Small Person Driving Big

 Small Person Driving Big
Small Person Driving Big 1
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. 

Small Person Driving Big 2
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. 

    Small Person Driving Big 3
    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. 



  • Nice article. Do you generally stay at RV parks or boondock? Any safety tips for traveling alone?

    • 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.

      • Love your article. Thanks for sharing. I have a small camper but I think you have the right idea.

  • Beautiful Article Janet! Hope to meet you on the road some day! Keep Writing!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Smart driving, good habits. Continue to be safe!

  • 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! 🙂

  • 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!!!

  • Thanks for always sharing honestly, Janet.

  • 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.

  • 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

    • Good for you for making an adjustment that still allows you to get out!

  • 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. ❤️🚐

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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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