About Mary

A Wild Heart Wandering

…but not all who wander are lost.

Often, I want to walk the safe side of the street
And lull myself to sleep, and dull my pain.
But deep down inside I know, I‘ve got to learn from the greats, earn my right to be living,
Let my wings of desire soar over the night.
I need to let them say,“She must have been mad!”

– Carly Simon, “Touched By The Sun

The Driver

Mary Shafer, blog owner

Hi. My name’s Mary Shafer.

I’m a journalistauthorcommercial copywritermarketing consultantartistindependent book publisher, indie author consultantteacherpublic speaker,  storm freak/tornado chasersometime animal rescuer, and avid metal detectorist.

(I’m a triple Gemini — I get bored easily.)

As a regular sticks-and-bricks dweller, I lived in upper Bucks County, in southeastern Pennsylvania. That’s still my home base…for now.

In November, 2017, a number of factors came together to cause me to want to change my living situation. I decided to move from a stationary apartment dweller to a full-time RVer, living in a 20-foot travel trailer towed by a bright yellow Jeep Wrangler…even though before that, I had never RVed a day in my life.

I explain that whole situation here.

Evolution

Wildheart 2

Wildheart II, my 1997 Coachmen Catalina Lite

As I moved into my second year as a fulltimer, I upgraded our rig and tow vehicle to a 2000 Toyota Tundra S-5 pulling a 23-foot 1997 Coachmen Catalina Lite. The more powerful tow vehicle gives me far more confidence as a driver, and the larger rig makes me feel more like a grownup able to make a living on the road than a kid playing in a blanket fort.

Wildheart III

Wildheart III, my 2000 Nomad that has a separate bedroom and space for a dedicated office. Most people who become full-time nomads do so in part to become minimalists. I’m not one of them.

In January, 2021, I upgraded rigs again. This time, I got a 27-foot 2000 Skyline Nomad 261-LT. I got a great deal on it from friends I knew had taken great care of it. It had a bunkhouse, which I’m currently tearing out to turn into a dedicated office space. This will give me back my kitchen table to use for table things, and allow me to figuratively close the door on the office at the end of the workday.

While this isn’t something I ever planned to do or even contemplated, I like a life that’s interesting and adventurous. And I like the mystery that comes from a certain amount of ambiguity. I don’t necessarily want to know, when I get up in the morning, what will happen to me or where I’ll be when I go to sleep that night.

Chasing tornadoes for my 50th birthday

Being too certain of everything is a sure recipe for sleepwalking through life, at least for me. Though I don’t feel I’ve ever been that much on autopilot, I’ve been closer than I care to be. This new journey ensures I will probably never get close to that again.

Keeping Track

I’m keeping a blog here as a way to document my journeys, and all the experiences I have, and all the people (both cool and maybe not so much) who I meet along the way. My intent is to use the material here to remind me of my sojourn and to write a couple books about it. I believe I will have enough new experiences to fill both a how-to guide for solo RVers, and another book that will take a more spiritual/emotional approach while remaining nonfiction…a kind of memoir.

Why do I think anyone would be interested in reading such books? Well, first of all, because I realize that I’m on a journey not too many people get to experience in modern life.

Also because, as I’ve shared my intent with people, one of the most frequent comments I get is, “Oh, how cool! I wish I could go. But at least I’ll be able to live the adventure vicariously through your blog.”

In my mind, a book is just a longer presentation form than a blog. And, well…you’re here reading this, aren’t you?

The Queen

I’m Idgie, and I was Mom’s first road companion. We were together for 16 years when she took me on her big adventure in 2018.

I traveled with her for a little over a year, when it came time for me to leave on a different kind of journey. This time, I had to go without Mom. But she knows I’m always with her, and I sent Biscuit to keep her company until she comes to join me on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

___

Editor’s note: Idgie crossed the Rainbow Bridge in the early morning of October 15, 2019. It was the day we were supposed to leave for our workamping gig in Colorado, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

I will miss my dear, fuzzy gray co-pilot forever. She was a very, very special little girl in so many ways, and was my best friend. She wasn’t perfect and neither am I, but we were perfect for each other.

I was so lucky to have her in my life for more than 17 years. I hope her time with me was even half as good as mine was with her. Goodbye, my little friend. There will never be another like you…not ever.

Biscuit

Biscuit in the window

Hi, I’m Biscuit. I joined Mom exactly a month after Idgie crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She told me Mom was hurting and lonely, and needed me. So here I am.

I’m definitely not as good a traveler as Idgie was, but I make up for it by being sweet and cuddly and — let’s face it — beautiful. Mom calls me her Sweet Biskie Bean. 

Truth is, I get a little carsick now and then. Mom keeps trying different things to help me relax, like Rescue Remedy and Melatonin. But I always act like she’s trying to kill me, so she’s never able to get enough inside me to make any difference. And I am getting better about traveling, now that I know that every time we get in the car, it doesn’t mean Mom is taking me somewhere to leave me, like my last people did.

I like going outside, but I hate being on a leash, so I don’t get out as much as I’d like to. But Mom tries to get me out as much as possible. And when it’s not possible, she plays with me with my little fishing pole and sometimes lets me catch the feathered “fish” on the end of it.

Mary Shafer, Nomad

Can I Help You?

I find myself on the front end of a social trend. The fastest-growing group of full-time RVers is Millennials, followed closely by “women of a certain age.” We’re all after the same basic thing: A life structured around encouraging new and different experiences, rather than the acquisition and storage of stuff.

I’ve now been living this lifestyle for almost three years (including throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic), and I have learned a LOT.

I know there are so many others out there who dream of living this life. I had help from others who don’t need my help in return, so I’m happy to pay it forward to those who do.

If there are any questions I can answer to help you on your own quest toward fulltime nomad life, contact me and let’s have a conversation!