Gone Land Cruising

Megan has traveling in her blood. She describes her late summer into autumn this year: “21 year old girl, 25 year old truck, 11 states, 3 months.” Though her trip ended a bit prematurely (lesson of the road: anything can happen), she learned a lot about herself by traveling alone and recommends it highly. This is not her last adventure!

Photos above and below (C) 2014 Megan Barrett

Meet Megan: Hiker And Wanderer

How did your trip come to be?

My trip was spurred by the want to see my own “backyard”. As a child of a family that is spread out over a lot of the globe with few members in the States, I’ve been able to travel internationally quite a bit. This gave me a love of seeing new places and made me want to see what was driving distance from me in California.

What was the reaction of your friends and family when you decided to take a few months off of school to travel?

(C) 2014 Megan Barrett
(C) 2014 Megan Barrett

I am very lucky to have a group of people supporting me who realized that my time off was not an escape from learning, it was simply a way of educating myself differently for a while before returning to the classroom. I have the nomadic lifestyle in my blood, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to most when I broached the idea of a trip.

Any tips for solo travel for a woman?  

The idea of traveling solo came from my want to be able to come and go as I pleased while on the road. To me, it represented freedom and independence. I would say my recommendation would be for women not to fear traveling alone, especially if you’re confident in your outdoor skills.

You stay with friends & camp while traveling.  What has been your most epic camping spot?

(C) 2014 Megan Barrett
(C) 2014 Megan Barrett

My favorite spot I camped was on the North Umpqua River in southern Oregon. I had the entire place to myself and got to string my hammock  right next to the water. I went to sleep that night to the sound of rustling leaves and rushing water. Doesn’t get much better than that.

What have you learned about yourself while traveling solo that you might not have otherwise?

Traveling solo really pushed the limitations of my own comfort that I had in place before the trip. I was pretty secure in my outdoor skill-set, but doing things alone can make things much harder. From the little things, like setting up camp at the end of a long day, to bigger things like doing minor repair work on my car and dealing with animals in the wild. Doing stuff alone can be tough, but it definitely taught me that I was capable of more than I would have thought previously.

Any place that you might want to return to after you graduate school?

Oregon stole my heart. Specifically Bend, OR. From the people, to its location close by a world famous climbing crag, to the river running through it. I can’t wait to get back there!

[Editor’s note – Everyone loves Bend! Try to keep it a secret, if you can. ]

Take a photo of your five must-have items for road travel.

Megan's 5 Things (c) 2014 Megan Barrett
Megan’s 5 Things (c) 2014 Megan Barrett
  • Canon AE-1 Program, or any other camera
  • A Benchmade knife, I used it more than once every single day
  • Black Diamond headlamp, because it’s much easier to get things done around camp with both hands free
  • A synthetic down layer that packs down small, this one is Patagonia but any will do
  • Heavy duty wool blanket for cool nights by the campfire

If you can, pick the most beautiful sight you’ve seen and describe.

Whenever there was a glacier or ice involved in a landscape, it pretty much blew my mind. As a southern California resident for the past 18 years, these sights were so foreign to me and left me in absolute awe. Hiking up the Muir snowfields on Mt. Rainier was one of my favorite moments, I loved seeing exactly how giant the glaciers are, as well as listening to the monstrous booms of their constant movement.

Have you found the road community (virtual or otherwise) welcoming?

(C) 2014 Megan Barrett
(C) 2014 Megan Barrett

The road community was without a doubt the favorite part of my trip. I met people on journeys that constantly inspired me, people making big sacrifices to adventure and explore. I met new friends and reconnected with old ones. I am forever humbled by the kindness I have been shown on my trip.

Where are you now [late October, 2014] and where will you be in one month?

I am currently staying with my lovely friends in San Diego, and Monday I will be heading to Utah to explore Zion and then Arizona to see the Grand Canyon. In one month I will be in Bali, Indonesia, halfway through another solo trip. My travel life has changed drastically in the past few weeks, but I am grateful that I am still able to explore!

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