RV Life: Embracing Transitions with Wander Free and Queer

The Road Diaries

Life on the road is all about change. Part of the appeal of RV living for us is that we know we will go through transitions more frequently. Although that may come with discomfort in some ways, it also comes with having wonderful experiences, meeting new people, and creating amazing memories. Moving our home on wheels across the country has strengthened our resilience and built our confidence when dealing with change, but it has also motivated us to be part of social and cultural change on a wider scale. With just over five years of living and traveling full-time in our RV, we have traversed through many different kinds of change. We have come to welcome the transitions that come with living in a small space that can take us almost anywhere we want to go.

Although we loved moving our home every few weeks, landing an annual campsite (during COVID) in Oregon felt like a dream come true. We love the moss, ferns, and flowers, as well as the dense and dreamy forest landscapes. We are only a short drive to views of the year-round snowy peak of Mt. Hood, with waterfalls, rivers, and streams around every turn in the road. There are hundreds of miles of hiking and a variety of outdoor recreation options at our fingertips! We aren’t sad to be stationary here, but it was a chance for us to transition from full-time travel to living in our RV in a more permanent place. It meant making adjustments and learning to navigate seasons and our small space in new ways. We do admit it took a while to get used to and came with some steep learning curves for us. We eventually got ourselves a shed for additional storage, settled into a more regular routine that suited our personal and work schedules, as well as became locals at our favorite coffee shop, library, and post office.

Graduate Program – from the road!

Along with the consistency of being in one place long term, I (Danella) chose to go to graduate school for my Master’s in Adult and Higher Education. I had finished my undergraduate degree in English and Gender Studies before we hit the road in 2018, but found myself motivated to explore teaching in higher education settings. This meant navigating what being a remote student looked like in a tiny space with another person and two pups. I welcomed this change by setting up our dinette slide-out as my small workspace for both school and the job I had with the university I was attending. I worked through my program, and have finished just this past week with my Master’s degree! We, of course, celebrated by taking in some of the wild and beautiful PNW nature at our local favorite spots. It is exciting to think about the possibilities that are now open to me in the adult and higher education field, but this change also means another time of transition with many unknowns for my professional future.

couple in nature

Even though I have a dream of being an adult educator, I also feel inspired to work with Allie to keep building our small business. We recognize that Wander Free and Queer was born out of our experiences on the road, but it has been easier in a more stationary setting to grow our small business. We even work to brand our business with a PNW aesthetic through our content creation and our event offerings. Our hope is to plan more local outdoor activities for the community, including campfires, hikes, and even retreats someday. We have even begun dreaming of a permanent space to host LGBTQ+ campers! Although we have come to appreciate our stationary business, it has meant many changes over this time. We have joined local fairs and markets to sell our handmade goods and we have hosted community events and workshops that offer resources and learning opportunities for the community. Through these ventures, we have found that we do dream of a home base that we can always have, even if we do set out on the road again in the future.

Inspiration and Community During Changing Times

Adventuring in our rolling home is what gave us the inspiration to start our business. We saw a lack of representation and visibility in the spaces we were frequently inhabiting when we began RV life, and we longed to connect with the LGBTQ+ community while exploring. By growing and maintaining a safe and welcoming online space for marginalized people in the travel community, we slowly began to see change happening for others who also felt invisible as LGBTQ+ travelers. We have loved connecting with others over the years as our paths cross, from a quick coffee meet-up to camping alongside friends for months at a time.

We have realized how much we embrace and value the power of community. Understanding that change isn’t just personal, but happens in every sphere of life has been one of the greatest gifts in approaching times of upheaval or transformation. Without the ability to face changes with an open mind and a willing heart, we lose the opportunity to learn and grow from our experiences. We hope that Wander Free and Queer is a space that enacts change within our community and for others to embrace the diversity of people that do want to access adventure and travel.

interior of fifth wheel

As spring comes into full swing here in the PNW, we find ourselves in transition again. This time is an in-between, being post-graduation and pre-pride season. I (Danella) have an upcoming surgery, and we have transitions happening in our immediate family and friend circle that involves us. We are trying to take time to be present with all of the things going on, and also remember to take time to rest and recharge ourselves. Like visiting a dome house for a short getaway, which was so rejuvenating. We are getting out to some new local hiking spots, like Barlow Wayside Trail, as well as returning to favorite hangouts like Timberline Lodge.

We love that RV living has allowed us to experience so many new and different places, but has also given us an appreciation for being still. Fully embracing RV life means that we have come to accept and welcome change. Changing views outside our RV windows, changing community, and changing our day-to-day living to suit sharing a small space together. We often take lessons from our pups, Teton and Sierra, who don’t seem to ever struggle with the changes, but are excited to wake up every morning and take on the day with excitement and happiness! RV life has shown us what we truly value and love about life, it has brought us closer together, and most importantly it has allowed us to become more comfortable in moving through time of transition with more understanding and appreciation for ourselves, each other, and the life we are building.

Read more from Wander Free and Queer

Springtime in Oregon: Bucket List Adventures with Wander Free and Queer

Running a Small Business from the Road with Wander Free and Queer