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When Asking for Help Backfires

An exciting development! And a speed bump.

I’m driving to the Death Valley National Park in California before my Big Trip across Canada in April. I’ll be meeting up with about 15 other Pleasure-Way Tofino camper van owners; a gal from Jasper, Alberta is organizing the meet up.

It’s exciting, but I’m nervous. I haven’t left Canada since the pandemic. I’m double vaccinated and boostered, and I haven’t had covid. I’m not sure what to expect at the American border.

I’m also a little nervous about driving alone in the United States. This surprises me because I’ve been to New York City (twice), Nashville, Miami, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland and Hawaii (thrice)! But I haven’t spent any time on the road by myself.

Since I’m a member of a “solo women camper van travellers” group on Facebook, I’d thought I’d reach out and ask for help. A little encouragement and reassurance, you know? Maybe some safety tips too.

I had no idea that asking for help could actually make me more fearful and anxious about visiting the States.

Have you ever regretted asking for help?

The majority of the women in the group were supportive and encouraging. They welcomed me to America, offered tips and said Death Valley is beautiful. They advised me to avoid big cities and sketchy areas, and to take the usual precautions I’d take on my Canadian road trips.

But then something exploded. I don’t know how it started or who said what—my post was deleted by the administrator of the group. Somebody criticized Canadians, somebody lambasted Americans, somebody brought up politics, somebody else brought up the US soldiers giving their lives for their country. 

I closed my laptop, crawled into bed, and pulled the covers over my head.

That was the first time I regretted asking for help. I feel terrible for causing problems in the group, and ashamed that a post I started had to be deleted by the group administrator. I know it’s not my fault—I was just looking for reassurance and encouragement—but my heart sinks at the thought that I instigated that negative stream.

And then it got worse

The administrator announced that she deleted my thread because of hate speech, and reminded us of the rules of the group. I wrote “I am so sorry” on her announcement and thought that was the end of it. 

I was wrong.

In the administrator’s post, some group members debated whether my post should have been deleted. They discussed my intentions and (thankfully) agreed I wasn’t criticizing America itself. Some members were glad my post was deleted, while others wished the administrator had left it up. It contained helpful tips and encouragement from dozens of group members.


So. Instead of feeling more comfortable about driving to Death Valley, I’m a little less comfortable! Isn’t that a kick in the pants.

But it’s not an adventure if there aren’t any dragons, right?

In 4 Ways to Decrease Fear of Going on a Solo Road Trip I do my best to reassure and comfort women on the road. 

I like my YouTube video better, it’s funnier and more cheerful (thanks to a barking dog called Tiffy): 4 Ways to Decrease Fear of a Solo Road Trip to Death Valley, California

4 Ways to Decrease Fear of a Solo Road Trip to Death Valley, California

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