Hi! I’m Deborah Dennis.
I am a solo woman travel blogger, Airstreaming across the U.S. with her dogs. Travelswithwally.com is about MONEY, FREEDOM, RVing, and TRAVEL with dogs.
As a design expert in the tech world for over 25 years, I am qualified to help RVers navigate their nomadic life and make money online while on the road. My blog shows 50 + travelers ways to carve their paths to financial freedom on the road with multiple income streams and active adventures to unique destinations worldwide.
In 2021, after a lifetime of travels around the world, I decided to embrace Slow Travel, buy an RV, and enjoy the back roads across America. As a solo woman traveler, I wanted to bring my two small rescue dogs along and stop and visit friends and family along the way. America is still an awesome country and on this trip, I discovered a world of amazing people, places, and things that I’d love to share with you in this blog.
I hope you find inspiration, wonderful stories, amazing people I’ve met and knowledge and gear to set you on your own life’s travel path.
Enjoy and Safe Travels.
Deb, Wally Boy & Lottie Da
Starting my Adventures:
The Beginnings of my Money, Freedom & RV Travel Life
Here are some highlights of my personal travel story. I hope they resonate with you and inspire you to seek your RV lifestyle path.
I began the idea for this Airstream adventure in early 2020 and started planning my remote RV lifestyle. As a beginning RVer, I still needed to learn what RV I would buy or how working on the road would be for extended periods. The first article I wrote in my travel blog was how to Follow Your Dream: An Essential Guide to RVing for Beginners.
I have worked for myself as an independent UX Design Consultant for over 15 years. As a UX expert, talent networks provide me with access to Fortune 100 companies who need my services for short or long-term contracts. See how you can Unleash Your Earning Power: Make Money Freelancing While RVing.
I enjoy a very flexible lifestyle, as many knowledge workers do, so when I hit the road in my Airstream work lifestyle, I still needed some adjustments. Finding WiFi, setting up a mobile office, and trip planning to include Zoom calls became the challenging parts of my new remote work life.
Practical Steps to Making my Trip Happen
By September 2020, I had borrowed my friend’s Ford F-150 truck, and then I rented an Airstream through RV Share from a local guy in the Bay Area. I had never towed anything before, but everyone said it was easy. You’ll get used to backup, they said. Yes, I did learn to back up, but it took some practice, and If I can do it, so can you.
I brought along a friend on my first journey, and we traveled up the West Coast of California and into Oregon. Unfortunately, our trip was during horrific wildfires, the skies were ablaze in red haze and smoke. It clouded our trip but also gave it perspective on why traveling in an RV was an excellent alternative to flying.
Something about the slow pace of travel in an RV, much like cruising in a sailboat, made me appreciate this country’s depth and breadth.
I had made road trips before, but this way of life, where I could set up camp, unhitch the Airstream, and then explore the countryside, was something I had dreamed about for a very long time.
When deciding how to travel, I did explore the van life idea, thinking that the low profile and the accessibility to more remote areas would be what I wanted. But when I sat down to look at my needs, I decided that a travel trailer was the way to go. By January 2021, I had bought a new tow vehicle, a used low-mileage Tacoma Toyota 2019, and my RV transportation was ready!
My career as a freelancer has enabled my travel adventures.
Working at Apple Computer for almost ten years introduced me to the design of many of the best products in the world. Given that entry into the tech world, well-designed products have always been at the forefront of my professional world.
Over the last couple of decades, my career as a freelance UX Designer has been to design delightful & easy to use experiences for complex online products.
Deciding to Buy an Iconic Airstream
But finding a used or even new Airstream in 2021 was challenging. I went to a dealer, and the wait was 3-6 months for a brand new travel trailer. A friend had turned me onto RV Trader of people selling used RVs, and she found the perfect one for me, but it was in Texas!
I called up Ken in Texas and talked about his Airstream, which he had driven only 500 miles on one short trip, so it was essentially brand new. We decided that I would fly down there with a cashier’s check, purchase the Airstream, and come back later and tow it home.
So in January 2021, I flew to Austin, Texas, and became the proud owner of a 2020 Caravel 22 ft Airstream Travel Trailer. By February, I was ready to drive from The SF Bay Area down to Austin to pick up my Airstream and drive it home. My timing was a fateful choice because I ran smack dap into the now infamous Texas Ice Storm of 2021 and got stranded in a hotel along Highway 10 in West Texas for five days. Eventually, the ice melted, my trip resumed, and I managed to get my new purchase home.
Downsizing my Life & Hitting the Road
Did I mention that I also decided to rent my house and drive across the country and back?
The next several months involved downsizing, packing, making my will, finding tenants for my home, planning my route and making reservations at campsites, signing up for RV travel services like Harvest Hosts & Campendium, etc.
My Airstream Road Trips
In 2021, the pups and I were on the road for over 5 months and over 14,000 miles. We started in Northern California and crossed the country to the shores of Maine and then back again and stopped at some unique and iconic places that should surely be on your RV bucket list.
This year, in 2022 we were on the road about 4 months and stay mostly on the West Coast exploring and living in areas closer to home.
My Life Experiences
My life experiences are the shape and texture of who I am. In the last 25 years, I’ve mentored aspiring design leaders, spent over a decade traveling the world playing on top-level women’s rugby teams, became a self-taught photographer, and recently immersed myself in being a traditional pen & ink & watercolor illustrator.
Always an adventurer, I’ve tracked black rhinos in Zimbabwe with Earthwatch scientists, been a certified SCUBA diver since I was 16, lived on a sailboat in Tonga, am a certified bareboat skipper, and paddled hundreds of miles in outrigger canoe races. I feel the most alive and empowered in the natural world.
I have engaged in an often obsessive pursuit of knowledge of the natural world and humans’ effect on our planet. I grow my food and live a low-impact lifestyle in a 425 sq ft cabin in the woods, where I live when I’m not traveling.
Deep fulfillment in life comes when we learn to access our innate Divine gifts and then share those gifts with the world.
Audrey Sutherland was an American solo adventure traveler, kayaker, teacher, and author. She has been described as a “pioneer” among women doing solo adventure travel. One of her better-known books was Paddling North, which documented her 850-mile solo kayak journey in Alaska at age 60.
Audrey Sunderland books recorded her adventures, becoming guides for generations of solo travelers. She encouraged readers never to wait for the right opportunity or the right person to travel with — just go.
Once, when asked by the travel writer Paul Theroux why she traveled alone, she replied: “I don’t. I have three people within me — the paddler, sizing up the conditions. The critic, nagging me and telling me I’ll never make it. And the writer, standing back and trying to remember it all.”
Travels with Charlie, my blog inspiration
The name of my blog, Travels with Wally, was inspired by John Steinbeck’s 1964 Travelogue, “Travels with Charlie.” His book depicts a 1960 road trip around the United States made by Steinbeck in the company of his standard poodle Charley.
My 2021 and beyond road trips are in the company of my loyal sidekicks, Wally Boy & Lottie Da. They are always excited to get to our destinations and never complain. I wish they could do some of the driving!