Friday, July 22, 2016

Solo Woman RV: Lonely No Longer

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My book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, is based on 10 years as a full-timer, earning a living as a travelwriter.

Solace for your Solitude

      As a solo RV traveler, I value privacy and freedom. However I’ve also had moments of feeling so terribly alone. Once I was weak and feverish with flu and the campground forced me to move out. My reservation had expired. I wasn’t offered an alternative, not even dry camping in the overflow area.

     Scottish poet William Dickie is a traveler who spent 25 years on the go in the oil and gas industry. Pondering being alone versus being lonely,  he put his thoughts into lovely lyrics that can echo for all who travel. Dickie’s newest book of poems is the sweet and inspiring “A Window to the Soul.” There are many books with the same or similar title, so be sure to get the right one at

    In an exclusive to Solo Woman RV, Dickie shares these ten thoughts for women who travel.
1.     Traveling alone can be tough, but it’s basically all about keeping the mind active, and handling the fear, concentrating on driving and getting on with your day.

2.     Loneliness is a state of mind. Listen to the radio. Communicate with others on the road. Listen to music. Join a group and travel together.

3 Take this opportunity to learn a musical instrument. It  could be as simple as a harmonica or guitar.

4.     Write a diary, blog, poetry, short stories, something that you can both reflect on and add to daily. Take plenty of pictures.

5.  Keep in touch by phone and through social media.

6.   Games are another source of activity--card games, games on your phone, jigsaw puzzles,

7.   Yoga / Meditation,  lead to better stress management and create a routine.

8.   Having conversations with yourself might seem mad, but in reality we all do it.

9.    Generate friendships along the way. Your world is greater for it.

10.  All these are basic suggestions,  Dickie admits. With experience comes wisdom, he says, and sometimes there is no other way to learn how to deal with being on your own while traveling. The key is to get this wisdom while having fun, and enjoying the experience. The exhilaration of being on your own, the confidence to deal with what life throws at you and survive which includes dealing with loneliness, is something that once attained, no one can take from you.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Tips and Trips for RV Women

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A Potpourri of Tips for RV Trips
    * Do you carry boots in your RV  for fashion, hunting, hiking or mucking about a muddy campsite?  Cut a pool noodle to fit the boots and keep them upright. They’ll hold their shape and will also air out better. Cut up any leftover noodle to make pin cushions.

    * I’m neither a hiker nor fashionista but I do keep inexpensive “wellie” rubber boots on hand for messy weather.Believe me, they come in handy.

    *  Muddy boots? Keep plastic grocery bags near the door of the RV and slide one on  over each boot. Now you can step out of the boot into the clean floor of your RV. 

    * Speaking of dirty jobs, I keep work gloves handy for fueling and hooking up.  I love these inexpensive garden gloves for comfort,  flexibility and grip-ability. They are three pairs to a pack for under $10.

    * Save Tic-Tac cases to carry travel supplies of toothpicks, bobby pins, seeds for sprouting, beads, SD cards, straight pins and/or matches. Glue a strip of sandpaper on the side for striking matches. Fill one of the containers with cake sprinkles for easy, even sprinkling. 

    * Make sand dollar cookies for a beach party. Slice sugar cookie dough and press five  almond slices in a circle on top. Bake, then sprinkle with coarse cinnamon sugar. 

    * Fill a spray bottle with Listerine and spray it around the campsite. Some of my friends tell me it works better than Yard Guard. 

    * Create a “fence” for small bottles, salt and pepper, oddments by screwing a towel rack to the wall about three or four inches above a kitchen or bathroom counter. Suction cup racks can fail in a panic stop. 

    * This jumbo cereal keeper is great for storing people food and dog food, and it also makes a compact waste basket to slip into the narrowest spaces. 

    * While you are on the highway in the RV, clothes swing and sway in the closet. Any rough spots will catch and ruin clothes. Lightly “dust” the inside of the RV clothes closet with old pantyhose. If there are any rough places, the hose with snag on them and you can sand them out. 

    * I’ve never seen an RV that had enough space for waste baskets. That’s why these  portable trash baskets are so handy. Hang  them everywhere around the RV and campsite to fill with anything from trash to toys, bathroom beauty aids and the hair dryer, kitchen cleaners, power tools. Use as is,  or line it with a plastic  bag. You can also use it as a bin to store plastic bags. Pull out one at a time through the hole in the front.

    * Make your own “shake-and-pour” pancake mix. The trick is to  put liquids in a large jar first, then add dry mix. Shake to mix well. Pour. I save a few large jars, put them through the dishwasher at home and take them camping to use as shakers, then discard without washing. 

    * Here’s my favorite “homemade” cream soup, which I like for camping because I can sip it from a mug. No spoons, no bowls to wash.  Cook about a pound of carrots, asparagus or celery  in a quart of chicken broth. Puree with a blender, food processor or  immersion blender. Blend in a can of condensed cream of something soup until it’s velvety. Herbs and/or ground pepper optional.  If it’s too thick, thin with milk or cream to taste. Makes about 7 cups.  

See my hasty, tasty recipes for RV travel and camping at

Friday, July 8, 2016

Upgrade Your RV with Payback in Mind

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Pay It Forward
    You want to fine-tune your RV until it sings your own song, but what additions or changes will make economic sense at re-sale time?  If you plan to keep it forever, nothing is off limits. But are there ways you can make your camper more “yours” while also improving its resale value?  

    If you spend a lot of time boondocking, you’ll get both immediate and long-term payback by switching to solar power and energy-saving lights and equipment. If, however, you plug in most of the time and are paying for electric hook-up anyway, why switch? . If you’re renovating a vintage RV for re-sale, you could hurt the value by making major changes or painting it a different color. If you add complex systems, you’re asking for additional maintenance but the convenience may be worth it. 

    Only you can decide.     Here are thoughts on improvements and their paybacks.

    LED lighting can reduce battery drain for lighting by up to 90 percent. There are two ways to go. You can upgrade bulbs alone (costly) or upgrade to stylish new LED fixtures (even more costly.)  It’s best to work with an RV electrician, especially if you’ll need new wiring, switches, dimmers and remote controls.
    You can easily increase existing lighting with new conventional fixtures such as this double dome light in place of a single dome. 

    Window coverings. You need privacy in crowded campgrounds, temperature control in hot sun and, to keep up with today’s trends in RV curtains and draperies, you’ll may want to add  remote controls. Window coverings take a beating on the road and in the campground. They are frequently opened and closed, bleached by harsh sun, bounced around from road motion.   
    Motorized shades are a luxury and some can even be controlled from your smart phone. The same motorized features are also available for the cockpit, an upgrade to consider if your RV still has manual shades there.
     Price goes up when you add better quality fabrics and linings but the payback is in improved insulation and better protection for carpeting and furniture against sun fade.  At additional cost you can also have window fixtures that can change from day shades to night shades at the touch of a button. See your RV dealer or decorator.

    Storage spaces. According to Money magazine, one of the biggest turn-offs for potential home buyers is the small, single-rod closet. Even if you can’t expand the cubic footage of the coach’s closets and cupboards,  an investment in organizing aids can pay back now and when you sell.

    I like this high quality titanium closet upgrade kit from Rubbermaid because it can be configured to fit any space(s) you have available in the RV.

    Bathroom. New bathroom trends include upgraded shower heads,  heat (such as a heat lamp or heated towels racks) and designer lighting. Pedestal sinks are out in favor of cabinet sinks that provide storage space.
    It may also be possible to put a taller or upgraded  toilet on the same footprint. Large choices in flush toilets are now available from RV or marine suppliers. If your RV  shower stall is claustrophobic, make it seem larger with this extended shower curtain rod.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Ride Your RV to True Travel Freedom

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Reinvent Y-O-U

Could an RV  be the ticket to the a new You, living the life and career you always wanted?  In one vehicle you have a complete home, one that can take you anywhere for the right job or climate or relationship or simply a change of scene. 

    Once you’re free to travel without leaving “home” the next step is to find a  career that will fill your bank account and fulfill your goals. 

    Nancy Collamer, MS, is a career coach who says, “Rethink your retirement.” She is talking about the life you can have right now, at any age,  by sliding into a new career that lets you follow your heart to find personal fulfillment. 

    Collamer’s book, Second-Act Careers,  is subtitled “50+ ways to profit from your passions during semi-retirement”. She is a career expert, not an RV expert, but if your dream is to retire early and travel full-time, this book was written for you.

    Not all of her suggested “second acts” apply to the travel lifestyle, of course, but her basic philosophy is  bang-on for those who dream of making a new start.
    Her key words are:

    First she suggests that you look at skills you have built up over a lifetime. They can qualify you for teaching, coaching, consulting, speaking or training someone else in those skills. However, that’s just a start.  It’s OK too, Collamer says,  if you prefer to head in a totally different direction.   

    Hate your job? Collamer points out that you might still use your skills in a new career.  A history teacher may have classroom burnout but love to be a museum curator or a writer of historical romances.  

    Collamer cites a marketing executive who left the corporate rat race to teach marketing to magicians.  He is worlds away from his old cubicle, yet he is trading on his marketing expertise.  By Chapter Two the author expands on how to make money from your expertise by, say, blogging or tutotring. Chapters cover how to start a business from scratch and also how to business-in-a-box such as selling on eBay or Avon.

    The best part of the book is the author’s case histories of real people whose “second act” proved to be rewarding both financially and otherwise.  A 50-ish woman never had time or money for the painting she longed to do, so she now heads a membership organization for older women artists. 

    The author leads readers through the complex workings of non-profits, of volunteering and of all the ways one might make money in semi-retirement. The best part of the book is the work sheets. By the time you have filled in all the blanks with honest answers, you’ll know more about yourself and the bright horizons that can life ahead. 

    Books that can inspire the next chapter in your life include
Second Act Careers

Second Act, Creating the Life You Really Want

Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, A Guide to the Full-time Life on Wheels, See Janet Groene's easy recipes for camping and RV travel at

Where to go next? Take a taste of my Travel Teasers at