Many people go RVing to get away from the stress of everyday life. They long for solitude and quiet. They revel in the open expanse that Mother Nature provides in her isolated, off-the-beaten-path spaces. And then, there’s Lindsey. Lindsey recently lost her husband to cancer. They’d been married for less than four years. No children. Just Lindsey. During their first year of marriage, Lindsey and her husband decided to embark on full-time RV living. They bought an older Class B, completely refurbished the RV, and took off down the highway to parts unknown.
Feeling lonely as an RVer
After just six short months of traveling and remote working, Lindsey’s husband became ill. Now Lindsey’s alone. But she has their RV and strong self-determination. There’s just one last hurdle to clear: loneliness. “I know that a huge part of my loneliness comes from missing my husband. But I sometimes felt lonely even during our time together on the road. Making friends is much harder when you’re constantly on the move. The ‘friendship pool’ that naturally occurs with college, in-office workdays, and apartment neighbors is over.”
Lindsey’s not alone. Many RVers report that they sometimes feel isolated or lonely while traveling. Part-time RVers can reconnect with friends when they return home. Full-time RVers may experience loneliness more often if they don’t have those times of reconnection.
What to do?
Meeting other folks can help alleviate feelings of loneliness. Just talking to another person, however briefly, can help change your outlook. Here are a few suggestions.
- Get out of your RV. Walk the campground. Greet fellow campers in a friendly way. Smile. Engage others by introducing yourself. Then ask a question like: “I see from your license plate that you’re from Texas. It’s a big state. What area are you from?” Or “I like your outdoor setup. Where did you purchase that grill?” Or “Have you been in this area long? What are some good restaurants/grocery stores/historical spots nearby?” The idea is to get the other person to talk about themselves—to open up a bit.
It’s important to hear and remember the person’s name. Repeat their name as you converse. Like “Thanks for the restaurant suggestion, Bryce. I’ll give it a try.” This technique sets the basis for a second conversation at another time. “Hey, Bryce. I tried out that restaurant. It was great!”
- Check out special activities in the area. During your stay, investigate area activities like festivals, fairs, and concerts. Plan to attend those that appeal to you.
- Visit places of interest. If you enjoy reading, find the local library. Many libraries host interesting speakers, book clubs, and more. Ask to see the library’s calendar of events and attend ones that interest you. Visit a local church or synagogue that aligns with your beliefs. Many faith-based endeavors have interest clubs (quilters, crafters, Bible study groups) that you might enjoy. Smaller venues like libraries and churches may feel less threatening than, say, attending a sold-out concert.
- Local clubs and organizations. If you belonged to the Lion’s Club back home, see if there’s a local chapter of the organization near the campground. Ask if you can attend a meeting. The same goes for other interests. Many locales have organized groups for like-minded people. See if there are groups that you might join—even for a short while. Think: hiking club, organized square dancing, painting or pottery groups. (Town hall may have a list of such organizations.)
- Online community. The internet makes it possible to belong to a group no matter where you travel. You can take a virtual college class, play Scrabble or other online games with others, attend virtual lectures, or connect with a group of friends via Facetime or Zoom.
- Family and friends. Remember to stay connected with folks who live “back home.” Call them often. They’ll love to hear about your travels, and you can keep up to date with local news, as well. Better yet, plan to stop and see family and friends at various times of the year.
- Volunteer. Many, many places need help. Volunteer at the local soup kitchen, church, or even at the campground where you’re staying. Often you need no special skills or abilities other than a smile and the desire to help.
There are many opportunities to form friendships as you RV. Some may be short-lived, but others might just become enduring relationships. Best of all, you’ll kick your loneliness to the curb.
Are you an RVer that feels lonely? How do you attempt to make acquaintances or form friendships while on the road? Share your ideas in the comments below.
I’m a fairly new widow. My little dog solves the loneliness challenge. Not only is she good company but she forces my to get out and walk around even in the rain. Most of the time there are other dog walkers out and about. Having a common interest enhances the chances of conversations. Works wonders!☺️
I started on the road, seven years ago, and I found it lonely because I’m single. Six years ago I found a group called Wandering Individuals Network. I have been with them most of the time ever since. You have to be single to join. see Rvsingles.org
This group has circuits going on in different parts of the United States nearly 10 months a year, it has become my family and I love traveling with WINs.
I tried looking into joining an elks lodge, but you have to have sponsors where I am, and I don’t know of any. My only suggestion is, get a dog. He is my best friend. Furthermore, most people like to talk about dogs.
One great place to volunteer is with Meals on Wheels. They always seem to need help even if it’s just for a couple of days.
This has been my most pleasant discovery in RVing – the commonality of everyone else. We may all be on different pages but we are all reading from the same book. It’s a great starting point. And if you believe that everything happens for a reason, you can overcome anything in life as long as you don’t let those bad things shut you off.
meet and travel with other solos like the escapees Solo BOF (birds of a feather)
I’ve traveled solo since the death of my partner 4 years ago. I never seem to have a problem striking up a conversation with someone previously unknown to me, wherever I “camp.” Often it revolves around discussions about the local area or our pets, sometimes about travel style or our rigs. I seem to make at least 1 or 2 acquaintances at each place I stop for more than 2 or 3 nights. And, I’ve established long-term friendships with several other travelers over the years. Visiting friends and family is the primary reason I travel. Scenery can be exquisite, attractions can be fun, but friendships are of more value to me.
Stay longer! If you like a particular area consider staying a whole season. Use the time to form deeper connections and join in the passions of your neighbors. Showing interest in others makes us more interesting to others.
One of the places I look for in the area where my campground is would be the Loyal Order of Moose and VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars.)
Many campgrounds offer activities like crafts, coffee hour, etc. Even if you are there for only a week, give it a shot.