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PVP question(s)

I haven't played in forever... and when I last did it was maybe 4 or 5 years ago on retail (I think) and I had a very different experience... I played for a handful of hours yesterday and saved up a bunch of stuff and got myself a set of armor and better weapon... So I'm running around today killing stuff and saving up gold and exploring and some dude chases me down on his horse... I'm still a scrub running around on foot... and I lose literally everything I have. I really wasn't expecting this. It sounds like now after reading the FAQ that it's open PVP everywhere on the map except towns? When I played on retail I seem to remember that there was a PvE version of the map and then if you went through a gate you could go to a "dark" version or PvP version of the map... is that not the case on this shard? Just trying to figure out where I'm safe and where I'm not... thanks!
Shelter island is safe and towns as well as Moongates are protected by guards (besides Corpse Creek). The way you save up is by banking your loot early and often. You also never want to leave town with anything you aren't willing to lose. So wear a suit of armor/weapon that is affordable to you. Don't spend all your gold on bling bling gear and roll out with it. It just makes you a target. Save that for when you are more established and it doesn't hurt lose it.