Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

RV Group Lifestyles—Appropriate for This Independent Woman

Bert Gildart: Twenty-two years ago Nancy Zatkoff was in an abusive marriage, left with no alternative other than to seek a new life. She’d been married to a federal judge, a man who’d become an alcoholic. Nancy said she had tried to cope, joining such organizations as ALANON, and that although this well known network did provide a support group, she ultimately realized she had to get out, not only for her sake, but for that of her children as well. And, so, in 1987 she sought a divorce, and then fled with her children.

NANCY ZATKOFF: “It wasn’t easy,” says Nancy, “but she had always been a tent camper, loved getting out in the woods, loved kayaking, and decided to take the next step. In the late 1990s she bought a used 5th wheel and a Dodge 2500 with the Cummins Diesel engine.

For awhile, she tried traveling alone, but found that standing in the shadow of some of the world’s most beautiful settings can be a very lonely. Try, for instance, standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon, or walking the Garden Wall in Glacier National Park by yourself, and even though you are in some of the most world’s most beautiful country, such overwhelming country can drive home your aloneness.

And so Nancy began looking around for organizations that might help her learn more about the RV life style, and also help bring her together with people who were looking for some type of companionship. As a former teacher, a woman active in her church, she thought she had a lot to offer in a group setting.

Fortunately, there are organizations intended to help singles, and generally by the time you are solvent enough to own an RV you have lived a substantial portion of your life, and may be single either through death of a spouse—or through divorce. For this group, the RV community has created a number of organizations intended to bring single RVers together, “not necessarily to create a lasting match,” says Nancy Zatkoff, “but simply to travel together and see new things. Of course, if a match works out that’s OK, but that’s not the sole reason for my involvement.”

With a little research Nancy learned there were several organizations. Examples include Selective Singles, Loners on Wheels, and the Wandering Individual Network. These organizations provide ways for singles to share backgrounds by meeting new people with similar interests. For most RV enthusiasts, that’s travel, and, often, travel that helps you discover a little more about yourself.

Nancy began group involvement by joining “Selective Singles,” located in Detroit and through them mastered the skills to travel even wider. Though she’s only 5’2” she improved on skills required to hook up a 5th wheeler, back it up, level it, and change tires. In fact, she’s become so proficient with her current pull-along trailer that she says she could teach a course in RVing.

“Women should know the fundamentals,” says Nancy, “else how can they help in an emergency. I believe I could teach them how.”

INDEPENDENT KAYAKER: After joining the one group, she began ranging out, and so joined Loaners on Wheels. She cautions, however, that LOWs has stipulations, the most significant one specifying that in this organization, you must be alone. You must be single.

“This is an organization for singles, and that’s it,” says Nancy. “If you’re already paired, you’ve defeated the purpose of LOWs.”

For people who are paired in some way, there’s yet another organization called Wandering Individual network (WIN). “Let’s say,” says Nancy, “you’ve met someone that you really taken a hankering to. But you realize that if you get married, you’ll sacrifice a monthly social security check. These people are not amoral, just practical.”

So what kind of things do these groups do? Obviously, all involve themselves in active travel, and last year WIN, took in the famous Calgary Stampede (a rodeo) in Alberta, Canada, attended the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming, and even took in an Alaskan Cruise. And that’s just for starters.

Though Nancy doesn’t know where some of these activities will take her, we do know she’s giving up her job with Hospice and leaving Bay Bayou to get back on the road. We also know that although this independent woman enjoys appropriate companionship—and believe RV dating services fulfill a unique function—she has also found contentment within herself.

That means she’s a long way from where she was 22 years ago. “LOWs helps,” says Nancy, “but all these services are useless unless you’ve found yourself. The RV lifestyle helped me do all that.”

Janie and I wish this lovely, fun lady all the best that life has to offer. Travel well, Nancy.

2 Responses to “RV Group Lifestyles—Appropriate for This Independent Woman”

  1. patsie arrowsmith Says:

    What a great article about a super lady!
    Bert and Janie, I’ve known Nancy for a couple of years and she really is a special person in many ways.
    It is amazing that you were able to get to know the real Nancy in such a short time.

  2. Bert Gildart Says:

    Hi, Patsie,
    Thanks for the comments. Nancy’s personality makes it fun to get to know her, and we hope to see more of her–and more of all the wonderful people we got to know at Bay Bayou.
    We miss you all.
    Bert & Janie

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