Updated 3-21-2016 and 2-2-2017
When we took off on our full-time RV journey, I had no idea how many other working age full-timers were out there. I thought we’d visit our friends scattered around the country and meet a few people along the way, but had accepted it would be me and Brandon for most of the time. And while the majority of the time it is just the two of us, I had no idea just how social full-time traveling could be. My best friend has even joked how I’m such a social butterfly, a moniker that would have never been applied to me before. So how did I find all these other RVers to connect with and create our own little community? The power of the internet.
We had talked about starting our own blog to keep our family and friends updated and because I always like to share finds and tips about places with other people. When I started looking for other RV blogs, the number of like-minded people I found amazed me. It gave me another reason to blog myself if it could help me connect with these other awesome RVers. I made sure to follow them on Facebook or Instagram and reached out when I saw someone headed our way. This led to a few great friendships.
Beyond following other RV blogs on Facebook, there are multiple RV groups. Some are big and some are small, but RVing is the central theme. We initially connected with some other RVers through the groups before meeting them in person. There are big groups that encompass questions (for newbies and old-hats), sharing statuses, and general RV topics (Full-Time RVers, FTRVing, etc). Some are for more specific subsets (Xscapers, Full-Time RV Travelers, Full Time Diesel RVers, Internet for RVers, etc). Others focus more on social aspects (NuRvers, RV Happiness, etc). You’re bound to find one that fits you (search RV and related terms); just be sure to read the description and pinned post to make sure you and the group are a good match.
Brandon has also used Facebook to find local dive buddies when the dive exceeds my limits or comfort range. He checks on Scubaboard regionally first, but usually has better luck finding local dive groups on Facebook. There he can post when he’ll be in town and see if anybody is available for a dive. It’s worked out pretty well allowing him to dive in places like Vermont and Texas. He’s even used Facebook to create a group of past dive buddies to keep connected and easily share related things.
Update: We created a Facebook group called RV to Freedom: Learning to Live in an RV that is open to RVers of all experience levels from thinking about living on the road to having done it for 22 years! We invite you to join, ask questions, share stories, and make connections. That’s what makes this life great!
The RV community is vibrant on Instagram and has become one of the top ways to connect with other RVers. Here you’ll find individuals, couples, and families posting photos of their travels under their own names, blog monikers, or other fun handles that describe their style. We post fairly often when exploring new spots and make sure to tag where we are with the “name this location” option and a hashtag. These tags allow others to see where we are and offer up advice or jump up and say, “I’m here, too!” Instagram has even contributed to informal gatherings of RVers like New Year’s Eve in Borrego Springs which has grown substantially the past couple of years through word of mouth and people watching the happenings unfold on IG. I love keeping tabs on other Instagrammers’ travels and have found a few spots I’d like to visit based on their photos and stories. It’s fun to see where everyone else is and what their #RVlife looks like. We’re starting to keep track of our community and create connections using the hashtag #RVtoFreedom.
This social platform for RVers launched last year with the intent of creating connections and a community for RVers. The main benefit I have found is being able to check in to your current location and see who else is around you. A by-product of these check-ins is a personalized map of your travels which is fun to view. You can also connect with friends just like you would on Facebook. There is a home feed, groups, and maps to find other RVillagers, parks, and services.
In our first year of full-timing, we were able to attend a get-together planned on RVillage, stay in touch and reconnect with people from that gathering, and meet some neighbors we might not have spoken with otherwise. Although it’s been a bit slower for us lately, it’s still a tool I use at least whenever we move.
Xscapers is an off-shoot of Escapees RV Club with which many RVers are already familiar. Technically considered an RV Lifestyle Group within the Escapees umbrella, Xscapers receive all the same Escapees benefits (you are automatically a member of both) with additional support for the working-age RVer. Part of this support is an active Facebook group and convergences happening throughout the year.
We were lucky enough to attend three gatherings within its initial year. The first was soon after Xscapers was announced and very casual with just a few people in attendance that happened to be in town. We were able to meet the founders Melanie & Travis and hear their vision for the club (props to Technomadia for advising during the creation of the group and hosting the gathering). In October, we attended the first official convergence at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival and followed up with the next convergence in Quartzsite in January. The great thing about the convergences for us younger full-timers is they are not jam-packed, scheduled weeks where you are paying for meals and such. It’s a little more laid back taking into account that most of us work full-time or home-school and cannot attend every event or meal. There is a schedule of talk and happenings, but some pop-up like our grilled pizza demo in which people participated making it an easy potluck, too. We aren’t going to be in the neighborhoods of the next convergences, but they also encourage Xscapers to make their own gatherings, too, wherever they are.
Slack is a messaging app that many work teams already use. Since many in the RVing community work in computer-based jobs with Slack already open, Mike of Bold & Adventurous decided to make a team chat for RVers. Appropriately named Wander Slack, you’ll find channels specifically for boondocking, connectivity, and off-roading along with a general chat. The regulars are a friendly bunch and try to answer any questions they can. If you’re already on the computer during the day, hop on and chat away with your fellow travelers.
I was late to jump on the Twitter bandwagon. I joined personally a few years ago, but could never get into it. It took me even longer to set up our drive dive devour account. But another RV friend urged me to do so and I’m glad I did. I finally participated in a Twitter travel conversation and had direct conversations with other RVers. I finally felt like I got it. It’s still not my favored social platform, but it’s worth having a presence.
This is how I built my community of RVers that makes me feel like I am a part of something larger. I may not have the same neighbors every day, but I know I’ll run into friends, old and new, along the way and can even plan meet-ups with the tools at my disposal. I love RVers and I love meeting them in person; these outlets keep us connected until that can happen.
What social media platforms do you use to stay connected? Are there any I missed that you would recommend? Please share your thoughts in the comments and let’s build a stronger community!