Yesterday, when I introduced Elsi Dodge, I mentioned she enjoyed driving a Winnebago around during the summer months. That immediately conjures up an image of freedom – going where you want, on a schedule that suits you while still enjoying the comforts your own home. It sounds so appealing – there are so many parts of the United States I would like to explore like that and yet, I just don’t know if I have the courage to drive a RV on my own. So I asked Elsi how she got started.
Much of my adult life, I have suffered from extreme depression and major panic and anxiety attacks in crowds and with strangers. While my parents were alive and I was a school teacher, I spent all my vacations visiting them. Once they were dead, I could actually go places except that I couldn’t go with tour groups because I couldn’t be around strangers and my animals resented being kenneled.
I had experience with the trailer lifestyle from when I was a kid and I thought, “mmmm.” Simultaneously, a girlfriend said, “I have this really weird idea you oughta buy a RV.”
We figured that was the leading of the Lord and I got a little one. I named it Traveling Tortoise because I was a turtle. I carried my house around on my back and because I’m on a restricted diet, I carry my food with me too.
I am better about meeting strangers now but that’s one of the joys of a RV. In the beginning, when my panic attacks were sometimes out of control, I could walk out of wherever I was, go back to my RV, go inside, shut the door and be safe.
I don’t get lonely. It’s a high tech world and I’m in constant email contact with friends. I can send assignments to my editors and I have my animals. I have my beagle who sees it as his job to protect me from the terrorists of the world, be they rabbits or robins, boxy vehicles or cylindrical hay bales. And I have a saber-tooth tiger cleverly disguised as a tabby cat. Walking a dog in a campground is a good way to meet people. Walking a cat is an AMAZING way to meet people. All it takes is a ‘You’re walking a what!’ and you’re in a conversation.
I discovered that if I’m out for any length of time, I need space to move around so I’m up to a 30ft class A trailer now. It’s a very big vehicle. It’s like driving the White House. It’s called the Meandering Moose. Moose are big and funny and awkward and run freely through God’s creation and that’s me.
I love the way Elsi didn’t let her health concerns stop her from enjoying herself. As a born-again Christian, Elsi’s RV trips have taken her to all sorts of churches and congregations in what she calls ‘drive-by churches.’ Stop back tomorrow to read about two of her most memorable visits.
Using all the experience gained from her RVing, Elsi has published a guide, the RV Tourist – Tips, Tools and Stories, which sounds like a must have for anyone new to RVing. She also writes devotionals and inspirational non-fiction pieces which have appeared in a number of compilation books. For a full listing of publications, visit Elsi Dodge‘s website. You can also follow her musings at her Meandering Moments .