When I first tell someone that I live on the road full time, there’s a few questions that almost always come up, especially for anyone who isn’t used to the idea.
“Don’t you get lonely?”
“What do you do with all your free time?”
“Aren’t you worried about your safety?”
I’d like to share my own unique experience addressing these questions, which is based on a single, unique lens and perspective. I doubt these things are applicable in whole to anyone else, but I do think there are huge commonalities between our human experience, what we worry about, and healthy ways of addressing those things. I write this in a simple structure of categories, explanations, and tips, however… it is nebulous, messy, and ever-changing.
That being said, the main concerns that come up when I am asked about my way of life are loneliness, boredom, and danger.
In the two years I’ve been living on the road, I’ve made more friends than I’ve ever had. It’s taught me that I value deeply connected friendship, and this way of living cultivates those connections in so many ways. You can’t take your friendships for granted, because you never know when you’ll see someone again. It creates a beautiful intensity in interaction, digging to the depths of thought within each other. And since when we are together we live as neighbors, it creates a constant reminder that every moment with a person is precious and so there is little time for small talk. Living next to that person gives you extended opportunities to find those conversations and deep points of connection. I may not know their political preferences or what things happen in their day to day lives, but I do know a piece of their hearts.
There are also many times I spend completely alone. Being an introvert, that time is generally healing for me, but just like everyone, I need human interaction as well as alone time. Loneliness is a natural reaction to solitude because we are social creatures, and we thrive in the connections with others. It’s ok to feel lonely sometimes. Being uncomfortable is an opportunity for growth veiled by strong emotions. For me, those feelings of loneliness generally point towards an inner struggle with just being instead of doing. With no distractions, I have a chance to notice that uncomfortable feeling, and focus energy on healthy ways to remember and engrain the understanding that life is much bigger than the thoughts and emotions I experience.
As a gatekeeper to insight
Boredom happens. But boredom acts as a signal that I’m in my head. It seems like maybe my mind is jealous, and it doesn’t want me to go visit my heart so it uses boredom as the gatekeeper. Filling all of my time with activities was merely a distraction from this, but I have to first meet, connect with, and internalize the gatekeeper to know what to do to enter. By allowing for uncomfortable moments of anxiety and boredom, I am forced into it, to address it.
People ask what I do with my time. I don’t have very many activities to speak of, I’m just working in a very different sense than most people think about work. I’m working on realignment with inner truth, recognizing that life is not the reflection we see, but something much greater. Working on things that really can’t be defined by words. This is the heart of why I choose to live this way. I have time to both not think and dig deeply into things, and recognize who I am, and who I want to be. Road life facilitates my true purpose right now, I don’t identify with it specifically, I identify with following a path that brings you to your best self.
Fulltime solo travel constantly exposes me to the reminder that being alive means being unavoidably vulnerable. And the truth is, it can be really scary to know that. Every time I hitch up my trailer and jump on the road again, I accept I may have some trouble at some point. But that’s really not the scariest part. Being aware that anything you put your trust in can dissolve awakens much deeper fears than car trouble. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but it wakes me up to my present reality moment to moment, and it’s really required me to shift my entire perspective on life. And in that sense, I am so grateful for the lesson. In addition, this understanding encourages me to be prepared for all kinds of potential future outcomes. I have a running list in my head of the likely potential problems that may arise, and create contingency plans for them.
Comfort as a Barrier to Growth
Most of the time, my definition of what is safe is more accurately a definition of what feels comfortable. A lot of it stems from having a belief about what the future will look like. When I create a vision of what it looks like, and then things change, I get uncomfortable and worried. I’ve learned that the less attachment I feel to what the future looks like, the less scary it is. However, this perspective doesn’t come without responsibility. I have to show up if I don’t know what’s coming next, I can’t just coast through it, and that takes effort. The thing is… more I do it, the easier it is.
I am a big believer in following your intuition. Your intuition strengthens and grows and has a clearer voice when you continually listen to it. When you get chills as someone slows down as they drive by, watching you as they pass. When a group of trucks circle up next to your camp, revving their engines. My intuition is about how those moments make me feel overall, not the event itself. I do not systematically move every time someone watches me as they pass, nor do I feel anxious each time engines rev in my campsite – Intuition runs the show. Staying flexible is essential, and it keeps things interesting because I may have a loose plan to stay in one location for a week, but if signs say it’s time to get out, I have to reassess and create a new plan. The truth is, being alone does make you more vulnerable, especially as a woman. If there is anything I’ve learned from traveling with a partner vs. traveling solo, it’s that by myself, I am a target. It is a very fine line to walk to feel as though I must hide, versus protect myself from danger. It’s been helpful for me to understand it in terms of how other animals operate, because it is not only the deer that runs from threats, but also the wolf. The wolf is just prepared instinctively to confront a threat if running isn’t the best option.
I hope one or more of these thoughts has sparked a moment of understanding in you as you read it. It’s a beautiful thing to feel as though someone understands you. It’s one of the many steps on the journey and helps illuminate the path.