Pandemic Travel | How Do I Stay Safe in Anti-Mask Areas?

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.

Sanitize Regularly

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.

Shop Online

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.

Boost Immunity

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.

Travel Solo

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?

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33 thoughts on “Pandemic Travel | How Do I Stay Safe in Anti-Mask Areas?

  1. I finally got my first shot!!! I was so excited. In about 3 weeks we get our second one! And then we will still wear masks, but I will travel to see my grandkids and have friends over, because now I have windows I can open!!! PS – if I had been offered j&j vaccine I would feel the same way!! Safe travels!!

    1. I’m so glad you got the vaccine! As a reminder though, like masks, the vaccine doesn’t protect other people. It protects you by giving you immunity. So, if you travel, you’re still a risk to your grandkids. Be safe out there!

  2. I’ve always been a bit of a germaphobe so other than wearing a mask (I have a lung disease so like you, catching covid could be a death sentence), I haven’t had to change too many habits for the pandemic. I am someone who changed out of “outside” clothes as soon as I got home, I used santiizer on everything when I traveled including wiping down hotel rooms (I could go on, it is an extensive list!) . I want to get the vaccine because of my condition, and to travel again.

    1. That’s a good point. I haven’t had to change much either. I do have to wash my hands a lot more often though and I certainly never sanitized everything that came through the door like I do now. Stay safe!

  3. i have recently upgraded my masks to be only kn95. a couple of years ago i found a laundry liquid clothes sanitizer and i use that with every load of wash i do. i stopped eating in restaurants (most are take out/delivery now or are closed. some are doing outside dinning and i rarely eat at those places). about the only places i do go to are the grocery store and the hardware store (lowes/home depot) both places are very large and the amount of people inside makes it easy to maintain physical distance and i always wear my mask and there is a mask mandate in my area. i sanitize my hands after being in the stores and i lysol spray the inside of my car after each trip. i dont wipe down my store bought items or those i get in the mail as i feel the risk is very low. i have always switched from outside clothes to inside clothes when i am to be inside at home for long periods of time.

    1. I always switched from outside to inside clothes as well, but I would at least sit down to check emails if I had only been inside the truck and didn’t plop my behind down on any shared spaces. Now? Nope!

      The CDC and WebMD says the coronavirus can survive on plastic, metal and paper for up to 7 days. So, I either wipe them or spray them. What I can’t wipe, I put in quarantine for 2 days or so. On clothes, it lasts for up to 48 hours.

      I’m glad

      1. since i use to work in the ER, i wore scrubs, so changing clothes was a given when i got home. my last job was with the state of california and i would “visit” hospitals and nursing homes to see if they were adhering to the regulations etc. i wore “normal clothes” so i would change when i got home into “home wear.” lol since i know longer need to work, i have “ranch wear” and “non ranch wear” clothes. ranch wear are my work around the house/yard clothes and i may wear them to the store if i need an item to finish the work. when i come in the hose for the rest of the day, i change into in house wear. if i am going out for errands or to take photos or at least not “working” i have clothes for that activity. when i am done for the day, i change into in house clothes. i dont wear shoes in the house. i have done this long before the pandemic. lol

        as for the virus on items, i have and continue to read the info and feel there is a much lower risk of contact then from person to person and since i wash and or sanitize my hands frequently as part of my normal life, i continue to feel it is a low risk. but that is a personal decision and i dont fault you in doing what you you.

      2. Good thing you’re not in health care anymore! You would have been directly exposed. I have a family member in Atlanta who is a doctor and my dad was always around her. That’s one of the reasons I was happy to leave. 😆

  4. It’s wild that there are spaces where masks aren’t mandated; it’s because of these areas that they’ve contributed to prolonging the pandemic! Honestly, I don’t trust the CDC anymore, especially when they’d announced back in the very beginning of the pandemic that you shouldn’t wear a mask because it’s ineffective…before then changing their mind later and mandating that everyone wears a mask. Their inconsistency and incompetence were unbelievable, and that’s why I’ve lost respect for them. I will wear my mask and social distance, but when it comes to other news from the CDC, I’ll be treating them skeptically.

    1. Masks were mandated there and they fought it in court. About 3 cities/towns in the county managed to win their “freedom” from masks. They are so proud of it too, like……are they proud of being stupid?? I don’t get it!

      Science is the study and observation of nature. The CDC was forced to make recommendations based on very little information. As we get more information, recommendations will change.

      Also, in the beginning, CDC said the reason it didn’t want civilians wearing masks is because frontline workers needed them more. Had we all bomb rushed the resources before manufacturers caught up, health workers and the health care system would have been even more screwed.

    1. Me too! I’m so used to it that I don’t really think of many of these things anymore. But I do hate disinfecting the groceries. It tacks on so much time to a chore I already hate!

  5. Such a great post. I love following your adventures. Thinking about how we react and learn to trust science inspired one of my posts today.

    1. Thanks Maggie! I just saw the post and left a comment. I don’t think I’m notified when you post and WordPress isn’t letting me change that right now. Not sure why. I’ll try again another time!

      1. Thank you! WordPress finally let me edit my subscription to your blog. I had to unfollow and refollow to do it, but now I’ll get post notifications from your blog. 😂

  6. We will continue to do our own thing, wearing masks, social distancing, sanitizing surfaces etc. We have both had our first vaccinations with the second booked in. We have to live with this, possibly for ever!

    1. I’m glad to hear you got the vaccine! We have to keep following the science and wait for new information.

  7. You are smart. I live in a rural community and find that many do not believe in the risks of Corona (They will if it hits here). We follow the same protocols as you. Not gambling with our lives.

    1. Thank you! I’m just trying to be as safe as possible. The worst part about the coronavirus is that when people are careless, it’s the careful people who suffer.

      1. I agree. I had a woman tell me that she thinks the virus is nature’s way of purging the week. I said, “I find that very harsh, as I am one of the vulnerable.”

      2. I think Mother Nature stopped focusing on the weak when she realised we aren’t the threat. Pretty sure she wants to get rid of the numskulls who don’t believe in science. For the most part, they are the ones getting the virus. We just happen to be the louder casualties because it’s more heartbreaking when it happens to someone who followed the rules.

  8. The people in my community are mixed about masks and social distancing. Either they’re very good about it, or in-your-face defiant. My husband and I both have conditions that make us “at risk,” so we’ve done all the sanitizing as well. To people who ask, “You sanitize your groceries??” I would say, “Better than being on a ventilator.” Fortunately, we’ve both been able to get both doses of the vaccine. The health department and hospitals have done a good job in our area.

    1. I’m so glad to hear you got the vaccine and that you haven’t allowed it to cause you to let your guard down. My neighbours have sometimes joked about me disinfecting my groceries. I pay them no attention. Like you said, better that than being on a ventilator.

      1. It’s ashame that some folks are being stuck on stupid with this masking thing. You have a choice. Be uncomfortable with your mask on and live for God knows how long or wear a ventilator in the hospital where no one not even family, the choice is yours. My family should have stock in Lysol, Clorox , masks, gloves , paper towels,and hand sanitizer.we use these a lot, even before the pandemic. I hesitated to get the vaccine, but as soon as the state of New York said seniors are in category 1b for getting the Pfiser vaccine, oh hell yeah I was there. My second one, God willing is in 17 days. Looking forward to traveling again. Stay safe and keep these blogs coming

      2. I think a lot of “Muricans” are so hung up on the concept of freedom that they don’t understand how it actually works. In places like Australia and New Zealand, for instance, people accepted harsh lockdown measures for a while and then went back to normal with almost pandemic-free lives. If we had done that, imagine how much better we could have contained the virus! We could be back to living our lives already.

        I’m glad to hear you’ve also gotten the vaccine. I’m wondering if I’ll also get it early because I’m high risk. We shall see!

  9. My wife, myself, and extended family (older couple) traveled over 8,000 miles in Sept/Oct (29 days) through the upper western states. We stayed outdoors, kept our distance, masked when indoors, and stayed in hotels (rooms wiped down first thing upon entering.)
    We ran into many people who shunned masks, distancing, but just kept our distance. We had take-out meals, or meals delivered to our room as necessary. Our party of four was very aware of potential risk spots and simply avoided them. After seeing the crowds of unmasked people swarming around the downtown area of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, we drove through town, windows up and proceeded to Cody, Wyoming where it was much less crowded. We based from there to visit Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, even though it was a much longer drive.
    Being of a certain age, my wife and I just recently became qualified for the vaccine in our state. We’ll already had our first Pfizer dose, and are scheduled for the 2nd week in March for dose 2.

    1. Thanks for the heads-up about Wyoming. I’m headed there for the summer, so I guess I’ll need to be mindful of people not wearing masks. I’ll be visiting some of the same places you did.

      I haven’t stayed in any hotel rooms since the pandemic, but I have stayed in an Airbnb. I did the same thing you described. I wiped everything down before going inside. I also brought my own pillowcase, because my face would be directly on that.

      Here’s to staying safe!

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