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Finding Community While On The Road

As humans, we crave connection, conversation, and community. This can look different for each of us, yet the premise is the same; we need each other.

For many of us who have chosen a nomadic lifestyle, finding and maintaining community while traveling can be a challenge. Gone are the weekly routines and familiar faces of our hometowns. Yet, amidst the uncertainty, there lies an opportunity to redefine what community means and where we can find it.

Actively participating in events and gatherings were habits, choices, and routines that we cultivated for years. When we start traveling, especially for us full-timers, that changes significantly. It took us years to build up our community and we put a lot of time and effort into maintaining it. But when we get out on the road we can lose those connections. We may not notice it right away as what’s ahead is full of excitement and wonder, but after a while, we can feel lonely and really miss that social engagement.

The good news is that loneliness doesn’t have to be permanent and you can certainly find community out on the road. But you sort of have to look at it with a different perspective, or, the bigger picture if you will. Imagine a map of your hometown and then zoom out to envision the entire country. Yep, your neighborhood just got a whole lot bigger. It’s no longer the demographic radius that you knew. It’s become much more expansive.

But how to connect?

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Assess your travel style.

You may find yourself reaching out to others asking how you can find and connect with like-minded people, but just remember that everyone’s idea of community is different. Some folks slow travel and spend several weeks in a location; settling in like a temporary local. And some travel quickly, moving every few days. Some, a hybrid of both. You may enjoy off-roading or perhaps it’s the tranquility of the beach, mountains, or desert. I believe there’s no wrong way to travel or live, however, just remember your style may be different from the folks you are seeking advice from.

Understand your personality type.

Understanding your personality type can guide your search for community. Are you an introvert who thrives in solitary moments, an extrovert energized by social interactions, or perhaps an ambivert who enjoys a balance of both? As my partner likes to say, you become Fast Friends while living on the road so knowing yourself allows you to seek out connections that resonate with your individual preferences.

Once you’ve gained clarity on your needs and preferences, it’s time to get creative in finding community on the road. Here are some strategies that have proven effective for me and some fellow travelers:

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  • Virtual Happy Hours: Seeing another’s face gives a sense of presence even when you are miles apart and a great way to maintain old and new connections. Schedule a video date, add to your calendar, and confirm a few days beforehand. Sometimes a few reschedules are needed so don’t stress if it doesn’t happen the first time. Grab a beverage and snack, settle in, and enjoy the visit.
  • Go Local: If you’re near a town or city, check out the local offerings to see if there are yoga classes (maybe in the park or at the beach!), a community bike ride, a music festival, or other activities. Try using apps such as Mind Body or Eventbrite, or even the community bulletin board at the local market or co-op. Another great idea is to head to a taproom, wine bar, or coffee shop and ask the server/staff/barista what’s happening in the area. They know best!
  • Volunteer: Feeding off the Go Local above, see if there are any volunteer opportunities available in the community. I hooked into a Turkey Day kitchen gig at an Oregon Elk’s club and helped feed over 600 homeless and in-need folks. Talk about filling up my tank! Nothing makes you feel more connected than giving your time to help others. You can also check out Volunteer.gov for other opportunities.
  • Online Communities: You can find some AH-mazing and like-minded groups for community online. Search on social media for RV, solo, family, full time travel type groups, your specific rig type, or events you are interested in—and see what fits. It may take a few attempts to find your niche, but trust me, they are out here! I am in several groups for my teardrop brand and have met and camped with some great people over the years.
  • Messenger: Once you find a few events or activities with fellow nomads, start a group chat on Facebook Messenger with them. It’s a great way to follow each other’s adventures, stay connected, and keep the conversations going.
  • Share Locations: Use platforms like Google Maps to share your location with trusted connections. This facilitates spontaneous meetups and allows you to connect with new friends passing through your area. See a friend in the area? Go grab a pizza, head to a summer festival, or travel together awhile!
  • Join Travel Clubs: Consider joining travel clubs like Escapees or Xscapers, where you can connect with fellow travelers, attend events, and access resources tailored to your nomadic lifestyle. Hands down, joining Xscaper’s was a game-changer for me.

Connections = Better Mental Health

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Remember that connections are a powerful predictor of good mental health. There is little knowledge about the relationship between depression and emotional and social loneliness, however many of us may notice our moods change when we feel lonely. Some of us may adapt just fine, but others may really struggle, and depression can ensue. If you find yourself feeling depressed or notice a behavioral change in yourself or your partner, then please seek help.*

Ultimately, finding community on the road requires openness, adaptability, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. While the landscapes may change, the human need for connection remains constant. By embracing the diversity of experiences and forging connections along the way, we can create a sense of home wherever the road may lead.

What are your favorite ways to connect while on the road? Please share so we can all benefit!

*If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call the NAMI HelpLine: 1-800-950-6264 available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., ET. OR text “HelpLine” to 62640 or email NAMI at helpline@nami.org. Visit NAMI for more. You can also call or text SAMHSA at 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.

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Lorri Weisen

Lorri Weisen is the COO and partner at Natural Mental Health® (NMH) and The Joy Lab® Program + Podcast. NMH is a health communications company serving folks who want a more natural approach to reducing chronic stress, anxiety, and depression and are looking to create new paths built on existing strengths. The Joy Lab Program + Podcast builds on these strengths by applying the latest science, infused with soul, to help folks uncover their joy.

Lorri is also an Integrative Health Coach and provides synchronous support for the Joy Lab Program over in the NMH Community. She is currently writing her first book, Turning Left, and has lived on the road for five years. You can follow her on Instagram @nomadic_healthcoach

NMH is a commercial partner of Escapees and offers a 25% discount on their Community membership.

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