RVE #302: Finding Community as a Solo RVer with the WINs

Do you travel alone? That doesn’t mean you have to be lonely!

The Wandering Individuals Network has been providing a sense of community for solo RVers for more than 35 years. Since Jenell Jones took over management of the WINs, she has overhauled the website, launched a YouTube channel, and extended reach of the group on social media platforms.

On this episode, Jennell provides background about the organization, and describes the loosely organized gatherings. She gives some helpful tips for RVers and other nomads traveling solo, and dispels myths about the WINs being a “singles” group. If you’re a color RVer, or if you’re just WIN curious, this episode is for you. Join us for a deep dive on the importance of finding your community on the open road.


Finding Community While Traveling Solo with the WINs

With Jennell Jones of The Wandering Individuals Network

Your Host: Jim Nelson


Wandering Individuals Network

Listen to The RV Entrepreneur Episode #302

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The RV Entrepreneur #302 Full Episode Transcript:

RVE 302 – Finding Community as a Solo RV with the WINs.m4a

RV LIFE: Welcome to the RV Entrepreneur podcast. The weekly show for Nomads, Work campers, RV ers and entrepreneurs looking to earn a living or build a business while enjoying the RV lifestyle. This week’s host is Jim Nelson. Let’s settle in and enjoy the RV Entrepreneur podcast brought to you by RV Life. This episode is sponsored by wholesale warranties.

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Jim Nelson: Hello again. You are listening to the RV Life Entrepreneur podcast, The show for and by Entrepreneurs Loving the RV Life. I’m Jim Nelson, your guide for today’s Ride. If you’re roaming solo out there, you do not want to miss today’s show because you’re not alone. Well, you may be traveling alone, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel lonely. Personally, I’ve never been a solo RV. In fact, in my last episode, my wife Renee discussed plenty of tips for full time RVing with your spouse. Check out episode number 300 to hear how we’ve been doing it for the past 16 plus years. But I can only imagine how exciting it would be to travel solo, and I can’t even imagine how challenging it might get sometimes, especially when it comes to connecting with others and finding that sense of community we all strive for. Well, our guest today has answers to all these questions. The Wandering Individuals Network was first founded in 1988 when seven single friends wanted to travel together. The Winds has since grown into a popular online community of solo RVers van dwellers and other individual nomads. With hundreds of members out there, you can often see them traveling together or connecting at gatherings around the country. Recently, Janelle Jones took over ownership and management of the organization. We’re going to find out what the winds are all about, how the club is helping those living on their own, and why a retired cop would jump back into the working life while wandering as an individual on her own. Janelle, thank you so much for joining me.

Jennell Jones: Well, thank you, Jim, for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity to come on here and talk with you.

Jim Nelson: I’m really excited, too, because I want to learn more about the winds because we’ve seen them gathering at the winter resort. We visit my wife and I and other spots around the Southwest during the winter and all over the country. But listeners may have also seen the little iconic Winds flag sticker on RVs or vans and wondered, what’s that all about? But first, this is the RV Life Entrepreneur podcast. So I have a couple quick questions that I like to ask all my guests. It’s a consider it kind of a lightning round. Short answers are fine. When did you first start your RV life and what does that look like now?

Jennell Jones: The quick answer is I started in 2015, went full time in 2019. When I started out, it looked like a mess. And right now it’s a lot better.

Jim Nelson: Fantastic. And you know, to you, what is an entrepreneur or what does it take to be an entrepreneur? Not necessarily on the road, but what is entrepreneur ism?

Jennell Jones: If you’d have asked me three months ago, I’d have quickly looked up some definition out of a dictionary. I was a government worker. There’s no entrepreneurship in government. You do exactly A and B, and you get paid Friday at exactly 201 or whatever it is. So I didn’t know that. To me, now an entrepreneur is somebody that wears every hat. You might get some money from it, you might not get money, but you keep going forward and you keep the enthusiasm because hopefully you’re doing something that you want to do, something you love to do and something that is really affecting and changing other people’s lives, which I believe this club does.

Jim Nelson: You know, I would totally agree with everything you said there, and we as entrepreneurs do tend to do all of it, and we’re going to get into that. But let’s talk about the winds. What is the wandering individuals network and how long has it been around?

Jennell Jones: I’ll go with the easy one first. It’s been around 35 years. Wow. Yeah, it started with with seven friends, single sitting around a campfire, literally traveling together because they’re the only single ones that they all knew. And of course, you know, you get tired of the same seven people after a while, good friends or not. And they thought, Why don’t we make our own little club as a single person? We’ve all said at that wedding guest table or whatever table where there’s eight chairs and the one beside you is always empty. So with that in mind, they decided we’re just going to have a little club. And they called it wandering individual network, which we call it wins, you know, wins for short. The win is a solution to challenges. All right. Yes, it is an RV club for the solo traveler, but it is a solution based club that addresses the three kind of immediate needs for any traveler, but especially the solo, because as the solo, you don’t have anybody to bounce stuff off of. So if you’re stuck or don’t know what to do, you’re kind of on your own. We address those needs. The first day that you join us.

Jim Nelson: It’s fantastic. The win you said that there that kind of explains the kind of the racing flag, the finish line flag. So now I understand that and you may have kind of addressed this already, but what makes the winds so special? How is it different from all the other clubs out there?

Jennell Jones: There are a lot of clubs out there and good ones, too, and I belong to several of them. But the winds are different, number one, because it’s for solos. The other groups, the other clubs, of course, welcome you and we’re very welcome to join any of their events. And we do. But we’re still at that table for eight where we’re sitting there by yourself. Everybody goes off to dinner and you know, the couples pair off and go to dinner. So we give a place for the single traveler to go immediately. We give them like minded community friends because the first time you walk up to a wind gathering, you’re immediately with friends because we’re all in the same boat. We want you to be there. You want to be there. So we offer that and we address the anxiety. When anybody who starts off in a male or female couples, not couples, it’s it’s scary. You are literally driving off into the wild blue yonder. Literally do that by yourself and do that drive in a 30 foot RV with a car behind you. So we address that anxiety.

Jim Nelson: So you’re addressing that specific niche of the solo RV or, you know, I’ll call all clubs like you said, welcome solo beers. But then you might still kind of feel alone in that group. Is there a typical solo RV or what kind of nomads make up the membership?

Jennell Jones: There sort of is. Remember, this is just a general subculture of community. I was looking this up and in the RV business, which is an online magazine devoted to RV industry news, they had a couple of statistics, lots of statistics. Actually, it was a good survey study done in 2022, 54% of. Beers are 55 and older, 59% of them are female. Interesting little side note 46% of our beers, 18 to 34. I would have never guessed that that there is that many young living in an RV. And my club tends to fall in that 55 and over with a hair more females than males. When you go in one of our trips, it may be nine women and two men, and the next time you go is seven men and four women. You know, 30 men and six women. So again, like in society at large, we’re all over the place.

Jim Nelson: Thanks for sharing those stats. Did I miss when that study was or the source so I can put it in the show notes? Sure.

Jennell Jones: It was RV Business, which is an online magazine devoted to industry news, and it was a study done in 2022.

Jim Nelson: Wonderful. So it is pretty recent. And that kind of explains the younger demographic that’s ramping up because we’ve been on the road here 16 years and noticed just especially over the past few years, more and more younger buyers out there. But since it’s been around 35 plus years and you’ve been reviewing since 2015 full time, 2019, lots of numbers there. When and why did you first join the club?

Jennell Jones: I started out being in 2015 and like everybody else, I did my bucket list. You know, I’m going to go to the Grand Canyon. I’m going to go to Bar Harbor, which, interestingly enough, a little side note, when I got my RV, I didn’t know where to go. I literally opened a map, shut my eyes, turn the map around a few times, true story, and put my finger on the map. And it was Maine and I’m like, Great, I’m going to Bar Harbor, Maine. That was my first trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. Stayed there three months. So like every new year, I go out and I do all my bucket list stuff that I think I want to do. And then after that, you’re like, Well, okay, it’s been a year now What? And I have this RV sitting here now what? So I went home and the RV sat in the driveway and I’m like, All right, I want to go somewhere else. So I started looking online. Surely I am not the only woman traveling in an RV by myself. And I found the winds and I drove to meet them and have been traveling with them on and off ever since. And since 2019 when I bought the club, I’ve been with them ever since traveling.

Jim Nelson: So you say you bought this club fairly recently. How did that opportunity rise to purchase an organization like this, and why did you decide to take it over.

Jennell Jones: Again as a government employee? I’m not used to going off. I’m not a risk taker. You’d think being in the government it would be. But I am not a risk taker. I am used to a policy manual that tells you exactly where and what you’re supposed to do. But when I started traveling with this club, I knew I was one of the younger ones and I knew I had a lot of energy to bring, a lot of new ideas, kind of modernize it, if you will. The previous owner, I think I’m the fourth owner. The previous owner, fabulous guy, did a lot with it. I mean, when he first got it, they were mailing out newsletters, you know, copying them black and white, mailing out newsletters. So he did a lot, got the business online, which you know, now is like standard, but it wasn’t ten years ago, 12 years ago when he got it. So I knew that I could take it to the next level. And he was getting a little older and just, you know, Covid happened. So that was kind of a hit for the club. And then this club with an older a little bit older demographic, they just naturally age out. So the membership turns every couple of years. It turns the older ones go out and newer, younger ones. And I don’t mean age wise, I just mean new to the club. Younger, younger, come in. So just the timing was kind of right for this. And I paste my 35 foot RV back and forth and back and forth, scared of what I was going to do because I’d never done something like this. So I approached him and he, you know, we talked on and off for about a year and and finally came to an agreement in March of this year.

Jim Nelson: And you’ve been retired a few years now, and you mentioned you did government work, but what type of work was that and why did you decide to jump back into working practically full time to manage an organization like this?

Jennell Jones: Yeah. Yeah. I thought I would do a couple hours a week, right? I retired in 2015 as 26 years as a cop. I was a cop in South Florida. I worked hard and was fortunate and made my way all the way up the ladder and retired as a major. So the government had taught me over the years all kinds of business. Now, we don’t generally think of cops as a business, but it is. I mean, there’s cars to buy and gas to put in and a building to maintain and we got to buy pencils. It’s a regular business. Once you take the patrolling guys and detectives, everybody sees on TV, there’s a whole business behind there. And I was in the business part of it. I was a cop, but I chose the ladder of business. So. I had all this business background and I knew that I could take all of this and scale it way down. My budget was 63 million when I left, and it is nowhere near that now. So I knew I could take all that business and scale it down, ramp up the marketing, and I knew I could really do something with the club. And I like to say I didn’t jump back into work because, yes, it’s work, but I really feel like I’m changing people’s lives. I know I keep saying that only because it changed mine. I certainly enjoyed being before, but now I embrace and I thrive in this RV life because of being in this club, because of everything I’ve learned. And I want to offer that to other people, especially women that were just like me, had the energy, had the knowhow, had the guts to do it. But, you know, where do you go that first night? Where do you go the third night after you’ve been in the Grand Canyon a week now? What I want it to help people address that.

Jim Nelson: I think that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about. Or at least for me, being a successful entrepreneur is helping others, addressing a need, finding that purpose and serving others to help them well. And if you do that, you’re going to do it well, then you’re going to make money. But how many members are there now in the winds?

Jennell Jones: I would say right now as we sit here, there’s about 250. Over the years, there’s been thousands. I mean, thousands have come through the doors. Our membership number start at one and go up our membership numbers like at 5229. And so with some glitches, probably worked in the math. So there’s been thousands go through the door of this club.

Jim Nelson: So I noticed the Facebook group that you have, there’s thousands of members that might just be kind of a transient membership. They come, they join and then they might drop off, But they’re still in the group.

Jennell Jones: I guess so I’m not sure. But we’ve got a large following in that Facebook group, you know, people that lurk. And also maybe it’s people that are scared to pull the trigger, scared to get that, scared to leave the campground. They’ve been sitting in for a month. So I like to think they lurk around us and try to pick up some of that positive energy because they see all the fun stuff that we’re out doing.

Jim Nelson: So running a community myself, I’m going to take a detour here real quick and go down a side road. You’ve got a member section on the website, so I found the Facebook group. But is there resources available that are private to members on the website?

Jennell Jones: There is. Once you join, it’s a membership based club. Once you join, you get behind that wall, if you will, into the membership section, and that’s where you see exactly where the trips are. I think we’ve got nine going this year. You see exactly where to go, where to park the GPS and even, you know, 4 or 5, ten things of what might be fun to do in that area.

Jim Nelson: Is there a platform there as well for engagement with other members on the site or is that saved for the Facebook or the social media or the in-person thing?

Jennell Jones: It’s Facebook, Instagram. We have those, of course, you know, YouTube, we’ve got all that. But no, there’s no interchange behind that wall. No, it is strictly just the information.

Jim Nelson: But as a member, you get access to the locations, the meetups, the gatherings and that sort of thing. You mentioned, you know, taking this club to the next level. How do you grow a community presumably made up of independent, free spirited nomads?

Jennell Jones: Great question and great challenge because I can’t get these people free spirits the right word. I can’t get them to commit to a location or a date. If I’m giving away money, I can’t get them to commit. But that’s okay because the club long ago realized we’re not going to fight this. We’re going to work with it, we’re going to embrace it. So that’s why one of the reasons that once you get behind that paywall, it’s exactly who, where, what, when, what you’re going to pay each night so that you show up when you want. We put the circuit together. We call it a circuit, the travel itinerary, we put it together. You show up when you want. You leave when you want. We may be going, like right now we’ve got a group going to Idaho, Washington, Oregon. If you don’t want to do Washington because you’ve done it a bunch, skip it. Do Idaho leave, come back, pick up in Oregon. So that is one of the great benefits we have, and that is how you grow a community of free spirits. As soon as someone joins us, we address some of their challenges. Right. Which I’ve mentioned before, the friends, the where to go and the anxiety of it. If you want to go, say Florida to Maine, that’s great. Sounds fabulous. Great East Coast trip. And you can get there about six days. If you drive hard, you can totally do it. But why don’t you stop on the way and see Savannah, Why don’t you stop in, see the Outer Banks? Why don’t you go to Manhattan for the day? So if I can convey to them, this is what you can get, this is the value that you can have in this club. That’s how you not tame a free spirit, but you corral the herd of cats into going up the East Coast together.

Jim Nelson: So when they’re traveling together and I’ve seen them gather at a resort in the southwest, like I said. But is there an agenda or content at these meetings? Are there any sort of like, you know, content that you’re delivering about certain challenges about dumping tanks or fixing blade valves or changing tires? What happens at these events?

Jennell Jones: We have a meeting every day at 4:00 and we address what we’re going to do the next day. We have like a whiteboard or a Post-it note or something on one of the rigs, and we talk about we’re going to hike or bike or go to a museum tomorrow or whatever. We’re going to do have a potluck dinner. And then if somebody wants to bring up or we’re all having a problem with, you know, the black tank valve, isn’t it funny? All our beers always talk about the black tank always comes down to that. We usually have a one of the days where we say, hey, bring in a tip, come to the meeting prepared with a tip that other rv’ers might want to know about. So we do have that. But going back to that free spirit, our meetings every day, one meeting a day is to talk about what happened that day and what we’re going to do the next day and perhaps enjoy an adult beverage.

Jim Nelson: So it sounds a bit more social rather than structured rallies. I’ve been to where there’s a conference on, say, social media marketing for our beers, that sort of thing. What do you tell people who might think The Winds is a singles club or more of a dating scene?

Jennell Jones: I am so glad that you asked me that because that comes up quite a bit. It used to come up so much. I was embarrassed to say I’m joining a singles club because that’s not what I joined it for when I bought the club, one of the first things I did was change the wording from Singles Club. I rebranded it to RV club for the Solo Traveler.

Jim Nelson: Big difference between singles and solos, right? Yes.

Jennell Jones: And while most of us are single through widowed, divorced, never married, whatever, we do have some people that are married that travel solo. You can’t travel, you know, as a couple, but because for whatever reason, their significant other doesn’t want to travel, can’t travel. And so they’re welcome. They’re certainly welcome as well. However, you know, it’s not a singles club. No. But you know, when you have the birds and the bees, you know, there will be honey at some times. And listen, I’m not the hall bedroom monitor. You do what you need to do as an adult. But I will tell you this. If you are looking for a mate that is active and mate is a big word, it could be a travel maid, a boyfriend, girlfriend, somebody to hang out with whatever. Same sex, different sex. If you are looking for to find someone in your age range that likes to travel is active, you can become friends with them. You can see what they’re like in a group setting. And we do have people that pair off either as a romantic or as like these three ladies have the same travel style and they kind of pair off and kind of do their thing and and they’re their own little subculture within our group.

Jim Nelson: Sounds like it’s more about making connections than hookups. You know, you’re just putting like minds together and being, like, letting the free. There is room like you said.

Jennell Jones: That’s exactly what it is. And going back to your point about being structured, Rally. Remember this group, we’re not a week here and there we go, 3 or 4 months at a time. Now, you can do a week here and here and there, but we have lots of members that go 3 or 4. Me, I’m one of them. I’ll go 3 or 4 months, take a month off and then join right back up and go another 3 or 4 months. This is our life. So we need down days for for to do laundry, to just hang out at our house, to clean the house so you can go every day. You know, we have those meetings. There’s something to do almost every single day. But you don’t have to. We want it to be social. We are traveling with our neighborhood, if you will, with our friends. And so much like your friends, when you live in a sticks and bricks house or you’re you live in the same town as your family, you don’t come together every single day, all day. No, you have meet ups and you live your life normally. That’s the same same way with us.

Jim Nelson: You know, that really sounds great. But back to the entrepreneur side, the business side of things, We talked about how the demographics of the group has changed, taking this on. How are you attracting the growing number of younger nomads and our buyers out there?

Jennell Jones: Yes, that honestly was an easy one because when the when I bought the club, they had the Facebook group and they had a website that was created ten years ago. And pretty much it stayed like it was ten years ago. It was very dated. It was great for when it was done. That’s great, but it was very dated. So the first thing I did was completely changed that website, modernize it, a lot of white space because that’s what’s in right now. I got an Instagram page going. I change kind of the look of the Facebook group, change the questions, how you can be admitted. I got us on Instagram. I hired a social media person who’s fabulous. Shout out to Alyssa, who’s great and really has grown the Instagram account. And I got all kind of leads from that. I got us on a YouTube. We have all these fabulous videos of us hiking in the Pocono Mountains and nothing to do with them. So I got us on YouTube. I established a Google business page for us. I got us on Yelp so that we could get reviews. And slowly but surely, all of that is attracting a customer base that is social media savvy. That could be a 30 year old, it could be a 70 year old. It you know, it just if they are social media savvy, they will find us. And that is attracting more people who are our demographic, if you will.

Jim Nelson: So, Janelle, we talked a couple times about, you know, taking the group to the next level. And you’ve done so much with the wins in such a short time. What’s the next step? Where are you going with the wins from here? What can members expect to see in the future?

Jennell Jones: I want to grow the club organically. I want to have people that want to be in this club. We’re looking at Baja for 2024 and I just found that there’s a whole bike trail east coast to West Coast, and so I’m going to start building a circuit around that so we can ride bikes Those don’t want to from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast. And then I’ve got Alaska for 2025. I hope to start offering kind of standalone for some of the former members, like a standalone week here and there that want to come visit but can’t travel anymore. So there’s lots happening, lots of growth and an upward trajectory, if you will.

Jim Nelson: Oh, for sure. So these circuits, those are like the plans, the itineraries where people can kind of hop in and out and join and meet up along the way. And then you have a number of these circuits on the website. And then once people join, they can get access to where those dates are and actually join you, right?

Jennell Jones: That’s what when you join, that’s what you get is the where to go, where your new friends are at and what can we do to make you feel more comfortable and secure?

Jim Nelson: You’ve definitely been busy and congratulations, because in a matter of months it sounds like you’ve brought the winds into the age of social media and connections that happen in the virtual space. So what other challenges have you faced kind of managing and marketing a virtual product that no one’s ever going to actually see and touch to total strangers?

Jennell Jones: Yeah, that is a challenge. So I’m not sending them a box, you know, there’s nothing they open up. Okay. I’m selling them a service. All right, well, that’s fine. But what do I get for my service? And I get that question. What do I get? I want to see what I’m getting before him. So my challenge is I have to make sure that I convey clearly and concisely what that challenge is. I have to address what their fears are, what they need before they even can kind of put it in words they think they want somewhere to go. They think, well, I want to go to the Grand Canyon. I don’t know where to go. But going back on my own experience, what it really is, is yes, number one, where do I go and where do I stay? I’ve already done all my friends and my bucket list, you know, Grand Canyon. Now where do I go? Where do I stay? So I make sure that I clearly communicate. We’ll tell you where to go and where to stay. Then I clearly convey to them that they don’t even know yet. They need friends. They need a like minded community. When I first start said, I’m going to go RV in my family and friends about died, my mom set me down. I’m 60 years old or 55. Then my mom set me down and asked me if my money was okay. My sister called and talked to me about serial killers. All right. So that’s true. That is a true story.

Jim Nelson: Family does that. Yes.

Jennell Jones: Yes, yes. So that’s the second. And they might not the RV or may not even realize that. So I tell them, I’m going to give you somewhere to go. I’m going to give you friends. You’re going to put you around the club. I say me, but the club is going to put you around like minded people so you don’t you’re not crazy for driving a 30 foot RV across the country by yourself. And thirdly, I tell them we’re going to address your anxiety and your being afraid, maybe for your security, but just afraid and being afraid of I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know what I’m doing. So to me, if I can address that market that clearly and concisely, they sign right up, they join because they’re like, You’re right, I am kind of scared. I don’t know where to go. I have done that bucket list. I’ve got this 150,000 or 70,000 RV sitting in the driveway. I need to do something with it.

Jim Nelson: Well, you sound like you’ve been an entrepreneur forever, because that’s a golden nugget for anyone listening out there. Addressing the challenges of your potential clients is what you need to do. So let’s talk about those fears and challenges that these people face. What kind of crazy things have happened to you on the road alone and events that might have occurred that you kind of have a challenge dealing with when you’re not as a couple?

Jennell Jones: So I want to address one thing as an entrepreneur, me being new to this. Okay, Something that happened to me just here recently that a challenge that I faced in this new world of mine, you know, in the government world, if there’s a problem, you go to tab paragraph, paragraph three, subsection B and you read it. I’m to do this structured, very structured. I had a lady join recently, my exact target audience. A lady joined recently. She called me. We talked, she joined. She went to a stop, a scheduled stop where exactly where she was supposed to be. She got there and for some reason no one else was there. No one was on that stop. She went inside the business. They didn’t know anything about us. So, yes, I addressed her where to go, what to do. But I failed her miserably on friends and I failed her on anxiety. And then to top it off, to go one step further, I’m in Jackman, Maine, and my service was splotchy in and out so she couldn’t even call me. She was calling me for two days and I saw on Facebook that she said, Hey, I need help. And I couldn’t even respond to her on Facebook. So that was a really hard, big challenge. As an entrepreneur, what do I do? How do I fix this? So once I was able to get a hold of her, I apologize, told her what probably happened and said, Help me fix this. How do I fix this for the next person in your shoes? What do I do? I have a new member checklist. So with her help I added on there what to do in case this happens so that as an entrepreneur, that was something that just happened to me that was crazy.

Jim Nelson: We learned the best from our mistakes. You know, fail, fail again, fail harder and fail better. And we learn from those and move on. What other challenges might have you personally experienced that have been challenging as a solo Arvier.

Jennell Jones: Yes, as a solo Arvier Yes. So my RV is 36ft and I have a car behind me, so I’m about 60ft going down the road. That’s important. Here. So, you know, if you get lost when you’re driving with an RV and somebody in the passenger seat, they can tell you and help you and whatever. When you’re driving all this, you’re by yourself. If the GPS says right, you go right. So I was trying to find a little state park and I don’t know, it was a dirt road, gravel, dirt road, which sometimes they are. So I wasn’t worried at first at all. And then I started noticing the first clue was the GPS was spinning, just going, I’m like, I’ve never seen the GPS spin before. That’s that’s odd. So I kept going, kept going, and I realized I am in trouble. I am in the country. I want you to picture this. It is a dirt road. I’m by myself. I’m at 60ft of RV. There is not one turnoff, not a driveway, not an open field On both sides of me is cows, a ditch and electric fences. Eight miles. I went like that. Eight miles. I didn’t see anybody. I didn’t see a house. My cell phone wouldn’t work. I didn’t know who to call anyway. My cell phone wouldn’t work. Finally, a truck with a cow trailer passes me. I’m, like, waving, Oh, stop. He waved at me and kept on going. Okay. So I’m like, All right, so somebody there’s something.

Jennell Jones: He came from somewhere. So I kept going and what do I see? A wooden bridge. This is straight out of a movie, isn’t it? I see a wooden bridge with wooden slats. I get out and I look and I look down and there’s water down there. I don’t know. It seemed like 300ft, but it’s probably like 30ft. It’s probably like 30ft. So I measure my my mirror to mirror and I’m about two inches short to go through that bridge. But mirror to mirror and I can’t get the mirrors in. I like pull. I can’t get the mirrors in. So I’m sitting there thinking, do I back all the way up eight miles? Do I undo the car, take the car back, ride the bike back, get the RV back up eight miles. And I finally thought, Nope, I’m going over the bridge. I put my purse on me, open the window on the driver’s side, on the RV, set a prayer to God and drove through the bridge. If the mirrors break off, the mirrors break off. And it was fine. It worked out fine. And my mirrors didn’t scratch or anything. But let me tell you, it had to be an inch on each side because I don’t know how I didn’t hit. And sure enough, I come out of that bridge and there’s the main road. I just took a left. I didn’t know to go right or left. I just went left. I was just like, Oh, I made it fantastic.

Jim Nelson: So if anything, it sounds like the winds can provide a sense of community and gathering space to share those horror stories and get the tips from others to help yourself through the next ones or pass along the way. Sage Wisdom to others who are new to the group. Do you have three quick tips that you might tell a new Year hitting the road alone these days? I do.

Jennell Jones: You know, if I’d have been in the Winds when I did that with that bridge on that dirt road, they would have told me. They would have said, don’t or take a hard left as soon as you come in, the road is hidden. So that addresses that anxiety right there. I do have three quick tips, and these are tips that are different. I like to think from everyone else. This is what I especially tell the women when they’re starting out by a number two drill bit or screwdriver. I didn’t even know what it was. You go in the store, you know, you’ll find it a number two that fits almost every screw on the inside of your RV.

Jim Nelson: Sure.

Jennell Jones: Number two, get a tire monitor and a portable tire air compressor thing. Because if you’re on the side of the road by yourself, first of all, your tire monitor will tell you there’s something wrong with your tire and you can put some air in yourself and limp to somewhere if you had to, even if it’s flat and you stop every ten minutes. And then my third one would be join an RV club. If it’s not mine, fine. I’d like you to join mine, but join RV club. You will learn so much. And if you’ve been RV in a long time by yourself, you will go places that you haven’t been before. Or you’ll be going to friends and you’ll do more. You do more when you’re with an RV club.

Jim Nelson: You know? And when you do more, you enjoy life more. And that’s the whole reason we’re out there living this life. Do you have anything specific to share that we might have missed?

Jennell Jones: No. I would just encourage you just piggyback and right there on what you said. This lifestyle, especially as we get older, keeps you off the couch, keeps you out in front of the TV. We have 70 year olds that can last year, May of last year, I hiked the wave in Utah with 270 year old men that I managed to keep up with. So this lifestyle, it’s a fabulous lifestyle. It really is. And in an RV club, you learn to enjoy it. Instead of endure it, you will be off the couch. You will not be watching that TV and it will literally add years to your life, especially if you’re in the last ten years, you know, before you are too old to. In your opinion, before you’re too old to drive some of the beers we have. This is their last big hurrah of their of their life. And so I’m so happy that we have an RV club that can give them this.

Jim Nelson: You know, it’s so true. You do enjoy it more when you get to share it more. And when you’re traveling solo, the club allows you to share it with others. So where is the best place for anyone interested to learn more about the winds?

Jennell Jones: Well, you know what? Just have them email me directly. It’s wins. Rv Club wins RV club at gmail.com. That way I can talk to them specifically email their questions. And of course, you know, we have Facebook and our website tells all about the trip. So they can they can certainly get Ahold of me and I’ll call and talk to them personally.

Jim Nelson: Thank you for that. That really proves how personal and intimate this community is. I mean, a lot of businesses aren’t going to give out that sort of information and contact their members directly. My wife and I do that because we have our own special kind of niche community that with certain people that need kind of hand-holding in their life and we help them out. So all of that information, if you don’t mind, is going to be in the show notes and wanted to thank you for joining me.

Jennell Jones: Yes, thank you, Jim. I really appreciate this opportunity. I think that there’s a strong, small but strong segment of society, the society that needs this club.

Jim Nelson: Well, the next time we’re out traveling and we see that little flag, we might flag you down and find you and say hi.

Jennell Jones: Please do, Jim. Please do.

Jim Nelson: Happy travels, Janelle.

Jennell Jones: Thank you. You as well.

Jim Nelson: So if you’re a solo nomad, the next time you see that wind sticker on a van or RV, go over and introduce yourself. You’ll clearly be welcomed into the community of like minded folks who can address any challenges you may face while traveling alone. Want more info? Visit wandering individuals network.com or give Janelle a call. That’s just amazing. Check the show notes for all the links and we’ll catch up with you down the road. Speaking of which, what do you want to hear about on the RV Life Entrepreneur podcast? Got a unique story to share about growing your own business on the road. Let us know in the entrepreneur Facebook group or at the entrepreneur.com.

The RV Entrepreneur is presented by RV LIFE – Tools that Make Camping Simple

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Jim Nelson