Can lone females live safely in inner city vans?

Interesting discussion on the city-data forum, about the safety of single women living in RVs and vans in urban and suburban areas. Is it significantly more dangerous than for aman? Does it depend on exactly which city, or street?

What are you opinions. Below are the original posting, followed by the comment that sparked this debate from someone who admits “Call me an old fogey if you wish. These simply are not the times to go out alone to have a wild and merry adventure. Times are tough all over”.

The original poster says:

I’m 32/female and I’ve always wanted to live off the grid. I have a small sewing business which I plan to take on the road with me. I plan to save for a conversion van but for now I’ve just got my little Dodge Caravan which I plan on making some minor adjustments to. Has anyone here done this? I’d like to meet people from all over the world, and hopefully plan some stops where I can stop to volunteer some time in exchange for a meal, warm bed & shower. I can’t explain why I want to do this, I guess I’m just a free spirit at heart and finally want to follow my dreams.

The commenter says

“Forgive me for bring the spoiler here. I would consider it downright dangerous for a 32-year-old female to be living on her own in a van of any type. Yes, I know, the spirit of adventurism and desire for the freedom of the road have a great deal of appeal for young folks. Are your parents still alive? Have you discussed this with them? What are their feelings about it? I know you are of legal age, but at the very least, you should be staying in very close touch with someone who is “grounded” – a parent or close friend who will be in touch with you regularly, and know your location at all times (esp at night). Be very careful whom you accept a shower or hot meal from.

What sort of repair is your van in? What resources do you have if a major repair is required? What if you become ill, run out of money entirely, or get into some sort of trouble (inadvertently) that requires a lawyer? There are reasons why folks settle down near family, friends, or familiar communities. You often need other people. My suggestion is that you begin with “mini-trips” of a week or 2 weeks at first, and see how you fare.

If you are just broke and SOL, you need to find resources to help you deal with that right here and now, not when you are 600 miles away from home and help. I am speaking here from the perspective of a father of two and the grandfather of six. Call me an old fogey if you wish. These simply are not the times to go out alone to have a wild and merry adventure. Times are tough all over, and I’d hate to see you become a target. Please give all this very serious thought, before you embark on the type of “adventure” you describe!

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6 Responses

  1. I dream of one day living off the grid, yet my current situation does not live up to that dream — I have been living in my Toyota Venza for nearly a year with my two dogs. I reduced my possessions and keep the remainder in totes contained in the garages of two friends. As preparation for this experience, I kept the cushion for my papasan, which has made a cozy bed in the backseat. I have not figured out a solution to the condensation issue that is practically a dead giveaway of someone living in a car. I recently created a solution for freezing temperatures by pinning a comforter to the headliner and letting it create a little tent, which blocks most of the cold air from the windows. I am grateful to park in my friend’s driveway and I have access to an extension cord to plug into — I have been a fulltime, unemployed student for the duration of this experience. Initially, I had a gym membership for showers, though I had to cancel it to reduce expenses. One of the major drawbacks, in my opinion, is the time it takes to prepare my vehicle to be parked and reverse it when I want to leave…plus the condensation. I do not feel unsafe due to my dogs, a Rottweiler and Pitbull, pepper spray, emergency whistle (the kind for hikers), and location.

    I’m not sure if this is helpful…if one wants to do it, I say go for it.

  2. I have a friend who has been living in her van for yrs in LA. She has a few different neighborhoods where she parks. I suppose they have trees or bushes which protect her from the homeowners getting suspicous. She goes to a gym daily for showers. I do not know how she deals with the bathroom issue. She is self employed and does computer work and is making close to 1500.00 a month from, she says, over 600 daily people traficking thru her site. She is also around 31 yrs old. Ironically she owns a home but she rents it out. She just is very frugal. She also invest in short sales and so has plots of land she has around LA, but she doesn’t park at them. I wish i could get her to post here but i know she would never do that. I hope this helps.

  3. yes everything is scary ooga booga… don’t dare take any risks, consult with your parents, hide and cower from life like the poster on city data… listen to the news, buy into the spin of the fear mongers and lock yourself up indoors and enjoy civilization… via your television. in the meantime, let the authorities handle all the evil people and terrorists; if you’re looking for freedom and independence and adventure, don’t bother living out of a van – buy the “adventure app” for your ipod. or rent a movie. this is how things work in the grand technological utopia of western civilization.

    don’t listen to cowards. follow your heart.

  4. As the other comments suggest, it’s wise to take a few precautions but in the UK I believe there are lots of single females living like this.
    I myself lived on the road in a van for 2 years with few (minor) problems and met 1 or 2 single females doing the same along the way.

  5. I’m a single, thirty-something female and I’ve been living happily in my camper van for two months now without any problems (knock on wood). Mind you, I DO take precautions: 1. I choose to camp only on safe, quiet streets, and ALWAYS follow my gut about locations and people. 2. I decorated the inside of my van in a manner that would allow me to stealth camp, so from the outside, it looks like my van is not occupied even if the lights are on. 3. I’m always aware of my surroundings entering and exiting my van, always carrying myself with confidence. 4. I’ll be buying a pistol soon for added safety. 5. On my blog, I never specifically disclose my locations while I’m occupying that area.

    To other women, I say van dwelling on your own CAN be done, but you have to be smart and prepared. For inspiration, there are several blogs by single, female gypsies of all ages who have safely found a great life on the open road. I recommend that the would be adventurer go on Google and search them out as I have before choosing this lifestyle!

  6. I don’t live in my van, but I do travel all over the world alone, sleeping in my vehicle, and have rarely encountered any problems. I’ve walked around at night in Mexico City, Chicago, Tokyo, etc. Most people I’ve encountered worry needlessly about me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I stay aware of my surroundings at all times and make sure my vehicle is in good repair. I also keep a credit card and a cell phone handy in case I need help. In other words, be prepared.

    The truth is, we have an unprecedented drop in crime rates. You’re much more likely to be a victim of crime from someone you know than a stranger. I don’t get the culture of fear we have. The media sells fear. Don’t buy it.

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