How to Find Your Place in the RVing Community
How to Find Your Place in the RVing Community
Tips for creating and nurturing friendships as an RVer.
By: Ann & Lin Bishop
Finding your place in the RVing community is different for everyone. Some like to go totally off-grid and disconnect from the world. Others thrive on a sense of community and friendship. Lin and I prefer the latter, but it took us a while to find our way.
In 2017, when we decided to sell our house and most of our worldly possessions to live full time in our new Winnebago Forza 34T we were filled with excitement. A new adventure of exploring and sightseeing awaited us.
Traveling every week to places we had never seen, such as the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan and the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico, was our primary focus. Making lasting friendships during our first year of travel couldn’t have been further from our minds.
Creating & Nurturing RVer Friendships
Even with all of the beautiful sites, we soon realized we were deeply missing that sense of community in our travels. Sure, we met some amazing people, but it was difficult to truly connect with them when our stay was only a week or two long at each park. You just start to get past the small talk and then poof, it is time to say goodbye.
Staying Connected Online
Thankfully, staying connected with our new traveling friends in this day and age is easy with social media. Facebook and Instagram allow us to build upon our new-found friendships and to make new ones. Joining Facebook groups, whether they are general RV topics or more specific to your type of RV, are a great way to get involved in the community. If you are looking for more interest-focused RV groups, there are plenty out there. We even started the “RV Fit Friends” Facebook group to help others stay healthy and fit on the road.
Enjoying a waterfall hike in the Great Smoky Mountains with friends.
Following other RVers on Instagram is like a visual storyboard. Many times, we will see their amazing camping or hiking photos and add that location to our “must-visit” bucket list. We even connected with another couple through Instagram and ended up meeting in person months down the road. For in-person interactions, having a card with our contact information is an easy way to help us stay connected with new friends.
Another way to build relationships is through organized meetups, events, and rallies. They are a great way to connect with new and old friends annually or even multiple times of the year without being in charge of organizing it! In fact, many RVers plan their travels around certain events to make sure they can catch up with friends again.
Winnebago’s WIT Club and Escapees RV Club (including the Xscapers sub-group) are just a few of the many RV groups that put on events throughout the year.
Our very first organized event was an Xscapers Mini Convergence in Lake Leelanau, MI, in September 2018. More than thirty fellow RVers gathered at the Wild Cherry RV Resort for seven fun-filled days. We developed new friendships over campfires and potluck dinners. Organized outings such as a kayak adventure down the Crystal River and a sunset sail on the Tall Ship Manitou were fun and exciting ways to get to know people on a deeper level. Read more about our experience here.
From that get-together, we fostered several true friendships and have even met up down the road months later! That experience had such an impact in our quest to connect with other RVers, we were motivated to continue to pursue that sense of community as we traveled.
At the 2019 Winnebago Grand National Rally, we were fortunate to meet many of our fellow Forza owners who we previously only knew online through the Winnebago Forza Owners Facebook Group. Our common bond of owning the same model Winnebago motorhome instantly connected us. We shared everything from funny RV travel stories to tips on keeping your RV organized.
Winnebago Forza owners at the 2019 Grand National Rally.
Never heard of GNR? This overview article with video gives some great insights.
Making the Best of Staying Put
Although they are on hold right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rest assured that organized events will be back once traveling is an option again!
And speaking of the pandemic, many things have changed for RVers during these times (read more on that here). Most notably is the need to remain in one place for a longer period of time to “ride out the storm.” While this can be frustrating for many, it can also be the catalyst to build better relationships with your neighbors (from six feet away, of course).
We are fortunate that our home base for the next three to four months is an RV park in a small town in the Texas hill country. We chose to hunker down at this park because of the people here - many of whom are friends that we made from previous visits. We knew they would be here since they live in their on-site casitas for part of the year. Organized and even impromptu social gatherings (in a small group and at a distance) has provided an opportunity to connect with them on a deeper level. Lin and I know that even after our stay here has ended, these friendships won’t.
There’s no time like the present to find your way in the RV community. Now’s the time to reach out to your fellow RVer, virtually or from six feet apart. You may just find a friend for life!