Most RVers keep to themselves

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By Chuck Woodbury
ROADSIDE JOURNAL
It occurred to me recently that people in RV parks act a lot like they do at home: They keep to themselves. In our suburban world people often don’t know their next-door neighbors. We no longer need them, not really.

In the old days when grocery stores were few and far between it was nice to have a neighbor around to borrow some sugar or butter from. Now we just walk or drive to the corner 7-Eleven store – no need to bother the family next door.


It is much the same in RV parks. People pull into their space and keep to themselves. They can hole up inside the rigs without ever going outside, as they often do. They sit around their own campfires with little interest in what’s happening a few dozen yards away. At home they don’t know their next-door neighbor so why should they know their next-door camper?

There are plenty of exceptions, of course, but more often than not, park guests tend to keep to themselves.

A rancher friend of mine from rural Montana once told me there was a far stronger sense of community there than in Los Angeles, where he had moved for two years.

Most RVers keep to themselves

THE HARSH WINTER WEATHER in Montana made it necessary for neighbors to rely on each other for support. In LA, he said, where the weather was pleasant year-round, relying on neighbors was not necessary, when any product or service someone needed could be purchased close by.

We surveyed our readers recently, asking how important it was to them to socialize with their fellow RVers. Here is the tally after more than 2,400 votes. Go ahead and weigh in yourself if you wish. Of course, your comments are invited.

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Joe and carol

We always respond to people who want to interact but if they keep to themselves and want to be left alone we don’t force it, we have met and visited with some wonderful and very interesting people over the years , takes all kinds you know

Bob

I always interact with my neighbors. Learned a lot over the years about the rig, camping, and community I’m in. Sad that so many others seem afraid of their neighbors.

Donald N Wright

Thats why I like the Aliner Owners Club rally’s and the Xcapers Rallys. Everyone gets involved !

Hank

That’s why we joined RVillage. If you post the park you are at, you can see if anyone else that belongs to RVillage is in the park or even nearby. We have over 300 friends on RVillage. We enjoy meeting new friends!

Ray

I find the results of this survey surprising as well as disturbing. A huge part of the RV experience for my wife and I is in meeting new people and hearing their stories. I have often left our RV to go to the trash dumpster only to return a half hour later after talking with an RV neighbor who I encountered sitting outside his RV. My question would be “why would one spend the money on an RV if not to enjoy the out of doors as well as meet new people?” One could stay inside at home and save a lot of money by not buying the RV.

Einar Hansen

We have two big dogs and walk them at least a few times a day. And that’s when we meet a lot of folks. But I do say Hello to the people in the sites next to us after we pull in and set up. Sometimes I ask them how long they have been here so we can find some good places to shop or sights to see.
We made some friends over 23 years ago at a campgrounds while we were all walking our dogs. And now we all book for the same week every year just to catch up on things and the wife’s spend time together seeing the sites and shopping.
Is that not what it is all about?

Mark Birnbaum

I try to socialize and found a sure fire way to socialize and add a purpose to my travels. I stumbled onto RV-Care-A-Vanners. This wing of Habitat for Humanity participates in 2 week builds, and every day after “work” (we are volunteers), we return to the “caravan” of our RVs and the group often socializes, maybe with a potluck or just a circle of chairs.

The local Habitat affiliate that is hosting us, arranges for someplace to park our RVs together (sometimes at a church, a stadium, campground or RV resort either for little or no cost. They ensure location can provide water and electric (you must have holding tanks and your own shower). Usually RV-Care-A-Vanner builds will be from 6-10 RVs. We are all volunteers. You don’t have to be experienced and there is a task to suit just about anybody.

Dick Carlson

We pretty much keep to ourselves. Injecting random folks into our lives often brings annoying political, religious or other diatribes that are difficult to escape from

john arata

we like to socialize and find its so much easier when someone has a dog. its an ice breaker. if we feel we don’t have a lot in common we move along after meeting the dog.

Sink Jaxon

I am not a full-timer, never will be. We like our home in the country, as it seems we’re camping all the time. That said, when we do travel and staying in the campgrounds (whether in a KOA journey, or a National Park), I find the full-timers usually desire/like conversation with complete strangers and I think that’s healthy. It gives me faith in us humans that we are not falling apart as a society. Then there’s the weekenders who just want to be left alone to decompress, and I understand that as well…I used to be there. More often than not though, it’s easy to tell who’s who and I’ll approach those who make eye contact or return a friendly wave. Sometimes a conversation can be two sentences, or turn into 20 minute sharing session about anything! Or even better, turn into a lifelong friendship.

Bill

We frequently return to particular campgrounds in large part because of the social aspects, as a community has developed over the years. It is nice to be welcomed into a new setting, but we also have no problem keeping to ourselves when making an overnight stop or in a campground without the social welcome mat (some of which have active social groups that don’t really welcome newcomers.)

Paul S Goldberg

If stopping late in the day (4 PM for us) with a plan to move on in the morning we will take a walk to meet and greet any who are about. If stopping for longer we make it a point to set up 4 chairs and welcome passers by to have a seat if they wish. We have long term friends we have met this way and socialize with them, even driving hours out of the way to have a get together. We settled longer term at Jojoba Hills SKP Resort because it is a warm welcoming community that offers more ways to socialize than seem possible, from managing the tech resources to hiking to . . . I’ll stop there 🙂 We miss it when we are away, but we are away to remain traveling in the coach or on tours overseas.

Pat

My husband and I are both introverts. We talk to our neighbors and if we find we have interests in common we may socialize but generally, we keep to ourselves. As we get older I realize this may not necessarily be a good thing.

Pat

My husband and I are both introverts. We talk to our neighbors and if we find we have interests in common we may socialize but generally, we keep to ourselves. As we get older I realize this may not necessarily be a good thing.

Delinor

I think it depends on what “socializing “means to each of us. We enjoy walking around the campground, saying hello, perhaps meeting some fellow veterans, but happy hours, group dinners, games, and outdoor music and movies are not things we do. We are purposeful in finding camgrounds that are more out of the way…space, trails and fishing nearby, quiet. Our daily lives are usually so filled with people, busy-ness, and noise. We go camping to get away from that for awhile.

Teri Helms

My husband is not a social person so he rarely interacts with other people at home or on the road. I on the other hand love to talk and have met many people while walking my dogs. My mom and i got to take a road trip together before she passed and i never had to even ask for help when setting up. Some gentleman would come over and help me with the awning (my class C is older and you need 2 people to open it). Mom never has met a stranger and so she loved talking with everyone. I do find that the smaller the park the more social people are. The larger RV parks are more a residual neighborhood and keep to them selves. Just like home.

Steve Brewer

We have a dog, so I speak to those I see on my walks. Some folks I have been able to remember their names since we have been full-time for almost 3 years and have a ‘home base’ campground in NC. Other snowbirds use this same campground, so it’s nice to see folks with a little history between us.

David & Linda

Usually when we are in a campground, it is a base to go exploring in the area or just an overnight stay. Our exploration often involves hiking, and we come ‘home’ exhausted. We get our showers and stay inside to relax. We usually take evening walks around the park and speak to those that are outside. We NEVER sit around a campfire. Sometimes we sit outside and others will come over for a short conversation. Since the campground is not the ‘destination,’ we just are not as likely to really meet people.

Willie

We like to go to places where there are no stoplights, no knuckleheads, no TVs, no drunks, no cigarettes, no loud music, and no generators.

My wife and I love boondocking, books, and hiking. We rise with the sun and go to bed when the sun sets.

If we have neighbors nearby, we will socialize, but the minute conversation wanders into politics, religion, or complaints, we’ll bow out. Luckily we’ve found that boondockers are seeking the same sort of solitude that we are and they’re usually respectful of our time and our space.

And I realize that other folks love the human contact that comes with RV parks and organized campgrounds. To each his own!

William M Pollitz

I’ve found quite the opposite to be true. Even when we’re just stopping overnight, it seems we meet the residents of at least one of our neighbors. We’ve always commented on those in the huge bus who never venture outside on a nice evening but we’ve also found them to be the exception rather than the rule.

Meeting other RVers is part of the fun and we’ve often been warmly greeted by the “Welcome Wagon” shortly after getting set up.