of shirt wearing, baseball cap?, mustache?, beard?, tattoos (arm, face),
    2. Type of vehicle (pickup: old? new? color?), was there more than one person in the car?, was there any animal?
    3. Did you see a weapon? Was there any type of "spotlight" near the side mirror of the driver.
    4. Describe the suspicious behavior - how many times that person has been driving around the park, where you think he's staying. Did he seem to focus on you in particular or was he appearing to scope out potential theft targets? (I say he, but could be she).

    This type of information can be obtained by your brain in mere seconds rather than trying to search in the dark or light for a license plate. 

    Don't bother with eye color, hair color is hard as well as vehicle color in the dark. Make sure you always have the ranger's or host's 24/7 phone number. Usually easy to get when you check in. 
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • marknjudymarknjudy Posts: 378Member
    I'd like to throw in pepper spray as an option iver even wasp spray as a viable non lethal defense strategy. It's cheap, can shoot a great distance and is portable enough to carry with you no matter what you're wearing. I don't know if any states or parks outlaw it but it's much safer and handy that anything else. 

    And I'd also concur with trusting your gut. If it feel sketchy it probably is. Leave or report. 
    Mark - 2016 [email protected] Max S (Silver/Red), 2012 F-150
  • LauraReyLauraRey Posts: 337Member
    Since I always have my cell phone with me, I tend to simply take photos of cars or people that worry me.  

    I still don't boondock by myself, even with the [email protected]  I just don't feel safe doing it, which is probably silly.  However, it is what I feel.  
    Red and White, 2017 Max S being towed by a 2014 Honda Ridgeline.  Hello Mountains!
  • marknjudymarknjudy Posts: 378Member
    My wife also clued me in on this idea in case you don't want to be obvious that you're taking pictures. Pretend to dial your phone while actually going into video mode on you phone. Then walk by the suspicious person or area with your phone to your ear and hold a fictitious conversation, making sure to move your head around a bit so that the lens captures what you're looking for. It's surprising how accurately you can capture the scene, license plates, etc.
    Mark - 2016 [email protected] Max S (Silver/Red), 2012 F-150
  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 162Member
    LauraRey said:
    Since I always have my cell phone with me, I tend to simply take photos of cars or people that worry me.  

    I still don't boondock by myself, even with the [email protected]  I just don't feel safe doing it, which is probably silly.  However, it is what I feel.  
    Great idea!
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM [email protected] — Towed by 2014 Dodge Durango — Nights spent in [email protected]: 323
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 162Member

    marknjudy said:
    My wife also clued me in on this idea in case you don't want to be obvious that you're taking pictures. Pretend to dial your phone while actually going into video mode on you phone. Then walk by the suspicious person or area with your phone to your ear and hold a fictitious conversation, making sure to move your head around a bit so that the lens captures what you're looking for. It's surprising how accurately you can capture the scene, license plates, etc.
    Very good! Sometimes I have a fictitious conversation just so it looks like I'm connected to someone else. But turning on the video is even better!
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM [email protected] — Towed by 2014 Dodge Durango — Nights spent in [email protected]: 323
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,398Member
    Hey, the video thing is a great idea!
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • AldebaranJillAldebaranJill Posts: 373Member
    marknjudy said:
    I'd like to throw in pepper spray as an option iver even wasp spray as a viable non lethal defense strategy. It's cheap, can shoot a great distance and is portable enough to carry with you no matter what you're wearing. I don't know if any states or parks outlaw it but it's much safer and handy that anything else. 

    And I'd also concur with trusting your gut. If it feel sketchy it probably is. Leave or report. 
    I have pepper "gel" - leaves a wicked stain on the person and doesn't have as much blowback as "spray". At least that's what it says on the label :-)

    Trusting your gut works - because if your gut is unhappy, you won't get a good night's sleep.

    And getting experience really helps to find tune your sense of where you are comfortable. The more you try out different environments, the better you get at knowing when to stay, and when to move on. On this recent trip, I learned that it's extremely difficult to forecast (even with AllStays reviews) if a particular Walmart will feel "safe" enough for me, so I made sure 1) I arrived with enough time and energy to bail to a different location and 2) that I had at least one guaranteed back up location (for me, a KOA, or Travel Center) within 10 miles of my plan A. Things I hadn't anticipated, like weather for example, factored into my personal sense of safety - so there's nothing like experience to help with this process. But sharing our experiences is a wonderful idea.

    When I first joined the forum, I looked in the Solo area for safety ideas specifically for women, but found very little, so I welcome this opportunity to share and learn without the judgment.
    2013 MAXX [email protected] towed by a 2006 Subaru Legacy Outback Sedan 2.5i  4 Cyl AWD
    Seattle, WA
  • AldebaranJillAldebaranJill Posts: 373Member
    I have recently joined a FaceBook group dedicated specifically to women who RV solo. Send me a private message if you're interested. Lots of lively discussions and tips.
    2013 MAXX [email protected] towed by a 2006 Subaru Legacy Outback Sedan 2.5i  4 Cyl AWD
    Seattle, WA
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