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Getting to Know the Solos'
The friendly mob!
Words and Images by: Rainey Parsell T65353

A Special Interest Group, known as the Solos’ Network, formed under the auspices of the CMCA to help support lone travellers. The Network was established in 1997 to provide encouragement and support for solo travellers, to assist them in continuing to enjoy the wonderful nomadic life as CMCA members.

Often one of the greatest challenges a person has to face is making decisions, going out and facing life alone for the first time, and many of the Solos’ members have, abruptly, found themselves facing life without a partner.

The Network encourages members to embrace the RV lifestyle by organising rallies, outings, meetings and charity safaris. Some members travel together in convoy from time to time; however, it has been our experience that travelling solo can often unleash a more confident person that is ready to tackle anything life has to throw at them. Ultimately, travelling solo or with a group of Solos’ Network members can be an uplifting, life enriching, eyeopening experience, occasionally lonely, sometimes tough, but never dull.

When joining, new members are invited to share a little information about themselves and their interests for publication in a contact register which is circulated privately between members. This allows contact with fellow members to be established easily and friendships nurtured between people in similar circumstances. We also have a quarterly newsletter that is full of Solos’ happenings and wonderful pictures of happy Solos’ Network members out there ‘doing it’. The friendship and support that can be found within the Solos’ Network is often described by members as truly lifesaving. The original members of the Solos’ Network came up with the concept of a ‘Solo Hug’; many members have been alone for such a long time and a platonic hug from a mate can spread so much joy. Members have stated that being part of the group has enriched their lives and in some cases saved them. There have been many incidents where Solos’ Network members have been in trouble, including vehicle break downs, family issues or ill-health; it is so easy to reach out for assistance as a Solos’ member, whether it is in the form of phone or email support, or a helping hand from a member in the area.

You can learn so much about yourself and how strong and capable you truly are when your own boundaries are pushed. Often women who find themselves alone have to face the dilemma of whether to give up life on the road or learn to travel alone. This includes driving the vehicle, ensuring the vehicle is maintained, organising all the intricacies of solar panels, inverters, battery chargers, and the list continues. It can be a minefield for the unsuspecting female who previously had a partner who would share the responsibilities. I am often in awe when I see intrepid, brave ladies, in the later years of their life, who more than cope with this new way of life - they live it! I see them grow in confidence every day, so much so that it is hard to believe they once were so frightened of venturing out alone.

However, it is not just women who can struggle living a life alone, men have their own fears and battles to conquer as well. When men become a solo traveller it can be a steep learning curve for them and sometimes the sheer loneliness can be difficult to face. On average, it appears that men find the transition to the solo lifestyle more challenging than women, especially in the domestic arena. This is  where the lady Solos’ Network members come into their own by helping with a day to day routine.

Fun & frolics at a Solos’ gathering

Before their change in lifestyle, Solos’ members are often already Members of CMCA and although they will receive support from their friends and family to help them through this new and unsettling transition, sometimes there are peculiar problems and difficulties that only a fellow Solos’ Network members can understand.

Living the life you were meant to live, the life of your dreams is not always easy but it is possible. Sometimes you can make friends much easier when you are on your own as you’re more approachable. Having said that, there are times when we all wish we had a friend or partner there to share a moment and retain the memory together.

So, if you’re looking to have fun in a safe and supportive environment, discover new places, try new things and meet new people, then take the next step and join us!

If you would like to know more about the CMCA Solos’ Network, speak to any of our members. 

Tags: Solo Solo Network Travel SIG Special Interest Group Chapter Campervan Motorhome RV Caravan Group Event Members Lifestyle
Category: Features
Written: Sun 01 Sep 2013
Printed: September, 2013
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