Epic Solo Journey (Part II)

Nov 7, 2022 | 0 comments

Michigan Bound

I truly love Michigan, making this epic solo journey to this beautiful state so rewarding. My plans included a visit to spend time with my friend, Elaine. Lake Michigan, the friendly and welcoming people, and all of the things to do outdoors were a bonus. I could live in Michigan. In the summer! 

I spent much of my time attending yoga classes, kayaking, walking the shores of the lake, and visiting the farmer’s markets, wineries and restaurants. I even went on a camping trip “up north” to Hartwick Pines State Park. We set this as a home base and ventured to the upper peninsula of Michigan. 

This area is lovingly known as the U.P. and the folks who live there: Yoopers. We crossed the Mighty Mackinaw and went as far north as White Fish Point and dipped our toes in Lake Superior. 

View of the Mackinac Bridge over the Mackinaw River
Mackinac Bridge

Home is Calling and I Must Go

Although it felt good to be in Michigan, it was time to plan my trip home. I was there for a total of about five weeks.  

When I was plotting out this last leg of my trip back I discovered a Girl Camper event happening in Alabama. I decided to sign up and make it part of my itinerary. This decision changed my timeline a little as well as my path.  

Prior to arriving at this event, I had plenty of time to explore states along my journey home.  I had always wanted to spend some time at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and decided to make this a stop. 

That decision was one of my best plans. I reserved a campsite at Nolin Lake State Park. Five nights was my longest solo stay at any of the parks. It was so nice to stay a little longer. 

Nolin Lake was beautiful, with gorgeous sunsets, and was only a half hour from the national park. That half-hour trip wound through gorgeous back roads through the park forest and even crossed the Green River aboard a cable ferry. 

Mammoth Cave National Park is amazing with so much history and natural beauty. I spent three of my days exploring the caves, checking out the area, and hiking with my dog. 

Even these 5 nights seemed to fly by and soon I was underway for my very first ever Girl Camper event!  

I was simultaneously excited and nervous. It has been a very long time since I have camped with other women, as only women can do. 

Warm Welcome 

I got to Rickwood Caverns State Park on August 26th. I was greeted by the awesome girl camper guide, Shari Sullivan.  

This Alabama group of campers soon made me feel so welcome. My apprehension was turned to pure happiness as I spent time with these soulful girl campers. We ranged from experienced to brand new at camping, which gave our group the perfect mix. 

spending time with Alabama girl campers
Alabama Girl Campers at Rickwood Caverns

We toured the caverns, swam, did an art project, and ate meals together. The best part was getting to know each other and swapping stories. Even the severe thunderstorm that canceled our campfire the second night didn’t dampen our spirits. 

Home Sweet Home

Back home In Mississippi

My trip ended on August 28th. I had a mixture of emotions. I was happy to be home but missed being on the road at the same time.  

There is so much of this beautiful country to be explored. I can confidently say that I feel capable to fulfill my desire for any adventure I want. 

I learned much about myself, traveling, and camping as a solo woman. With that said I wouldn’t change anything about my trip. I may not want to live in something as small as a Casita, but I’m not going to say going full-time in an RV is off the table.

My big discoveries on this trip were that I prefer longer than 2-3 night stays, and with a bigger dog, the Casita can be pretty tight inside.  I also wish that I would have opted for a truck so that it would be easier to carry my gear and bicycle, and perhaps even add my own kayak to the mix. 

Becoming a Girl Camper Guide

The best thing I discovered was that I love being a girl camper, and while I appreciate my solo time, I truly enjoy spending time with other girl campers.  

I was considering becoming the Mississippi girl camper guide for a few months before my trip. I knew I needed to figure out if I could even function as a camper on my own. 

This trip and being able to experience the Alabama Girl Camper event were just what I needed to inspire me. I immediately signed up for two future events with this group. 

I soon contacted Bonnie Shafto and let her know that I was ready to move forward as the Mississippi guide if the position was still open. It was and  

I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity and I’m looking forward to meeting so many other girl campers in my state. I am hopeful that we can create a great group of girl campers in Mississippi and we will soon be camping throughout the state in numbers. 

Thanks for reading my story. This trip was an experience of a lifetime and I am so happy to be able to share it with you. I hope that it inspires you to seek your confidence and follow your heart and soul’s calling.  

And remember as a wise woman once said: “There’s no wrong way to camp like a girl!”~ Janine Petit 

Hope to see you soon! 


This story is dedicated to my sweet little boy, Elvis. He passed over the rainbow bridge during our trip, and the rest of the journey was just not the same without him. I can lovingly say that this boy lived his life to the fullest.
February 17, 2006-Aug 8, 2022

Connect with me! 

Phyllis Dufrene 


[email protected] 


Girl Camper Magazine:  Subscribe to Girl Camper Magazine here! Girl Camper Magazine! 

Events:  Check out upcoming Girl Camper Events – you can attend events in any chapter! https://girlcamper.com/events/ 

Facebook Page – this is the link for where you can tag us and we can tag you! This is where I’ll share general Girl Camper news, events and more.  Girl Camper – Mississippi 

Private FB Group – Where you can interact with others who are interested in camping in Mississippi!  Girl Camper Mississippi Group


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