When you carry all of your possessions on the road, the issue of whether or not to trust strangers comes up quite often. For example: Let’s say you’re camped in a solitary, pretty spot on BLM land for a few weeks and today’s the day you notice your tanks are full. Going to the dump station is a hassle, but necessary. On that day, you have two choices:
- Pack up all of your stuff, including your ground cover, barbeque, bicycles and miscellaneous gear spread out like a yard sale. Then head over to the dump station and hope nobody takes your perfect spot while you’re away.
- Leave most of your gear right where it is and take only your most valuable stuff. Then send a little prayer to the Universe and hope that people are kind and don’t mess with your belongings while you’re away.
Each year while snowbirding out in the Southwest, my husband and I find ourselves dealing with this weekly scenario. We have gone back and forth between leaving our stuff at the campsite and hoping for the best, and other times packing it all up because we didn’t notice some nefarious-looking activity and get a good feeling about the area. Right now we are camped out in Slab City and because of the questionable reputations of a handful of people here, Jim is on a weekly run to the dump station located about ten miles away, while I’m sitting here composing this under a shade canopy at our site. Our bikes, barbecue, gear, etc. are scattered around while our dog and I wait patiently for our home to return.
I wish we didn’t have to make these choices. Not being able to trust strangers is an unpleasant feeling and even though we’ve tried for years to get over those doubts, it seems that distrust of strangers has been ingrained into our psyche so much since childhood that overcoming these suspicions is impossible. It’s ironic that so many people put their trust in strangers over the Internet, by posting such revealing, personal information about themselves like where they’re vacationing, who they’re with, what they’re eating. But when it comes to face to face encounters, most people won’t look each other in the eye when passing on the street. Isn’t that strange?
I believe that when you’re on the road there are times when you just need to put your faith in humanity and hope for the best. Through the years we’ve needed help from the kindness of strangers during some sticky situations like when we were:
- stuck in the mud in Luckenbach, Texas
- out of diesel at night on a deserted Utah highway
- in need of directions
Whenever we find ourselves at a crossroads between trusting humanity and doing what we’ve been trained to do, we have a favorite quote that we consider. If you’re on the road I encourage you to write this quote down somewhere and look at it every day. It’s really helped Jim and I learn to leave our city ways behind and open our hearts to trusting strangers a little more than before:
“Presume innocence of each piece of life, at least until you know better, and the joys of a loving community will be yours.”
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.