BE RAD. BE WILD. BE REAL: GWYNN

By nature, I fear most things. The usual: snakes, people that drive 1970s vans and religious militias. But then the fears become irrational and paralyzing; the dark, anxiety about car trouble anytime I leave the city limits, being the victim of a crime. 

Living alone for most of my adult life, these fears have restrained me from pursuing activities and career changes. The worst part of being single, other than loneliness, was not going camping because I was scared to go alone. I conquered my fear for one weekend of tent camping in a state park, but the sleep deprivation resulting from my fixation on the fact that the only thing between me and a serial killer was a zipper and wall of nylon was too much. A combination of things set me on my quest to change things and overcome my fears of camping alone. Always a fan of vintage trailers, I perused Craigslist for months and determined something less than restored would be affordable. There was also a group of women in Roseville that organized group campouts for female vintage trailer owners. So there was hope! I figured in a few years, it could become reality. 

"A combination of things set me on my quest to change things and overcome my fears of camping alone."

In summer 2010 I began my quest. In August, however, my stepfather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As anyone who has experienced it can relate, when terminal illness enters your life, it tends to reconfigure how you view things. It is a brutal reminder of how truly short life is and that regrets are a waste of energy. The following spring I found my 12 foot, 1972 Scotsman trailer locally on Craigslist and used my tax return to purchase it. And yes, as I was reminded by a handful of people, that money should have gone to my retirement account. Fear mongers. The trailer needed some work and I did not have the skills, time away from the family situation, nor the finances to complete it all, so I did my best with the dedicated help of a male friend and put it aside.

In May 2011, a month after my stepfather’s passing, I took the trailer on its maiden voyage for a week up the Oregon Coast. The rest of the summer I went on multiple campouts alone. Me and the trailer. It took a lot of practice in the driveway and campgrounds to learn to back it up into the campsites. Of course initially I was worried I would never master it. And again, a handful of people told me as much. I made a checklist of what to do when hooking-up the trailer and kept it in the glove box so that I would not forget something. I read about Sisters on the Fly,  and they inspired me even more. My fears still lurked when I was camping alone that first summer, but they were diminished by my new found sense of empowerment, joy and achievement. I also found it to have healing powers in dealing with my grief. The price I paid for the trailer has been rendered insignificant for it has been one of the most powerful experiences of my life. 

"My fears still lurked when I was camping alone that first summer, but they were diminished by my new found sense of empowerment, joy and achievement."

 It is lovely to wake up in my little canned ham with its English chintz curtains, handmade quilt and cool thrift store decorations. Curling up in my pajamas at the dinette and lounging over a good book with a cuppa in the morning. Actually it is pure bliss. So my advice to all you lovely bad ass Wild Women-JUST DO IT. Towanda!!  I’ll see ya on the road.