The following post is an excerpt from Tiny Homes on the Move (Shelter Publications, 2014) by long-time Mother Earth News contributor Lloyd Kahn. This book chronicles 21st-century nomads: people who inhabit homes that are compact and mobile, either on wheels or in the water. In photos and stories, this fascinating book explores modern travelers who live in vans, pickup trucks, buses, trailers, sailboats and houseboats that combine the comforts of home with the convenience of being able to pick up and go at any time.
I hope to turn you on to a few wonderful elements of the vintage trailering community, which has added so much to my life. I am a member of an All-Girl gang called the Sisters on the Fly, which numbers more than 3,000 “Sisters” throughout the U.S.A., with a few Sisters in the UK, Canada, and Australia. We are growing by leaps and bounds, and I am proud to be Sister #203.
The group was founded by Maurrie Sussman and her sister Becky, who wanted to fly fish in remote areas with some level of comfort and security. They decided to share this idea with friends and family, inspired in part by their adventuresome mom, Mazie.
Over the years, Sisters on the Fly has empowered women of all ages, backgrounds, and life experiences to come out and camp together in a safe, generous, and joyful way.
Over the years, it has blossomed into a terrific organization that empowers women of all ages, backgrounds, and life experiences to come out and camp together in a safe, generous, and joyful way. The key components of this “gang” are our trailers, which have been restored, modified, gussied-up, and decorated to the nth degree, often with fabulous murals to greet our fellow travelers with.
Our trailers are acts of creativity and love, and the hardest part of any of our adventures is packing out to head home. Many of the Sisters have made their vehicular villas so inviting that they prefer them to their regular homes, and it gives many of us a feeling of safety and calm to know that we have a place that will always shelter us within a community of inspired and empathetic gals.
The Sisters on the Fly are pleased to be able to utilize the talents, resources, and camaraderie of the group for charitable acts, in support of organizations like Casting for Recovery, which offers healing and therapeutic fly-fishing retreats for breast cancer patients and survivors.
We have hosted hundreds of events, large and small, all over the U.S., and we often caravan to events together, making “getting there” a good part of the fun as we add Sisters and their trailers to the rolling cavalcade. Bringing a mile-long caravan of these beautiful trailers into settings like Monument Valley or along Route 66 is a thing of awe and wonder!
The Sisters on the Fly has brought so much joy and adventure into my life, and I hope that readers of this post feel comfortable to talk with Sisters as you come across us in the wild — believe me, you will know us when you see us!
“I hope that readers feel comfortable to talk with Sisters as you come across us in the wild. Believe me, you will know us when you see us.”
Sisters — I never had one that was blood. My sisters were the women that I admired as I grew into an adult: the teachers and coaches that touched my life, 4H leaders, and my grandmother. One in particular was Pat.
Pat was in high school when she took me under her wing. I was eight or nine. She taught me the finer points of showing cattle. She took me to shows, coached me, and listened to me as I struggled my way into being a teenager. When she went to college, she was still my sounding board about boys and rebellion, school, and sports. She was a good listener and always gave solid advice. Way out in the boondocks, she was the closest thing I had to a real sister.
I grew up surrounded by men — my dad and my brother. I was as tomboy as you could get, but I was still a girl and they didn’t seem to understand. Pat was a ranch girl, too, and I thought she was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. She taught me about makeup and took me shopping for feminine clothes.
I learned that girls can have horses, cows, and pickups, but they don’t have to give up their feminine side. They can appreciate the outdoors, and when they find others who like the same things, they bond. This is a lesson I’m learning all over again from my Sisters on the Fly.
–Thea Marx (Sister #1323)
Many of the Sisters have made their vehicular villas so inviting that they prefer them to their regular home.
Lloyd Kahn is a sustainable living visionary and publisher of Shelter Publications. He is the author of natural building books, including Home Work, Tiny Homes, Tiny Homes on the Move, Shelter II , Builders of the Pacific Coast, and The Septic System Owner’s Manual (All available in the Mother Earth News Store). He lives and builds in Northern California. Follow Lloyd on his blog, Twitter, and Facebook, and read all of his Mother Earth News posts here.
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