Solo Camper Girl

Many of you remember when I began my travel trailer adventures back in 2017–me and my dear dog, Faith. This spring I decided that this would be the year I do more traveling and follow more dreams. As everyone says to me: “Do it while you can.” I’m not getting any younger and neither is Faith. To this end, in May I bought a new, slightly larger travel trailer, and with it this month, Faith and I ventured off on 1200 mile trip that took us to two state parks, one that I got to enjoy with my sister-in-law, several historical sites, and scads of old cemeteries.

Faith and I stopped at Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi for four days and three nights by ourselves. As I was driving the narrow (and crumbling in some places) blacktop to my assigned camping site, I was stopped by an enormous fifth-wheel toy-hauler blocking the road. This is a common occurrence at a campground. I put my truck in park and waited patiently while the man and his wife unloaded a beautiful Harley. The man then smiled and waved at me and I waved and smiled back, signalling for him to take his time. With his wife providing direction via a walkie-talkie, the man expertly backed the big camper into place.

My eyes lingered with longing on the woman with the walkie-talkie. I sighed, pushed envious thoughts from my mind, put my truck into gear and headed slowly along the ribbon of road to my campsite.

It is at these moments, as I approach my campsite, this one narrow and with a drop-off on one side, that my heart beats fast and I ask myself why in the world I want to go camping on my own, and how do I get myself into these situations, and why can’t I just stay home and crochet?

But there I was, 300 miles from home, and there was nothing to do but back my camper into place. I prayed for God’s help, reminded myself that I have done this before, and set about lining the camper into position and inching it backward. I remembered what I learned from my first camping trip: Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, and whichever way you move your hand, the trailer will go. With a lot of stopping and popping out to look, I inched backward, sometimes forward, and put that camper in place. It went in with astonishing smoothness!

I go off camping by myself for a variety of reasons. One big one is that I just love road trips and have since childhood. I need hours and days alone to settle myself and write. Time with no distractions. Time away from ‘real life’, to see sights, such as Elvis Presley’s birthplace and Shiloh Military Battlefield Park, and the fabulous state parks with history and nature. And many more reasons that I don’t even know.

The experiences I’ve had and the people I have met through my camping have helped me to know myself. The driving of smaller roads into the vast rural areas shows me true America and her abundance of good, kind people. I have come to know daily that I can do just about anything that I really need to do, and to ask for help when I need it. So many instances God has showed up, and often in the form of a helpful stranger. I have learned that I can do just about anything that I really want and need to do. And that whether with a camper or in life, backing up can be a good thing, and one can try again and again, as many times as needed.