Joyrides Of America
Sharon Pieniak has spent the last 8 years living out of her Airstream trailer. She travels slow and solo, creating home wherever she goes. She works for herself, camp hosts, and chronicles road trips on her website, Joyrides of America. Sharon is all about taking the long way – learn more in her interview below!
Photos (C) 2015 Sharon Pieniak
Meet Curious Sharon
How did your full-time Airstream lifestyle come to be?
In 2007, I was living in Maine and decided to take a 6-week road trip through through the Canadian Maritimes. I loved every minute of it and when I got home, I was restless. I wanted to keep traveling. Since I was already self-employed and working from home, I knew I could find a way to make it work. A friend suggested I get an RV, so that it would be easy for my cat, dog and work to travel with me. Of course! So I immediately went to an Airstream dealer, found a unit I could live in and within a couple of weeks, I was starting to liquidate my belongings and plan a new life on the road.
How often do you stay in one place in the airstream?
Now, I stay quite a long while. In the beginning, I was eager to see so many places that I moved around a lot, staying a couple of weeks (at most) in one place. I’d love to do that again here in the west. There are a lot of places calling me that I haven’t been to yet. I’m gearing up for it. One reason I stay longer now is because I’m enjoying hosting in the state parks. As a solo traveler, I really enjoy the community of fellow hosts and state park employees and I like settling in for awhile. It’s a great way to live, with the best real estate in town.
Have you found the road community welcoming (virtually and otherwise)?
Oh, yes. The road community has been very welcoming, friendly and helpful. It’s become a very popular way of life.
What prompted you to create “Joyrides of America”?
My first site, The Silver Snail, had outgrown itself and I was interested in a site that would appeal to people who enjoyed any kind of road trip, as well as tiny home/trailer living and photography. I also wanted a website that could grow and be less focused on my own personal travels. One of the best things about living this way is the thrill of discovering beautiful places and the people that call it home. It’s inspiring and keeps me inspired and I’d like to share that with others.
Do you foresee others potentially submitting joyrides to your website?
Yes, I’d love to hear what other people have to say about their road travels! I just added a new section called Readers Rides, where readers can contribute anything they’d like, as long as it has to do with traveling by two or more wheels.
Take a photo of your five must have items for Airstream life.
1- sunglasses (not necessarily pink)
2 – super awesome tactical flashlight for night walks in the woods
3 – peace (the state of mind, not the sign)
4 – laptop
5 – mifi hotspot
Do you have any tips for other women who wish to travel solo?
Get your affairs in order just enough to do it. Things don’t have to be perfect. Trust that things will work out. They will. Above all, enjoy the process, the anticipation, and the present moment. When you live this way, you can’t help but be present and look forward to things.
You’ve been living in an Airstream for 8 years, do you ever think you’ll return to a more stationary life?
At some point, yes. I’ve been thinking it’d be nice to have a home base somewhere – a place where I could have a library of books, a grand piano and especially a garden. But I hope to always have my trailer so that I can take off for months at a time.
What’s your most recommended road trip?
This is a tough one, so I’ll keep it broad: The west coast, from Big Sur to the Columbia River, so that’s Northern California and the entire coast of Oregon. It’s just spectacular.
Where are you now and where will you be in one month?
Currently, I’m in Big Sur – my favorite place on this planet. I’ll still be here in a month, camp hosting.
Did you have a road trip idea to share?
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