In this episode of the RV Podcast we meet a 71-year-old widow who has been Living Alone in a Tiny Truck Camper – and loving it!
Also during the podcast, we discuss current RV news, tips for enjoying the RV Lifestyle, and much more.
You can listen to the entire podcast on your favorite podcast app or in the player below right on your computer, tablet or mobile phone.
If you want to watch the video version of the RV Podcast from our RV LifestyleYouTube Channel, just click below.
Meet Nettie who is Living Alone in a Tiny Truck Camper
Nettie Bunton is a 71-year-old widow who has been RVing for the past 40 years.
She lives in Florida but is on the road somewhere every month and she’s had just about every RV you can imagine…of every size.
These days, she travels alone in a tiny truck camper, towed by a small pickup. And she loves every minute of it. As she shares her adventures, you are going to love her advice to solo women RVers.
Below is an edited transcript of our interview, recorded on location at our Meetup on the Mississippi in the River View RV Park in Vidalia, MS.
Mike Wendland: Tell us how many RVs you have had?
Nettie Bunton: Ooh, I believe this is number nine.
Mike Wendland: Number nine?
Nettie Bunton: Yes.
Mike Wendland: And you are now in a Capri Truck Camper.
Nettie Bunton: Yes.
Mike Wendland: Towed by a Chevy Pickup.
Nettie Bunton: Yes. A small Chevy, a Colorado.
What's it like Living Alone in a Tiny Truck Camper?
Mike Wendland: And what caused you to get a Truck Camper?
Nettie Bunton: I had a Truck Camper before, back in the 80s and I enjoyed that. I've had such a variety. I started in the early 70s with a Volkswagen bus popup thingy, hippie mobile. And I went from small vehicles to class Cs, to a small motor home, and I thought, “This is ridiculous.”
And then I started going smaller and down to a Pleasure-Way and then I wanted to go back into a Truck Camper and I loved my Colorado. And I found a company in Texas that would custom-make Truck Campers for any size vehicle. And it had to be light, I can't carry a lot of load. So I found this Capri company and they built me an RV that's under a 1000 pounds, so I could handle that with beefing up my suspension and heavy-duty tires, I'm okay.
Mike Wendland: And you are a solo traveler?
Nettie Bunton: I'm a solo traveler.
Mike Wendland: No dogs?
Nettie Bunton: No dogs.
Mike Wendland: No cats?
Nettie Bunton: No cat… Cat's at home. I have two cats, two chickens at home.
Mike Wendland: How often are you on the road?
Nettie Bunton: Oh, recently I guess every few months I go for two weeks. The longest was this summer. I went out to Wyoming and around for three weeks, because I don't want to impose on my pet sitters too long. So two to three weeks, every few weeks.
Why a Tiny Truck Camper?
Mike Wendland: What has caused you to go to a Truck Camper? Because you don't see those nearly so much as you used to.
Nettie Bunton: Well, I guess I like the agility. I guess I'm more of a traveler than I am a camper. So you give up comfort when you go little like this, but I make a lot of wrong turns and I can make them very easily with this because the turning radius is very good. So I like the fact that I have everything on board.
My favorite vehicle I think was the Pleasure Way, but they've just gotten so expensive now that it's cost-prohibitive for me. So this was an affordable way that I could get into a unit that had the same quality and capability.
Mike Wendland: And how long have you had this?
Nettie Bunton: About a year. This is the second one I've gotten from this company. I had even a smaller one, but I couldn't stand up in it. So I opted for one that had the cab over.
Mike Wendland: Well, you know you have to show us now the inside.
What's inside her Tiny Truck Camper?
Nettie Bunton: Oh no. Okay sure. The truck is 18 feet long, which makes it nice because I can park anywhere a car can park. I really have it cramped up here, but I'm used to working with a Porta Potty.
So, that's my potty and usually I go to campgrounds and use their facilities.
Mike Wendland: And there's your bed in the back.
Nettie Bunton: Yeah. And you have the option of sleeping on the bench or using the upstairs part for a bed.
Mike Wendland: Storage on the side and you use bins.
Nettie Bunton: And I use bins.
Mike Wendland: For a refrigerator, you've got a Yeti.
Nettie Bunton: 12 volt.
Mike Wendland: 12 volt refrigerator and so much storage in here.
Nettie Bunton: Yeah. It looks a lot neater when I have everything put away.
Mike Wendland: And you've got your air conditioner.
Nettie Bunton: I have an air conditioner.
And a Fantastic Fan going?
Nettie Bunton: Yeah, the Fantastic Fan I like. Air conditioner, not so much.
Mike Wendland: Yeah. And it's 30 amps, right?
Nettie Bunton: Yes. Yes. 30 amp service.
Mike Wendland: And so the porta potty makes it really easy for you?
Nettie Bunton: Yes. At my age, I have to get up in the middle of the night and it's convenient.
Mike Wendland: And it's really neat how you have that set up.
Nettie Bunton: It's very well insulated. It's very comfortable whether it's hot or cold. And I ask for a lot of windows, like I said, this company will make any camper that you want.
What Led her to Living Alone in a Tiny Truck Camper?
Mike Wendland: How many years have you been camping?
Nettie Bunton: Well, oh, off and on? Okay. I guess I was inspired when I went with our neighbor, they had a popup camper and we went to the Poconos in Pennsylvania and I thought, “Geez, this is just the best.” And then I got into scouting. Of course, you tent camp in scouting. But seriously getting into an RV, I guess it was sometime in the 70s, off and on.
Mike Wendland: So you've got some miles under those tires.
Nettie Bunton: I have some miles, yes I do, yes.
Advice about solo RVing
Mike Wendland: What advice would you give to those who want to know, particularly solo female travelers, about getting out there? First of all, it's a huge percentage. Every place we go we're finding more and more solo travelers.
Nettie Bunton: Yes. Yes.
Mike Wendland: And I wonder if you are too?
Nettie Bunton: Oh definitely. Definitely. Any rally or gathering I get to, there's always a lot of ladies out on the road by themselves.
Mike Wendland: What are the concerns that they had before they went?
Nettie Bunton: Oh, just fear. Somewhat they're concerned about their safety, but more can they handle the rig? Some of them are widows and they said the husband always did the driving and they didn't do a lot of it, didn't have the experience. So, that was fearful, they had to get over that fear.
So it was safety and the fear of driving of something bigger than their car, I would say is the two major points I hear.
Mike Wendland: And what advice do you give them?
Just do it!
Nettie Bunton: Just do it, just do it. You can go to a Walmart parking lot after it closes and practice with the rig until you get comfortable with backing it up and doing everything that you have to do. And as far as safety, it's so blown out of proportion. It's much safer. People are wonderful. I've broken down many times and I've always had someone come to my rescue. It's just great. I've never really had a scary situation I was fearful in.
Mike Wendland: What's your favorite type of camping?
Nettie Bunton: My favorite type of camping?
Mike Wendland: Well, there's boondocking, there's rallies, there's moochdocking, there's campgrounds…
Nettie Bunton: I guess I would have to say rallies and campgrounds, and the reason for that, and I do enjoy Harvest Host, especially if I meet other campers, but I'm traveling myself, so I kind of enjoy going into a campground where there's other people. You see the activity, even kids playing and stuff. It's kind of breaks it up from just being by yourself, so I kind of enjoy the campground thing.
Mike Wendland: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family… Just to help us get to know you a little bit.
Nettie Bunton: Oh man, geez. I've had a variety of different jobs. I was in the golf course business, I sell products now online, I’m semi-retired. I've sold real estate, I've done a little bit of everything, but fortunately, every job I've ever had, I've had downtime. When I was in the golf course business, I'd put the RV together and away I'd go to Florida for January, we'd close the golf course and head to Florida. So I really enjoyed that. So yeah, that's about as exciting as I get.
Mike Wendland: How about your family?
Nettie Bunton: My only surviving sibling now lives in Pennsylvania. I live in Florida and I don't have any family down there, so I'm kind of on my own now.
Mike Wendland: Were you married? Kids?
Nettie Bunton: I was briefly, yes. I'm a widow, and no kids. I traveled with dogs. I had two dogs in the past and now I'm down to cats. And two chickens.
Mike Wendland: So you have had all these different RVs, you're now in this awesome little camper. What's it been like this year? We've heard all these stories about how COVID's changed everything and… Is it any different this year than it's ever been for you?
Nettie Bunton: A little bit, but not enough to keep you from traveling. Like I said, I was up and back to Pennsylvania a couple times, I was out west, some of the visitor's centers and so on were closed. You had to check to see whether you had restrooms. There were some places I couldn't go because they did not consider me self-contained, but not really, it didn't really change things very much.
About RV travel in your 70's
Mike Wendland: While people worry about when they're too old to RV, we have met people well into their 90s now.
Nettie Bunton: Yes.
Mike Wendland: And you don't have to go climb mountains to enjoy this, right?
Nettie Bunton: Yes, you just have to alter. I don't do the same things I did when I was 30 and I don't have the same energy level as I did when I was 30. But you just adjust. I do more sight-seeing, I guess, than out hiking. I used to be a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club and go sleep on a mountain somewhere. Well, I don't do that anymore.
Mike Wendland: Yeah. Well you've got a really nice camper right over there.
Yeah, I have my tent on wheels now.
Mike Wendland: That's what Jennifer calls our little motor home.
Mike Wendland: Your favorite place? Nettie Bunton: Anywhere near the water. I just love water, ocean, large lakes, large mud puddles, I mean, I just like being near water.
Thanks for getting us all excited about this.
Nettie Bunton: Yes. Oh good. Very good.
A while ago we had another podcast about age and RVing — you can watch it here
AND RECENTLY A READER ASKED: ARE WE TOO OLD FOR THE RV LIFESTYLE?
This question comes from Diane via our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group:
QUESTION: “Hubby and I are 64/62 and we were thinking we want to get an RV to start doing some traveling. But, we’re wondering if we’re too old to do it!
We’ve recently started making day trips with our dogs. It’s exhausting – lol! By the time we pack for the day, drive 2-3 hours, hike with the dogs, and then drive back, we need a nap!
How do people our age do it? Did we miss the window to travel due to our age?”
ANSWER: The answer to this is an unequivocal NO!
Diane’s question brought a huge response from members of our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group. More than 400 in just the first day! And the answers are awesome:
Jerry: We’re 73 & 70 love it. Take longer trips with some do-nothing days. Take a drive, then a nap.
Henrik: My dear, I’m 60, my wife 65.. we are currently prepping our house to go on the market in the spring.. plan is to get a 30′ TT and get out! Never too old! If your body can tolerate the adventures, I say go for it! I can not imagine starting our retirement doing this.. it’s our dream. And it will come true! Good luck and hope to bump into you and some of the great people in this group next year!
Larry: Diane Alverez you are only too old if you think you are. I am 63 tomorrow and will be taking off in my MH in March with a friend who is turning 62.
Lindsay: Your not. Do it do it now. So many older ppl wait till the last minute and can’t. Do it while you can enjoy.
Amy: I’m 64 and a widow. I’m doing it!
Carol: We are 69 wife, 65 husband. Husband and wife good health …feel our age… hubby still works own business retires in July. I have a very bad back and use a walker or electric trike. I wanted this lifestyle but hubby thought I was nuts. We have never camped out, know no one who did this. Reluctantly he agreed and we bought a very nice new Class C. From day 1 to now, 5 yrs later, we love it. We still stay 1-2 hrs from home until retirement, then we will do our long trips and we can’t wait. We are not athletic, adventurist or very social. We do as we please, always meet new people and there are weekends I don’t leave our now Class A. Do it ….
Patricia: We are 73 and just bought a 25ft class c. Use to have a 40 ft diesel pusher for twenty years. We got rid of it a year and a half ago. Missed the freedom to travel. So bought something smaller.
Ann: I’m 68 & my husband is 73. We bought a used motorhome 4 years ago & have been heading South for 3 months in the winter. We do not pull a car. We have ebikes. We previously stayed in about 20 different places, shopping or doing laundry between campgrounds. We stay mostly at state, county, & municipal campgrounds with a few “ Boondockers Welcome” spots thrown in. This year we only have reservations at 7 campgrounds. Hard to get reservations, even 11 months in advance, when you have a budget. We have enjoyed it immensely! I know there will come a time when we may not be able to do it. Enjoy it while you can.
Vicky: Are you kidding me? I didn’t even start full-timing until I hit 62! 2 cross country trips in my class A motorhome towing my car behind. My only travel companions were 2 Dobermans and a cattle dog. I’m 72 now, down to 2 dogs and just completed 3400 mile trip to Maine, again, towing my car behind my motorhome, just me and my dogs. After this last east coast trip, I’m pretty much going to spend 5 months in the winter in Vegas, 5 months on the coast of Oregon and or Washington in the summer, and 2 months down in San Diego area visiting my family. I still have a few good years left in me to keep those wheels rolling!
Charis: My parents are both 80. They don’t full time but we (my siblings and I) can never keep up with them. Every time we talk they seem to be in a different location and/or state. We think it’s great, it has definitely helped keep them young. I only ask.. they let me know what direction they’re heading in so I have a general sense of where they are in case I need to go get them for whatever reason (which has never happened).
Debra: 64 & 65? Too old? Please! I’m 63 and I’m having more fun in my life than EVER! I pace myself though. I don’t drive 12 hr days like I used to. I take 2-3 days to go where I used to go in one day. And I take care of myself. Good food and exercise help keep my energy level up. AND I make checklists for prepping to go, setting up, and breaking down. Go for it!
Cary: But let me say, 64 & 62 are YOUNG!! I’ll be 77 in another month, and although it’s not as easy as it once was, I’m still enjoying the RV life and plan to continue for many years to come.
Bev: I’m over 80 years old and a Solo RV traveler. My little dog goes everywhere with me. I check in with my kids, when on the road, every night so they know where I am. Keeps me young and active
No matter your age – are you ready to find some great places to explore?
Think of this as a group travel journal! We've been adding our favorite places all across the country and now you can, too! Every day more and more gets added by RVers just like you!
To add your own locations, you need to get the free app for your smartphone so you can add spots and share them with others as you travel! Click the link in the lower-right corner of the map and start adding YOUR favorite places. Already we've found many new places to explore during our RV adventures and you will too!
Together, we can make this a huge resource for the RV community!