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Old 02-16-2017, 02:51 PM   #1
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Silly question---How do we meet people while working and Full-timing?

As I stated this seems like a silly question and I'm not even sure if this is the right place to posit this question, but here goes. In a few short months, we're starting our full time journey. I'm sure our dreams are the same as many on this forum and this subforum in particular. See the country, meet lots of like-minded RVers, be independent, etc. For the first few months we intend to sightsee mostly while looking for occasional work to keep us going. After that, we'll have no choice but to do more focusing on jobs, yet we don't intend to stop travelling. My main question stems from a video I recently watched that sort of got me worried. In this Youtube video (Less junk, more journey), the couple is young with a toddler. We are middle aged couple with no kids other than our four-legged one. A statement they made in particular struck me in the video, (the video was titled something like "Mistakes we made our first year of RVing.") Interestingly, their journey started somewhat like ours. But one thing they said was that they wish they had connected with a club or other group of full timers earlier so that they could be around other full timers like themselves. They naively thought (as I guess I did too) that they would be meeting lots of people in their travels but didn't really start connecting with people until about 6 months of full-timing. In their case, they found "Full Time Families" I believe it was called. While my wife and dog and I are a family unit, we're not really looking to be around a bunch of kids. Also, would note that while we have a Fleetwood, I'm not sure I'd have much more in common with a FW owner than I would a Chevy owner.

So I guess I'm not asking how do I make friends (which typing that sounds like a really silly question), but I'm wondering what resources do you recommend so that we can find full timers on the road to associate with? This whole thing is new to us, although I spent a LOT of time researching our needs and wants in advance to see which direction we wanted to take this journey. Needless to say we jumped in with both feet last year and of course friends and family think we're crazy because we didn't have a plan (which to me is part of the fun), we don't have specialized skills that travel well, and I'm only marginally mechanically inclined. Neither my wife nor myself were big campers and we'll be the first to admit we're more into glamping if you had asked us before. We went straight to a 36' DP even though we never camped before and never even owned a travel trailer before. We will be getting a flatbed for our car in a couple weeks (flatbed is the only option unfortunately for this vehicle). Sold our house last year in anticipation of going full time (in fact closed on the RV two days after closing on our house), and over the last several months have downsized to the point that when we leave, we should be fully or almost fully rid of everything, and our RV will be home.

So other than this forum (which is fantastic BTW, and which I use as much as possible), how do we meet others on the road? We would like it to be like a home with "neighbors" that you can hang out with and take turns dog-sitting, and things of that nature. Am I being unrealistic?
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:21 PM   #2
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There are several clubs and groups that get together formally and informally. FCMA has rallies across the country. Escapees has many BOF (birds of a feather) groups that meet online and in person. I would recommend joining Escapees and find a group that meets your interests.
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:43 PM   #3
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Just an observation and as always to each their own, but seriously think twice about towing a trailer and needing somewhere to park it. You might want to consider changing out your toad so that you can have something that doesn't need consideration for storing/parking the trailer??? Of course all this is subjective depending on how and where you intend to travel and park up. We have an Escape (for us the perfect vehicle) that isn't towable 4 down (some have done a mod and tried it but generally they've still had problems with their transmissions), so we will have to change out to a Jeep soon here to be able to achieve what we want to in due course.

Xscapers is a sub arm so to speak of Escapees and is younger working FTers for the most part. Worth checking into. Check out Technomadia's website as well as they have done a lot of interviews of working RVers on the road. Also Heath Pagett (I think that's his name) has done some as well you might glean some useful info from both of these guys. There are numerous others but typically they are making monies from monetizing their websites and managing investments more specifically than working on the road in a specific field. RV Village is also something worth checking into where folks log when they arrive at their campground so others can see they are there to communicate with etc.

Hope some of these give you some good ideas/info as a kickstart.
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:49 PM   #4
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It's not a silly question, I understand why you're asking it.

I can only share our experience and hope it gives you some insight. We've been full-timing ten years, since we were in our late 30s. For all but one year we've worked while traveling.

This impacts our lifestyle in one big way. Unlike the retired full-timers we encounter in our travels, we just don't drop everything for whatever the activity of the day is. Like people working in a traditional job, living a traditional lifestyle, we put in hours in our day that keep us from the more leisurely things that full-timers usually do. We just don't have time for those nightly happy hours and campfires. We're busy. It takes time to earn money no matter what you do. And because we're self-employed, we work a lot of hours.

However as self-employed people, we can choose how and when we take off, so we have that option whenever we want it. Meeting people takes a concerted effort by both of us. We're always striving to balance our need to earn money, with the many advantages of this lifestyle.

One of the best ways we've met people is by seeking out others who also have a need to earn a living while traveling. It's not your usual full-timing lifestyle. The Escapees sub-group, X-Scapers, is one such crowd that does get it. Members are different ages, some with kids, many without. But they're all in similar work/travel situations and totally get it. I encourage you to visit their club and see if it's for you.
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:49 PM   #5
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We never joined any clubs...we started using this forum after we purchased our first RV it was a Holiday Rambler Admiral. Someone on the forum asked if anyone had the manual to a Holiday Rambler 2000. We did so we copied and emailed the info he needed. That was 7 years ago and we are still friends. Another couple we met here are from Florida and they were looking for help with their yard work. We helped them do many jobs around their property in exchange for full hook up and that friendship is also still going strong.
We headed west to cody wy and stayed at a camp ground looking for work campers, we were paid and also had full hookup. Seemed great at the time but then we soon realize we were working working working, so we quit. This summer we are hosting at the Buffalo Bill State Park near cody wy we will have full hook up and really love it there in the summer. We get to go to the rodeo almost every night or into Yellowstone National Park. And the fishing is better IMHO than Montana....
I suggest you try to see the places you would like to see and check out those who are looking for work campers.
this past year we left Bozeman Mt where we worked at the Hot Springs and headed south to Arizona....we pulled into a campground there (without reservations_) and asked if them if they needed any extra help. We were hired on the spot for full hook up and only worked two days a week!!
It is really a great life style.
Heads up....I think it is okay to talk to those you meet in campgrounds but maybe not so much in a Walmart parking lot...
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:15 PM   #6
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Got hobbies? There are chapters of the above that group like minded hobbist together. Ham radio, off-roading, etc.
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:24 PM   #7
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We met the majority of our traveling friends through the Escapees' Boomers group (a Birds of a Feather subgroup of Escapees RV Club). They are a younger or young-at-heart group (you don't have to be born in the correct year). They meet up in various parts of the country, mainly in boondocking areas on BLM or national forest lands. For instance, every year for the past 20+ years the group has met up in Quartzsite in January for a two-week period. There are usually 150-200 rigs parked together and they do many daily activities together in smaller groups - geocaching, 4-wheeling, ATVing, boating, hiking, etc. In addition, they have seminars on various full-timing topics, potlucks, campfires, happy hours, etc. Throughout the year a smaller meeting place will be announced via email, Facebook, etc and a party will just happen. It's amazing. Full-timers seem to travel in a circular orbit and you will meet up surprisingly in odd places with folks you've met over the years.

Since there are many younger folks starting this lifestyle there is another subgroup of the Escapees RV Club called the Xscapers. Many of them work as they travel.

We spent a month in a state park during the winter that had volleyball. We became friends with a few couples and 20 yr. later still see each other. We've met up with them all over the country, including Alaska.

We have had many instances happen along the same line.

I will say that the majority of people we've gotten close to don't spend their time in RV parks. We do a lot of dry camping/boondocking, hiking, Jeeping, volunteering in public parks, etc. We are very active and do things as a group.

Honestly, we have more friends now than we did when living in a stick house.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:19 PM   #8
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I like to walk a lot, Every morning I'd meet people either out walking their dog or just enjoying the morning. Early morning walks and coffee at the office.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airflite1 View Post
I like to walk a lot, Every morning I'd meet people either out walking their dog or just enjoying the morning. Early morning walks and coffee at the office.


Yep!
Another thing that works:
Open the hood of your car, grimace and shake you head. They will come. There will be discussion.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:50 PM   #10
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I find it real easy to find "other kids to play with" when traveling. Being as gregarious as I am helps "bigly" in that regard. I usually start with my neighbors. Once we've landed in a new park - I make a point of introducing myself to the campers around me as soon as possible. A simple "Hi, my name is Patrick...." and an extended hand goes a long way in breaking the ice.

It's rare that a simple walk around the park doesn't end up with me stopping to have an extended conversation with somebody. Just looking at somebody's campsite usually gives you a hint about things you might have in common with them. If I see kayaks (we carry a couple) - I ask if they've found any good spots to kayak nearby, if they know of any groups from the campground that paddle, etc. If I see bicycles (we carry a couple of those as well) - I ask about nearby bike paths, if they know of any groups from the campground that ride together, etc.

Seems like most campgrounds (especially those with a lot of "full timers" / "long timers" around) have a calendar of group activities. If there's a pool - there's probably water aerobics. If there's a clubhouse - there's likely cards or bingo. I would never think about going to a bingo hall at home ... but in a campground - I'm good with ante'ing up for a couple of cards and playing for a while - just so that I can meet others in the park.

We pulled into the park we're in currently on February 5th. So far - I've found a group of musicians that host a Friday night jam session at the site early on Friday evenings and now play piano with them. My wife has found a group of ladies from the water aerobics class whose company she enjoys .... they've now made several shopping trips together. I discovered that my neighbor loves to kayak. With my wife being deathly worried about alligators - my neighbor is my paddling partner while we're here.

Finding folks to play with is a lot like peeling an onion ... once you find a place to start, you just keep plugging along at it. All you gotta do is be willing to initiate a conversation with a simple hello .. and you should be on your way!
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:49 PM   #11
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Walk around the park late afternoon with a six pack in your hand. Works every time.
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:54 PM   #12
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finding rvers with the same or similar rig as yours is a great ice breaker!
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