Navigating a new way of life
As a part of our developing Solo Female Traveler eBook, which will offer stories and advice from well-known Instagram female travelers, we are compiling their experiences into individual posts first. Here, we present the wonderful and exciting story of The Wandermires, a family of three (Kendra, Amanda and Clark who is 4.5 years old) navigating the wide open spaces of the United States with their “fat cat”, Reese. While this isn’t highlighting a solo female traveler, their experiences as a female couple still provide a valuable point-of-view into traveling solo females. We hope their experiences inspire you to get out there and have fun with no fear! Enjoy!
Why did you choose this lifestyle?
We were really tired of the stress of life and busyness in a major city, so we were looking to slow down. We felt overwhelmed to keep up with daily chores, house maintenance, 40 hour+ jobs, a small child, and friends. We also missed traveling and exploring nature.
How did you start this journey?
We both grew up traveling with family and friends throughout our childhood. As young adults early in our careers, Amanda was a flight attendant and I traveled as an engineer. Traveling has always been a part of our lives. Once Clark was born, we wanted him to experience and love traveling, too. We had always talked about wanting to do RVing at some point in our life, but we thought it would be more attainable as empty nesters or after retirement. When my job provided an opportunity to work from home, we decided to do it then.
What do you love about it?
One of our favorite aspects of traveling has been meeting so many amazing people and families that we never would have met. We now have many great friends that we met at Xscapers convergences, sitting around a campfire on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land, and through social media. It is a joy to also watch Clark develop friendships with other traveling kids. Another favorite aspect is living in awe-inspiring and beautiful locations. Being able to open your front door to a beautiful desert, staggering mountain, or flowing river is so awesome!
What do you hate about it?
Toys everywhere, all the time! Even Kendra’s keyboard and mousepad turn into a helicopter landing pad, Pokémon safe place, and a LEGO lineup. Also, rainy days can stink because we get cabin fever.
What were the challenges you faced to get where you are today? Do you still face these challenges or are there new ones?
For Amanda, her biggest fear was leaving friends. We have found that traveling has allowed us to see and spend more time with family and friends. Amanda also worried about how Clark would adjust to traveling full time. Clark loves our traveling life, and he has loved meeting so many new friends on our journey.
For myself, my biggest fear was not having enough knowledge of driving and maintaining an RV. After many hours of YouTube research, we felt more confident before hitting the road. I was also concerned with how I would adapt to working on the road, especially with making sure I stayed connected. Using apps like Campendium with cell signal status information has allowed us to make better decisions on camping locations.
Do you feel being female RV’ers/travelers poses a different scenario than being a male RV’er/traveler
We feel that the daily life and activities of a female RV’er is not any different than a male RV’er. We have not encountered any experience that we have not been able to take care of ourselves. The difference is the reaction and response from other people you encounter. Most are surprised when they find out that we are traveling as females. We have received a lot of comments by older males that suggested we couldn’t do something on our own. As a female RV’er you have to be prepared for being stopped and asked if you would like to have someone else back your rig into a spot.
Who are your biggest supporters for this lifestyle?
Our families have been very supportive and very excited for us to have this opportunity as a family to get out and explore. We did have some push-back, but it came from a concern that we had not thought of different aspects of life on the road such not having a set address, insurance, job stability, and knowledge of RVing. Once we could answer all the questions, everyone was excited and happy.
If you could do it all again, would you?
We are 100% happy with the decision to travel full time. Traveling as a family has brought us together through so many adventures, and has allowed us to slow down and take time for one another.
Is there anything you would change?
We wish we wouldn’t have spent so much on RV parks for the first few months on the road. Once we realized how we could experience incredible beauty and space parking at state parks or free land, we wish we would have started sooner.
Do you need to have a lot of money to do this?
No, we think that this lifestyle is very scalable. Depending upon your assets prior to launching, what kind of rig you want, what type of vehicle you need, etc….it is hard to answer this question. Once you have your rig and towing/towed vehicle, you can live on free land, or find free county parks to stay to save money.
How do you support yourself while on the road?
Kendra works as an environmental engineer for an engineering consulting firm
What would be your advice to those women who are looking to begin their journey as a solo female RV’er? Would this apply to both those who may travel for a week, to those who are looking at months to years on the road?
Let your plans be able to change because you will get some place that you don’t love and want to move sooner, or there are other places you want to stay longer. Also, don’t be afraid to stop and see things along the way. Finally, make sure that you learn as much as you can before launching for the first time (regardless if just vacation or full time) to make sure you are prepared for anything that you encounter.
What is the longest amount of time you have spent continuously on the road?
18 months and counting!
How did you learn how to drive an RV?
YouTube or what I call YouTube University 😊. We pull an Airstream, so we watched training videos for driving an 18-wheeler. This helped a lot!
Any tips, tricks or hacks that you may be able to offer those who are just starting out?
Anderson Levellers are fantastic, especially for leveling while solo. Make sure you have some type of security to prevent your rig from being stolen or broken into (i.e. coupler lock or wheel locks). Finally, we learned the trick to changing a tire: sit on the ground and use your legs to help lift up the tire off or into place. It worked like a charm the first time we had a flat tire!
Is there one story that sticks out in your mind that makes the experience and journey all worth it?
We honestly are having a hard time narrowing down our past 18 months into one experience as there have been so many, but we definitely come back to finding a community on the road that will support you, and will be a lot of fun! For us, our first Xscapers bash took the fear of not having a community while we traveled because we met so many incredible people from solos, couples, and families. Since then, we have purposefully traveled with many we met at the bash, and we continue to enjoy convergences.
Can someone message you if they have any questions about starting the RV/Van life?
About The Wandermires:
We are a family of 3: Kendra, Amanda, and Clark. Clark is 4.5 years old. We also have a fat cat, Reese. Before going full time, we were living in Dallas, TX. We were feeling the stress of the city and life. We sold everything and bought an Airstream, all within 3.5 months. Now, we’ve been on the road for a year and half. We travel in our 30 foot Airstream Flying Cloud bunk. Kendra is an environmental engineer for a consulting firm. Amanda homeschools Clark from the road.
We document our journey through pictures and videos on Facebook and Instagram (@TheWandermires). We also produce vlogs about our travels and helpful information related to traveling on YouTube (@The Wandermires).