When you watch old-timey television shows, the neighbors share a cup of sugar and fresh baked cookies. They have coffee together and gatherings and everyone knows everyone. It’s the quaint small town existence. Maybe it’s still out there, but it certainly didn’t exist for us.
The Bear and I have lived together in 3 homes. One was for a year, the next for 5 and the last one for 8. The first home we never met any neighbors. The second, we knew one and I fed her cats sometimes when she went away. The last one…a whopping 8 years…we knew 3 of the neighbors. Although we knew them, we never hung out with them. There was never an exchange of cookies or a shared cup of sugar. In no way am I saying that it’s their fault, it’s just as much ours. We went about our daily business…working, paying bills and keeping to ourselves. We did all have a mutual bond though, we hated one of the other neighbors. Think about that though, 14 years…14 years living mere feet from people with nothing but some general chit-chat and a wave. I wonder how many other people live like that. Stuck in their lonely bubble, having to travel out of it to find people with common interests to share a bite to eat with…now that I look back at it, it’s kind of sad.
The reason why I’m bringing this up is because moving into our RV has been a social shellshock. It hit me last night when Mike & Deb brought over some fresh baked chocolate banana bread for us. It was still warm. This wasn’t the first time, but the time I realized that this is different. This is the way community is supposed to be. We have shared our cinnamon buns and we have had afternoon drinks brought to us. Need a blanket because it’s cold out? Your friendly neighbor is happy to share! In fact, they insist! Seriously…it’s now a battle of who gets to sleep with Deb’s fluffy blankie! It’s been such a different experience for us in the social aspect the last few weeks. It reminds me of a Nick at Nite TV show! In all the years we lived in our bubble houses we were NEVER this social.
The proof is in the banana bread, but it’s been so much more. We have shared late night laughs around the fire and early morning…ok…not so early…brunches. 5pm happy hour is a common occurrence at someone’s house. Sometimes we get together to explore the local area and do cool stuff like giant swamp buggy tours and sometimes we do mundane stuff like go grocery shopping together. When was the last time you went grocery shopping with your neighbor?
In fact, they aren’t just our neighbors…they are our FRIENDS.
Was it pure luck we ended up in the right place at the right time, or is it always like this?
In our year plus of preparation, we asked other full-timers what it was like out here. Some said it was extremely social and others said it was extremely solitary. Classic case of your mileage may vary. Do you boondock on public lands a lot? Are you in an active RV park? Do you live where there is undesirable weather and you’re cooped up inside all day? All of these things can be factors in how social your RV life is. Maybe we got lucky because our first stop was filled with awesome people and then we all moved together to the next stop! Is it Thousand Trails because is it a network and everyone is generally in the same few places? Is it because we are staying put for 2 weeks at a time and have the time to meet people? Time will tell as our trek north begins and we start to move more often and break away from the people that we have spent the last few weeks with.