Rolling Solo: Inspiring Stories from Women in Camping and Caravanning | Lets Go Caravan and Camping

Rolling Solo: Inspiring Stories from Women in Camping and Caravanning

Category: Inspiration, News, Date: 6 March 2024

Thinking about embarking on your own solo adventure? Check out our article on Travel Essentials for Solo Female Travellers!

In honour of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we asked some of the women in our caravan and camping community to share their tips and incredible stories from solo travelling around Australia. We asked them about what inspired them to embark on solo travels, what their favourite experiences have been so far and what challenges they have faced on these journeys. Check out their amazing advice and experiences and learn why you should embark on your own solo-travel adventure!

Sally Carter 

solo female traveller sally carter
Sally Carter with her two daughters on their adventures around Australia

Q. What inspired you to embark on solo travelling adventures, and what do you enjoy most about it? 

A. Growing up with a family of mostly men, I quickly learnt how to become independent and learnt some basic life skills that have carried through. My husband works shift work a lot and I never wanted to wait until he was off shift to be able to go on an adventure … or have to rely on him being with us to get out and create memories.  

I love it when we’ve pulled up to our destination, unpack and set camp up, and [get to] sit down by the campfire with my kids and whoever else happens to be there. That feeling of just switching off and being present in the moment. Everyday life seems to always be a race and to change the pace and ‘just be’ is what I enjoy most about camping. 

Q. Have you encountered any specific challenges or obstacles while camping as a solo female traveller, and how have you overcome them? 

A. There have been many but one of the challenges that comes to mind is having to learn how to tie down my gear properly! It’s not much fun when you’re driving along a dirt road, and your gear comes loose, and you need to trek back to pick it all up.  

But it’s also the little things like learning to pivot in moments when you just wished there was another set of hands to help, learning how to tackle the obstacle in front of you without giving up. 

Q. What safety precautions do you take while travelling alone, and do you have any advice for other female solo travellers? 

A. Do your research before you leave, plug in to the local Facebook community pages so you know what’s safe and what’s potentially a risk you should avoid. If I feel like an [area] I’m travelling to is not worth the risk staying in, I will look for farm stays on the outskirts of town.  

[For] a recent trip I went on with the girls in my roof top tent, I purchased one of those signal blocking bags to put my car keys in. So, when we went to bed the valuables would come up with us and I had peace of mind knowing that no one could get into my car.  

Q. What advice would you give to other women who are considering embarking on solo travelling adventures for the first time? 

A. Being able to communicate in an emergency I would say is high on the priority list. Have a sat phone, an emergency beacon, plan ahead and know where your phone will and won’t have reception (there are maps on your phone providers websites that show this). The good old saying ‘fail to plan and you plan to fail’.  

Depending on the type of trip you’re going on, pack recovery gear, extra food and water supplies for those remote trips. If it starts raining in the outback on dirt roads the best thing you can do is find somewhere safe to pull over and wait until it dries up. Also, a first aid kit is essential – travelling through Australia, it’s best to be prepared for the unpredictable situations which make it all part of the journey. 

Q. How has solo travelling influenced your perspective on life, personal growth, and the world around you? 

A. I would say it’s helped me become more confident as a woman walking through life. We face daily challenges big and small. Camping is one of those activities that really grounds me, gives me time to reflect on life and learn to incorporate slowing down – knowing it’s ok to not always be running the rat race. 

Lyn Martyn

solo female traveller lyn martyn
Lyn Martyn has been travelling around Australia with her daughter and by herself since 2004

Q. Can you share some of your inspiration and favourite memories from camping as a woman?

A. I was left as a single parent in 2004 and decided to go away with a small tent with my daughter. We took bikes and hiked and explored. I had an old 4WD so we could explore a lot of our country. Outback NSW and Cameron Corner was one highlight and up to Carnarvon Gorge as well. Tasmania was great even though it was snowing in November.

In 2010, I inherited a 1968 caravan from my parents as they are now too elderly to tow. Our 1st trip away with the van was to the Snowys and then Victoria in October with more snow. Then [we took] a trip to the Flinders ranges. I taught my daughter to tow that trip.

My daughter still came on “girl’s road trips” as she called them, even after getting married but now with 2 kids she has been unable to come with me. I miss my bike riding and hiking partner. [So], I now travel solo and yes, it felt a bit scary the first time – that was to South Australia. Now, [I’ve] been up to Hervey Bay, to Tasmania, and recently a 22000km trip in 3 months to NT and WA!

Q. Can you share any tips or advice for other women who are new to camping or considering getting started?

A. Learn how to reverse – [for example] I don’t like left hand down. Put a bit of tape at the bottom of your steering wheel. When you turn the bottom of the steering wheel left, the van will turn left. And when you turn the bottom of the steering wheel to the right, the van will turn right. Use your mirrors [and] ask for a site easily reversed into or a drive-through site.

I taught myself a little bit about electrics and mechanics. Common sense helps. I can fix those pesky 7 pin plugs. I changed all my interior 12 v lights to LED and done a few other things to the van. [Also], know how your 12-v battery system works and regularly check [your] gas lines.

Q. What safety precautions do you take while travelling alone, and do you have any advice for other solo female travellers?

A.

  • Be self-reliant, have a good first aid kit and know what to do
  • Have a UHF radio and use it
  • Know how to 4WD, know when to turn around or not attempt a track
  • Be able to read a map and yes – take a paper map and compass
  • Let someone know where you will be staying each night (even approximately)
  • Take a personal location beacon always

Q. Have you ever experienced moments of doubt or fear while travelling solo, and how did you manage those feelings?

A. A few times free camps did not feel safe [so I] went to a caravan park in the next town or moved on until I came to a free camp with other caravans.

Q. What advice would you give to other women who are considering embarking on solo travelling adventures for the first time?

A. Do it! Be prepared but do it [and] use common sense!

Q. Have you found any unexpected benefits or advantages to travelling as a solo female you didn’t anticipate before starting your adventures?

A. I am empowered. I am strong. I am capable. I am always growing as a person. I am a guide for other females.

Travelling here [in Australia] and overseas has made me appreciate our wonderful world, connect with our environment, and appreciate different cultures. I know how to travel on a budget but that takes you into the local culture more fully. I have definitely grown as a person since travelling. Travelling makes you a better more rounded person.

Donna Taylor

solo female traveller donna taylor
Photos from Donna’s travels in the Pilbara, the Nullarbor and the Pink Lake in WA.

Q. What inspired you to embark on solo travelling adventures, and what do you enjoy most about it?  

A. I was fortunate to have an amazing career, but after a couple of decades working in a highly political environment, I became tired.  I had a partner, but no kids, and nothing else holding me to where I was.   

So I decided to quit my fabulous corporate career, buy a caravan, load up my sea kayak and mountain bike and geared up ready to go. I asked my partner of six years to come with me, but he said no, so I went on my own. 

Q. Can you share one or two of your favourite memories or experiences from your solo travels that particularly stands out to you?  

A. Swimming with the whale sharks at Ningaloo was an out of this world experience. As we were waiting in the water for a whale shark to swim past us, a fullly grown humpback whale swam directly underneath us, rolling on it’s side so it could inspect us better.  

We felt like we were in a zoo and the whale was viewing us as a strange creature from afar.  

Q. Have you encountered any specific challenges or obstacles while camping as a solo female traveller, and how have you overcome them?  

A. I was 42 when I set off, and while there were a few women travelling solo, many were in motorhomes, not caravans.  So I found there was a general perception that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and many so called ‘experts’ liked to give their opinion on what I was doing. It didn’t matter that I was doing things right, they felt [it] necessary to undermine my ability and knowledge.  

I felt a sense of solidarity recently, with the female golfer who’s video of a man providing unsolicited advice went viral. It’s a feeling I came to know extremely well. 

I [also] remember one particularly challenging experience – I had blown out two tyres on a remote road in the Pilbara and only had one spare. This was on a 40-degree day and with no phone coverage (I didn’t have the satellite phone at this stage). Thankfully some locals drove past and helped me out and it’s helped me learn that things are never as bad as they seem. 

Q. What advice would you give to other women who are considering embarking on solo travelling adventures for the first time?  

A. DO IT! Prepare yourself mentally and make sure you have good communications. Don’t take things too seriously, most travellers are amazingly helpful and will take you under their wing. Learn to accept help. Learn to say no and mean it.  

Australia is home to the oldest living culture on earth – go and experience it, be respectful and learn more about country. It will change how you view life, country, the world and all learned societal beliefs. 

Q. Can you share a moment of connection or friendship you’ve experienced with locals or fellow travellers during your solo journeys?  

A. Early on in the piece, I met a lady called Nellie at a free camp in Langhorne Creek. She’d just bought a small camper and was away with her two dogs trying it out, with plans to travel solo in future years.  

She was on long service leave, so we ended up travelling together for three months. Nellie is a musician, so there were lots of nights of singing around the fire, cooking up baked spuds on the fire, meeting LOTS of people. Nellie has a magnetism that is amazing, and everyone she meets becomes a new friend!

We became like sisters and will friends forever 

Q. Have you found any unexpected benefits or advantages to being a solo female traveller that you didn’t anticipate before starting your adventures.  

A. Definitely resilience and self-confidence. The kind of self-confidence that is life changing. You KNOW that whatever happens, you have the resourcefulness, ingenuity and determination to overcome it.   

When you’ve travelled for any length of time on your own – you know your true self. 

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