Between RV trips, when we’re back home and stationary, we often find ourselves reminiscing about our latest RV adventure. It makes us miss the people we met on the road, and Boondockers Welcome helps to bring the social aspect of RVing right to our own backyard.
The World Is Our Oyster
Traveling the country to see the sights, crossing another major destination off our bucket list, and enjoying the same sunset over different landscapes – these are the reasons we travel. But it’s the people and experiences that make each trip stand out from the others.
Inevitably, this type of reminiscing quickly turns the conversation to which direction we’ll point the RV on our next trip. The world is our oyster. And, if the pearls are the people we meet, then part of the fun is not knowing where or when they’ll turn up.
But one thing we have learned is you don’t have to be on the road to meet and socialize with RVers.
Socializing with RVers
During 20 years of RVing, we’ve met many fellow RVers who we immediately befriended – either for a day or a week, or until our travel plans took us in different directions. Sometimes our friendships last much longer, meeting up again by plan or by chance year after year.
Others, whom we only met once, have stayed connected through phone calls, emails, or Facebook. We know that with these friends — if and when we meet again — we’ll pick up right where we left off.
Why Are RVers So Social?
Had we stayed home over the same time period, how many new people would we have allowed into our lives? What is it that draws us together with strangers in this way when we’re traveling? Are we the only ones who are more social on the road than when we are at home? I don’t think so.
And maybe the reasons aren’t all that difficult to guess…
- In the RV, we live outdoors. It’s like the difference between sitting on your front porch, rather than your fenced-in backyard. People will see you and stop by to chat.
- We already have something in common with each other: RVing. Any related topic is a natural conversation starter.
- RVers, in general, are some of the nicest people we’ve ever met. How can you say no to an invitation to join them by the campfire? If you’re really lucky, it’s a BYOG (bring your own guitar) event.
- Unless traveling caravan-style, RVers don’t have their “regular mates” with them, and no one should drink alone. Or feel lonely. A simple hello often leads to invitations to happy hour, a potluck dinner, or an excursion.
- We’re all the same — all of us travelers who are new to the area. Lines between “us” and “them” don’t exist, and visible differences in culture, race, or creed are blurred. Your RV may be old or new, a giant diesel-pusher or the tiniest of trailers. At the campfire, you’re measured by your stories, not your rig.
- Our home has wheels. That lets us throw caution to the wind and talk to people who we would not consider talking to at home. If we have differing opinions, we may learn something. If we don’t get along, it’s okay; we can move on tomorrow and probably never cross paths again.
Other then through reminiscing, how can we bring more of this to our sticks-and-bricks home? We can’t cross destinations off our bucket list, but as Boondockers Welcome hosts, we can keep the RV social life going all year long.
Boondockers Welcome is a web platform that lets traveling RVers arrange free camping on the private property of host members across the U.S., Canada, and several other countries. Most hosts are RVers themselves, so they’re “paying it forward.” Their kindness will be returned by fellow hosts when they strike out on their own travels.
As hosts, we welcome RV travelers to park on our property while they explore our area. We usually have time for a good visit and to show them around. If not, they’re quite happy just to save money on camping fees while they explore on their own. We’ve helped new RVers figure out the intricacies of their RV or solve a mechanical issue, and we’ve directed our guests to our favorite local haunts.
But the arrangement is far from one-sided. We’ve sat with travelers from all over the world this way — right in our own backyard! In exchange for a place to park, we gain so much more including new friends and an invitation to visit them on their home turf. Our bucket list has usually grown a bit, too, after listening to stories and recommendations from our guests. At the very least, we’ve enjoyed a bit of the RV social life without leaving home. Maybe just enough to tide us over until our next trip.
Meet the Family
Marianne Edwards is the author of the Frugal Shunpiker’s Guides to RV Boondocking and co-founder of Boondockers Welcome. When not on the road, she and her husband Randy welcome RVers to park on their property in beautiful Elora, Ontario, Canada.