Back to Vegas: I’m Driving Across the Country in the Middle of a Pandemic

If you know anything about me at this point in my blogging career, you know I don’t back down from a challenge:

  • Quit my nine-to-five as a payroll tax analyst to pursue my own business venture with no home base? Done.
  • Live in America illegally for a few months while Uncle Sam processes my paperwork? Done.
  • Take a roundtrip to Jamaica and back to America on expired travel documents for both countries? Done.
  • Go off to a Muslim country by myself after my travel partner canceled at the last minute? Done.
  • Drive from Atlanta to Vegas while COVID-19 is spreading through the country knowing I’m a high-risk person? The trip is booked: I leave in May.

What Do I Mean by High-Risk Person?

Some of you may remember my 2017 post:

MY LIFE FLASHED BEFORE MY EYES, BUT I KEPT ON RUNNING

It’s the only post I’ve published on my blog that discusses my heart conditions in any great detail. I was diagnosed with my fourth heart condition by 14 years old, but only one is currently active.

Unfortunately, the currently active one is essentially the sum total of the damage caused by the three before it. I also have no guarantee that two of those three will not return when they are good and ready.

Put simply, I’ve lived with a death threat from Mother Nature hanging over my head since birth. Yet, I’m the same woman who ran up a mountain in Alaska and kayaked around the entire Rasdhoo Island in the Maldives.

So, are my heart conditions serious? That depends on who you ask. My doctors have always said yes. They banned me from physical education and pulled me from the track team in high school, but I’ve always been … determined.

Also, according to the CDC, there are four specific groups of people that are at greater risk than others:

  • Older people
  • People with heart disease
  • People with lung disease
  • People with diabetes

Why Am I Driving to Vegas?

I’ve been talking about moving out west since February 2019. After Georgia killed my tiny home dreams, I looked westward and made a big decision: I’m moving to California. I even took a trip out there to scope out the specific town I had in mind. I fell in love with the area and was ready to go.

Then, on New Year’s Eve night, just as I was ready to put my plan in motion, my biggest client announced that they would no longer be working with California-based contractors.

Since then, I’ve been scrambling to make adjustments. California is currently off my list, but as long as I get to bask in the desert sun and proceed with my tiny home plans, who am I to complain?

My tiny home project now takes me specifically to Las Vegas because that is where I plan to purchase my tiny home on wheels. I’ll then take it one day at a time as I proceed with plans to build my tiny home on a permanent foundation.

Will I stay in Vegas during that time? Just three months ago, I was in talks with the planning department in a California desert town and finding my plot of Cali land. So, I’m in no position anymore to answer that question — especially in the middle of a global pandemic.

Where Will My Trip Take Me?

Shadow and I are driving across America together. He’ll be riding shotgun in a dog crate because he deserves as much space as he can possibly get. For my own safety, I won’t say now when I am leaving and where I plan to stop, but I’ll share general information:

  • Day 1: Louisiana
  • Day 2: Texas
  • Day 3: Still in Texas!
  • Day 4: New Mexico
  • Day 5: Arizona
  • Day 6 to 14: Nevada

As is my custom, if you follow me on social media, I usually post where I have been after I leave. I will also be sure to post lots of pictures of my tiny home on wheels when I pick it up. I’m giving myself 7 days for that process, because you just never know!

What Precautions Am I Taking?

A lot of my friends and family members are panicking a little — okay, maybe a lot — about my decision to not just drive across the country, but alone and then with COVID-19 spreading like wildfire. I do plan to take some precautions while on the road:

  • Most of my stays are outside of big cities; in fact, one is on a farm in the middle of nowhere.
  • I already have a habit of disinfecting hotel rooms and Airbnbs while traveling and will do the same for this trip.
  • I don’t plan to do any sight-seeing while I’m traveling, although it will take every ounce of self-control to not go see the Grand Canyon — I really might go see it.
  • I plan to cook my lunches inside my room to avoid needing to eat out because most food service workers do not wash their hands when they should.
  • I lost my health insurance last year, but I bought supplementary hospital benefits to help pay for my hospitalization in case I end up in an ER or ICU.
  • I finalized my life insurance policy recently and named my sole beneficiary.

Will My Family Be Joining Me Out West?

In a word: no. After more than a year of deliberation, I’ve decided this is a journey to embark on alone, not just for the trip, but the adventures thereafter. My mother plans to fly out to see me on Day 6 when I arrive in Nevada, but it really depends on whether COVID-19 dies down by then or not. I also have several friends coming to visit.

Aside from that, I intend to enjoy my solitude in Nevada or wherever my tiny house journey takes me. I think a lot of people are afraid of being alone and that is one fear I will never understand.

“Aren’t you afraid of being out there by yourself — and as a woman?” is a question I get often from friends.

I give the same answer every time.

It’s a little ironic that women always think we need a man to protect us when more than half the time, that’s who we need protection from.

If you don’t already know this, more than 55% of murdered women are killed by their romantic partners and exes in America. In fact, every 9 seconds, a woman in America is beaten or assaulted. Men make great protectors when they care to assume the role, but sometimes, it can also be a hell of a lot safer to be alone.

If you have ever driven across America and would like to share some tips, feel free to drop those in the comments. Healthcare professionals with advice on how to stay safe are also welcome to advise me. I’m welcome to all suggestions — except, of course, not going.

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29 thoughts on “Back to Vegas: I’m Driving Across the Country in the Middle of a Pandemic

  1. Good luck and God speed on your trip. As one who always travels by herself , I say Good on ya. I know you really have no timetable but if it’s open, see the Grand Canyon if you can and Hoover Dam while you’re in Nevada. Sad thing about this virus from hell is that people didn’t and still aren’t taking it seriously . I’m 67 years old and have medical issues. I’ve had the flu and was out of work with Delta airlines for a week or so. This sucker isn’t an ordinary flu. Stay safe .

  2. All the best wishes to you on your tiny home dream. I think a cross country drive is the best. I think with your pre conditions it could be a lot better than being on a plane with other passengers who may or may not have the virus.
    I also say keep checking the national parks websites about closures and restrictions on the parks. It’s worth it since you will be that way.

    1. Thanks, Jessica! A lot of the parks are closed right now because of the virus. Hopefully everything clears up in time for me to leave or I’ll have to push the date back. Fingers crossed!

  3. The only advice I would give you from my solo cross country drive in 1968 is no longer applicable. I wore very short skirts as was the fashion. In Pennsylvania a truck driver kept honking at me. I finally decided I must have a car problem so I pulled over. I rolled down my window and said “What?” He replied “Your legs. Your legs!” They have a stellar view from up in those cabs! I sped off.

    1. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

      I’ll be sure to save the short shorts for when I’m settled out west then. Also, I hope you still know your solo trip is what inspired me to do this alone. It’s all your fault! 😆

      1. I plan to if they let me out of Georgia! I’m really hoping things go back to normal by then.

  4. wow! what an adventure!
    four and a half times i have crossed the country by vehicle. as a child my parents drove from Massachusetts to California. i drove from colorado to virginia and a bus back to colorado. i drove from california to quebec and back. i rode a motorcycle from california to colorado in october. the motorcycle broke down and i flew back to california. i have driven from los angeles to portland oregon and back. several trips to the grand canyon and many trips to areas in northern california and to las vegas.

    so i understand what you may be going through. just dont push yourself and take rest breaks. you need to stop and take in the sights for you may not see them again. YES! to the grand canyon!!!! if you are tired, stop and take a break. there is a condition called “highway hypnosis.” if you do not belong to AAA, it is a good thing to get if you have car trouble and also there can be motel discounts.

    be safe and i will be looking forward to your posts. as for your health issues. you can sit at home and be a cardiac cripple and die. or enjoy your life as much as possible and then die. i like the second version the best.

    1. Thanks, Buddy! I said that to a friend just this morning. I asked her if she had a chance between surviving to 100 and never doing anything or living an amazing life of adventure to 40, which one would she choose? I’ve always chosen the latter!! 😅

      You’ve done quite a bit of driving! This will be my first road trip with me behind the wheel. With my most precious cargo in tow (my believed cat!) I certainly won’t be taking any risks. Louisiana and Texas have two 8 hour legs. I don’t feel safe staying in ANY of the states between Georgia and Louisiana, so I had to just suck that one up. And you can get stuck driving through Texas until kingdom come if you don’t suck that up too. After that, it’s all 3 to 5 hour legs. I’ve mapped out the breaks I’m taking in-between. I don’t want to be on the road for more than 3 hours at a time. I’ve heard hypnosis can set in that early, especially for us new drivers! 😱

      I do have AAA actually and kept it this year for this exact reason. 🙂 Hopefully I never have to call them. I’ve never had to before and would like to keep it that way.

      Thanks for reminding me about the motel discounts! I’ll be sure to present my card at the hotel, but there were no options for it online. ☺️ AAA gets you discounts at RV parks and RV resorts too, so I plan to use it like it’s nobody’s business at those!

      1. I’m not sure why you’re taking such a southern route and that may be if you took interstate 40 across it might be better.

      2. That’s the route I mapped out based on the places I wanted to see while crossing the country.

        I also don’t want to be anywhere near Oklahoma or Arkansas. I would have to spend a night in both of those states if I took I40. The route I’m taking, I stay only in liberal states or liberal towns within that state so even the smaller towns are safe for a woman of colour traveling alone on the brink of an election. 🙃

    1. Hi Ruth! I was really planning on meeting up with people along the way, but with the epidemic and my vulnerability, I’ve been practicing social distancing for the time being. Things might calm down by then though, so shoot me an email via my contact page. ☺️

    1. Most of it is indeed craziness! People are panic buying in Atlanta, then still going to the club and hosting at home parties. It makes zero sense!

      And thank you. ☺️

      1. From my experience so far, the best time to go is early in the morning when the store first opens. Mine was super empty when I did that Monday morning. When you go later on in the day, it’s a mess!

    1. Thank you! ☺️ I always fly when I travel or someone else drives, so this is going to be interesting!

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