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You know, I never anticipated how isolated this RV life can be. Seriously, all of my daydreams about this evolving escapade never once pertained to being lonely. I find it so strange how my brain develop scenarios (daydreams) that only became shocking when the scenarios didn’t turn into reality. Maybe this is what they mean by “putting expectations to it” and I did it so automatically. Its as if my brain tricked me in some fashion.
At times, this lifestyle can be incredibly lonely and isolating. Sure, sometimes, I want and need my alone and quiet time to myself. But, I think I’m a soul that needs connection with people and community. I’m not the only one to feel the isolation of this lifestyle. Our friends over at Courage Above Comfort and Wandering Leads to Wonder also have similar thoughts.
When I quit the rat race, I never once thought about how social the work environment really is. I was surrounded by people all. Day. Long. In meetings, in hallways, in break rooms, in my office. Back in those days, I was so focused in anticipation on moving forward with our evolving escapades, leaving this rat race behind me, that it blinded me to some of the pros – socialization, talking and interacting with people, surrounding myself with people. I experienced my health rapidly spiraling downhill towards the end and I thought it was because of all of those people. Perhaps it was the circumstances within the work environment I was facing that was negatively affecting, rather than solely the people?!
Shortly after we became full timers, the isolation began to set in. I’ve never lived in a rural community and being an hour away from a major city, was a shock to my social health. I had no clue how much mental stimulation I was exposed and suddenly removing it from my daily life, well that takes time to process and adjust to. I’ve always been a friendly extrovert and I didn’t pay much attention where my socialization came from – college and work. Its hard admitting to myself the positive impact work had on my well being.
While in Montana for a month, we still had minimal interaction or connection with other RVers. The majority of RVers were passing through as they stayed a night or two on their way to somewhere else. They stayed to themselves and were gone in the wind within no time. By this time, reality is setting in about how isolating this lifestyle can be, and I’m noticing its unexplained effects it has on me.
Then, one morning I met a lovely couple on my way out for my morning run. We got to talking a bit and they offered to have us come over to their RV to continue our conversation. So, we took them up on their offer and have a marvelous afternoon connecting with them over tea and strawberries. It was what my spirit really needed. To be able to laugh, exchange RV stories (lessons learned) and our lives before the RV life, and hear someone else’s perspective on RV life was really rejuvenating for me. In the end, we exchanged handshakes and hugs, and wished them well with their travels as they were passing through Montana on their way north to see the polar bears in Canada. (Maybe a bucket list item?!)
While in Arizona, we stayed at an adult RV park and wow, talk about connection and community! This RV park is for the most part populated with the much wiser group of retirees and semi-retirees. No, we don’t really fit in with the age group. But, we are full-time RVers, so we do have some commonality among various tenants of this RV park. For the most part, people are fairly friendly because they wave, smile, or say hello when passing. The tenants organize various group functions on a weekly basis. Such as ice cream socials, bean bag baseball, shuffle boards, craft day, bingo, weekend breakfasts, coffee gatherings, poker, etc. etc. etc. People do get into the holiday spirit as their homes, RVs, or 5th Wheels are decorated with lights and other festive decorations.
I’ve never recognized it until now that people need people. I watch my surrounding neighbors gather and socialize at their ages, and most of the seem to be in good health and living into their older years. There is a reason these folks are living longer and I think its because of this community they live in and the socialization they get from their community.
I was always optimistic that we’d meet and connect with lots of other RVers while out on the road. While we’ve met some pretty awesome people along our journey thus far, I’m hopeful that there’s more human connection to this RV life as I continue to experience it. There are events that bring many RVers, vandwellers, etc. together and I will be attending and experiencing some of those events. I hope to not place any expectations on these upcoming events despite doing it so automatically.
I adore the freedom this lifestyle offers. Along with the adventures traveling brings. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I continue to do so. You don’t know until you try. And that’s what I’m doing… trying.
6 Replies to “Connecting with Others”
Yes, you don’t really know what you value until it goes away for a while. I think all people have the same needs, just to different extents. It may take someone an hour to feel it and another person a week or a month.
Well said, Hunter! It is fascinating that I can’t acknowledge the value in something until its gone. Human nature I suppose. 🙂
Hi Adrianne- I think these reflective posts are my favorite, since they are grist for thought. I agree that the need for human interaction is hard-wired in us (or at least a strong group tendency with the possibility for individual deviation) as social animals. It seems to me that going out on this big escapade as you guys has means that what was once taken for granted now specifically needs to be engineered into your lives. Like people who design vessels for voyage to space or under water need to put a lot of thought into air supply; most of us don’t think twice – we just inhale and expect there to be air there. But if you’re going so far outside the norm, suddenly you need to create systems (in this case, for breathable air) to make sure that this need can be met. As we’re preparing for a nomadic life ourselves, I took this message to heart and will be sure to try to figure out how we can engineer social interaction into our new lifestyle, as well. Thanks as always.
Hey Adrianne and Adam! Cool to hear about your travels and adventures. Adrianne – I can totally see myself struggling with the same issue as you, I am not quite as extroverted but really appreciate spending time with people. I can go a few days alone, but will end up going crazy (or driving my family crazy!) if I don’t have people to chat with. I’m really curious how this will play out once we are ready to go full timing.
Hi, Eric! Its good to hear from you! Say hello to Christina. I’m happy to have shed some light on different aspects of my experience with this lifestyle. Its sounds like I’ve given you some things to think about as you and your family prepare for your launch date. I’m looking forward to learning from you when you enter the nomadic life. 🙂
Hi, Sam! Perfect timing with your response as I’ve been wondering how things have been with your journey and how your enmeshing this topic into your journey. Good to know you’re still preparing for it. Keep me abreast about when you and your family set sail (its still sailing, right?) and how you’ve addressed this topic into your nomadic life.
I do think you’re right on with your comment about taking certain aspects of life for granted, and the need to engineer such needs into a new realm of life. Funny thing is, for me, it took this giant life change to even recognize such needs. Fascinating…
I’m so very glad I can help you such that you can be aware of such matters, determine of they exist for you and your family, while you continue to plan yours nomadic life. You’re very welcome! Thanks for reading our blog and responding to our posts! 🙂 Looking forward to learning from you!