When we tell people we travel full-time, one of the first things they seem to assume is that we have friends all over the country. And we do – now. But life on the road wasn’t always that way. A lot of times, people are surprised to learn that life on the road can be pretty isolating. But in our time living in our RV, we’ve learned how to enjoy the benefits of the isolation and find the balance between enjoying our space and figuring out how to make friends on the road!
Why is full-time travel isolating?
In our opinion, living in an RV is the best way to travel because we get to have our own space with us everywhere we go. That may remove some of the opportunities for meeting people that you can find in other methods of travel, but in our experience, traveling by plane or car and staying in hotels and Airbnbs can be equally isolating. The reason for this may be obvious, but we’ll say it anyway: the people in that area just don’t know you’re there, and you’ve got very little excuse to interact meaningfully!
Furthermore, we have discovered that the vast majority of RVers that we meet on the road are much older than us. We have met some lovely retired couples, but we just don’t have that much in common with people who are 30 years older than us. If you’re interested in meeting other RVers, there are organizations and events that bring together younger travelers, but in our experience it’s rare to find younger travelers organically.
How we make friends now
Our first few months on the road, we didn’t make a single new friend. That all started to change when Tyler started his podcast, Strangers Worth Meeting. In a very real sense, Tyler’s podcast is just a fantastic excuse to invite someone to sit down and have a long conversation. What better way to get to know someone? We’ve met a lot of people through Tyler’s podcast. Some people just stick around for the podcast, some people check in every once in a while, and some people become true friends.
The other way we’ve started making more friendships is through training jiu jitsu, and this has been a total game changer. Jiu jitsu is incredible at creating bonds and friendships because it demands a level of trust and teamwork right off the bat. Places like archery ranges and rock climbing gyms are less social (unless you bring your friends with you), so if there is someone worth meeting, you’ll need to really put yourself out there and introduce yourself. In a jiu jitsu gym, you will make friends without even trying. Hands down, we can say that training jiu jitsu while traveling is the best way to meet great people and make friends.
What we love about the isolation
All that said, there is something beautiful to the isolation of full-time travel. In our first year on the road, we discovered our favorite part about it: we have the freedom to truly be ourselves. In general, we worry so much less about the opinions of others because we don’t even know them. The neighbors are strangers, the people in the grocery store are strangers, the people in the parks are strangers. We are free to sunbathe in our tiny yard, buy way too much meat, and do weird workouts because nobody even knows us. Anonymity is powerful.
Our other favorite part about the isolation is that we get to spend almost all of our time with each other. Anyone who knows us knows that we are happiest when we spend way too much time together. Not only do we now live in a small box together, but full-time travel ensures that participating in independent activities is our choice, not due to pressure from others.
Life on the road can be a shock at first if you’re not used to being on your own. But with a little time, we’ve learned to see the beauty in the isolation and find our favorite ways of making friends while traveling.
Tyler & Andrea
We travel the country full-time in our RV, making documentaries and podcasts about our life. We are the ultimate adult beginners. From RVing full-time to cooking to some of our newer interests like bow hunting and jiu-jitsu, nearly everything we do we discovered as adults. Being an adult beginner is surprisingly challenging, and at times we really do feel like we don’t know anything! But if there’s one thing we know in the Hixson household, it’s that we want our lives to be wild, free, and lived intentionally. If something looks difficult or intimidating, it’s probably worth doing. And there’s no better time to start than now.
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