The open road seemed irresistible with dreams of being a wandering nomad. Adventure, magnificent vistas, the wonder of nature and creation and being able to sleep in my motorized nomad-mobile was the goal. In preparation, I watched just shy of one million YouTube videos from Cheap RV Living to Luxurious Super C Motor Coaches. I joined a variety of Facebook groups devoted to single female nomads. I even planned to remake my Risky Undertaking website into my nomad road trip adventures. The image in this story was what I chose to represent my vintage woman road-tripping dreams. Discovering this photo brought me an amazing friendship with the daughter of the photographer with permission to use it as my logo. My dreams of being a nomad were squashed. The best I could do was offer my driveway to traveling women who needed a safe place to park overnight.
Van Dwelling Reality
The reality of living out of a van, a car or RV, while traveling the country became more of a horror show than a dream. I have a smart and resourceful friend who does it full time and she will probably write a book on the many challenges of having her RV engine seize and becoming homeless overnight.
Many women are forced to live out of their vehicle as an economic last resort. Old women are trying to exist on $800 of social security and they live out their winters in the desert of Quartzsite, Arizona and in surrounding BLM lands. Fear not, this is Bureau of Land Management where a person can boondock with limited to no access to any utilities. Women tend to either freeze or roast and some travel year-round in a narrow band of 70-degree weather. The harsh reality of the nomad life when you are old and poor is not so appealing.
The Ding of Destiny
My phone dinged with a text that read, “Hi Polly, I am passing through your area and wondering if I can overnight in your driveway? Just me in an SUV and I would plan on sleeping in it.” Ah, my first guest from the “Road Trip Her” community. She mentioned she has extreme environmental sensitivities and would have to assess the area to see if she could actually stay and venturing indoors was doubtful.
A young, petite woman pulled in to my driveway. She showed me around her “home” on wheels. She is in a mid-sized SUV and was forced into it as a result of extreme mold poisoning from her job as a teacher. She must control her environment and must be able to leave if the area is too toxic. She controls the environment with a hydroxyl generator and other devices that keep mold under control. She has heat and AC that runs off her battery system that needs charged every few days. She created a sleeping pad in the back and the car was packed to the gills.
She was not even sure if she could endure a short visit inside my house. According to my mother, my housekeeping leaves a lot to be desired. Plus I have a worm farm in my basement and I grow microbes everywhere for composting. I do however, limit toxins in the house with no scents, no pets, and use only natural plant derived products.
Hours of Conversation
I built a fire and had just finishing baking some ginger molasses cookies when she came in. Surprisingly neither scent bothered her. We had an amazing conversation on the severity of her mold reactions and various tests and alternative treatments.
Earlier in the day, she took her clothes to a laundromat and found the scent left behind from the person before made her sick. She had to lay the clothes on the grass outside in hopes of dissipating the fumes. I ran her laundromat disaster through my washing machine to help dissipate the smells. She had a bad reaction to simply touching the outside of a bottled drink she had just purchased from the grocery.
I am pretty sensitive to mold and scents and fumes. I almost killed myself when I made some microbe-rich worm bedding and inhaled the microbes which required a respirator in order to safely work around my worms. I was especially pleased that she did not have a major reaction being in my house. She is a human mold detector! My housekeeping and cleanliness might not be as bad as reported!
She had been scammed along the way, losing her life savings on an RV deal gone bad. This is what put her in the SUV. She cannot exist safely anywhere except in the controlled environment of her vehicle. She is going from place to place trying to find a spot where she can park, have access to water and an electric extension cord to charge her batteries and not react negatively to the toxins in the area. She is starting over from below rock bottom. There is no income. She was denied disability. Most stories of women living out of their cars are equally as desperate and hopeless.
But Do You Know Jesus??
At the end of our long conversation and listening to her story, I asked about her faith. She said she was spiritual. I boldly asked, “But do you know Jesus?” The answer was NO and it was NOT of interest. I told her I would make some calls to a couple of people I knew that might let her stay on their property. I told her these friends had a Christian faith. I asked if that would be a problem for her. She asked if she would be a problem to them. I replied, “of course not.” And with that, she retired to her car for the night.
She Came to the Right House for Food
The next morning, I texted her that I would be glad to provide breakfast and a shower if she wanted. I offered the standard breakfast fare but told her I was in the mood for smoked salmon eggs benedict. I was a little bit surprised when her eyes lit up and said, “that would be amazing.”
A Doozy of a Story
As we lapped up the last of the hollandaise sauce, she asked what denomination I was. That launched a reaction she was not prepared for. I have strong opinions on organized religion. I just follow Jesus. I asked if I could share my story. My “meet Jesus” story at age 51 is a doozy as are all my stories come to think about it. Her eyes bugged out a few times when I told her about asking God to get me out of a relationship I knew was not pleasing to Him. The results of that prayer were swift and left me homeless on my way to my first day at a new job. I called the employer and told him I would be a little late to work. The new boss offered to let me stay at his parents’ house for 10 days while they were on a cruise. God allowed me to find a furnished little mobile home on a lake and I was moved in before his parents returned. The rest of my life has been equally amazing.
You Are Really Different
As I told her story after story of how God got my attention and what he has done with me ever since, she said, “you are really different. You actually care about me. My own mother would not do what you have done for me in just one day.” I told her it is a heart thing. The day I asked Jesus to run the show, He came into my heart and changed it. My actions toward people are my ability to show His love to others. I told her she just got a little glimpse of Jesus and a taste of what His love is like. She said she knew this was a divine appointment to have picked my driveway to spend the night. I think so too.
Polly Riddell writing as G. Polly Jordan is an old woman who hides her wrinkles and turkey neck with makeup and fur. On this day, I was worm farming, looking ragged but sharing the love of the Father with a young lady who could surely use a Father right about now.
Never be too busy to allow for a Divine Interruption. You may just change the eternal trajectory of a sweet girl’s life.
If you have a spot where she could park her car, reach out to me. I will let her know.