Should You Travel Solo or With Traveling or Camping Groups?

July 1, 2021

If you are out traveling with RVers, Van Dwellers, or in Car Dwelling camping groups, I wrote this article to educate you on some of the dangers and to know when it’s time to move on.

When I first came out west in January 2020 to the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) to learn this #NomadicLife in my first 90 days of #VanLife, I hung out with 6 other women at the event.

Because me and another lady were the last to leave the area, the other lady thought that I was going to travel with her after the event.

However, I was more comfortable and had always traveled by myself. I did not know her so traveling with another person that you just meet — whether a man or woman — can be quite dangerous — at least that is how I felt at that time.

Plus, one of my main reasons for coming on the road was to work with communities to give my health and business seminars and workshops; meet family and friends and do welfare checks on them on the road, and just meet others and enjoy myself — so I had an itinerary when I first got out here on the road — but 2020 changed everything. 

Many, especially Nomads ended up isolated for weeks and months by themselves  Leaving my old traveling group that I followed to 3 locations (14 days each on National Forest land) from Flagstaff, AZ to Colorado was one of the most liberating action steps that I have taken since being out here on the road in #VanLife for 20 months.

There were good times — but mostly lessons learned especially about how I will choose to travel in the future.

Will You Travel With Women, Men, or Just People You Know or Meet on the Road?

There are women who travel together, but many have said many of these groups of women are gossipers, so, therefore, many women rather travel with mixed groups of both men and women.

The group that I was with was men and women, which I prefer because I had met gossipy women on the road. In Flagstaff, there were 4 women and 4 men, but people came in and out of the group.

Beware of Caravan Leaders and Their Desperation to Grow a Traveling Group

The caravan leader had told us that he had recently left another group because of two gossipy women. And then he started another group but be wary of these caravan leaders that keep going from group to group. It might not always be others – it might be them. This is what I learned.

The caravan leader, which had only been in his van for 3 months, was so desperate to grow the traveling group as if this was going to be his claim to fame. 

Just remember that some people who hadn’t been fulfilled in their prior lives — will bring many issues out here on the road as a Nomad. Be careful — but sooner or later they will tell you what has happened to them – if you even care to know.

As an author I had left the group initially for several days because I needed my solitude as a writer and wanted to catch up with my youtube shows because most of the time the internet was spotty on BLM.gov and National Forest land – when I camped with them.

The caravan leader stalked me on facebook messenger pleading with me to come back to the group. He kept asking me — who pissed you off and why did I leave the group?

That should have been warning signs right there that there was something not right with him – but I did not pick up on it at that time.

That was the first time I had traveled with a Nomadic traveling and camping group in my 20 months on the road.

Basically, I left the group for a while because I just wanted some alone time. People can be quite nosy when you are traveling with groups. Sometimes they want to know all your business and I am a private person.

Look for Warning Signs Early On

Remember that in 2020 – everything changed. Many people got weirder and weirder. Many travelers in RVs, Vans, and Cars sat around isolating themselves because of COVID for an entire year and many became alcoholics because of that.

Others probably developed other mental health issues especially if they consumed mostly processed foods, GMOs, which can cause mental health issues — because these foods are not real food.

Many people expressed how they had to be alone for months — so again be careful. Many men were ready to pounce on women so women especially need to be careful out there.

I have even had men come up to me at Walmarts, men that I had talked to briefly, and ask me if I knew any single traveling nomadic women — so men out here on the road can be desperate to find the opposite sex especially after isolating for a year.

When you sit around the campfires at night, or just in a circle, or just meet people online or face to face that you are traveling with, try to pay attention to the backgrounds of these people.

Look out for the ones that always want to talk as if they have had the best experiences and they constantly repeat these experiences.

These people can potentially be some of the people who will turn mean or even violent in the future. And many of them will be the gossipers of the group so stay clear of them.

Don’t change any habits you had before coming out here and living or camping on the road. If you don’t like texting, talking on the phone or in facebook or meetup.com groups, drinking beer or alcohol — then by all means don’t change any habits you had before coming out on the road.

Especially if you had healthy habits because there are going to be so many people around you drinking a ton of alcohol and pouring garbage down their throats 24/7. Just be yourself and continue with your good habits!

I have seen people start conversations and they will sit there all day talking without eating or going to the bathroom so again don’t form bad habits dealing with these people. You should be eating at least every 3 to 4 hours — keeping your blood sugar regulated.

If they make a text group or facebook messenger group, posts on facebook.com or meetup.com groups — follow the conversations on there without participating much yourself.

See who in the group tries to lead all the conversations on or offline and if the group wasn’t made by the caravan leader of the group, avoid the group all together especially if you have never met the person.

Sometimes these caravan leaders like delegating powers to people who were part of the group before, but if you have never met these people just keep down your conversations with them. Some can be gossipers.

Why I Ended Up Leaving My First Traveling Group

I felt safe in Flagstaff, AZ because I had spent 6 months there last year in 2020 and I was waiting to start my buildout in a couple of weeks there.

The problem that started with me was when we had to move out of the area to Colorado because of the Arizona fires in 2021.

I only left (I am 64 and been out here a little over 20 months) because my female friend from Canada, 74, agreed also to go to Colorado. I had known her for 2 years and I would not have followed these two men to Colorado without other women being present.

In Flagstaff, there were about 8 of us — 4 women and 4 guys so I felt comfortable being around other women. However, I did park away from the group and kept to myself especially when I saw that one of the males was going to be problematic — because he enjoyed doing all the talking and some women had started to complain about him also being sexist and verbally abusive.

He often talked about being homeless at one point and he often bragged about being highly educated. He and another guy, both in their 60s and both heavy drinkers, were almost fighting over my 74-year-old friend from Canada that I had brought to the group so I felt responsible for her.

It was very obvious from the time she arrived that they both wanted her attention. They convinced her to go to Colorado but after one night there, she was smart and turned around and came back to Flagstaff because she said she could no longer stand to be around the man who refused to allow others to talk.

She also left because they made fun of her on the text platform because she enjoyed parking at Walmarts because they had good internet and she still had to work online.

Remember many people are going to be traveling differently than you and no one way is the right way. Some Nomads will still need to work or hold down a business so just learn to respect others and embrace their differences.

The 5-hour trip from Flagstaff to Colorado seemed like 12-hours to me because I never followed anyone out here on the road. I was so tired that I did not take the 5 hours trip back to Flagstaff with my friend.

I decided to stay and take pictures and videos of Colorado since it was my first time there. I did do as much as I could because something in the back of my mind told me to get it in because I too — might need to leave especially since I was the only female left in the camp. However, I was there with 2 men and I felt I could take them physically if I had to.

The problem was the caravan leader of the group told me several women were on their way back to the group and the new person in a van across the street was a woman, but it turned out it was a man.

By then one of the guys had also arrived in his travel trailer from Flagstaff so when I arrived back at the camp one night at almost dark, I saw that there were 4 men there and me.

I had seen the women’s conversations online, who had actually been at the camp before, and they did not say they were coming back so I was very suspect of the leader of the group from the very beginning. He was actually on his facebook group begging the women to come back.

By the time I figured out he was lying about the women coming back, I was surrounded by 4 males, 2 that were heavy drinkers so I felt for safety reasons I needed to leave the camp two days after my friend left. 

Take These Steps and Monitor When It is Time for You to Leave a Group

Don’t touch everyone: I do agree that we need to get back to hugging again, but I do not touch people because I have a very sensitive system and I can’t tolerate others that wear perfume, colognes, or other smells. And I just don’t like all the germs especially out here on the road. 

Be careful traveling with people who don’t have good grooming habits: When traveling with others, you quickly will learn who has good grooming habits and who does not. Especially stay away from people and their animals that don’t look clean. One guy’s fingernails were always dirty and his van was always unkempt too so I avoided him. He also had a nasty little dog too so I avoided the dog too. Listen to what people say. One lady, who was traveling with a cat, told me she had tons of flies in her van. Don’t park near these people and especially don’t accept anything from their vehicles especially food. I have run into several people who complained that they had severe diarrhea for several days. This is usually a sign that they have worms and parasites and these people and their animals can be contagious. Doctors won’t test you for parasites unless they see them crawling under your skin, in your eyes, or witness them coming out of your anus area. 

Park away from people initially and just observe people: You will see the ones that have alcohol and anger problems and the ones that are caring and loving. When a group becomes too controversial leave the group.

Be careful of people joining your group just to beg for money: Be careful, however, of people begging for money. I am not talking about donating money to those that really need it and helping the homeless, but some will say “well I am down to my last $10” — expecting you to rally the entire group and give them your hard-earned money so they can travel off to some unknown place. Remember that many of these Nomads were scammers before they got out here and many are still scammers.

Be careful of the places you camp: If you have been on the road longer than the leader of the group and if you are questioning some of the things he is doing — especially the places he picks for camping – it’s time to leave the group.

The caravan leader had only been out on the road for 3 months before starting the group so he barely knew what he was doing. Many times I questioned his actions.

For instance, one time in Flagstaff, he even moved us next to a Gas Plant where we all could hear a bugging noise every night, which probably omitted some type of unhealthy EMF signal.

I believe it was just an unhealthy decision to pick a spot like this. At the other location 4 out of 8 people at one time or another ended up going to the hospital.

So you have to take care of yourself out here on the road especially if you are going to be out here for a long time.

Is the Caravan Leader a good leader? Remember that good leaders – lead. Especially pay attention to the caravan leader of the group. See if he tries to keep the group in line when their behavior becomes abusive or violent especially against women.

Is the Carvan Leader protective of women? See if the caravan leader is protective of women or just trying to flirt with them himself.

Is the Caravan Leader lying to you? Remember that women like to join groups where there are other women. See if what he is saying is true and other people, especially other women, arrive as he said. Otherwise, he might be lying to keep you there. Also, these men will pretend to know how to do something on your vehicle — just to keep you there. I eventually heard the caravan leader ask another guy about amps and wattage so I realized he had been lying to my friend — when he said he would help her with something.

Check the Caravan Leaders’ messages: Again, view the caravan’s leader’s conversations in text groups, facebook groups including facebook messenger groups and at www.meetup.com groups. If he has favorites and openly demeans or degrades anyone in the group — on any of these public platforms — then it’s time to leave these groups. If they stay off the traveling topic too much and too long discussing absolutely non-sense, it’s time to leave the group.

Is the Caravan Leaders begging people to join the group: If the caravan leader is begging people to join his camp or group, again, that is a sign for you to leave the traveling group. A good traveling group will gain a reputation without the caravan leader having to beg other people to join them.

Stay Stocked Up and Be Ready To Move at the Drop of A Hat

Stay stocked up at all times and put your chair in your van every night so you will be ready to leave at the drop of a hat.

You might have to leave your rug, a table, or chair behind especially if you feel threatened or just can’t take their non-sense anymore — so be prepared to leave this stuff behind.

At the very beginning when you arrive at a new location and you are traveling with others — scout out other locations in your area.

Look for local Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, other BLM.gov or National Forest land – in your area,  especially in the next towns over — in case you must leave the group and park somewhere else — especially for safety reasons.

Sign up on the Life 360 App so family members and friends know your location at all times. Remember you don’t owe an explanation to anyone for leaving a group so be ready to block everyone on text, facebook messenger, meetup.com and facebook.com groups because these people will keep bothering you to come back to a group that you have obviously outgrown.

Supposedly, Bob Wells, from CheapRVLiving.com, will start the caravans again this fall. So for now many of the traveling groups get together at his virtual platforms at www.Meetup.com/Caravans and on facebook at www.Facebook.com/WeCampTogether so to me the people over the groups should take some type of responsibility for those who become #CaravanLeaders and forms these traveling groups through their platforms.

Remember ladies that many men could be using the above links as a dating app so be careful. They need to have some types of rules and regulations for the #CaravanLeaders to adhere to.

But you as a traveling Nomad, whether you are traveling by RV, Van or in a Car, need to make better decisions about who you are meeting on the road.

Again, if something does not seem right, it is probably not right — so be ready to leave a group at the drop of a hat.

 
Cathy Harris is a #VanDweller living ‘The Good Life.’ Her blog website is www.SimpleLifeRVing.com. She is also an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Advice Columnist at DearCathy.com, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Business and Love Coach and Self-Publishing Expert and the author of 26 non-fiction books at www.AngelsPress.com. Her books cover topics such as family and community empowerment, health, youth and adult entrepreneurship, writing/publishing, workplace discrimination, whistleblowing, government, law enforcement, domestic and international traveling, politics, media, beauty, car buying and selling for women, aging/retirement – just to name a few. She offers seminars, workshops, and consultations at www.CathyHarrisInternational.com