When I announced to friends, family and coworkers last year that I was going to be a solo RV traveler, I sensed that their ensuing trepidatious questions revealed their own fears and misgivings. A friend who finds it hard to ask for help wanted to know what I would do in the event of a roadside emergency. Another who tends to expect the worst in people inquired about my personal safety. And more than one shy person asked, “Won’t you be lonely?”
I knew solo travel would bring its share of challenges, but loneliness was not one I considered; I am loquacious and outgoing, and when I am alone, I am rarely lonesome. I relish solitude and can keep myself quite good company, at least for a while. I have friends spread out all over the country, and that circle is growing due to the kind offers and invitations to visit by people who read the blog. I also thought I would be constantly meeting people in campgrounds given my experience in the vintage trailer world, but full-time RVing is not a weekend at the campground. Imagine going to your home each evening and talking to all your neighbors; people who live in RVs are not hosting margarita parties and chatting each other up by the campfire every night.
I would have never predicted I would spend protracted periods of time alone in the RV. The longest stint so far was four weeks, when I left the RVing Women’s convention in Oklahoma and drove Route 66 to Palm Springs. This voyage to discover North America is just as much a voyage to discover, and re-discover, myself. And here’s one thing I’ve learned: Four weeks is too long for me to go without substantial human interaction. Sure, I have all of you out in the blogosphere and on Facebook and other social media. Yes, I met and conversed with people on the journey, but those interactions were largely brief and superficial. Part of that feral feeling I had when I arrived in Palm Springs had to do with the lack of meaningful discourse and society along the way.
And so, I made a vow to pepper in more visits with friends and family on my travels. Departing Palm Springs en route to Seattle for my yearly medical care in March, I spent some time with my college friend Michelle and her husband Scott in Sacramento:
My nephew James and his family in Marysville, California:
My old-school Santa Barbara friends, now in Portland:
And my niece Michelle and her son Gage in Oregon.
And then of course there was all the wonderful visitation and communion with my Seattle peeps.
Now, Miss Olive is gone. Defeating that feeling of lonesomeness is even more important without her to keep me company. I must remember to nurture myself more regularly with that which feeds my soul – good conversation with good people. I’m looking forward to a lot of both when I return to my hometown in Mississippi next week.