Sunday, April 24, 2011

Solo RVer and writer Malia Lane is back on the road again

I first met fulltime RVer and writer Malia Lane about five years ago when she was traveling (and working) in the Pacific Northwest.

At that time she had been on the road solo for more than six years, supporting her lifestyle by taking temporary paralegal jobs in various locations around the country. These days she "makes gas money" through her business: Above the Bar Virtual Assistance.

"Virtual assistance enables me to work for clients online," explains Malia. "Most of my clients are attorneys and they send me work either from digital recordings that I transcribe or email attachments of documents they want revised."

"It is great that I can work from my rolling home," she says. The "only problem is that sometimes they all want things at the same time."

However, she still prefers being a virtual assistant to when she would "have to stop at a location for extended periods and go find temp jobs. I’ve found there are pros and cons to both ways, but I’m just thankful I can support my travel habit in whatever way I can."

Malia recently returned to the road after a long 'visit' in Austin
Before taking off on her current journey earlier this month, her last big trip "was seeing every mile of the Blue Ridge Parkway during the summer of 2007." (Read more about that trip in an article I wrote for the Spokesman-Review by clicking here.)

In November 2007 Malia returned to her hometown of Austin "to visit, supposedly for only a few months but wound up pretty much staying put for over three years" due to family responsibilities.

What got you back RVing?

"Once we determined my elderly mom was no longer able to care for herself, either at home or in assisted living, she moved in with my brother and sister-in-law in South Carolina," says Malia. "This was the main issue that had kept me off the road, so once that was settled, I spent the time and money it took to get my motorhome road-worthy again."

Currently Malia is in South Carolina visiting family, and is really excited about her upcoming summer in Michigan.

"I’ll spend the entire summer there exploring the state parks and will be writing an article for MotorHome magazine about it," she says. "This will be my longest trip since Alaska in 2003, so I’m pretty stoked about this adventure."

"I decided on Michigan for my re-entry voyage because the Great Lakes really do look great," she says, and because "several of my virtual assistance clients live there and, although I’ve worked for some of them for almost four years, I’ve never met them in person."

Insights since being back on the road:

"No matter how nervous I was about hitting the road again," says Malia, "there is no doubt at all this is still what I want to do. I had thought for a while maybe it was time to give up the keys and settle down in Austin again; but after about 20 miles, all those doubts were gone and I was again singing my theme song, With Arms Wide Open, as loudly as I could."

RVing is not always the easiest lifestyle, she says, however, "I wouldn’t trade it for anything else at this point. I’m happy to be able to do this while I’m still young and spry enough to do the kind of hiking and activities I love."

Malia says she gets a lot of emails from people, especially women, who say they would love to do what she does, but they’re too afraid.

"I tell them it’s not like I don’t have my own fears and insecurities. I just believe firmly it’s possible to move past them and live your life so you don’t have regrets when you’re too old to do anything else but sit in a rocking chair reliving your memories. Create lots of memories now so you won’t be so bored then."

Read more of Malia's writings at:
Malia’s Miles:
Inspiration’s Journey:

Photo: Malia Lane outside her motorhome at Pecan Grove RV Park in Austin, TX, before taking off on her six-month road trip. (Julianne Crane)

Read more by Julianne Crane at

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