Hey folks, this pandemic is not going to pass in the next few weeks, and that means a lot of us are going to be stuck on the road. The current situation is likely to continue for months— quarantines, national parks and forest campgrounds closed down, increased police presence, closed borders. We haven’t yet hit our infection peak, so things are likely to get worse.
So what should those on the road do? The streets are emptying and spanging and flying a sign are becoming increasingly difficult. Plus, who wants to be outside in a city during a pandemic?
So here are some ideas. Every person has a unique situation and no one solution will fit everyone, but hopefully these suggestions will at least be helpful.
1. Find a Place! Now!
This is the most important thing you can do right now—find a place to hunker down and just stay there.
Take the closest safe place available for you. Make your own decision, and let those who want to go with you make their own decision. It might all seem overwhelming or like there are no good options, but if you wait too long, you might find the decision being made for you, either by sickness, by borders or maybe by cops. Just get to a safe place that’s offered and make the best of it.
Also, many borders are starting to impose a 14-day quarantine, so if you need to get somewhere, do it as quickly as possible.
Pages like the “Travelers with literally nowhere to go” have been pretty successful at hooking people up. If those don’t work, see if there’s a mutual aid group in the area you’re in. They’re one of the best local resources and are helping people with everything from finding housing to getting needed supplies.
If you have access to wheels, consider stocking up and getting out to the national forest or BLM land. Sure, many are closing their campgrounds and trails right now, but the forests are vast places with lots of unpatrolled places. If you can, find one of these (ideally with water), keep a low profile, and only come out for supplies. (More on this below.)
Keep in mind, travel isn’t so easy right now. Last I heard, train hopping still seems to be working, but hitching is slow going. Also, there are a number of checkpoints on state borders now. So if you’re in Florida and the only place you have to stay is in Virginia, check out the groups mentioned above and see if there’s a place closer to you.
2. Once You’re Hosted…
If you do get hosted, don’t be surprised if your hosts are worried about infection. When joining others either on their land or in a family group (see below), be willing to be quarantined. It’s the best way to keep people safe, especially if you’ve been traveling. This means stocking up before arrival if you can. Many of us don’t have a lot of resources and have no way to buy two weeks of provisions (let alone carry them), but do your best and let your host know what’s up.
Once you’re at someone’s home, please follow their sanitation/quarantine rules, especially if they are high risk. They are potentially risking their lives taking you into their home.
3. Not hosted? Form a Small Family Group
Obviously it’s important to stick by your road dog, but if you’re on the streets/in the woods, you’re going to need more support than that. It’s super important not to gather in large groups right now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a crew around you to help you stay safe. With a crew, you can limit your exposure by having only one person gathering supplies while the rest of you hunker down and take care of business wherever you’re at.
If your group is too small, you’ll be isolated—and that will especially be a problem if you get sick. If your group is too big, you’ll face needless risk of infection. On average, 4-5 people is about right. Just make sure that ya’ll have the same ideas of what it means to stay safe. (Like only one person going out and getting supplies, quarantining new people who want to be part of the group, etc.)
When adding to your family group, don’t feel shy about placing people under 2 week quarantines to make sure they won’t infect the rest of your family group.
Also, don’t advertise that you’re traveling in a group. The person(s) responsible for getting supplies need to stay on the down low.
3. National Forest Land/BLM Land
If you can get a family group together, get supplies and get out into the woods, do it. It’s your safest option right now if you can’t find housing. It’s also the best “social distancing” available. Just be smart about it.
Avoid campgrounds (developed or undeveloped). Most are closed right now, but avoid them nevertheless. Go somewhere unexpected, where rangers are unlikely to patrol.
As mentioned before, send only one person out for supplies and stay low key, both while out in the woods and while in town. Also, observe sanitation rules strictly when out and about – you don’t want to bring anything back to your family group.
4. Spanging/Flying a Sign
Spanging, flying a sign, and jugging are especially difficult in most areas right now. If you’re going to still try it, just know that money is considered a major vector for infection. Hand sanitizer is super hard to find, but if you can find it USE it. Wear gloves and wash your hands as much as you can. It’s not always easy to get near running water, but if you are soap and water is one of your best defenses.
This is a great time to wear your skank. It’ll help keep your germs to yourself and more importantly, help keep you from touching your face (one of the primary ways of getting COVID-19 after touching something infected…like money). Masks are a good thing too.
If you’re flying a sign, find creative ways to keep a 6’ distance. If you have a vehicle, you can just hang the sign on your vehicle.
If you’re vehicle camping out in the city, put a sign that says “Homeless in Quarantine. Day whatever…” on the dash. Homeless folks are often allowed to shelter in place as long as they’re out of the way.
For more resources, check out the Travelers with literally nowhere to go during the ‘Rona,
Have any other tips we need to know? List em’!