Her Way and the Highway is an email series celebrating the vibrant community of Airstreaming women. Featuring inspirational stories, road-tested recommendations, and expert advice from women who hitch up and hit the road, Her Way and the Highway comes straight to your inbox every week.
When she joined Airstream’s Endless Caravan in 2018, Laura Austin was already an accomplished world traveler with a solo streak. A commercial photographer with years of experience in the outdoor industry, Laura experienced firsthand the power of traveling solo – the solace, the joy, the introspection, and the challenge.
During the summer of 2018, Laura took a Nest on a trip circumnavigating the country. Her goal: To explore the ways people connect in an increasingly disconnected world. On her trip, Laura found herself time and again in situations that were outside her comfort zone. But instead of fearing the unknown, Laura leaned in – and discovered new friends and new experiences she would have otherwise missed.
“The truth of the matter is that I’m not always on my own,” she observed at the time. “I find that traveling alone opens me up to meeting new people on the road since I’m not occupied with the company of a travel companion.”
For years, Laura has traveled for work, photographing world-class snowboarders and beautiful travel destinations. Her work took her far and wide, across the country and around the world – often by herself. She learned that traveling solo isn’t as daunting as it's sometimes portrayed. Eventually, Laura found herself craving solo travel and the time it afforded her with herself.
“There’s a lot of solitary time when traveling alone,” she said. “But when you view the situation as an intentional choice, solo travel can make you feel liberated and independent, not lonely.”
In Biloxi, Mississippi, Laura decided to try crawfish for the first time at a locals-only spot, The Fillin’ Station. Her question to the server about how best to approach eating the local delicacy was met with a chorus of advice from the locals seated around her. Not only did she receive an education in deconstructing crawfish for the most meat, but she also learned a lot about local destinations to visit – and about the friendliness of locals who might at first seem intimidating. In New Orleans, she met up with locals who were friends of friends. Taking the chance to reach out resulted in an up-close encounter with the local fauna.
“There have been countless situations of people helping me back into camping spots and giving me tips of things to check out along my route,” she said of her Endless Caravan in an Airstream. “It’s situations like this that dispel all the negativity projected in the news and media. Cruising around the country – I’m more connected to others than I ever could have imagined.”