Alice Zyetz, award-winning RV author
Well known RV Author, speaker passes away
Alice Zyetz, award-winning author and speaker at RV educational events, passed May 20, 2012. She authored two books: You Shoulda Listened to Your Mother, based on her pre-RV experience as a business consultant, and Taking the Mystery Out Of Retiring to an RV, a compact, resource-filled introduction to RV retirement. With Jaimie Hall Bruzenak, Alice co-edited RV Traveling Tales: Women’s Journey’s On the Open Road, published by Pine Country Publishing. It won a prestigious Benjamin Franklin award. Zyetz and Hall Bruzenak co-authored three ebooks as well: The Woman’s Guide to Solo RVing, Taking the Mystery Our of RV Writing, and most recently, Retire to an RV: Roadmap to Affordable Retirement. She had been a guest on several travel and RV radio shows talking about RVing, most recently an interview in March with RVNN.
Widowed in 2008, Alice continued to travel part-time by herself in her Lazy Daze Class C, spending the rest of the time at her Escapees home park in Jojoba Hills, California. She was generous with her time and advice and spent many hours at events, in her writing and via email encouraging women to solo RV and answering questions from men and women about the RV lifestyle. She blogged at RV Home Yet? and My Mobile Home Space for several years plus co-edited and contributed columns to RV Lifestyle Ezine.
Her articles appeared in Escapees magazine, RoadTripAmerica.com and other publications. She also encouraged many RVers to write, teaching classes at several RV educational events plus started a writing group at Jojoba Hills, her homebase. She also taught workshops and classes on RVing, resume writing, writing compelling travel and life stories, and workshops for women; teaching various classes at Life on Wheels, Escapades, Workamper Job Fairs, and Gypsy Journal Rallies. Alice was co-founder of the RV Authors’ Co-op, helping RV authors reach more readers. Her editing skills improved many of her fellow RV writer’s books and articles.
She was an integral part of Pine Country Publishing and will be missed by many in the RV commuity.
On a more personal note: I met Alice and her late husband, Chuck, in 1993, first at an Escapade and then when they stopped to visit while we were working in the Grand Tetons. In 1994, Alice introduced our Boomer BOF, a subgroup of the Escapees RV Club, to writing exercises ala Natalie Goldberg. Those became a staple of get togethers where one or more of the initial five met up. It started me on my path to writing for pay. She prodded me - gently but insistently - to write. I helped her with her first book, You Shoulda Listened to Your Mother, and she edited Support Your RV Lifestyle! An Insider’s Guide to Working on the Road. Shortly after that we teamed up to edit RV Traveling Tales: Women’s Journeys on the Open Road and later three ebooks together: The Woman’s Guide to Solo RVing, RV Writing and Retire to an RV: The Roadmap to Affordable Retirement. She kept us on task in her diplomatic way: “Let’s make a little list.”
Alice was a dear friend, warm and caring. She loved to sing and play music. Bridge was another pastime she enjoyed. She gave so much to the RV community. She encouraged many women to give RVing a try and many others to start writing. She started a writing group at Jojoba Hills Escapees Park and was active in Penwheels, an Escapees Birds of Feather group. She was always willing to help others. She taught a variety of classes at a number of RV educational events. She helped found and run the RV Authors’ Co-op.
We had many adventures together- four wheeling, visits at national parks where I worked and meet ups in several places in California, Arizona, Utah and Colorado for visiting and writing. I was so happy to see her achieve three important dreams in the last few years: the birth of her granddaughter, a trip to Israel and a starring role in "Gypsy Rose Lee," a very professional musical production at her Escapees park in Jojoba. I am proud to have been her friend. My life is enriched for knowing her. I will miss her as will many others.
TRIBUTE TO ALICE ZYETZ
Alice Zyetz was one of my closest friends, a woman I met while we were preparing to hit the road as full-timers in 1993. She is inexorably linked in my mind with full-timing, with Boomers, with my life on the road.
She started important Boomer traditions. It was Alice who gathered several of us together at a Boomerang at Pena Blanca (near Nogales, AZ) in 1994 to try some writing exercises. Those sessions still happen at Boomer gatherings and SKP parks. It was during that same boomerang, that we realized the importance of women sitting down together to talk. That too, has become part of the Boomer tradition. The experience of hosting, (my husband, Lin Strout and I hosted that gathering) the women making latkes together which was the catalyst for women's sessions, the writing group, the closeness of the attendees (17 rigs) remains central to my identity as a Boomer\Escapee|full-timer.
Alice and her husband, Chuck, led sing-alongs at Boomer gatherings. No matter how poor your voice, you were encouraged sing, drum, clap along to folk songs that helped define our generation. They got us all singing that crazy song that got faster with each repeat about “tea and smetana with the czarina around the samovar” Or “Rattlesnakes for breakfast.”
Alice and another Boomer, Boomer Myrna Courtney, are responsible my written publications. They encouraged, cajoled, and finally used a little bit of gentle guilt to get me going. Alice praised characteristics of my writing in our writing sessions and figured out how to motivate me, a terrible procrastinator.
Alice and Jaimie Hall Bruzenak asked me to contribute to RV Traveling Tales: Women's Journeys on the Open Road. They specifically wanted the perspective of someone who found herself widowed but who chose to remain on the road. But I could not get started, until one day, at Quartzsite I was relating an recent episode. Alice lit up, “That's it Betty, there is your story.” But I didn't think that was enough. She said, “its a perfect opening paragraph.” And it was. The article is in their book.
Then they had the audacity to ask for a second piece. I procrastinated. She set a deadline for me, the most effective way to get me going. That did it. I wrote about the first writing group. In many ways, that story is my best tribute to Alice. .
We met up on the road in dozens of places from Hondo, to Puget Sound, Moab to Tecopa Hot Springs, Oregon coast to Bosque del Apache and many locations in Arizona. She and Chuck often rode in the back seat of our Suzuki on 4 wheel roads, praising the scenery and adventure even when the rough roads were hard on her back.
She was there for me when my husband was dying. She sang, under the oak trees, at the celebration picnic which was Lin's memorial gathering. Her beautiful voice moved everyone.
Alice was one of the warmest, most loving women I have ever known. Natural teacher, caring mother (to all), singer and guitar player, writer, friend; she was someone who involved herself in the people around her, spreading warmth.
Betty also contributed to The Woman's Guide to Solo RVing. She is an outstanding photographer as well as a writer. has had some interesting adventures, driving the historic buses at Glacier and Yellowstone National Park plus her international travels. See her blog for photos and more about her travels.
Arline Chandler, contributor to Retire to an RV, who met Alice several times at Workamper Job Fairs, wrote a beautiful blog post about Alice at RV Travel Tales: Remembering a Writer, Musician, an RVer and a Friend for RV Life magazine.
- 2005- Alice at the RV Authors' Co-op, a group founded to help RV authors reach more readers, at the Spring Escapade.
- 1993- Chuck and Alice visited Jaimie and the late, Bill Hall, at Grand Teton National Park where Jaimie and Bill were working
- Alice in front of her Lazy Daze, purchased after her husband passed away.
- Alice sitting in her Lazy Daze.
- Alice teaching "Writing Compelling Life and Travel Stories" at the 2008 Spring Escapade
- Alice (R) with Jaimie Hall Bruzenak and Patty Lonsbury (C) at the Oasis Bookstore in Quartzsite, AZ in 2009
- Alice taken by Betty Prange, April 2011.