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Old 12-21-2014, 11:52 PM   #1
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Eagle Creek , OR
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Living the Life

Hi all,

A little over a year into the “full time life” and am discovering there are as many variants (and variables) as Baskin-Robins has flavors. From the snow-birds to the weekenders, from the contract workers to economic vagabonds, from retirees on budget to young couples taking a year off, every stop is a window on worlds I never new existed.

We plunged abruptly, not planning for years, but compressing all the decisions about TT, TV, tech to work from the road, selling a house, selecting mail service/domicile…ad infinitum, into about a nine month window. Learning curve going leading up to launch date was immeasurably flattened by all the good advice on this forum and the learning curve once out on the road has slackened, but I honestly can say that barely a week goes by that some new “educational” opportunity doesn’t present itself.

Our first number of months primarily was moving from one state or national park to another while we tried to blend a vacation lifestyle with a work life and what I’ve come to regard as living our same old boring lives in much more interesting places. Let’s face it, you still have to shop for groceries, do laundry, change the oil, find a dog park for romps and socialization, find that great place for dinner when you just aren’t into cooking…and, of course, new town, no idea of where the hardware is or where to get a haircut. And, while I'm at it, squeeze in a work week (sans commute). Boring. But interesting.

Mechanically, there is again a can-only-learn-by-doing learning curve about tending to battery maintenance, worrying about whether the tires are “really” in good shape, figuring out what that odd new sound means, figuring out what to do when the fridge…STOPS. Not boring. But very interesting.

So, to the point of this post. Launch, check. Mechanicals, check. The Life, a work in progress. While we get to visit family and friends, we do miss community. As we can, we stop in for Sunday services with the local UU fellowship which always is good. We enjoy to camaraderie in the campground, but do find often it’s a little superficial. Have tried to use social media such as NuRVers and Rvillage to broaden connections, but haven’t found yet a good way to develop a sense of community.

For the long-term full-timers out there, how have you managed to bridge that gap from being on the road to fully living on the road?

Thanks—Al & Robin
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Old 12-22-2014, 06:13 AM   #2
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2016 27' Flying Cloud
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Al and Robin,

My partner and I have done exactly the same thing as you and are experiencing the same things. The only thing we didn't do is sell our condo. It's inexpensive to maintain, paid for, and at the age of 70, I'm not sure how long I'll be able to physically to do this and I don't want to start over on establishing a residence.

But your point on missing community is something I've stated to partner more than once. Being able to go to the local cafe for breakfast and sit with friends, picking up the phone and having friends for dinner, and just going into local stores and knowing the shop owners is something I really miss.

I've weighed in on posts in this forum on "do you approach other Airstream owners and introduce yourself?" The answers were interesting. I have done this and will continue to do this and have met the most interesting people. One couple from AK became quick friends and I'm sure we'll see them in the near future in our travels. Another couple from our home state of IL we'll see at the Canopener in January and will spend another week with them afterwards.

Presently we're at an RV park in FL where we knew one person coming in and he's introduced us to many of the other campers. This campground has alot of snowbirds and organized events which makes it easier to meet and socialize.

We'll be leaving here at end of week and back into the "Great American Adventure." New campgrounds, new states, new experiences.

You have the added benefit of working while on the road. That takes up a certain amount of your time. We're both retired and have alot of free time on our hands which needs to be filled.

I'm not sure there is an easy solution or answer to your question. I'm sure alot of RV'ers are content to be by themselves and don't require the company of others. I worked for many years in an occupation that required lots of interaction with others and I guess that's what I miss.

And yes, many of the people we meet on the road are superficial. They are not superficial but the meetings are. We exchange numbers, but I know that most of that is going nowhere. I think people are well meaning, and if I was in NY I would probably give Jim and Nancy a call, but the odds are against it. (That was are most recent couple we exchanged numbers with.)

No easy answer. But just realize, you're not alone in thinking/feeling this way.

JIM
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Old 12-22-2014, 07:43 AM   #3
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We're not full timers and I don't know your goals for traveling but I have a suggestion. We recently bought a share/at TCPC ( Tennessee Cumberland Plateau Campground) an Airstream only Park. What attracted us was the sense of community there and how pretty it was. They have several sites for drop in Airstream travelers but everyone else owns their lot and stays there either periodically or all through the season (spring - fall). It has a real neighborhood feel and people get to know each other and develop strong friendships. There's a nice clubhouse for hanging out and for scheduled events.

It's pretty inexpensive IMHO. You buy your lot (various prices depending on the improvements ie sheds, covers, gazebos) and pay a small annual fee. They have their own Facebook page - one way the community stays in touch in the off season.

I've been to 2 other Airstream only parks ( Pennwood in PA and Virginia Highlands in VA) and they are nice also. We plan on going to the one in MN this summer for a short stay as our son will be working a summer internship up that way)

You may want to check these out as you travel around the U.S. and see if buying a share in one might help you find that community. It might be somewhere where you go once a year for a few weeks or more often depending on your travel schedule.
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Old 12-22-2014, 10:05 AM   #4
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Karen,

We don't want to settle down in one place YET, but Airstream Parks are definitely on our radar as we travel around the country. Thanks for reminding me of them. JIM
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:27 AM   #5
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Here is a working young Airstream couple that I follow. They seem to have adjusted very well. They are able to combine work, travel, friends and family and still seem to be having fun. Two years now.
WatsonsWander - Exploring and working full-time from our Airstream

Kelvin
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:04 PM   #6
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Al and Robin - I know what you mean when you speak of missing community. I left some really good friends, a few of them life-long friends, so the day of making one's dream of full timing a reality is a bittersweet one for sure. I miss the ability to share inside jokes, trash talk, and laugh out loud - all the things that come with a familiarity that usually comes with time and shared experiences. But we've made the beginnings of a few solid and rewarding friendships already and they are based on just a few weeks or month of hanging out, sometimes even a couple days. It really comes down to finding the bond, the common ground, and that can start with being Airstreamers but more often it's the shared love for the road, the outdoors, and the feeling of being outside the rat race. I think the key to raising the friendship above superficiality is really trying to make the effort to continue the conversation so that the common bonds are still there when the next meeting comes around. I think with e-mail and FB it's much more readily possible than the old days of letter writing. Photographs go a long way to sharing events or discoveries and we hope to share those with our new friends. Quality of friendship doesn't necessarily require time but finding that shared passion: Airstreaming, sports, fishing, hiking, climbing, eating good food... whatever. I'm still in close contact with my old friends but I like to think the road offers even more opportunities to find new ones, people that are going to be outside my old neighborhood/work/actiivity circles back home.
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:44 AM   #7
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Ah, to be six-years old when every new friend was a best friend... Older you get, the more effort it takes and taking it on the road more so. Thinking we really need to blog just to provide a convenient place to connect with those we meet along the way (being only semi-social, not a passion, but maybe it'd grow into one). Thinking, too, instead of scribbled notes, we really need to print up some contact cards to pass out when we meet folk. We've not done much in the way of rallies, but that well may be a better way to cross paths with the like-minded. We are, in fact, heading to CanOpener in January, tho Topsail sites were all reserved and we locked in a longer stay (work to do, you know) down the road at Grayton Beach. So seeing we will be crossing paths with a few here, looking forward to some meet & greet then.
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:54 AM   #8
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Regard Airstream parks, Karen, that's a great idea. We spotted one in Melbourne, FL, that we thought might be a good follow up to CanOpener, but, alas, they have a No Pets policy. Not that I'm entirely lazy (well somewhat..), but wondering if anyone knows of a Airstream only resource for park listings?
Thnx, Al & Robin
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:05 PM   #9
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There is a link to Airstream only parks on the WBCCI website under Member's Info. Good luck.
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:07 PM   #10
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Almcate...don't give up on Topsail. If you follow the Canopener post here you'll see that there are people cancelling for one reason or another and giving up their sites. Good luck.
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