When I move from place to place, one guaranteed change is how people respond to the pandemic. In some areas, everyone wears masks and people respect personal boundaries. This was true of even the rural areas I visited in Nevada and has been true of almost everywhere I visit in California. Then, you have areas like Mohave County, where Arizonans frown at you for wearing masks and no one social distances.
Mohave County was a culture shock for me on so many levels, but I was determined not to fall into their bad habits. I have heart conditions, so if I ever do become infected with the coronavirus, there’s a good chance I will die. With these risks in mind, I formulated a plan from the start for how I would tackle areas that did not wear masks. Based on these experiences, here’s how to survive anti-mask areas that apparently don’t believe in science.
Wear a Mask
When I first arrived at the Tradewinds RV Park, the manager greeted me by informing me that Golden Valley did not have a mask mandate. Naturally, she wasn’t wearing one and was proud of the fact. I continued to wear my mask into the office and left the door open whenever I was inside. If there were other people inside, particularly people who did not wear masks, I waited outside. Over time, people learned that whether they respected CDC guidelines or not, I sure would. This compelled them to at least stand a few feet away from me.
The CDC has confirmed that while the coronavirus can be transmitted by food and mail, it is unlikely. Even so, I still disinfect my packaged grocery items, quarantine my vegetables, and open mail outside. I still sanitize Samson after taking him out. I also sanitize the high-touch areas in the RV every day. When I wash my hands, I ask Google to sing me a song. This function sets Google a-singing for 20 to 30 seconds, so you don’t have to count out the seconds in your head. I’m a nail-biter, so that makes a clean space and clean hands especially important.
Time Your Visits
I originally planned on leaving for out west in April 2020. When the pandemic hit and Nevada shut down, I had to rethink my plan. During this time, I spent a lot of time tracking the caseloads across each state. I used this information to map out where I booked accommodations. The only reason I decided it was safe to spend time in Arizona was that their caseloads had plummeted after they finally put a mask mandate in place. I left Arizona when the cases started going up again. I felt safer in Southern California, even as cases started to climb, because my California neighbours wore masks even when walking outside alone.
I reduced how much time I spent in stores in the area by shopping for everything online. If there was something I needed but didn’t need to have access to immediately, I ordered it off Amazon Prime. Because it was a rural area, Amazon didn’t do grocery deliveries, so I still had to get my perishables at the store. I bought these through Walmart by ordering online and picking them up in person. Walmart was roughly 30 minutes from the RV park, but I prefer driving in over risking my health in the company of selfish people.
Avoid Shared Amenities
The only shared amenity I used at the park was the laundromat. The first week or two, I tried to figure out the slow hours and do my laundry at those times. Eventually, I stopped using the facilities altogether. Instead, I hand-washed my clothes inside the RV. This started me on my journey to stop using laundromats. I now do my laundry 100% inside the RV. This has saved me time and money. I can do the different steps between client work and they provide welcome breaks from writing articles on law, finance, and tech.
Some people wait until they’re sick to boost their immunity. The best time to get started is when your health is still at its best, so you can keep it that way. I try to take good care of myself, but I took especially good care of myself in Arizona. I rode my bike, went for walks, took hiking trips, and committed wholeheartedly to the 30-day challenge I was working through. I also took my multivitamins every day and drank plenty of orange juice. Finally, I prioritised getting my 8 hours of sleep every night, even when it meant completing less client work than I planned for.
Check Body Temperature
When the pandemic first started, I bought a touchless thermometer. I ultimately gave it to my parents, because they worked outside of the home and my step-siblings often came to visit. Before I left, I bought another one for myself. While in Arizona, I tested myself every night before bed. Now, in California, I test myself every few days. I think Las Vegans are better about mask-wearing than where I currently am in California, but people do keep their distance.
When I travelled across the country with my parents, we disagreed over only one thing: CDC guidelines. My parents wear masks and social distance. Where we differ is how far we’re willing to go to keep corona-cooties outside of the RV. I sanitize everything before it comes into the RV. If I can’t, I put the item in “quarantine” for a few days. Travelling solo means I don’t need to negotiate with anyone about my health precautions. I decide what comes into my RV and what happens when it does. That means the only vulnerable point of entry I need to be mindful of is myself.
When my turn comes to get the vaccine, I won’t hesitate. As I have said to family and friends, we’re all either going to get COVID-19, COVID-20, the vaccine or a combination of the above, so pick one.
Are you still taking pandemic precautions? What are your thoughts on the vaccine?