The Truth About Making Full-time RVing Friends (and Keeping Old Ones)

Many people contemplating the nomadic life worry about friendships. Guys like this wonder how they’ll ever keep old friendships alive or find new full-time RVing friends once they start traveling. If you’re a social creature concerned about your social circle, let me give you the real story. Or at least, how our friendships changed once Jim and I started traveling.

The Evolution of Old and New Full-time RVing Friends for Nomads

full-time Rving, friends, travel, nomad
Can you deal with the truth about full-time RVing friends?

First, let’s get one thing straight. The nomadic life changes you. It also changes how your existing friends view and relate to you. If you thrive on close friendships, you might have trouble living this way. Skype only goes so far. Here’s how our friendships have changed since we hit the road.

Year 1: we’re on vacation.

As we traveled around the states and got a taste of the untethered life, some of our old friends assumed we were just on a long vacation and waited for us to get back to a way of life they could relate to. And yeah, we were living off our savings, not working very much and spending every minute with our beloved Jerry, so technically we were on sabbatical. And loving every minute of it. 

Year 2: the nomadic life keeps calling.

full-time RVing, friends, travel, nomad,
Sam (left) and Jim (right) always have a blast.

At this point we freely admitted to everyone that we loved this lifestyle too much to stop. I think most of our old friends were still waiting for the day we quit roaming. But it was too late for that. Because once we started meeting other NuRVers and joined the Escapees RV Club, we could see that full-timing is a viable and fun way to live even if you’re not retired. Jerry passed away from cancer at the end of year two but we weren’t ready to “settle” for all that this word implies. We had no idea what was next, but we kept going in search of the endless summer while honoring Jerry’s lessons to live in the now.

Year 3: we’re those “shiftless drifters.”

Old friends started looking at us funny. While visiting a particular couple, one of them point blank asked us:

So when are you going to stop screwing around?

Clearly, they didn’t understand the new things that rocked our world. In our hearts we knew that if not “screwing around” meant giving up the pleasures of travel and adventure, then we would keep screwing!  The longer we stayed out on the road, the more our old friendships relied on the past to bridge the gap between their existing lifestyle and our new one.

Year 4 and beyond: there’s no going back.

full-time RVing friends

Only a few friends remain from our previous life. But for these precious jewels, distance is no match for the bonds we created before we hit the road. Even almost a decade after we left our old life behind, we just pick up where we left off with these special people without relying on old memories to keep the conversation going. 

As for the Nu friendships with other full-time RVing friends, they’re constantly in a state of flux.

full-time RVing freinds
Old friends with always something to talk about.

Sometimes we meet other full-timers and have a blast from the get-go. We instantly know we’d love to see them again somewhere down the road. We may spend days together when we do reunite, or we may only meet up every couple of years. Everyone who lives this lifestyle is OK with that. Time and distance have no effect on our conversations because we can all relate to the urge to keep moving.

If you’re working and not retired, keeping full-time RVing friends is as much a challenge as it is for anyone living a traditional life. Work days are spent earning a buck, while our days off are spent doing something fun and getting domestic crap done. And in the end, Jim and I dig each other’s company so much that actively seeking out new friends isn’t high on our agenda.

full-time RVing friends
Yes, we are solitary creatures.

Our circle is small and we are OK with that. That may come back to bite us in the ass when the first one of us kicks the bucket. But for now, I’ll follow Jim’s favorite line that his buddy Randy taught him.

“If I wanted friends I wouldn’t have gotten married!”

 I’ll drink to that.




7 thoughts on “The Truth About Making Full-time RVing Friends (and Keeping Old Ones)”

  1. Happy to be one of the few “precious jewels”, you both have always meant the world to us and we love the times we do get to spend with you. Sláinte!

  2. I wonder about friendships on the road. Though I have few but furious friendships, I still want to learn about people. I look forward to getting out of my shell, so to speak.

    • Lynda there’s no better way to learn about people than going to new places and throwing yourself right there in the middle of things. We have this quote in our bathroom medicine cabinet: “Presume innocence of each piece of life (at least until you know better), and the joy of a loving community will be yours.”


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