Life on the Road – Solo Female Travelers
More women are traveling as solo female travelers. This fairly new genre has been long coming and we couldn’t be more excited! In an effort to inspire others who may be investigating their own solo adventure on wheels, we are compiling stories, tips, tricks and hacks from some of Instagram’s most well-known solo female travelers. These posts will eventually be turned into a FREE downloadable eBook. In the meantime, Lindsey, of @girlgoneglamping, tells us why she chose to take to the road with nothing but herself and her Earth Roamer. She has been at it for 2 years now and has no desire to stop!
Why did you choose this lifestyle?
I had been self-employed for about 6 years. I knew there was a freedom associated with that, but had never fully taken advantage of that freedom. I started thinking, “what if I could live everywhere?” Next thing I know, I’m living life on the road.
What do you love about it?
There is so much I love about it! Mostly the freedom I feel being out on the open road. I love the ever-changing backdrops from mountains to beaches to desert landscapes. I also love the people I’ve met and this overall feeling that I’M ALIVE!
What do you hate about it?
I’ve learned to deal with it, but I hate that something always seems to be breaking! When your house is on wheels, it’s just par for the course. I use to get really upset about it, but I’ve learned over the years to roll with it.
Sometimes I miss having a gym or grocery store I am familiar with. I typically don’t stay in one place too long so I’ve had to adapt to always being a little out of sorts when it comes to these things. And the heavy reliance on Google Maps.
How did you start this journey?
I had a 6-month plan to take my time and do my research. Then, maybe 3 weeks into this plan, I found myself at the Airstream dealer and, lo and behold, the trailer I was to own came in on consignment. The dealer looked at me and said “this won’t be here at the end of the week.” Without researching this particular year or model of Airstream, I decided to make a low offer, because why not?! Within 24 hours, they accepted my offer and things got real! I had been living in NYC and Chicago for 5 plus years, hadn’t owned a vehicle in that time and still had 4 months left on my apartment lease. So my 6-month plan quickly became a 6-week plan!
I bought a truck, sold 3/4 of my belongings, subleased my apartment, read every manual I could find, questioned myself and my sanity a hundred times or more, and then BOOM, I was on the road!
What were the challenges you faced to get where you are today?
It was a steep learning curve. I had never towed a trailer let alone backed one up! I had to learn the difference in AC and DC voltage, how my water pumped worked, and all the other things that go into RVing. It was intimidating at first, but you learn, you adapt.
Do you still face these challenges or are there new ones?
I’ve learned so much from making mistakes! Putting dents in my trailer, backing up my sewage lines, pulling away and forgetting to connect the truck to the trailer!! You make a big mistake like that once, and you normally don’t make it again!
I (finally) feel very confident in my skill set when it comes to most things RVing! I would say the new challenges that I’m facing are more related to potentially switching up what type of rig I want to live in.
Do you feel being a solo female RV’er/traveler poses a different scenario than being a male solo RV’er/traveler
This is a great question! I think it does. Mostly in two different ways. One being safety. It is just a fact that as women we are not as strong as men, and because of that we often feel more vulnerable. You have to take a few extra safety precautions in my opinion as a solo female traveler. Secondly the way parts of our society still don’t view women as equal to men. I have gotten a lot of strange looks and comments over the years because I am a women doing this solo. I strongly feel a man doing this solo would have gotten much much fewer looks and comments. I’ve pulled into some RV parks and had men say to me, with their hand extended out “give me the keys, I can back it up for you”. To which I respond, “I’m good, but if you want to stand watch for my blindspot, that would be helpful!” with a smile on my face. It doesn’t bother me as much as it use to, but the few times I’ve broken down or gotten stuck in a ditch, I find myself defending my actions that led to that situation to the men who arrive to help. Because I don’t want them to assume “I’m a dumb girl.” I feel the need to prove to them that I know what I’m doing.
Who are your biggest supporters for this lifestyle?
My Mom and Dad. I wouldn’t have been able to get through the initial transition without them. They may not fully understand my passion for travel and this lifestyle, but they’re in full support of it, and have been since day one.
If you could do it all again, would you?
Absolutely! No doubt in my mind!
Is there anything you would change?
I would have lived in my Airstream for a few months before making changes and renovations. You really learn what works and what doesn’t by just throwing yourself into a situation. You don’t have to be 110% prepared for it.
Do you need to have a lot of money to do this?
There are a lot of different ways to get started in this lifestyle. Some are more expensive than others. My goal was that I wanted to set myself up for long-term success. If I was going to downsize my life, and completely change what my day to day looked like, I wanted to make sure I was comfortable and had what I needed to do this for the long haul. That was a big factor when I chose to buy my Airstream; long-term success and comfort. I also am of the age and mindset that when I am in these new towns, I want to be able to go out and try the local cuisine. You can definitely eat ramen noodles in your rig every night, there is nothing wrong with that, I just made my mind up that I wanted to fully experience everything. This is why I continue to work full time while on the road.
How do you support yourself while on the road?
I am fortunate to be able to run my company (Logistics Brokerage) while on the road. I keep east coast hours (which can be a little brutal when on the west coast) and I make sure to camp where I have cell signal Monday to Friday so I am able to work.
What would be your advice to those women who are looking to begin their journey as a solo female rv’er?
Don’t let your fears dictate your choices. When I first had the idea to live on the road, I told myself to come up with one good reason not to do this. And I couldn’t think of one. Fear, in my opinion isn’t a good reason to not do something.
Would this apply to both those who may travel for a week, to those who are looking at months to years on the road?
Yes, sometimes even a weekend trip to somewhere you’ve never been, where there isn’t anyone you know can be scary. But I think you’ll find that if you do it, you most likely won’t regret it. And you will learn from it, you may even find it empowering!
What is the longest amount of time you have spent continuously on the road?
I have been on the road full-time for 2.5 years.
How did you learn how to drive an RV?
I practiced towing my Airstream and backing it up on my Dad’s farm. It’s not as hard as it looks!
Any tips, tricks or hacks that you may be able to offer those who are just starting out?
Overall I would say, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
In regards to backing up a trailer, Go Slow. Invest in BIG mirrors. No one is good at it when they start!
Try to figure out the rig that is right for you. Ask yourself do you need a shower, are you OK without one? Will you be OK without one in 6 months.
Invest in solar panels, these are a game changer!
Is there one story that sticks out in your mind that makes the experience and journey all worth it?
I can’t say that there is one that stands out. Over the course of 2.5 years on the road, I often stop and reflect back on the last so many months. I realize all the places I’ve been, people I’ve met, things I’ve learned, and how they have all shaped me a little bit at a time. I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything!
Can someone message you if they have any questions about starting the RV/Van life?
*If you have any questions for Lindsey, please contact her via Instagram @girlgoneglamping