Notes From a Hired Pen

On the Road with Jen: Yes, all by myself

Yesterday, I took an Uber from the mechanic to a friend’s house. On the way, the driver and I chatted a bit, and I told him about my trip.

“That’s a big undertaking, especially for a single girl.”

I have heard variations of this since before I left, and especially now that I’m out doing this thing. It’s annoying, sometimes offensive. I used to nod and smile and say “yup!” but now I say this: “In my last campground, I met two guys who are on a long road trip. They were four days in, and already fighting with each other.”

This has, every time, ended that conversation. Am I chickening out? Maybe. But as much as I want to launch into a tirade about how women have as much a right to do this as anyone else, that I’m a 36 year old woman and not a girl, and how we need to stop putting limits on people who happen to have a vagina…I don’t know what I’m talking to. I don’t know what the other person’s reaction will be. I’ve had guys call me a whore for not giving them my phone number. I’m not saying that’s what this Uber driver would have done, but I’m not comfortable putting myself at risk every time someone asks this question.

I wrote about this a bit in a story to be published at Racked tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it in the future.

So: the reason I was taking an Uber from a mechanic to my friend’s house is that a light went on in the Jeep, and even though it’s driving beautifully, I’m having the car looked at while I’m in Flagstaff for a little bit. I’m supposed to leave tomorrow for my next spot – and I must be there by Wednesday morning. So fingers crossed for the car – and me.

Last week I checked in from New Mexico, which is where I was at until yesterday. After Bandelier, I toured around Ghost Ranch (which you either associate with Georgia O’Keeffe or City Slickers – or hey maybe both I don’t know your deal), stayed at an Airbnb with a composing toilet and a chicken in the outdoor shower, and then drove all the way out of my way to White Sands National Monument to hike on blinding white sands where most people were sledding. Some in bikinis.

Not this chick:


When researching hikes at White Sands, I read all of the dire warnings issued by the National Park Service. I thought something had happened to necessitate them, and I only found out after that yes, something did. So if you want to try it too, be like me and take way too much water and too many backup phone chargers.

I’m going to write something later about everyone who says “STAY SAFE!” to me. There was a shooting at a general store a few hours after I’d been there. But that’s enough for now.

Also if you knew me from my Jersey Shore days, you’ll want to check out a piece I had in the New York Times on Sunday. Or maybe not: again I don’t know your deal.

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One Response to “On the Road with Jen: Yes, all by myself”

  1. Greg says:

    As a “STAY SAFE”-r I must say that my concern had more to do with that that you have a jeep than the fact that you have a vagina.

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