It was rather early on in my trip that I slept in my car for the first time. Until then, I had friends to stay with or found a cheap Airbnb along the way.
I was attempting to reach some friends in South Carolina for bike week, before they headed out that weekend. So, I spent too little time in North Carolina and went straight through to Myrtle Beach. I found a person on freecampsites.com who answered almost immediately that I could park anywhere, set up a tent if I wanted, and head out in the morning.
For a single night, there was just no way I wanted to set up my tent only to break it down in the morning. Instead, I pulled into the dark, kind of creepy, long driveway, and parked underneath a tree on this massive family farm. Eschewing the tent, I popped the trunk to get all my pillows and blankets, leaned the front seat all the way back, and settled in for the night. Being a typical American, I still had my laptop fully charged and a Wi-Fi hotspot on my phone, so I was able to watch Netflix until I finally passed out. It was much easier falling asleep to reruns of The Office than thinking about all the Dahmer type things that could happen out in the middle of the countryside with no one to hear me.
The thing about sleeping in your car is that you don’t have shades. At the first break of daylight my eyes peaked open. What did I see? Two of the most beautiful horses eating apples approximately three feet from my car. It certainly wasn’t an unpleasant way to wake up, especially after a fitful night of very paranoid dreams. But then, what was this trip about, if not facing my fears?
Though earlier than I planned, I figured there was no way that I was going to get back to sleep, so I might as well put the blankets in the back and be on my merry little way. I was really looking forward to getting to their hotel room and having a shower. I am the type of person that sometimes takes multiple showers a day, so being a day without one felt really gritty (talk about first world problems, right?)
One of the biggest things that I was suspicious of already, but was entirely confirmed on this trip? People are generally good. Surely, there are the creeps and psychopaths of the world, but it’s mostly a world of helpful people; it’s the Manson’s and Dahmer’s that ruin humanity’s good reputation. People should be cautious, of course, but not overly so. If someone offers you a place to stay on a reputable site (like my favorite, Couchsurfing) read their reviews, but I bet they’ll be pretty good people. But do remember, when there comes the time that you are being asked for help, give it out freely.