I have a question.

When I tell people I camp in a teardrop camper, their questions are almost always the same:

“By yourself?” Yes.

“Do you have a gun?” No. I tried to get through a concealed carry class and learned that I’m really not comfortable around guns.

“Aren’t you afraid?” This question has really surprised me. Am I supposed to be afraid? Because I’m not. I think I’m pretty savvy about where I stay (creepy gas station in Nebraska aside) but really, what is there to be afraid of? Scary people? Ok, yeah, but I don’t think I’ll meet more of them while camping than I do in my real life.

“Who hooks up the camper for you?” This is where I worry an eyeroll will escape before I can catch it. I met a very nice man on Friday who was fascinated to learn that I can hitch the camper to the car myself. (Please don’t ask me about backing up, though.) But then I met his wife and I kind of understood. I don’t think she does a lot without his help.

Look, I’m not a feminist. I realize that statement pisses off a lot of women who will now want to make me understand that as a woman, I’m automatically a feminist. Whatever. I love when guys hold doors for me and yesterday I let a sweet man set up my camper for me because it was important to him to do that for me. He and I both knew he didn’t have to do it but it was a big deal to him and I have nothing to prove.

But I can handle it. It’s not hard and a little dirt and grease never hurt anyone.

So here’s my question.

The comment I often get still amazes me:

You’re so brave.

Really, help me understand this. I’m not brave. I’m not this wild adventurer. I like to get out, see the country, and meet new people. You know what I did today? Ate lunch with 4 people, two of whom I met yesterday. Between them, they’ve lived in dozens of countries and hail from 4 different nations: China, Cambodia, Puerto Rico, and the United States. I was fascinated and challenged.

Given the choice to talk to them versus watch TV, heck yeah, I’ll choose them.

But brave? I’m not and I don’t get it.

So my question: Is it really brave to get out of our comfort zones a bit?

Helena, MT inn the world’s easiest camper

Maybe we’re using the word “brave” too casually when we mean something else.

Or have we become so isolated that we really believe it’s brave to step out a little?

I’d love your input because this one has been on my mind for awhile now.

13 Replies to “I have a question.”

  1. AND FURTHER MORE (Oh, I’m on a roll today!): Courage is not about the absence of fear. The courageous person feels afraid, cries, wants to roll up in a ball and melt away! The only difference is that she does all that, picks herself up and just KEEPS ON GOING.
    Mother used to say after a trying episode of life, “Just let me lie and bleed awhile. Then I will get up and fight again.”

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  2. Bob Pelaquin said it well. My addition would be: Some people are afraid of their own shadows and negative about everything. You have always met life head-on. Bravery? It’s a component of being we don’t dwell on – at least those of us who are busy and “carry on.” Kim, some of those well meaning folks have no idea who you are! A person courageous from youth, who faced the loss of her mom to cancer. A girl who took complicated family responsibilities by the horns and grappled them to completion, masterfully – and won’t let anyone “make a big deal of it.” A girl who plowed through law school, built a law practice and generously has helped innumerable people, some of whom have no idea the personal cost to you. A girl who loves her role as “Aunt” and “Cousin” to an ever-growing family. A girl who has seized each day, lived life fully, and taught others the power of friendship. – A girl with such humility she will probably be embarrassed by this cousin’s pride. A girl who may try to erase this entry – DON’T YOU DARE! — And now you want to go camping and adventuring and see new places and people? YOU GO GIRL! — Bravery? Courage? They have NO IDEA! – luv, your sappy admiring cuz!

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    1. You, my dear friend and cousin, are the most amazing encourager ever! Thank you!

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  3. Being Brave or Fearful are not rationalized. It all comes down to ones comfort zone as do a lot of things. I believe it Mahatma Gandhi who said “ Bravery is not a quality of the body. It is of the soul”

    I do not understand some people’s fear of heights or snakes or other things. I am not brave, I am not disturbed by them.

    I think when people say you are brave Kim that they are simply complimenting you on the peace you have inside you.

    Now can someone please come over and help me uncross my legs? It took me way to much time to meditate on that question and now I can’t feel my toes.

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  4. Kim, having met you I am not surprised you have no fear of traveling alone (or with your puppies). I am more surprised when I encounter a single woman who IS afraid to do anything on her own. Maybe it’s because all the women I know are more independent. I do, however, have one friend who went directly from high school and living in her parent’s house to getting married and living in her husband’s house without ever having to move out and live on her own. She is amazed and terrified when I describe trips like my cross-country solo trip to T@Bazona and back this January.

    I understand why people think you can’t or shouldn’t do these solo trip – I just disagree with them. Like you, I scope out the overnight stops before deciding on staying at one and if it’s too creepy or noisy or had bad characters around, I pull up stakes an move on. I did stay at many Cracker Barrel restaurants though – I know their menu by heart.

    Meeting people on the road can be a rewarding experience. But likewise it can be scary if you meet the wrong people. I tend to be more open with people I meet in camping areas than laundromats, for example. Some places you just want to keep to yourself.

    Enjoy your travels – you only go around this merry-go-round of life once. Grab the brass ring and keep your eyes and ears open.

    Bob

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  5. I don’t consider myself brave nor a feminist. I do consider myself one who will challenge myself to be my best self. I did in the last two years pick up a handgun and learn to shoot and obtain my NC concealed carry license. Not because I plan on carrying, but because I can if I need to, i am afraid if that some of the left leaning politicians gain power we, the people need to have firearms to protect our 1st amendment! I will fight for my right of free speech! And lastly, if I were to camp I would not carry. I might have a baseball bat handy!

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  6. I get those questions…ever since I started about 8 years ago. My answers: no, I’m afraid of being on my death bed and saying oh my gosh I wish I would have….; no guns allowed in my trailer, I will use wasp spray if needed & if I can find it; I believe campers/RVrs are the most awesome people & so very helpful & kind. I’ve gone to Alaska & cross country by myself no fear or problems! I too have wondered why this is questioned. I don’t understand the fear issue. Living in WA & having lung issues, I am a little fearful of this virus…all the more reason to get out there & explore this wonderful country❣️

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  7. Ok, so I usually don’t respond to questions like this but as a person who sailed around the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean for over 20 years, the answer is a resounding NO. You are not brave. You are adventuresome, curious and open minded. Some
    Of the most interesting people I have met were at a random bar in some remote tropical island. I don’t remember the people I met last week, but I remember the couple from Australia who were traveling with a child they had to sedate in over the water voyages, the prince from some Scandinavian country with thousands of dollars of gold around his neck (when I was much younger) who I thought was interested in me, only to find out he was much more enthralled with my husband. So no. You are not brave. You are curious enough to welcome the out of the mill “norm”. These are the people you will remember with a
    smile on your face
    30 years from now and
    Be grateful for having met them so just enjoy one day at a time because you can never recapture yesterday.

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  8. I have had the same exact reaction as you.
    On my first long trip, it was above 90 degrees and humid in Louisville, KY. I pulled into he KOA and a man asked if his teenage boys could help me aet up. I said, “Sure! Thank you!”
    I dont feel particularly brave, either. I do think we toss that word around a bit too casually. When I think about what the Finns were up against in the Winter War, there seems to be nothing brave about me towing my camper.

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