the independent woman

I’m not a feminist in the greater sense of the word. I like being a woman, and like being treated like a woman, though in no way a helpless woman.

I’m 2 weeks into my 7-week road trip with my 14-year-old daughter, and I keep getting the same question: “Aren’t you afraid…?”

We’ve made it from the Pacific Northwestto Wisconsinin the two weeks, with a few day layover in Nebraska with relatives. People—mostly woman, and women of all ages—that we’ve met along the way, and even including a few of my aunts, have asked me that question.

Am I afraid? Of what?

We camped in a gorgeous state park in northern Idaho… Maybe I felt a little fearful that a bear would come charging out of the woods because our steak dinner smelled irresistible. But we have bear spray, and know how to use it!

I was asked if I worried about car trouble. Well, yeah, in a way. But then my cousin in Nebraska fixed my minor issues, and away we went.

What if you break down in the middle of nowhere? Well, let’s see… I do drive “off the beaten path” because I hate Interstate Highway travel unless I need to get somewhere fast. And my-oh-my did I feel “in the middle of nowhere” driving through southern South Dakota! But I have enough food and water in the truck to sustain us for days! No road we’ve driven on has had zero cars on it (though close) and eventually a Good Samaritan would stop to help. But they could be “bad” people. You can’t be too careful when it’s just you girls.

Refer back to bear spray… *grin* It works on 2-legged threats, too.

We’ve seen gorgeous sunsets and even more beautiful sunrises. We’ve camped in our tent and cooked over the fire—okay, Coleman cook stove, but it has flames. We’ve driven through the Cascades, Rockies, Bitter Root  Mountain ranges, and a bunch I don’t know the names of. We’ve traversed flooded highways—that was a little scary, but if the Motorcycle in front of me could do it, my Ranger made it fine! The deserts were hot, brown, dry, and windy. The Midwest is lush and so humid you can’t breathe deeply.

Am I afraid? Maybe of moving through it too fast and forgetting things I don’t want to forget. Worried my daughter won’t remember the little things that we’ve stopped to see.

Am I afraid because we’re two women crossing the country alone in a 10 year old pickup with some food, water and a tent? Heck no! I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world!

Anna Leigh Keaton

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3 responses to “the independent woman

  1. I’ve always thought it a shame so many women live a fear-based existence. As a young man, I was surprised when a lady friend told me the first thing she did when she got home was to check every room of her apartment to make sure she was alone before she could relax and settle in, such is the society we live in. I am both saddened and dismayed by the reality.

    But if we allow our fears to entirely govern the way we live, we never will. Men, in fact, share many of the fears women do, but rarely voice it.

    Good for you and your daughter, Anna Leigh! Go for it and fill us with tales of your saga.

  2. My wife Belva is a lot like you and said, “You go, Girl!” I think there are a great many woman who let fear hold them back–I know there are a great many men who do. And that is such a shame. They are missing so much. And teaching your daughter by example while enjoying together this adventure… Well, there’s no way of placing a value on that! I’ll just say, YOU GO GIRL’S!

  3. *high fives*

    I spend a lot of time explaining to women the difference between being “aware” and being afraid. I’m a huge proponent of women’s self-defense and what I like to call the B*itch Factor. *grins* Which I coined while reading Gavin DeBecker’s book The Gift of Fear.

    Fear is actually a good thing, it’s our intuition’s way of telling us something is wrong. But the problem is that our reaction to fear and the way fear presents itself has been twisted up so badly it’s no longer effective (to a large extent) until you learn to listen to it and use it effectively.

    *laughs* Okay, I’m rambling which means I need to take this to my own blog. Great post Anna! I hope you have a fantastic time out there on the road.

    K

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