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Kiwi camping coven

Bette Cosgrove

Six solo camping women ranging in age from 54 to 74 years old, found themselves gathered beside the camp fire one autumn evening in the Tararua District.

Connecting with their sisters in the self-proclaimed ‘Kiwi Camping Coven’ around the fire pit, at the Viking Odyssey Weekend, All Points Camping Club event at Norsewood in May, this happy accident was a discovery that their shared life experiences gave them a common passion.

They’re all solo campers who have camped all their lives. They discovered a love of lifetime camping, once sharing this with partners, but life’s circumstances mean they now go it alone.

Who we are (from left to right) Christine, Carolyn Penny Kathryn, Wendy, Colleen

✤ Christine is towing a 2 berth British caravan with no name (yet) adorned with BAT WINGS. 

✤ Carolyn drives a Toyota van — with munchkin cat Jasper. Her vehicle is named Jasper’s Journeys. Formerly, she lived 10 years in a bus. 

✤ Penny drives a 7.5m German motorhome named Lady Penelope (from Thunderbirds). She has a static permanent caravan in a commercial campground, to come and go from.

✤ Kathryn tows her 6.5m Swift caravan called Miss Abigail. She lives in it permanently, mostly travelling the roads of NZ. 

✤ Wendy has a Toyota Hiace van named NakiLass with rag doll cat Cindy. Her home base is a cabin on rural land.

✤ Colleen tows her neat little poptop camper called Myrtle.

Answering these questions, it was clear that despite their wide backgrounds and variety of life experiences, they had all found a common purpose and a joy for solo camping life.

Why travel and camp alone?

✤ We meet new friends.

✤ There’s a sense of independence and freedom.

✤ To have new experiences.

✤ Being outdoors offers a greater sense of wellbeing.

✤ All of us women have met a wide variety of challenges in our lives, but we’ve coped with them by camping!

What do you need for solo camping and travelling?

✤ A sense of adventure.

✤ Big girl panties.

✤ Courage and

✤ Good reversing skills.

Why this activity?

✤ Get out of comfort zone,

✤ We’re all survivors of life challenges, so sitting home quietly watching TV doesn’t offer much challenge or excitement.

✤ Keeping it simple is important for solo camping life, not much clutter, minding how you use your resources like power and water.

✤ Simplicity over stress.

✤ Communication and laughter around a campfire is the best reason to come camping.

The benefits of joining a group?

✤ Sharing tips and places.

✤ Enjoying the social meet ups and finding like minded travelling friends to have a good laugh with.

✤ We support each other.

✤ Joining in fun events.

Tips for other women contemplating going solo?

✤ Just do it!

✤ You’ll love it!

✤ Learn from your mistakes.

✤ Getting through gateways might be difficult, practice!

✤ We’re all OK without partners.

✤ Follow your instincts… move if you need to or feel unsafe.

✤ Meet your camping neighbours if you feel insecure.

Best experiences to share?

✤ The Patea All Points Camping gathering recently was just so much fun.

✤ Forgotten Highway trip, stranded in a ditch with 5 women campers when 1 woman broke her leg on a 4-day trip.

✤ A huge achievement when we made it through. You are often SO proud of what you’re doing.

✤ Chatting and laughing around the camp fire it was obvious this informal sisterhood gives strength and joy.

✤ “Every time we get together with other women solo campers we leave so happy,” Christine says.

six solo camping women from 54 to 74 years old

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