Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I have been planning my great escape for over 2 years. I will retire next month and plan to leave on my maiden voyage the first of the year. I bought a small Class B van which may prove too small. I am going to take baby steps and decide if buying a larger motor home and hauling a car would suit me better. I just want to get my feet wet before I jump completely in. They say reading and doing are completely different experiences. I am only a little nervous about traveling alone. I have been a widow for almost 5 years. I have done some traveling and camping on my own, but this will be an extended trip. Do single people fare alright in the full-time lifestyle or should I plan on always being the third wheel? I am very outgoing but think it might be hard building long lasting friendships with such a vagabond lifestyle. Thoughts please.
--Out to Launch in Littleton
You might be a Fifth Wheel if you go larger and decide on something other than a motor home, but you will never have to worry about being a third wheel. There are numerous ways to meet people with your same lifestyle, but actually you don’t even have to try. Friendships in campgrounds are like spontaneous combustion. We have met some of our best friends on ranger led hikes, birding in campgrounds, around campfires, even breaking down on the road. You will meet people with similar interests while pursuing things that interest you--hiking, paddling, photography, whatever. Another option would be to join a club. Not just a singles club, although there are several of those. Three that come to mind are RVing Women, Loners on Wheels, and Wandering Individuals.
I think an important part of social success on the road is being a bit adventuresome, outgoing, friendly and courteous. Single or paired, these are qualities that will help you connect with like-minded people encountered along the way. Another possibility that comes to mind is a dog. Not just for companionship. Last year my wife and I met a wonderful friend while we were trying to catch our freaked out cat. Funny Face jumped out of the motor home and panicked. Janice happened along with her dog Baloo and helped us look for Funny Face. She and Baloo were from Canada and traveling all over North America in a small trailer. We became fast friends and traveled much of the winter together. Janice was very outgoing and I am sure she could make lots of friends without Baloo, but she said more than once that walking Baloo opened up many conversations and connected her with so many friends while traveling.
The RV lifestyle will present many challenges to you, but making friends will not be one of them I guarantee.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink