It’s a somewhat rare sight to see a woman alone driving an RV. It happens, but it’s certainly uncommon. How do I know? I am one of the few who do it.
As I have traveled around the US and Canada in my RV I have met hundreds of other RVers along the way. Of those hundreds, I could count on one hand (possibly two) the number of solo female RVers I have actually met.
We are a rare breed, but we are out there. We may be hard to locate in person, but we come out of the woodwork and join together in groups on Facebook. This is how I found “my people” and got to know their stories.
Why more women don’t RV solo
Like a woman in the 1920’s who wore pants, those of us who get out and RV solo stand out in a crowd. Lots of eyebrows are raised. It certainly isn’t the norm and it makes most people very uncomfortable when they hear that a woman is out on her own in this manner.
Although the Women’s Liberation Movement happened some time ago, and outwardly women are generally acknowledged as being as capable as men, inwardly people still have doubts (and that includes many women).
So, while women are just as good as men at handling the tasks involved in RVing, whether it be driving, dumping tanks, hooking up a tow vehicle, or changing a flat tire, women face a lot of resistance from people close to them when they say they are taking off for the great wide open – alone. (Gasp!)
The combination of going against the norm, doubts about one’s ability from self and others, and the nearly constant stream of questions such as, “Aren’t you afraid?” or “Are you sure you can handle that much rig by yourself?” are enough to turn most solo women off from this wonderful way to see North America.
Despite all of these factors that might keep us tied to otherwise “normal” lives, some of us just can’t be held back. We are compelled to leave everything behind and hit the road…solo.
Even for those of us who say, “To heck with what everyone else thinks, I’m going to do this anyway,” there is a little voice that manages to crop up now and again that makes us think we might be just a little crazy. Society has conditioned us that way. The difference between those of us who have chosen to do it and those who don’t is that the ones who do it just don’t pay much attention to doubt. We dare to believe in ourselves, even if we have to fake it for a while until it becomes a reality.
Just who are these women who RV solo?
Naturally, every woman has her own story, but there are common threads amongst these women. Some women are fearless adventure junkies, and wandering around for a while in an RV is just on the bucket list of crazy things to do.
Other women want to travel, but they can’t find anyone to go with them. While they didn’t want to go without a friend or family member, the call of the open road was stronger than the fear of undertaking such a journey without a companion – and they went anyway. Life is simply too short to wait for other people.
There are also reasons tied closely to the age group to which a solo female RVer belongs. For many solo RVing women of the post-retirement generation, the first time in their lives that they have truly been solo is after they have been widowed.
Life for women of this generation was more often than not going from the household of their parents to that of a husband. Independent living was something that they never got a taste of because it just wasn’t done. Suddenly, their lives changed, and the idea of sitting at home alone was far less appealing than getting out and going on an adventure.
Middle-age women did not face quite the same societal expectations of being a wife and mother as soon as they left their parents’ homes. Instead, many middle-aged women have been tied to a career that has played a large role in shaping their lives. They may or may not have had a family to boot.
Often, middle-age women who RV solo also are going through a major life change. The kids may have just left for college, or they have recently decided that they have had enough of a job they hated.
They may have gone through splitting from a long-term relationship or have had a divorce. Sometimes it’s a combination of all of the above. They just need a break from what life has been for them up to this point, and heading off into the sunset sounded too appealing to pass up.
Younger generations of women fresh out of school or just starting a career haven’t yet set into a life-pattern. They still have many decisions to make about how their lives will look. Unlike the previous two generations, there are even fewer expectations that they will immediately settle down and start a family.
As such, many younger solo female RVers want to get some life experiences under their belts before making any long-term decisions regarding career and family – and what better way to acquire those than by hitting the road solo?
What all solo women RVers have in common
Regardless of what circumstances have brought women to RV solo, they are all seeking one thing in common: personal growth.
Whether they are just starting out in life, are post-retirement, or are somewhere in the middle, women who decide to RV solo get to experience life in a totally new dimension – one in which they define themselves instead of having their lives defined for them.
Societal expectations and/or familial obligations usually mean that women put everyone else’s needs above those of their own. Only by completely breaking free of the mold and venturing into a realm where they don’t have a role to fulfill can they finally find out who they truly are.
Whether the trip lasts 6 months or is indefinite in duration, these things are certain: she will find or enhance her self-reliance skills; set goals completely of her own choosing; and will come to know herself in a way that she never could have imagined otherwise.