Woman Embarks on 8700-Mile Solo Cross-Country Road Trip and Nothing Bad Happens

"You're what?! Why would you do that?"

"So, you're going with your husband, right?"

"How scary! Wait—aren't you scared?"

"What if something bad happens?"

"Did you hear about that one girl who did something similar and was stalked and raped halfway through her trip?"

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We live in an interesting world, my friends. When I first started telling people about my plans for the CYOP Road Trip, I was somewhat shocked at the response. Both men and women, alike, bombarded me with questions that really got me thinking. 

Now, when a friend, coworker or family member is concerned for your safety, you hug them and reassure them and let them know how you plan to stay safe. However, I had strangers, journalists (Yes, I received a reply—from a female journalist—to a press release linking to this article as a "heads up" about traveling alone and using social media to share. Hence the cheeky title of this piece.) and acquaintances sharing horrific stories and general discomfort about a woman embarking on a trip like mine.

Conclusions were jumped to, assumptions were made and, unfortunately, fear-based stereotypes were perpetuated. So, to the questions above, I'd answer:

"You're what?! Why would you do that?"

Option 1: Because I can. Option 2: Why would I not take a trip like this?

"So, you're going with your husband, right?"

Nope. He's holding down the fort here at home!

"How scary! Wait—aren't you scared?"

Not really. Anxious for the journey (and huge work load) ahead of me? Yes. Scared? No.

"What if something bad happens?"

Something bad could happen to me at home. If something bad happens on the road I'll deal with it in the same way I'd deal with it at home.

"Did you hear about that one girl who did something similar and was stalked and raped halfway through her trip?"

I've heard countless stories like this, but plenty of people take trips like mine without incident—we simply don't hear about it (Hello, mainstream media. Can we do something about this, please?). Also: I'm smart, cautious and come from a family of law enforcement officers. I'm the most optimistic, yet paranoid person you know. Trust me.

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Now I've returned from the trip and guess what? 

I didn't get into any car accidents, avoided getting tickets by driving safely, didn't find myself in any scary situations, kept my head on a swivel while driving to watch for wildlife at dawn and dusk (I did have a few close calls with a very active herd of elk), skipped hiking trails that looked a bit dicey and came with a long list of warnings (I'm looking at you, Grand Canyon), crossed the street if I felt at all unsafe about what I saw in front of me, didn't use social media to broadcast my current location (and shared in a smart way, instead), packed a paper atlas just in case I didn't have cell coverage, reminded myself of everything I've ever learned about self defense and kept loved ones apprised of my whereabouts pretty much every day.

Basically, I spent six weeks on the road driving 8700+ miles through 27 states to interview people I met on the internet and nothing bad happened

But you know what did happen?

  • I learned more about our amazing country in six weeks than I ever gleaned from history books.
  • I met incredible people, many of whom will likely become life-long colleagues and friends. 
  • I reconnected with old friends over wine and food and life stories (and, in Nashville, live music). 
  • I talked to people about all of the amazing work they're doing and how they've chosen to build their lives and careers. 
  • I learned a great deal about business, life, creativity and community from everyone I met along the way.
  • I became comfortable with working odd hours and creating from the road.
  • I took notes about what I might do differently for my next road trip (blog post to come!).
  • I saw parts of this country that have been on my very long to-see list for years and years.
  • I also realized that I cannot wait to get back to all of those places over and over again. This giant slice of earth is so vast, fascinating and diverse. I fully intend to continue soaking it all up.

So, you see: traveling alone as a woman (or, to be fair, as a man) isn't a terrifying concept. I only wish I hadn't heard so much negativity associated with it as I prepared for my journey. I'm fairly confident in my ability to stay safe, handle tough situations and avoid trouble, but it saddens me to think that the same questions and overall shock I endured might dissuade someone else from setting out on a trip like mine.

I'm still overwhelmed with the trip and have to pinch myself to remember that it wasn't all a dream. I'm sorting through photos and scrolling through my Instagram feed to revel in the fact that I did it—I friggin' DID IT. Can I tell you a secret? If you set your mind to it and do the work, you can do it too.

Please, friends: for the love of all things sacred, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.



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