5 Ways To Create Community & Friendships On The Road
It’s been another busy week. Besides the RV repair (which is still ongoing) we’ve met-up with some awesome folks, done some fabulous hikes, even rescued a dog (found lost and wandering the streets AND safely returned to owners -> one gold star of good karma for me I reckon). But for today’s post I wanted to focus on the folks part.
Many people contemplating the full-time RV lifestyle worry about a loss of community. I’ve always been a natural-born nomad so this isn’t generally a concern for me, but I’ve met many who’ve brought it up as an issue and it definitely got my old noggin’ thinking.
Our own experience on the road has been very social, in fact extremely so. I’m the curious sort and so will often pick-up strange friends in campgrounds, but we’ve also met people online (through RV forums) and from blogs. This week we had an impromptu meet-up of 3 travelling young, cool RVers including Bree & Matt from Operation Tally-Ho, Ayo and Yair from Our Take On Freedom and us (bloggers artistic license allows me to very generously include ourselves in said category), and this week-end we’re off to meet our now well-established friends Alex and Ellen up in Portland. We’ve got even more meets planned down SW for winter. These connections provide a strong sense of community despite all the moving.
I’ve many blogger friends who’ve written about this phenomenon (technomadia did a particularly in-depth post), but I wanted to add-in a few of my own experiences for creating community on the road:
1/ Use Online Resources
There are many great on-line resources for RVers including RV-specific forums that are incredibly active as well as RV bloggers. Not only do they provide tips and technical support, but they’re often a source of meetups too. We’ve met several people from both sources incl. a couple in Florida, some folks in Texas, meetings in Louisiana, Oregon and more.
2/ Attend Rallies, Events and Groups Meetings
There are hundreds of RV meetups happening all around the US every month. Communities such as Escapees have BOF (Birds of a Feather) groups that interact and meet. The online forums offer local meetups, and large national rallies are hosted by clubs such as Good Sam or Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA). There are even alternative, hip events such as SXSW (for the techno-minded) and Burning Man (for a completely different experience). These events offer social interaction, lifestyle seminars, crafts and learning.
3/ Be Social In Camp
This may sound kinda corny, but you can create great bonds by simply introducing yourself to your neighbour in camp. RVers tend to be a very open lot and often all it’ll take is a “hello, where are you guys headed?” and off you go. We’ve created many long-lasting connections from folks we met in camp on the road.
4/ Create a Winter (or Summer) Base
We’ve met many full-time or part-time couples who enjoy the change of “settling down” in one spot for several months either in winter or summer. Some go boondocking in popular winter spots like Quartzite, some will chose a particular RV park that they like while others might have a semi-permanent base such as an RV pad or flat/house. Either way, by going back to the same spot each year they re-connect with a community of people for several months before setting off again.
5/ Volunteer or Work On The Road
Volunteering can be a great way to get involved in a community cause. Last year we spent a week at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah (a very tight community), but there are also RV groups that organize mobile volunteering such as RV Care-A-Vanners (RVers who work with Habitat For Humanity), DOVE (an Escapees BOF group that assist with various Red Cross projects) and NOMADS (an outreach ministry of the United Methodist Church). Workamping, camp-hosting or volunteering on public land can be another great way to get social with purpose. Good links are USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Volunteer.gov. Many of these will also provide a free camping spot in return for your time.
So with a thanks to Ayo for the inspiration to write the post, here’s hoping we meet up on the road. Don’t be shy now!