We have run into many interesting people and situations both on our travels and now that we have settled down into a campground. People always like to give advice and not all of it is usable or advisable. But I am sure they mean well when they give it. Some advice has been very useful and we wish we had known the information a lot sooner.
Our first day in this campground, we were setting up our tent in blistering sun. No one told us that it only takes a half hour to get seriously burned. I spent the next week with huge water blisters on my shoulders and arms. Because I have a strong belief in not putting chemicals on my skin, and have never had too many problems with mild sunburns, I never thought about the difference in the suns abilities in different regions of the world. Everyone kept telling us we needed to drink lots of water but no one warned us about the intensity of the suns rays. I learned quickly to keep my skin covered or to limit the time I am exposed during the middle of the day.
I also have a fascination with photographing wild life. I’ve taken pictures of a Colorado River Bull Frog (which have poison glands all over them), Tarantulas (no one told me they could jump), and Scorpions (which can move very quickly when they want to). Contrary to what most people think, scorpions are normally really tiny, about two inches fully grown, and here in the United States they are not deadly unless you are allergic. If you get stung, it hurts like a bee sting, you take Benadryl, go lay down for a few hours and the pain goes away.
Anyways, my fascination has let me get right up on top of these little critters and snap all kinds of pictures without a second thought. Then one day I’m walking around in sandals and this little scorpion runs over my foot and I about have a heart attack on the spot. I never thought about the types of shoes I was wearing and no one bothered to point it out to me either. I now wear moccasins almost all the time. Of course I should be wearing hiking boots because I have yet to see the elusive diamond back rattle snake and the Gila monster that lives somewhere close to the campground.
Some of the better advice we have been given has been about our tent and our air mattress. I never thought about it but an air mattress on the ground draws the temperature of the ground straight up to your body when you sleep. A new friend of ours was nice enough to give us a large piece of foam to put over the air mattress which made a huge difference when the nights were really cold. We were also warned about how fast the sun would break down the cheaper tents. Sure enough, a month after the warning, our tent started to shred around the zippers. We ended up upgrading to a better brand of tent with a different zippered door design. We were told canvas would hold up a lot longer but our research has proven it is too far out of our price range at this time.
Before we left for this journey, we spoke with our doctor who gave us some very useful information as well. Always make time to get out and stretch your legs so you don’t develop blood clots and other circulation issues in your legs from setting too long. If your going to sleep in your vehicle, make sure you can lay flat (again its a circulation issue). Make sure you eat a balanced diet. Junk foods will not sustain you very well and after a very short amount of time, it can actually impair your judgement. And make sure you do not drive when you are tired no matter how pressed for time you are. You can’t get to your destination if you died in the process. We discovered that it is okay to grab cat naps in rest areas during the day but not a wise idea for overnight stays. If you really must travel and need to sleep somewhere at night, find a truck stop and get permission; its much safer and people will watch out for you.
And last of all, never judge a person by how they look. We have met some very kind and friendly people that are certainly not main stream people. Just because they looked a little different did not stop us from offering a helping hand or a cup of coffee. The rewards of meeting new people from different walks of life can be very rewarding. Yes, use care, just don’t over judge people just because they are not exactly like you. We live in a society where the media already slants things so that you only hear and see what someone else wants you to see. When you chose this type of alternative living, you have to learn to see with you own eyes, hear with your own ears, and feel with your own heart without someone else bias opinion shaping your thoughts and actions.