Never Take Life for Granted: The Gabby Petito Case

Julianna Musser and Aishani Komath

    Gabby Petitio, a 22 year old social media influencer, was reported missing on September 11, 2021 and news about her case has been circulating the media and captivating eager viewers for the past few months. Questions and concerns have been raised about the situation, and people close to Petito are all very worried. 

Petito was declared deceased on September 19th, and her fiance, Brian Laundrie, was reported missing two days prior. On October 20, 2021, authorities found human remains near belongings of Brian Laundrie in the Carleton Reserve. 

On October 21, 2021, those remains were confirmed to be his. The circumstances surrounding this case have made people wonder how safe it truly is to pursue a lifestyle similar to Petito and Laundrie’s.  

The couple started dating in March 2019 and got engaged in July 2020. They were both captivated by nature and everything relating to the outdoor lifestyle. 

After completing a handful of cross country trips, they decided they would start living, what some now refer to as, “van life”. 

“Van life is a social movement of nomadic individuals who reject the way we are all ‘told’ to live in favor of minimalism, simplicity, adventure, and reassessing what is truly meaningful in life, “ according to the book Van Life How To: Your Complete Guide to Living in a Van.

Van life can turn out to be difficult and tumultuous for many people, especially couples, and there has been some speculation that this dedication to the “van life” lifestyle was a leading cause to the eventual downfall of their relationship.

When cases like these pop up, it tends to cause reason for alarm for the time being. As cases die down, so do people’s worries for their own safety. 

Homicide cases are never easy to discuss, which is why taking them seriously is a very important step to keeping yourself safe if you are ever in a similar situation. 

If you find yourself intrigued by this lifestyle and intend to pursue a cross country trip yourself, keep these following tips in mind: 


  • Share your location with multiple people you trust. Have a select few people you will update on a consistent schedule or alert when you arrive at each location. 
  • Never go anywhere alone or without the people you are traveling with. 
  • Inform someone at home of your itinerary for the entire trip and remember to update it as you do. 
  • Following these simple steps can make your chances of a happy and safe journey increase by a lot
  • Carry mace on you at all times. 
  • Download an APP such as ‘Walksafe’ that will alert the police of your location at the release of a button when activated
  • If any type of abuse is being experienced, please know that you are not alone. Reach out to family or friends who can assist or contact the police. Even though you’ve probably spent a large amount of money up front on the trip, it’s better to prioritize your safety over your finances.