About Me

Lynne and Millie at the summit of Engineer Pass on the Alpine Loop 4WD trail, 
San Juan Mountains, Southwestern Colorado. Summer, 2011

My family didn't camp much when my brother and I were kids.  There was one miserably memorable attempt when we were chased by mosquitoes all day, and in the evening, each given a spoon and a lunchbag and told to go into the woods to hunt for small white rodents called "snipes."  Returning empty-handed, we were given S'mores and cups of hot cocoa, and sat around a cozy campfire listening to my stepdad tell us all kinds of tall tales of the "snipes that got away."

There were a few other camping weekends with the Girl Scouts, and a couple in college, but that was about the extent of our encounters with nature.

Fast forward a couple decades.... a workaholic tech career had me traveling frequently.  Lots of airports and hotels, flight delays, lost luggage, and uncomfortable hotel beds.  I had just turned 40, and wondered how my "always connected" work had left me so disconnected from the natural world around me.

Vacations were difficult to find relaxing-- the thought of boarding another airplane to go to yet another hotel, regardless of how exciting the destination, just didn't seem like a vacation to me...it still felt like work. 

Then, in the summer of 2003, my stepdad passed away.  Within a few weeks, my summer vacation plans changed and now, suddenly, made all the sense in the world.  I'd go camping....alone....in the woods.  It was a way to grieve, but also a way to re-discover a whole natural world that I'd been missing.

I delighted in the echoing sound of loons on a northwoods lake, serenely paddled a canoe at dawn, photographed spectacular sunsets, roasted marshmallows over a campfire, and fell asleep to the sound of gentle winds rustling the tall trees above my tent.   I was now hooked....and have been camping, paddling, and photographing ever since!


In 2005, an adorable little yellow Labrador Retriever puppy came into my life. She was a golden yellow color like Miller beer, so Miller (and soon after, just "Millie") became her name.  I had grand ideas that she'd love to go camping and canoeing with me, and while she's loved the camping part, it took well over 5 years to finally become comfortable sitting in a boat.

Kayaking Baja, Mexico - February, 2015
 Millie much preferred swimming instead!  She swam in both oceans, the Gulf, the Sea of Cortez, 3 Great Lakes, and dozens of rivers and lakes.  When she passed away in March of 2015, Millie had ended up visiting 39 U.S. states, 10 Mexican states, and 3 Canadian provinces.  What adventures we shared together!

With a growing love of the outdoors and RVing, by 2012, I knew I needed to make some major changes to my unsatisfied and unfulfilled life.  I turned 50, was caring for a mother with terminal cancer, and starting to see long-time dear friends also face major health crises.  Would I even still be around by normal retirement age?  If so, would I be healthy enough to enjoy it?

So after my mom died in 2013, I knew it was finally time to quit my soul-sucking corporate job and start living a life of my own full intentions.  I ran off to discover Mexico for the winter and gave full-time RVing one final test run.

That felt so good and right that I returned to my house in Chicago in early 2014 and spent the next 6 months selling off all my household possessions.  In August of 2014, leaving only 7 modest storage boxes behind in Chicago, I finally officially began life as a full-time RVer!

Boondocking in Utah - October, 2014

Full-timing has since become far different than the non-stop travel I originally envisioned.  Perpetual "vacation-mode" to so many gorgeous places during the first few months eventually overwhelmed my senses and left me with a strange emptiness and lack of purpose and direction.

Just when I thought I was getting my full-timer expectations readjusted, in April, 2015, my life took yet another major turn (literally changing in an instant) when I was diagnosed with uterine cancer.  While that news might have prompted many to accelerate their "bucket list" travels, for me, it had the exact opposite effect.

I now crave an even slower pace to more fully immerse myself in a particular area per season.  More meaningful and memorable experiences, than a blurred whirlwind of "drive-thru" travel attractions.  

I am also now more passionate than ever about the volunteer work I do on behalf of National Wildlife Refuges and our National Parks. Volunteering fills my soul with greater joy than any paid job ever has!



So, while I still hope to continue living in a "home on wheels" for many years to come, and sharing my photographs of nature's inspiration--

Sunrise over Bryce Canyon, October, 2014
perhaps it is my personal story that will end up providing the greater inspiration to those reading this blog (who might currently feel as trapped in an uncontrolled, unfulfilled, and meaningless life as I once did).   

If you're one of those people, my advice is simple and straightforward-- roll up your sleeves TODAY and start eating that elephant (little bite by little bite)!  Start eliminating any and all of the materialistic, financial, and/or unhealthy emotional chains that prevent you from achieving your soul's full potential and contentment.  No one can do this for you-- you alone control your own destiny!

Our lives (or good health) will literally be over and done with one day in the blink of an eye.  Don't regret waiting until it's too late!



20 comments:

  1. It is always interesting to me to learn how others got started RV'ing. I too jumped into it as a way to deal with my grief.Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thanks Sunny. I'm not a big church-goer, but always feel spiritual when I get out onto a pretty pond or hike through a quiet forest. Sounds like it helps you the same way. Sure makes our troubles seem pretty small and insignificant when surrounded by such magnificence!

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  3. Sweet! We just got a minne winnie - can't wait!

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  4. Oh Lynn (it's Rene Agredano here, Jim Nelson's wife from NuRVers)... how funny, I was telling my husband how much I like your advice for women travelrs and then I saw this photo. We have workamped in Lake City for 7 years now and LOVE the Alpine Loop! It's magical. If you're ever out that way let us know. We will be there this summer from May to September. Hop over to our blog and say hello if you'd like (liveworkdream.com).

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  5. Hi Lynne and Millie! Love following your adventures! Once, I was fortunate to live with a golden retriever, seeing her transforms from a teen to a mature one. Bringing her walk along the river (where she would chase ducks) was one of my happiest moments in life.

    Best wishes
    ServicefromHeart.blogspot.com
    #AtoZChallenge 2014 participant

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  6. Very nice story and add in your dog and how much she means to you and you mean to her just so touches my heart. As we think about you and Millie traveling we will keep you guys in our thoughts and prayers - God bless.

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  7. My camping experiences were also quite limited growing up, but now I am a full time RVer and love camping! Except for the mosquitos :)

    Your lab is beautiful!

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  8. Hi
    Glad to see you are finally free from home ownership.you wrote me a while ago while I was in the market for a new Navion.
    I did purchase a 2007 J which I am thrilled with.
    I am a member of the yahoo group and have been trying to post a new message but for some strange reason I can't seem to access the post section...
    Would you be so kind as to add to his post ...here is my problem...
    Help with Onan propane Generator
    Very few hours
    Worked wonderfully for the last month
    Not sure what I did.... But for some reason, it will not start, no clicking sound, no attempt to even fire up
    Did check the batteries
    Any suggestions?
    Not sure where to start.
    Thanks Everyone

    I appreciate your help! I do have one question for you, since you seem to be a bit of an apple guru.
    How can I play videos from my ipad to the Jensen tv
    I have Apple TV at home but it is I my understanding that you need to be connected to wifi for that.
    Thanks and hope to meet you someday
    Are you going to Quartzsite ithis winter?
    Drive Safely,
    Marie
    www.volvolady.com

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    Replies
    1. Hi Marie:
      I just posted your problem to the V-N Yahoo forum. Hopefully they can help you out right away. It sounds like an electrical issue if you're not hearing any clicking or any signs of life. Have you tried starting the generator when your Navion's engine is running (a reliable source of 12 volt power)? I think there's also some kind of reset switch on the generator itself (beneath one of the front panels-- check your manual). Additionally, there's a circuit breaker for the generator in the main CB area beneath the fridge. Check that too.

      I had a horrid ongoing problem with my diesel-powered generator in my '08 View that ended up being a bad solenoid between the coach batteries and the RV engine battery, but it was a devil to troubleshoot as sometimes the gen would fire right up and other times it'd be dead as a door nail.

      As for videos from your iPad to your Jensen...the easiest way would be a direct cable from your iPad to the TV. Apple sells various cables/adapters depending on your model of iPad. Before I sold my Apple TV, I did play around with it one day using my Mifi as a Wifi router. It worked and let me AirPlay stuff from my iPad to the TV, but when I then turned internet off (simulating being in a place without cell coverage), AirPlay would only stream iTunes audio songs and no video at all. Seems like Apple AirPlay needs to authenticate something for video and requires an internet signal. So, I decided to give up on Apple TV and AirPlay in the RV and just use Bluetooth and/or direct connections to my Mac Mini and 27" Monitor.

      Yes, I may very well be at Quartzsite this winter if I don't go to Baja! Hope to cross paths!

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  9. Another site on Facebook that only has winne/navion that is the name of the site alot the people have great insite on are veh.

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  10. Hey Lynne,

    Congratulations on your hutzpah, photos and adventures. Good for you! I ran across your T@B blog because I am shopping for some type of mobile camper. There are lots of options and features to consider. I am a 50 something year old woman and wanting to adventure too. Could you offer a down and dirty list of pros and cons for the T@B and the criteria for how you decided to move on? Inquiring minds are curious about what you have learned. Thanks!

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    1. Here's a post I did a few years ago on that. At the time, I was comparing the T@B to my first View. I've since traded that for my current J-model View which I'm now happily full-timing in! To sum it up shortly-- the T@B and other tiny trailers are great for weekend camping, or driveway camping when visiting friends/family. But if you're wanting to camp longer or be able to use your RV for a lunch or pit stop , a trailer or motorhome with a full bath are preferred. Also, if you're wanting to boondock out West on public lands or park overnight at a Walmart rather than always have to stay at an expensive campground with a bath house, an RV with a full bath and holding tanks is a must! http://winnieviews.blogspot.com/2011/10/girls-guide-to-choosing-rv-my-story.html

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  11. Just found you via Technomadia linking to you on one of their FB posts. Yay, a solo woman who escaped the crazy high-tech, high-travel life, I love it. I am getting there: month 11 of an 18-month escape plan. My trailer comes in May, and I'm so excited to learn how to do all those trailer things. Seeing another solo woman doing this nomad life just fills my heart with joy!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah!! It's a great life out here being a solo house-less vagabond! Here at the NWR I'm volunteering at we have 6 solo full-timer women and 2 solo men in addition to various couples. So there are solos out here-- you won't be alone!

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  12. It is an amazing lifestyle, just to enjoy the slower pace, no bags to pack, sleep in your own bad and cook your own meals.

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  13. Lynne,
    I'm enjoying your blog and courage to adventure. I too am a cancer survivor and thinking about hitting the road for as long as interesting. I've traveled the world and am comfortable breaking routine, in fact I love it. I'd love to hear about your main challenges as a lady traveling alone? I have a small dog and it will just be the two of us. Can you share some of your biggest concerns or frightening encounters?
    Hugs,
    Kat

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    1. Hi Kat-- congrats on surviving the big C! I love solo travel for the ability to change my itinerary on a whim and not upset anyone else because of it. I also find that I can concentrate better on my photography when I'm out shooting alone. But it does get lonely at times, so I do try and mix it up by traveling or meeting up with friends here and there, or doing volunteer work.

      As for frightening encounters, I've really only ever had 1 in my 10+ years of RVing. Here's the post I wrote about it, and my thoughts on personal safety for solo RVers-- http://winnieviews.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-girls-guide-to-rving-self-defense.html

      Maybe it's not the solution for everyone, but just trusting my instincts and staying "situationally aware" work just fine for me!

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  14. Thank you Lynne, it's are great blog subject and coverage. You really nailed it. I think knowing how to handle knifes is a good thing. I watched a show recently where one of the female cast members from "The Walking Dead" went undercover, in real life, to help young girls break free from being sex trafficed. She said her role in that show taught her how to use knives and defend herself so she felt safe in this real life role. I apologize referencing such a vile show but she made me trust, like you have, that knives and good gut instincts are all one needs.

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  15. Lynn,
    You're perseverance and conviction to living life fully is an inspiration. I found you through a comment you left on another's blog (Gone With the Wynns), and saw your story of how FT'ing came to be for you. My wife and I are now seriously contemplating setting out in a little less than two years. Much to do between now and then, part of which is hoping the housing market stays afloat so we can sell and at least break even! I'll admit to a good mixture of excitement, happiness, angst, trepidation and anxiety about setting out full time--all on sliding scales from one day to the next depending on what thoughts are going through my head. But reading accounts like yours and others and their reasonings as to why they did what they did tend to make me feel better about sticking to that conviction. Thank you!
    -Mike Park

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  16. Hi Lynne. Thanks for your blog. I am an almost newbie. I am planning my retirement in two and a half years, I would like sooner if I could afford it, but think the 2.5 years will give me time to prepare. I have not stayed in a "camper" very often but each time I have loved it & dreamed of this becoming my full time life, so at 62 I am researching & planning. Your blog is inspiring and every time I get a scared at the thought of of being out in the wilds all alone I read your blog and remember that being out in the wilds alone is what I am looking forward to. Thanks.

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