Small Person Driving Big

Elsie watching her world from my RV

It is hard to believe that I have owned my Roadtrek SS Agile campervan for close to six years. It is even harder to believe that I have been full timing it with Elsie the Cat for over two years.

Where does the time go? What do I do next? How long do I want to live this lifestyle? Have you seen how much it cost to rent an apartment or townhouse or house and do I want to pay that much after being semi-nomadic for the last few years? Ah the unanswerable questions. 

I usually travel with the seasons. Unlike some of you, I do not want to do cold and snow. Nope not me. I have only winterized my rig once and that was due to extraordinary circumstances. 

Currently I am in San Diego, CA. I have been in the Southern California area for the past four months. I would have been long gone from here by now, but a pending surgery is keeping me close by. 

What a Southern CA freeway looks like during Super Bowl

Yesterday as I was driving on an almost deserted interstate, Super Bowl Sunday was in progress, I began to think about what I have learned over the past years about driving in a big vehicle. 

Before I bought my rig, I had driven a pickup truck a handful of times and otherwise drove and loved my Subaru. It is different getting behind the wheel of this bigger vehicle.

  • I have learned to be a kind driver. I let people in front of me. I drive to the right. I realize more and more that I have no idea what is going on in the minds of all those people in all those vehicles out on the road and it is OK to be kind. 
  • I am a more attentive driver. I now drive like I ride my road bicycle and my scooter, Defensively. 
  • I use my mirrors frequently – all of my mirrors. 
  • It is OK to get out of the rig, before I park, to look around for obstacles. It takes a very few minutes of my time and it means one less nudge of my vehicle into a solid object.
  • I park further away from stores. It protects the rig from people who feel a bit overwhelmed when a big rig is parked next to their Smart Car. It gives me a chance to get a bit of exercise. Often the shady parts of the parking lot are out in the back forty.
  • It is OK to slow down on the curves. In general it is OK to slow down.
  • I remind myself that I don’t have to be in a hurry. Taking my time is part of this lifestyle.
  • When I change lanes I give the cars in that lane time to allow me to pull over. I notice most drivers need a moment for it to register that the big van wants to pull over and for them to adjust their speed so I can slip in. If they don’t want to give me room I remind myself to be kind and wait for another car to let me in.
  • Remember to breathe while I am driving.
  • On a dirt road I take my time and drive slow and cautiously. I do love those dirt roads. 

    Closeup of a Desert Big Horn

Kindness and caution have become a normal way to drive. I love sitting high in my rig. I am 5 foot 2 inches. I am vertically challenged so sitting up high has never ceased to be a delight for me. I love being able to pull safely off the highway, sit in my rig and watch animals in the National and State parks that I love to visit. My camera’s and binoculars are close at hand. I often find unique places to spend my time.

I have come to love driving my rig. When I get behind the wheel I find I slow down, relax and become aware. And, mostly I remember to be kind. 

17 thoughts on “Small Person Driving Big”

    1. I do a mix of RV Parks and Boondocking. I really like to Boondockers and that is my preference. I do not street camp in cities.
      I don’t do extra measures to be safe. I lock the doors at night and any time I leave the vehicle. I listen to my gut a lot. If it doesn’t feel right I leave.
      Hope that helps.

  1. A great article and I agree 100%. I too just enjoy driving my van and traveling in it is relaxing to me. I’m normally a courteous driver but am much more patient now too. I feel like I could have written what you have Janet. Enjoy, life is good.

  2. Great to read…I’m another 5 foot 2 incher named Janet that would like to follow your wisdom and example for at least part of next year.

  3. Love following you! So good you didn’t end up house sitting for us; first we came home after a very short time because of illness and second, it snowed and it is cold! 🙂

  4. I, too, full-time in my Winnebago RIALTA and have been for about three years. I share all of your beliefs and love of the lifestyle!! Travel On!!!

  5. Janet,
    I have read all your articles to date and as a single woman, I appreciate that there are other solo women blazing the trail.
    I am about two years from making this dream a reality. I look forward to reading about your future adventures. Safe travels and continued good health.

  6. Very interesting, I am 82 and just quit driving my Phoenix Cruiser for I had aStroke four years ago, so my daughter takes me to a certain location and I spend the winter there,Fran cornwell

  7. It is inspiring and heartwarming to hear other women’s (and men’s) solo travels in their RV’s. I’m almost in 3years in now as a proud owner of my older Chev Roadtrek. Because I’m only a part-timer, I get that itchy escape feeling a lot, but have some life obligations and financial perimeters that keep me from traveling more. Bravo to you for sharing and connecting and showing us all the way… and as a further note, I have been writing about my first time, solo, RV’ing experience, as a ‘mature’ woman, since the days I started searching for my RT. I have documented all my experiences. I am just now exploring the ways to put it all together. Thank you, again, for inspiring so many of us. ❤️🚐

  8. Greetings – My mantra with my late husband was “We are not in a hurry,” said in a low, calm voice. I’m still traveling, mostly solo, in our RT Popular, to the tune of 10,000 miles a year, to as many as 25,000, mostly boondocking or NF/NP/SP campgrounds. I blog about my trips, and my kayaking – one way to put one’s experiences out there.

  9. Another short one here 🙂 Love your blog – did you move it from WordPress? I don’t seem to be getting notifications there…I just happened to notice your name here.

  10. I have been wanting to take our cat in the rv. Do you have a lease for your cat?
    How do you let your cat outdoors?

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