Lynda Rozell was at a crossroads in her life when she drove past a lot of silvery, gleaming, spaceship-like vehicles. When she pulled over to investigate, she learned they were Airstreams — a type of mobile home. As she stepped inside one of them, she began to feel at home. “I felt like I could live here,” she said. “This is all I really need.”
So Rozell, who calls herself the Tin Can Pilgrim, sold her Fairfax townhouse and gave away most of her possessions. With the sale of her brick and mortar home, she was able to buy a mobile one. She put her remaining furniture, artwork and keepsakes in a storage unit and brought the essentials with her, including her chihuahua, Penny. She believes being with some of the estimated 1 million people who live full time on the road is where she’s meant to be.
“It’s a very small apostolate because what (God has) asked me to do is simply live and work among people and get to know them. I’m not preaching at people or even preaching with words,” she said. “It’s more just by actions, by trying to be helpful or doing something that touches their hearts.”
Traveling missionary is just one of the many jobs Rozell has held over the course of her lifetime. The 57-year-old started her career as a lawyer in Washington, first at a firm and then for many years at the Federal Trade Commission doing consumer protection work. After she and her husband divorced, she decided to be a stay-at-home mom to their two daughters. During those years, she became interested in massage, and gradually started a small business as a massage therapist for pregnant women. But the penny-pinching that accompanied the Great Recession in 2008 brought that endeavor to a close.
So she began working at Tepeyac OB-GYN in Fairfax, using her background as a lawyer to help with different projects, including moving the practice into a new office building. But once that was finished, Rozell had less work to do. Her older daughter had moved out and her younger daughter was about to. It was while she was thinking and praying deeply about where she wanted to live and what she wanted to do that she found her hermitage on wheels. She still does some consulting work for Tepeyac from the road.
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