For women, thinking about going on a solo trip can be intimidating. You have to consider the aspect of being alone and, at the same time, being a woman in a world that can sometimes be unkind. So how do you prepare? Join host Whitney Lauritsen as she shares her travel preparation before a long trip. Do you need a tracking device that will help you and your family locate you when there is no signal? Do you find it hard to relieve yourself when traveling? Whitney recommends some tools that can help. Follow along to this episode as she shares more stories and tips for solo female travel. Learn how to be comfortably uncomfortable as you tune in!
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Solo Female Travel: Comfortably Uncomfortable
I’m writing this the day before I leave for a road trip. This episode will come out while I’m on the road. I might be in one of my destinations, but I will be on my trip. I wasn’t feeling inspired to write, but I have to write two episodes. I don’t want to bring my things on the trip and work much. I’m not someone who takes a lot of vacations. I travel a good amount but I don’t usually consider them vacations. Once I started working for myself, I found it hard to take a structured vacation.
Even looking back on most of my work history, I’m not sure that I would consider any of it vacation, except for one time. I did go to Hawaii in 2010 with my friends. That’s the only time I’ve been there. Although now I feel sad because native people in Hawaii have been asking tourists not to go visit, which I take to heart. I wonder if I’ll ever go back there. That might have been one of the few vacations. When I was growing up, my family and I used to take vacations like many families. Sometimes we would go to a lot of tropical places.
Every once in a while, we would go somewhere specific. I remember we went to Quebec one time. We could drive there from Massachusetts. It’s not that far. I went on school trips. I also had the privilege, because it truly is a privilege to travel a lot. I have traveled for work. I’ve traveled for school. I’ve mentioned on some episodes how I studied abroad in the Netherlands. That was incredible.
I also went to the Cannes Film Festival twice. One time I interned and volunteered there. The second time, I went as a mentor for the same program and helped out the interns. That second trip was paid for. I didn’t get paid, but almost all, if not all my expenses were paid for, which was cool. I’ve had the luxury of having a lot of people pay for my trips. A few other times when I was working for a family as a nanny, I went to Europe with them twice, two summers in a row. That was all paid for.
Travel felt accessible to me. It’s also interesting because growing up, I don’t recall liking road trips. I associated them with the beat and long drives with my parents, in the backseat with my sister. None of them, in my memory, seemed fun aside from the bonding. My sister and I are close. I’m going to see her on this trip I’m about to take. I got butterflies of excitement because my sister and I have a deep bond. I’ve tried hard to get her to do more of this trip with me. She is on vacation somewhere else and is going to be going back to her job, then jumping back on the plane a few days later to come spend a few days with me on this trip. We’re going to see a concert. I’m so excited.
Travel Is A Privilege
This episode is about this upcoming trip. I want to set the stage because the themes are also about the discomfort and the comfort of travel. I don’t know when this episode will be up because I’m taking a break. My goal is in the next few months to be completely caught up. I see travel as a privilege because I’ve met plenty of people who have never traveled, even people I grew up with in my hometown in Massachusetts. It was a privileged lifestyle for many of us. Most of the kids that I went to had parents with a good amount of money. At the time, I didn’t.
That was life but looking back, I grew up privileged, and even a lot of them chose not to travel much or even move that far. A lot of my classmates from high school still live in the general vicinity. I’m always fascinated by that, versus someone like me who went from a small town to one of the biggest cities in the world. I’m drawn to big cities, too. I always have been. The excitement and the energy of it suit me. It’s interesting in the context of road trips, every time I drive somewhere, I think, “What if I’ll find a new place that I want to live?” Every trip so far I’ve come back and still wanted to live here. I still felt at least comfortable enough to stay.
I don’t have the passion to leave Los Angeles like a lot of people do. I’ll share this trip with you in an upcoming episode. To protect my safety, I won’t disclose exactly where I’m going and when. Most of the places I’m going include national parks that are remote, quiet, and smaller. There are areas in some of the States that I’m going to on this coming trip that I’ve heard a lot of people say great things about. One of the states that I’m going to is Utah, another is Arizona. I’m going technically to three states and crossing through a fourth. I feel incredibly drawn to all four of these states, but I can’t imagine myself living there.
That’s a whole other thing. I remember there was an episode Jason and I did in the past where he had talked for so long about moving out of LA. He was trying to figure out where he wanted to live. I mentioned some of my feelings about different parts of the country. I’m not going to get into that. Anyway, let me circle back. There’s a lot built in the privilege there. I feel it’s so important to acknowledge privilege when talking about travel.
For so long, I view life as like, “If you want to, you will.” It’s something they say a lot on TikTok, mostly in the context of romantic relationships. “If he wanted to, he would,” is one of those phrases. I have an issue with this idea if you wanted to, or someone else wanted to, they would. I feel that’s so limited. I’m glad that I outgrew that outlook because it is so relative. For someone like me who grew up with privilege, who grew up with parents that could provide for me, that loved me, that loved travel, that felt accessible to me. I had the privilege of the college I went to that had the broad program and the privilege to have the money to go. I had the privilege of jobs that I took and career paths that I took.
All of those things are not something that I want to take for granted and be in this mindset of, “Anybody could do this.” Road trips are fairly accessible. Even with gas prices as they are, road trips are going to change for a lot of people starting in 2022. I would be interested to see the statistics, given how high gas prices went. I drive an electric car, which I’m extraordinarily grateful for. I love the challenge of driving cross country because it certainly is a big difference.
Budgets, Credit Cards, And Travel Points
Time is another big factor. There are a lot of travel bloggers, travel influencers that talk about it, even things like credit cards and travel points. There are a few episodes in the past that touch upon this. A fairly recent one was with a guest named Jason who talked about traveling a lot. He has a whole book out about making travel work. There was a recent episode with Jesse from You Need a Budget that’s good for budgeting. A guest named Owen talked about credit cards.
If you’re looking for some references to help you think about this, that’s great. Also, keep in mind, those are three white men who have a lot of experience and knowledge. I bring up their skin color and their gender because there’s a lot of information coming from people that look like them that make it seem easy and accessible. I want to acknowledge that gender can make travel difficult. I’ve talked about this in past episodes about how hard it is for me mentally and emotionally sometimes. When I’m traveling, I have a lot of anxiety.
Even though I enjoy it, I have a lot of anxiety about being safe. In this episode, I’ll talk about how I’ve created some systems to keep myself safe. Honestly, I feel it’s always a bit of a gamble as a woman, unfortunately. There was a whole episode that Jason and I did talking about the element of women feeling unsafe during trips. A lot of people have felt concerned, but I’ve traveled by myself quite a bit. I traveled to Greece a few years ago by myself. I was in Greece with a previous boyfriend of mine, there and back. There was a ton involved just getting there and certainly things could have happened.
When I studied abroad, I did a ton of probably dangerous things, not intentionally. Looking back, I would not do those things as an adult, knowing what I know. Maybe times have changed or my awareness has shifted. I still feel there’s a risk factor and that’s unfortunate. That’s what I mean on the gender side of things. There are things to consider that somebody who has the privilege of their gender, race, income level, or job situation. I always want to emphasize that I’m not trying to come from a place of, “Anybody can do this.”
I would like to bring on some more guests to the show that could share some different viewpoints into this. Sometimes, or often, travel is seen as, “Set up a plan and you can do it.” That is basically how I work. Now that I’ve acknowledged the privilege side of it, the privilege of working, however, and whenever I want, I can set things up. I did have to plan weeks and weeks in advance to make this trip happen with my work schedule.
Every day is completely flexible for me, but I have a ton of meetings. I have this show and several other shows that I’m doing. I have clients that I do work for at least five days a week. I’m checking in on them and all of these things that come into play. If I don’t plan that stuff in advance, then it becomes challenging. Every time I travel, I have to consider what could possibly go wrong. That’s one thing. Overall, because I have the flexibility to work for myself and have clients, it’s different than when I used to work a full-time job. I had to request time off and would only get certain days off or certain time periods off.
I don’t have children either. That’s also something that I’m recognizing more and more. Sometimes I feel not guilty, but it’s interesting being in my age range and having so many friends with kids and family members with kids. Seeing their lives compared to mine and talking to them on the phone, sometimes I’ll stop myself and realize, “We are living differently from one another because they have kids and I don’t.” Sometimes that thought makes me think, “I don’t know if I ever want to have kids. I do not want to be able to travel like I am with this trip” I’m not sure. I don’t think kids get in the way or prevent that, but they certainly make it a different situation.Travel is a privilege. Click To Tweet
I’ve had a habit of marking down places I want to go. Once I started road tripping in 2020, I got the bug for it. My first road trip with my Tesla Fiat electric car previous to this one, I was able to do one short trip. It could only go 80 miles on a charge, which is low versus this new Tesla. It is supposed to be around 300 miles although it gets maybe like 275 miles or something. The Tesla is not only a car with long range, but its ecosystem is designed to be able to drive almost anywhere. When I heard about that, I felt that I had to get that car.
That was one of the, pun intended, driving factors of my decision to get the car years ago. I didn’t want to be held back, but I wanted an electric car. I did my first experiment with Jason in 2019. We drove to Denver, Colorado. We went to one of the places. Spoiler, one place I’m going on this trip is Denver. We went because one of my favorite musical groups, OneRepublic, was playing at Red Rocks Amphitheater, which was a place I had heard about and wanted to go. I love seeing OneRepublic live. I convinced Jason to go with me. We did this week-long trip, going there. That was amazing. It showed me that my car could go the long distance.
Cross Country Trip
Sometime after that trip, I wanted to try a longer trip. I started thinking about the cross country trip, which I ended up doing in 2020, first time with the car and it was so exhilarating. I ended up driving back from Massachusetts to LA by myself. I did not know that I could handle that. I had to do it that way because I couldn’t find anybody else to drive back with me. On the way there, I drove out with a friend Leanne who came on the show and we talked about that trip in another episode.
Leanne pushed me to do that trip. I remember feeling nervous about it. It was scary because we were going to camp and I had zero experience camping. I don’t know anything about it. I didn’t have any equipment. I thought, “Let’s see what happens.” I wanted to try camp mode in the Tesla. If you haven’t heard me talk about it, this is this button you press that keeps the air conditioning or the heat on it, whatever temperature you want. It keeps it circulating and keeps your electronics on. It’s designed to be a glamping situation in the car. That was incredible. I did that trip and I was like, “This is amazing.”
Since then, I started thinking about road tripping a lot and marking spots down. On that trip, we went through Colorado. It was my second year in a row going through Colorado. Over time, I started seeing all these places that I wanted to go to. In 2021 when I did my big cross country trip by myself, the first round trip in my electric car, that felt ambitious because I went way up to Montana where I’d never been. That was almost at the border between the US and Canada.
I went into bear territory. I’ve never done that before. That was also a big adventure. It took a lot longer. I saw almost every single one of my family members on that trip. It was awesome. I felt so empowered. It went smoothly. I was amazed. I did not go to Colorado that trip but I kept thinking about it. I’m like, “I want to go back.” This trip came out of my desire to go to Colorado. I started marking all these places. I used Google Maps and there’s a cool feature there where you can bookmark places that you like.
I use TikTok a lot. Anytime I saw a video on TikTok saying, “You got to go here,” I mark it down. When I looked at the map, so many of those places were in Colorado. I’m slowly sharing some of these places I’m going. I’ll share the timeline and the destinations after I return from the trip. I had intended on going to Colorado sometime, then two things happened. One, I heard about this event, CEX, that is in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s not quite on the way to Colorado, but it’s not out of the way. I thought, “How about I go to Phoenix and then Colorado?”
The biggest sign was when I found out another one of my favorite musical acts was playing at Red Rocks Amphitheater. I thought, “Here we go.” There are two musical acts I see almost religiously every time they play in Los Angeles. This second act is one of them. My sister happens to like this musical act, too. I got tickets and my sister had not confirmed if she was going to come. She is the last-minute type of person, but I finally got her to get a plane ticket. We got it all sorted out and we’re going to Red Rocks to see this performance.
I am so excited. We’re also going to a national park with each other. I’m going to a bunch of national parks and hitting up some of the places in Colorado that I want to go to. I feel good about it, but I’m leaving soon and it’s intense. I feel before any trip that I do, some anxiety comes up. It’s simultaneously comfortable and uncomfortable for me. That’s so interesting. I remember also feeling this way about Greece. I had wanted to go to Greece for so long. My boyfriend at the time invited me. He was already traveling in Europe and he offered to pay for parts of it. He got a lot of the finances sorted out.
I had a few excuses not to go on this trip, but I remember procrastinating buying my plane ticket and making the plan. It overwhelmed me. I’m so glad I did it despite how complicated and long the trip was to get there. It was an ordeal. I have footage from that trip that I’ve wanted to edit together and I haven’t gotten around to it. That’s what I feel about a lot of my trips. I have this desire to share all the things I learned. That Greece trip was, unbeknownst to me, the beginning of a big passion for travel.
What that has in common with my road trips in the US is I started to get into travel gear. My boyfriend at the time was also into travel stuff. He did this big trip in Europe. He was always telling me, “Look at what I got here. Look at this. Look at that.” At first I wasn’t that interested, but once I started planning the Greece trip, I was like, “What can I do to make this trip more comfortable?”
I have a video on this on my YouTube channel for Eco-Vegan Gal, which I can share with you. I talked about the carry-ons. I also bought a bunch of things to sleep more comfortably on the plane. It was awesome because it was a long trip to get there. I was grateful for everything that I bought to make the flight more comfortable. That’s what happened on the road trips as well. When I did the trip in 2020, I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. That is probably a good thing because I felt uncomfortable about it, similar to the Greece trip.
If I didn’t have somebody pushing me to do it, I probably wouldn’t have gone to Greece and I probably wouldn’t have driven cross country. Having somebody say, “I want to do this with you. You can do this. We’re in this together,” helped me out a lot. That’s also a bit of a privilege. It gave me the courage to start doing things on my own. In 2020, I also didn’t have a ton of money. Financially, I was trying to get my footing.
At the beginning of 2020, I was barely making an income. I didn’t have any regular clients that I do now. Things were tight and the stimulus check was a huge deal. Similar to a lot of people, I was so panicked about money. I found ways to do most of that 2020 trip with Leanne on a limited budget. We split most things like all the car charging. We split the camping costs. We split food costs, and pretty much everything. I also got a ton of stuff donated by companies. I included them in the show and some various social media promotions. That was a smart way to do it, but I remember feeling limited.
In 2021, I was in a better financial position. I bought a bunch of things to experiment with that would make the trip better. I did the same thing for this upcoming trip. That feels uncomfortable, too. Even though I have the financial flexibility, I still get a little bit of a pit in my stomach. There’s one thing I haven’t bought yet. I’m procrastinating it, but it’s amazing. I have to push myself. I’m going to pull the trigger and get it later or at the last minute. I’m going to pick it up from this store on my way to my first destination.
Speaking of safety, one thing that feels good and something I’ve been thinking about is called a Garmin inReach. It is a satellite device that will track where you are and other people can see where you are, too. It has emergency features built into it. It also allows you to text message in areas where you wouldn’t get a cell signal. In 2021, that would’ve come in handy because I was in Montana at Glacier National Park. I was there for two and a half days and barely had a cell signal the entire time.
Luckily, nothing happened. It was completely fine. When I finally did get a signal, I had all these concerned texts from my mom being, “I don’t see you on the Find My iPhone map.” If you have an iPhone, they have nice tracking features. You can track your friends and family that give you permission. My mom loves using that when I’m on the road. When you are at a cell signal, it doesn’t show you where you last were, maybe it does, I don’t know. My mom couldn’t see me. She got nervous because it was a couple of days. I had no way of touching base with her and that makes me nervous.
The other thing that I thought it could be helpful for is if my car breaks down in the middle of the road, despite the fact that I also bought a bunch of things to repair my tires. One challenge with the Tesla is, or at least with mine, the Model 3 doesn’t have a spare tire. They do make spare tires. A third party offers them, but they’re $300. Tesla tires are expensive in general. It’s not that small and it takes up all this room. I don’t want to get that unless I was advised to, but I got some tire repair kits and stuff like that.iPhones have nice tracking features to track friends and family that give you permission. Click To Tweet
Let’s say something bad happened in the middle of nowhere. It would be nice instead of waiting around for someone to pass by, and who knows who that could be, to be able to communicate. That’s why I’m leaning towards getting this thing plus I thought, “If anything ever happened to me, I would love for someone to at least know where I was, and the last place I was seen, whereas cell phones are not that reliable. I’m close to getting it, but it’s $400.
However, I do happen to have a $300 gift certificate to REI that I was given for Christmas. I’ve been holding onto it for the perfect thing, so that’s covered. Sometimes that extra $140 to buy this device with tax, still feels like a lot of money to me. Money’s so relative, but I feel like it’s a good thing to do. This is the challenge though with travel. I’ll go down these rabbit holes and find product after product and not frivolous, nice to have. It’s a lot of things that are valuable.
I’ve been treating these road trips as gradually adding more and more things. Because I did the 2020 trip, I know that I have everything that I technically need. Everything that I’ve bought in 2021 and 2022 thus far are items that are nice to have and extra security. The other thing I got is making me laugh because I am so uncomfortable with this. I got this SUV tent and I can’t wait to do a follow-up episode to tell you about how all this stuff went in hindsight. I was excited about this tent. I did all this research and cost comparison. I found an inexpensive version that’s brand new.
I even tried to look for used gear too but opted not to with this particular thing. I set it up to practice, because I read a little bit saying, “It’s a little complicated to put together.” I’m like, “How hard could it be?” I get it out and immediately find out it’s challenging the first time you put it together. This thing is huge. All these people are saying, “It’s much better if two people put it together.” I found myself feeling frustrated and disappointed, deeply uncomfortable, like, “I did all this research and this wasn’t what I expected.” I was looking forward to this. I thought this was going to be this great thing. It’s overwhelming.
After I move through those emotions, I realize I want to embrace the challenge of this. This is the only tent I’ve ever bought and owned. I take that back. When I was growing up, I used to tend to camp. I used to love the tent that my parents had. I don’t even know the story of why they had this tent. I should probably ask them about it. I remember it was this weird old tent we had that eventually something spilled on it. I remember it smelling weird, but I went through a phase of being into it. I don’t think I put it together myself, but as I’m talking through this, maybe I did.
Safety And Privilege
It’s funny how stories like this bring up old memories. Maybe I slept in it once. I did backyard camping growing up, but that was the extent of it. In my adult life, this is the first tent. I read all these positive reviews about this thing and it wasn’t what I expected. It’s so big and intense, but I thought, “I want to prove to myself that I can do these hard things.” This is the appeal of these big trips for me. When I tell people about what I’m doing, most people seem surprised. They’ll say things, “You’re doing it all on your own?” Part of me feels, “What’s the big deal? Why do people respond that way?”
I think a lot of it is gender and that makes me sad. The reason that resonates with me is I have privilege. My skin color has given me a sense of safety that people with different skin colors do not experience. I can imagine how hard it would be for a woman of color to do these trips. What do they go through? What about people that are not heterosexual or people that are outside of the white cisgender heterosexual, well-off world?
This has opened my eyes to the fact that what makes me feel unsafe is relatively minor compared to what other people have to go through and why they may not do these types of trips. If that’s you, I would love to hear from you honestly about your experiences. Even if that’s not you, I want to hear about your experience. I encourage you to reach out whether it’s through social media or text message, if you have my number or email.
Do you travel? Why or why not? How do you feel about it? I bring that up because there’s a lot of cultural reinforcement of this idea that if you’re not a strong white man, doing anything on your own is weird. Even in 2022, we’re supposed to have more equality, but people still react that way to me all the time. A lot of people say, “That’s cool,” but they also have this edge to it like, “I would never do that.” That’s part of the appeal to me, too. I’m not trying to prove anything to anybody. I’m just trying to prove it to myself and say, “I can do this.”
I want to be able to handle anything. I want to embrace the discomfort. Putting up this tent seems like a pretty minor thing, but it’s intimidating to me. It’s scary. Having this huge thing, is it going to blow away in the wind? The first time I tried to put it together, I was so frustrated because it’s so big. The way that it’s designed is hard to put together on your own, but I’m like, “I’m going to do it. I can.” I’m feeling anxious about using that tent but I’m not going to return it, at least not until I’ve given it a fair shot. I want to go and try it out.
It’s so fascinating, too. For some reason I feel a bit anxious, talking it through. I’m going to stay at an Airbnb for some parts of this trip. I’m staying at 2 RV parks and 2 campgrounds. I have 3 out of the 4 RV/camping places booked, and one not because they don’t take reservations. There’s also the unknown. One place I went to in 2021 on my road trip was not taking reservations. I got there and it was all booked. Luckily, I’d looked at some Plan Bs. I’ve done a bit of that, but that’s scary, too.
After a long day of driving, you get somewhere. You don’t even know if there’s room for you, but every time I’ve stayed somewhere, it’s all worked out. The tent is part of my safety plan because I’ve been camping, sleeping, and doing everything in the car on these trips. Sometimes I feel like I stand out and I’m trying not to draw a lot of attention to myself. A lot of people will drive in their car to places, but they have a tent. Part of my hope is to fit in more.
This SUV tent is neat because it attaches to your car. That’s the reason I got it. I hope that it goes over semi-smoothly. The other thing I got that I’m so excited about, and I can’t wait to test out, is something that most people also feel uncomfortable about. I haven’t talked to many people about this product yet, but it’s called The Carloo. It’s a car loo which is slang for potty or toilet. I found that there are a few companies that make these potties or toilets to use in the car.
The two that I was deciding between are made by women in the United States. I debated between two brands and I ended up going with The Carloo. The woman that owns this company is so nice. I’m so glad that I got it through her. She ended up sending it to me to review and I cannot wait. I want to try it. I already want to spread the word about it. I already am, but you will not believe the situations I have put myself in the past years when it comes to using the bathroom, even urinating mostly. Those have been the chaotic things.
In 2020, when I travelled with Leanne, things were still iffy with COVID. This is before the vaccines were out. There were so many unknowns and I was going to see my family. So was she. We wanted to try hard to protect ourselves. One of the things that we avoided was public restrooms. Over time, we ended up using them more and more. Our initial goal is not to use them, but that got thrown out of the window.
As we talked about in the episode together, we had this cool device. It’s called a female urination device and it’s made for women to be able to stand up and pee. That thing is great. It’s called The Tinkle Belle. I still use that. It’s great when you’re in the woods, when you’re on a hike or something. You don’t have to squat down. It folds flat. You can keep it in your bag. The problem was Leanne and I tried to use it everywhere we went. Sometimes we would pull over on the side of the road to use it. It was constantly trying to hide from other people.
The two of us are fairly comfortable with each other. Depending on how it worked exactly, we probably could have used it in front of each other. There wasn’t a lot of shyness, but there was one moment when we both had to go and it was snowing. It was not planned. This was the end of summer, but still, not even fall yet. We were in Colorado and it started snowing. There was this freak storm that went through and we had to pee so bad. We were in a parking lot.
I’m not going to get into the details, but it was this whole ordeal of trying to relieve ourselves. On my trips by myself, I ended up having a container that I peed in. There was always weird stuff. As a woman, this is another element that men don’t have to go through or anyone that has a penis. There’s a luxury of standing up and peeing, but I feel people with a penis have more confidence and be comfortable around that. Whereas there’s a vulnerability I feel having a vagina. It’s just different.When traveling, stop thinking about everything that can go wrong. Click To Tweet
This device is cool, but I still wasn’t used to peeing, standing up technically in public, not in a bathroom, having to find a space to go where I’ve seen so many men confidently go in random places. The other thing was I didn’t know if I was allowed to pee in certain places. I don’t know what the rules are. There are a lot of rules about exposing yourself but in terms of, “Is it publicly acceptable to go certain places?” There were so many iffy situations. Long story, when I found The Carloo, I was like, “This is a game-changer. It’s designed for road trips. It’s designed to use in your car. It is the coolest thing.”
It is stainless steel inside. It’s sanitary. It comes with a cover to help it from leaking or spilling, but it also is discreet. The other one I was looking at was not as discreet. It’s cool, designed specifically for women. A guy probably wouldn’t want to use this, but I was like, “What if someone with a different body style or shape uses it?” The other brand was designed for women’s body shapes and that could lead to some challenges. Let’s say I was with somebody else and they needed to go, too. It seems like they could use The Carloo for people of all ages.
It’s awesome. The discreet side of it is extra nice. It has handles, you can carry it into a restroom, empty it out, and clean it. The other one, you could do that, too, but it’s eye-catching and not maybe in a positive way. You could do any type of relief if you catch my drift. The other one I was looking at is just for urination. I bought a collapsible toilet last year for my camping trip, which is awesome. It’s designed to be used in a popup tent, which I also have. I have so much gear. It’s silly, but cool at the same time.
I bought this little popup tent that you can use to change. You can turn it into a bathroom. This little toilet folds flat, and then you can pop it up, and you put a bag in it with this special powder that you put in there. When you use the bathroom, you can wrap it up. It keeps the smell down and you can dispose of it. It helps degrade it so you can throw it into any trash can. That’s cool. I will break it down, pun intended again, since I was talking about breaking down, going to the bathroom. Anyways, The Carloo is so amazing because I felt seen. That was the other side of it.
After these last few trips I’ve taken, I felt I was doing all sorts of weird things, trying to figure it out. Nobody was talking about this stuff and this has compelled me to talk about it more. I was seeking out how other women were traveling. I was seeking out how people camp in their cars. A lot of it is couples, men and women in a van, and they have all this fancy stuff. I’m like, “What do you do if you’re in a small sedan?”
Few people are talking about driving an electric car although there is an amazing Facebook group called Tesla Road Trippers. That has been a game-changer for me. They are the nicest people. They are the people I found this SUV tent through by the way. I’ve had to branch out and figure all this stuff out. I remember the bathroom thing. I sometimes need to go when I was charging my car. Most Tesla chargers are by a gas station or a hotel. Gas station bathrooms are usually pretty gross. I’ll use them, but I would prefer not to. Hotels are nice, but it’s so awkward going into a hotel when you’re not a guest. I’ve learned to overcome that.
I think there’s an agreement with Tesla drivers. The hotel people know that you’re there. One time though, I lied to this hotel desk clerk. I don’t even know why. I feel so embarrassed that I did this, but I wanted to fill up my water bottle. I was looking for a filtered water station and there was nowhere to be seen except in the gym at this hotel, which I could see through the glass door, but it was locked. You had to be a guest. I don’t know why I lied about this, but I went to the front desk and said, “I already checked out and handed in my key. Could you let me into the gym?”
The guy instead of saying, “Sure, no problem,” he talked to me a bit and I had to continue with the lie. Even though it was an innocent white lie, I still regret doing that. He probably knew I was lying and it’s embarrassing. Why didn’t you say, “Can I use the water filter to fill up? I’m charging my car outside.” These are the situations that I’ve been in where I’ve seen different sides of myself and learned lessons from doing things that I don’t feel comfortable with. Sometimes I learn the hard way and I felt comfortable at the time but in hindsight, I feel uncomfortable about a decision.
Fear, Intuition, And Overwhelm
Sometimes I did something that felt uncomfortable in the moment but in hindsight, I feel that was great. I’m glad I did that. I’m proud of myself. I went outside of my comfort zone and everything worked out. I’m hoping that happens on this trip. I feel nervous. It feels like a big undertaking. There’s something about this particular trip. I’m hoping that it’s not my intuition warning me about something. That scares me a little bit.
That’s the tricky thing with fear. It’s hard to tell. Is it a gut feeling? I don’t think it is. I’m a bit overwhelmed and I’m also out of practice. I haven’t traveled since November 2021. Once I hit the road, once everything’s packed up, I’ll get into the travel mode and everything will work out. Nothing that I’m doing is that nuts either. Some of the things that people do in the national parks and the way they camp and hike, it’s intense. It’s in tents. Get it? In a tent. I have lots of puns. I don’t know where this is coming from within me.
There’s this couple I follow that is incredible. I’m pretty sure they’re vegan because they’re always talking about vegan food. They’re not even calling it vegan necessarily, but they do these in incredible trips by foot. Their first one where they became popular on TikTok, they traveled from Mexico up to Canada. They walked from Mexico to Canada, from border to border. They had all this dehydrated food with them that happened to be vegan.
Side note, it’s this couple and they’re sleeping outside in the elements. I don’t even know if they bring a tent because they don’t have room for it. They have a cover on top of you, but it’s open air. My mouth is ajar. They might have even walked through Montana, which is Bear Country as they call it. I can’t even imagine, but people do this stuff and I’m thinking, “Here I am on my electric car that has a camp mode in it. I have all this gear. I have two toilets and a female urination device. I have three different ways to relieve myself, a huge tent. I have a memory foam mattress for my car.”
This is the definition of glamping or clamping like car glamping. It is a term maybe I could use, but it’s funny how it feels complex, but I’m staying at RV parks with electricity and a nice campground. It’s all relative. Our comfort zones can be stretched in all different ways. That’s what I have to say for now. I’m excited and anxious at the same time because there’s still a lot to do. I still have to finish packing. I also bought a bunch of new outfits. I talked about this in a previous episode, how I’m excited.
I also found through TikTok this girl that makes videos about how to dress as a midsize woman. I don’t know if I qualify as midsize. Midsize might be size ten and up, but I feel like I don’t look good in a lot of the outfits that are made for smaller bodies. I feel self-conscious in my stomach area. This girl on TikTok shows cool outfits. I love the way that she dresses. I got some great ideas from her. I went and got new outfits. I’m so excited about it. I don’t normally buy a lot of clothes. I tend to keep the same clothes for many years.
I’m basic. I’m not someone that gets fancy. I’m speaking at this conference and going to be around a lot of business professionals. I feel like I want to dress up. I’m going to see my sister. I want to have some clothes I felt confident in. I’m excited to pack those. I’m going to finish packing my clothing and then I packed some awesome food. That’s all set up for the most part. In 2021, I bought a refrigerator and freezer combo that goes in my car and plugs into the 12-volt cigarette adapter. It’s a game-changer, so great. Here’s another pun for you. That fridge is cool. I am excited to use that again.
I’ve got the food stuff. I feel so confident about it. I’ve been to so many stores period. The shopping I’ve done is on another level. That’s all taken care of. I’m pretty good to go. I have a long checklist. Everything will be good. It’s always that travel anxiety and I just have to move through it. The best feeling that I have before trips is the moment I leave home. When everything is done, there’s no turning back. I inevitably leave something or forget something. I have to overcome that anxiety that I feel. That’s always interesting too.
In 2021, I recorded a little video of myself during one of the only bad feelings I had. It’s so fascinating. Some things feel like they’re going wrong and where my anxiety and stress come from. I lost this window shade. There’s this awesome company called QuikSnap. They sent me these window shades in 2020. I love them so much because they not only block out some of the sun to keep the car cooler and keep me from getting sunburn, but they also give privacy.
When I leave my car and go run an errand on the road or driving down the street, it’s extra privacy. I lost one of them on the 2021 trip. I was in the Grand Tetons and feeling so bummed. There’s this video that I haven’t posted of me sitting in the car, so stressed, and bummed out about that one little thing. Honestly, that’s one of the only things that went wrong the entire round trip cross-country drive I did. It’s funny in hindsight, but in the moment, I had to talk myself through it. I was beating myself up. I was so disappointed in myself for losing something.Our comfort zones can be stretched in all different ways. Click To Tweet
I was dealing with the disappointment of the inconvenience it was going to cause me which it did. It’s a small thing, but it inconvenienced me. It compromised my privacy. I was bummed about that. I had to rig up another option. I remember feeling so mad. I was like, “Why did I do that?” This is what happens sometimes when I leave. I don’t know how relatable this is. If you want to respond to this episode, I would love to know how you feel about packing and things that could go wrong on trips.
I struggle with the preparation and being afraid to leave things behind. It’s a bizarre thing because most things are replaceable. I got another sun shade. It’s completely fine. I knew I would get one when I got home. The frustration I felt was that I had a week or so more left of my trip. It didn’t make sense for me to get this shade on the road. I couldn’t have it shipped to me. I was feeling vulnerable a week more on something I was counting on, keeping me safer and I spun out.
There are times when I’ve forgotten things on trips, even the simplest thing. I’ve spun out over losing a towel. This is an example, a specific towel I lost in 2021 that I felt attached to. I am disappointed until now that I lost that towel. I don’t even think I lost it. I think it’s at my sister’s place in New York. She’s not the type of person that would remember to send it to me. Maybe I can go looking for it this year when I visit her again. I’ve even thought about convincing her to look for it so she can bring it to me in Colorado.
I obsess over those things and I don’t like that. I don’t know what is going to happen on this trip. I hope it’s nothing. I hope that’s the worst. I simultaneously either hope nothing that happens or that’s all that happens because I am grateful for minor issues. I hit a squirrel in 2021. That was upsetting. The amount of deer and wild animals I’ve seen on the side of the road is heartbreaking. Probably my least favorite part about driving cross-country is seeing roadkill. It deeply bothers me.
I’m so grateful that I have not hit a big animal, not to minimize the squirrel. That was upsetting to me. I’ve even done that and I had to get over it. I felt horrible. That poor squirrel, it sucks. Anyways, I’m going to stop thinking about everything that can go wrong because I don’t think that’s going to help me. I’m going to go charge my car now. I have to write one more episode, which you’ll read next week. Thank you so much for reading.
I would love to hear from you. I love getting messages. If you’ve ever thought of responding and you’ve held back for one reason or another. I love even, “I listen to your app.” You could say the most basic thing to me, but it makes my day truly. Just know it takes me a little time to respond. If you would like a faster response, email is generally great, especially now that I have an assistant helping me with emails. It’s a game-changer for me because she helps me write them. I always look them over myself. They never are done without me, but having somebody to set them up and hold me accountable for responding to emails is so thrilling.
The other way to connect with me is through my passion project, Beyond Measure. We had a call earlier. Despite the fact that I’m feeling a bit frenzied and hectic with so much to do before my trip, it was wonderful. Every few months, we do a special meal prep together as a group where we all go on camera and make the same dish. We made a sun-dried tomato pesto pasta. It seemed like a basic recipe. I was thinking, “Is this going to be any fun?”
It was amazing. We had the greatest time. There are a bunch of regulars who show up to every call. They were there. Another person who’s been part of Beyond Measure from the beginning but not as regular, showed up. I didn’t even need to be there myself as the host of Beyond Measure because they were all chatting away. I was listening to them talk. We were all making food together.
At the end, we all showed our dishes. Some of us ate together, and some people saved the meal for a different part of their day. It was so wonderful. We had the best time and I love that. Beyond Measure continues to blow me away. If you want to come and hang out with me in real time and meet other amazing people, I would love to have you in Beyond Measure. I’m going to keep reminding and encouraging you.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m working on a membership fee. It’s been free up until now but I’m going to charge probably about $5 for it per month. That will help me cover the costs of running it. There are some monthly costs involved. It is also another way to get your stake in the game. I have a rewards program built into Beyond Measure. You can earn your money back.
If you want to learn more about that, go check out Beyond Measure. You can ask me questions if you would if you’re curious, if you’re unsure about it. I want to make it accessible to anyone who wants to join. I would love to have you. I would love to connect with you in real time. It’s not just me talking to you. I want to hear from you, too, in whatever form that takes shape. Thank you so much for listening. I’ll be back soon with another episode, and soon with an episode about this trip to share everything that has happened between now and the end of the trip.
- You Need a Budget
- Jason Robinson – past episode
- Jesse Mecham – past episode
- Owen Beiny – past episode
- past episode
- Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart – past episode
- Eco-Vegan Gal – YouTube
- The Tinkle Belle
- Tesla Road Trippers – Facebook group
- Beyond Measure
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