Note: I often get questions from new RVers about making friends on the road, or if they will always be around strangers. I have always believed a stranger is just a friend I have not met before. I hope that reposting this blog from a few years back will help newbie RVers realize that we are all part of one community.
We were having dinner with RVing friends Stu and Donna McNicol and Greg and Jan White, and during our conversation the names of other fulltimers we knew came up several times. Later, driving home from the restaurant, Jan said that it was surprising how many people we knew in common.
That’s one of the many things I love about this lifestyle. By several accounts I have heard, there are well over a million fulltime RVers; yet we seem to be part of a closely knit little community. I’ve said before that fulltimers are like the people in a small town; we all seem to know each other and most of us have the same basic values. The only thing that changes is the landscape.
Early in our fulltiming adventure I would be surprised when we’d pull into a campground and find ourselves parked next to somebody we had met months ago on the other side of the country. After a while, when we arrived someplace, I would look around to see how many people we knew were there. I was seldom disappointed by not seeing a familiar face or two.
Part of this is because we are all creatures of habit. Most of us have favorite campgrounds we like to return to in an area, and we’ll bump into the same people there. If you like the wide open spaces of the Southwest and enjoy dry camping, you can bet you’ll run into lots of like-minded RVers in Quartzsite, Arizona. If you like seafood and small towns, you’re sure to make some friends if you spend a winter around Rockport, Texas, and you can bet they will be there next year, too.
Another factor that has helped make our community smaller is technology. With cell phones, e-mail, and blogs, it’s easy to keep in touch. And that has become even easier with the rise of social media, especially Facebook. No matter where we happened to be traveling, all I had to do was log on and I knew where all of my friends were and what they were doing. If I said we were at the Hershey Thousand Trails preserve in Pennsylvania or at Elkhart Campground in Indiana, it was never be long before I heard from somebody who was also there, or would be arriving in a day or two.
And then there is kismet. We have been at an RV fuel island and had somebody pull in next to us that we knew. We’ve stopped at highway rest areas for a potty break or for lunch and realized that the folks in the RV we’re parked next to shared a table with us at an RV park potluck dinner. Once we were sitting at an intersection in Crystal River, Florida and looked across to see our friends Tim and Ann Moran waiting for the light to change. I call it Small World Syndrome, and it no longer surprises me when it happens.
I guess I’ve always been a small town boy at heart, and even though my “town” may be in Pennsylvania one week, and Virginia the next, or Florida come winter, I never felt like a stranger, because I knew I would run into friends wherever I went.
Thought For The Day – I know the voices in my head aren’t real, but boy, do they come up with some great stories!