The Neuroscientist Who Became a Skydiving Nomad
Why this PhD ditched her corporate desk in the city for a tricked-out RV and the open road
Four years ago, Linda Littlewing, as she’s known on Instagram, did what many of us only dream of doing. She gave up her life in the city, condensed her belongings to a few essentials, and took to the road in a 24-foot Winnebago RV. The spark? Skydiving, which she’d recently discovered. “I had this sense that I was living in a very limited sphere and that there was more to life than working in a big city doing the nine-to-five until you retire,” Linda says.
A PhD neuroscientist, Linda had studied memory and Alzheimer’s disease and was working on science software for a tech company, a job she could do remotely. So, from her studio-size home on wheels, she began traveling to places best suited for her high-flying hobbies, like the deserts of Utah or the cliffs of Northern California, where she’d skydive, paraglide, BASE-jump, and rock climb in between Wi-Fi-fueled work sessions.
“When I was a kid, I was really into reading sci-fi and I used to dream about living in a spaceship and traveling from star to star,” Linda says. “I think that very much influenced my desire to live in this self-contained unit and wander about.”
For her, embracing the open road and chasing the wind through skydiving go hand in hand. Both bring a sense of liberation and clarity. “Flying takes you into the zone, into the current flow,” she says. “Your mind is clear, you’re utterly focused on the current moment, which is something that’s really hard to find in the modern world.”
Linda’s Tips for Life on the Road
Customize Your Soundtrack: “My RV has a built-in sound system with Bluetooth connectivity. Podcasts make the long drives doable. I have different playlists for working mode or if it’s time to go jump.”
Keep What You Need; Ditch What You Don’t: “Getting rid of the physical clutter of life is liberating. Traveling in an RV, there are very few things you need: a lawn chair, one good knife, quick-drying camp towels, nice bedding. Little touches—like soft lighting, a warm blanket—make the place feel like home.”
Embrace Boondocking: “I rarely stay at campgrounds. I prefer the peace and solitude of the wild and waking up to have my own view. Do some research on where you’re going, or talk to locals or friends who’ve traveled in the area for suggestions on where to camp. It requires more effort, but it’s worth it.”
There’s Still Plenty of Downtime: “I’ll be reading and drinking tea in bed. It’s not always traveling and adventuring. It’s like hanging out in a small apartment—it just happens to have wheels.”
Work Along the Way: “I started out by using cell hot spots from all the major carriers. Wi-Fi isn’t hard to find when you’re around civilization—check coffee shops, libraries. If I’m going to be somewhere remote, I look on my carrier’s cell-reception maps to see where I can get work done.”
Find Your People: “Having a support system makes all the difference. I make friends on the road and through my sporting communities and I get to see friends spread out all over the country. Now I’ll park next to a friend who lives in a converted school bus and we’ll be neighbors in the middle of the desert.”
Hit the Reset Button: “Whether it’s for a weekend or months at a time, you can experience waking up in nature with solitude. You’ll realize you don’t need as much physical stuff to live happily. It’s eye-opening in a lot of ways, to be able to live in a different way than the expected lifestyle.”
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