You don’t see it that often—a lone woman driving an RV. By RV I mean that earth-toned behemoth and trailing car heading south on the highway. I mean the rig with the lazy boy captain’s chair in front, the comfortable bed way in back, and the conveniences of home in between.
Elaine is our family’s pioneer woman of spirited travel. After she and my brother married, they discovered they had different concepts of summer. His was yacht racing; hers was camping. Marital bliss meant creating a win/win. Back then she and the kids found it with a pop-up trailer.
Now she pilots her own RV. She drives five or six hours in search of nature, landing at anything from public grounds in Alabama, where local convicts serve time by clean-up duties, to private luxury camps in Florida, where she and her cozy motoring home pass time by million-dollar mansions on wheels.
But no matter where she lands, her routine is the same: she skillfully backs her rig into a narrow slip, plugs in the systems, pops out the side compartments, and makes new friends.
When people ask where she gets the courage to do all of this alone, she replies, “I am a breast cancer survivor. I am not afraid of anything—except mammograms.”
About seven years ago, Elaine had a string of bad luck. Her mother died, her only brother died, and cancer disrupted her life. She needed to heal, physically and emotionally, and the RV world tossed her a lifeline.
Ft. Myers in the dead of winter was a blessing. She parked in Row 1 facing the beach and couldn’t go to sleep until the sun set and the stars moved. She awoke in time to position her beach chair for the sunrise. Nature’s awesomeness is a powerful healer.
In an RV, a Spirited Woman can arrange her own schedule, travel at her own pace, listen to her own music, and change course on a whim. And the solitude provides plenty of time to meditate and process life’s detours. Plus, human contact, when you need it, is right outside the door. Campers are a friendly lot.
Elaine is courageous but not careless. She rented before she bought. She went small before big. She learned the systems and maintenance from stem to stern. She takes precautions. On campground registries she signs in as Mr. and Mrs. If she leaves to go shopping, she shouts it to her husband (who can’t hear because he’s in Cleveland). She sleeps with the car key close by to trigger the car alarm if necessary—hasn’t happened yet.
Visitors join her. My brother forfeits some sailing time to share a week on the beach. Their kids come along when they have time off from college or work. Friends show up.
She thrives on the trust from my brother and the model she is setting for her kids. Ya gotta love a Spirited Woman who knows what she needs and makes it happen.