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Badass Women at Any Age

Feb 21, 2023

Michelle Fishburne’s life turned upside down during the 2020 COVID spring when she lost her job and could not find another notwithstanding months of trying. At the end of July 2020, when the lease on her post-divorce house was up and her youngest was going off to college, Michelle found herself without a house, a spouse, a job, or a kid to take care of. That is what she did NOT have. What she DID have was a 2006 motorhome, tons of curiosity, and a lot of experiencing RVing all over the country. She combined all of these into a cross-country project, interviewing people about their lives during the pandemic. She RV’d 12,000 miles and interviewed hundreds of people. Now 100 of those 1st-person stories are being published by UNC Press and the Duke Center for Documentary Studies in “Who We Are Now: Stories of What Americans Lost and Found During the COVID-19 Pandemic” (March 2023). Michelle continues to be a full-time nomad, living and working in her motorhome, Airbnb’s, and the occasional house sitting gig. Her favorite thing about aging is that it gives us each anopportunity to change and see the many facets of ourselves, reassembled each time in different ways, like a kaleidoscope.


What You Will Hear in This Episode: 

  • 3:15 What lead up to Michelle’s obstacle on August 1st

  • 5:33 The process of interviewing Americans during the Pandemic

  • 7:06 Challenges of being on the road as a single woman

  • 11:26 Hardships the Fishburne faced creating her Pandemic Project

  • 16:43 The momentous stride from interviewing in the Pandemic

  • 18:27 Interpersonal lessons from Michelle’s overall experience

  • 20:57 A common thing learned from interviewing others

  • 28:44 The next steps and projects aligned for Michelle



  • “As we get older in life and society, things are less capable, we’re just much more capable because we have built this incredible quiver of so many different eras of skills and experiences.”

  • “There is so much energy that can happen when you focus on the fact that we’re all walking each other home and you really immerse yourself into that. It’s just love and community, and that makes every day great.”

  • “Sometimes life doesn’t work out and you go back into the maze when the cheese is not appearing in the same place it usually is. Go back out into the maze and find a new cheese or different cheese, and you might like it better.”

  • “The benefit of getting older is that we get to see different versions of ourselves. But if everything is comfy and cozy, we tend to stay comfy. The moment the rug is pulled out from underneath, you have to do something different and you get to see a different version of yourself.”

  • “When your kids are watching you and when you have to think about what you’re role modeling and what their needs are, it has to be spirited courage.”

  • “This sense of wanting to know how others were doing, and that by hearing other people’s stories, people were healing.”

  • “Aging is an opportunity to change and learn more about ourselves.”

  • “We can practice self-awareness in the comfort of our homes. It’s just a matter of making it an intention and focus.”



  • Book: Who We Are Now: Stories of What Americans Lost & Found During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Jim Perdue - President of Purdue Farms

  • Harvard study on Happiness



Connect with Bonnie

Gendered Ageism Survey Results

Forbes article

5 Tips to own the superpower of your age


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