Keeping in Touch While Traveling and Full-Time RVing
Keeping in touch when RVing full-time
You’ve decided to sell your home and join the ranks of full-time RVers and may be anxious about leaving your former life and community ties. But be assured that giving up your house and moving into an RV does not mean that you lose your connection to family and friends. You'll develop friendships with other RVers, but your old friends and family ties will always be precious.
Maintain Close Relationships for Mental and Physical Health
Studies have shown that maintaining friendships and close relationships is necessary for your physical and mental health. People who have close relationships have lower stress levels and better cardiovascular health. In scientific studies of people with wounds, those who have close relationships healed more quickly than those who didn’t. Called Social Wellbeing, having healthy relationships, friendships and frequent social interaction is a proven positive factor in physical health and healing.
Keep in Touch with Family and Old Friends
While face-to-face personal contact is desirable, keeping in touch through other means is also a healthy way to promote your social wellbeing. Sending email, participating in forums, phone calls and keeping in touch by whatever means available will keep your social connections healthy.
It takes effort to maintain close ties, and you'll find that it's important to adapt your communications to their style. Remember that not everyone connects in the same way. Some people write, some talk, some need to hear your voice or see your face. Don’t rely on just one method of communication when there are so many choices available.
In seven years of RVing, I’ve learned to use all tools available to promote a healthy social wellbeing.
Eight Ways to Keep in Touch While RVing
1. Keep in Touch Through Email
Friends who love to write will respond to emails with chatty e-letters and pictures. Computers make it easy to stay closely connected to those who write frequent emails. Remember, not everyone wants to know the history and details of every mile you travel! Keep your emails personal and relate only anecdotes that will interest your friends. Don't forget to include one or two pictures of yourself with your email now and then. You're friends will enjoy seeing your smiling face!
2. Keep in Touch With Newsletters
While it’s tempting to send frequent, lengthy newsletters to everyone on your email list, restrain yourself! It won’t take long for your to realize that only a few people actually read them. While newsletters can be newsy and fun, if they’re all about you, your friends may get bored with them. Most people prefer personal emails that are directed at them and not a large audience. I now limit newsletters to a holiday letter that gives a few details of our travels and sometimes relates a funny incident. Mostly, I confine them to personal and family news. (No, I don’t list every Little League score and trip to the doctor’s…)
3. Maintain a Website of Your Travels
As you travel, it’s tempting to turn emails into travelogues. Try to restrain myself as not everyone is interested in all those details. A better way to document your daily travels is to set up a free website and write a travel journal blog. You can add pictures, notes on sightseeing or anecdotes about your travels. Attach your travel website address at the bottom of your emails so that anyone interested can access it.
*Note: I also keep a database of our travels on my personal computer and include photographs and notes about every place we’ve camped. It’s turned out to be a valuable resource for us that we refer to often. (Note about computer travel journals: BACK UP YOUR WORK!!).
Everyone Loves to Get a Postcard
4. Send Postcards
There are still people who do not use email. By sending them postcards or short letters every month or two, you can keep them posted on where you are and what you're doing. Be sure to acknowledge any letters or cards you receive so that your non-computer friends know their correspondence isn't going into a black hole.
Sending occasional letters and postcards to grandchildren gives them something tangible to keep. Be sure to date your postcards as one day your grandchildren are sure to enjoy re-reading correspondence from their grandparents. One of my granddaughters keeps a photo album of all the postcards we send, so she has a pictorial documentation of more than 10 years of correspondence from us.
5. Phone Friends and Relatives
We all have people in our lives who just do not write. With our growing dependence on email and computers, we sometimes forget that our friends and loved ones are only a phone call away. They’ll appreciate hearing your voice as much as you’ll enjoy hearing theirs! With most cell phone carriers offering free weekend minutes, it doesn’t cost anything to keep in frequent touch with those you care about.
6. Join Skype to Video Phone For Free
Skype is a video phone call that can between any computers that have webcams. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected with kids and grandkids as you can see each others faces when you talk in real time. Best of all, it’s free! You can talk to someone across the ocean as easily as someone in another state. The downside of this is that you have to be presentable before you make the call! The clarity of your connection will depend on your computer connection, but in general, it works very well and is lots of fun.
7. Social Networking Like Facebook
While there is much discussion about the pros and cons of Facebook, there’s no doubt that social networking is the most popular way to keep connected with friend and relatives. No one needs to know about your headache or what you ate for breakfast, but do share a few pictures of your travels and chat with your loved ones frequently. Do be careful about posting personal information, though!
8. Plan Your Trips So That You Can Have Personal Visits
Of course, the most satisfying way to keep your social connections alive and well is by personal visits. One of the perks of having a house on wheels is that you can spend leisurely time in areas near your friends and families. Plan your travels so that you spend time near friends and relatives several times a year.
Useful Links for Healthy Social WellBeing
Volunteering: Check out Volunteer.gov for volunteering opportunities at National and State Parks and organizations.
Finding RV Rallies and Events:
The Gypsy Journal: The Gypsy Journal website has a wealth of information for RVers and is a great place to look up RV Rallies and events.
Join in Campground Social Activities
How to Become Part of the RVing Community
Connecting with people as you travel
As important as it is to maintain close relationships with your family and old friends, full-time RVers will also want to develop friends and acquaintances in the RVing community. RVers have an affinity for each other, understanding the joys and problems of the lifestyle without explanation. So where do we connect with other RVers?
Discussion forums, RVing club forums and chat rooms. Once you join an RV forum, you’ll soon find that the same group of people are active on it. Watch it for a while, ask some questions, participate when you are comfortable with it, and before you know it, you’ll have a group of on-line friends.
Make Friends at Campgrounds
In general, campers are a friendly bunch. Don’t hesitate to stop and visit, join in campground activities like game nights and pot-lucks and get to know your fellow campers. Many full-timers have made business cards with their photographs and contact information that they can give to new friends.
If you join a camping club like Good Sam, Escapees, FMCA or others, you will be invited to rallies and events. Attending or volunteering at these events is a great way to get to know people with similar interests.
Volunteering at campgrounds, parks, historic sites or with a service organization like Habitat for Humanity will bring you into contact with many interesting and like-minded people. Because you’ll work closely together for a period of time, you’ll have the opportunity to develop lasting friendships.
Write for HubPages!
If you like to write, why not join HubPages and become part of a supportive writer's community? It's free, it's fun, and you can even make money through your writing. Click here for more information and to sign up to Join HubPages.
Social Well Being
The happiest and most satisfied full time RVers are those to maintain their social well being by keeping connected to their relatives and old friends. They become part of the RVing community by taking advantage of opportunities to meet new people and interact on many different levels. Even though your house is on wheels, there's no reason that you can't have a healthy sense of connection and community as you travel.
Copyright ©2011 Stephanie Henkel
Best Books on Full-Time RVing
- Best Books to Take RVing and Camping ~Best Field Guides, Directories and How-To books
For full time RVers or weekend campers, here's a list of the best books to take RVing or camping. Don't leave home without basic field guides to birds and wildflowers, a book about RV repair and maintenance and some campground directories. These must
- Olympic National Park~ RVing on the Washington Coast
The Olympic National Park stretches for more than 48 miles along the Pacific coast. Photographs include pictures of the rugged, Pacific coastline and campsite. Includes information on RV camping, lodging, and travel tips.
- Padre Island National Seashore~ RVing and Birding on the Texas Gulf Coast
Padre Island National Seashore on the Gulf Coast of Texas is a popular destination for RVing snowbirds. RVers can camp in one of several campgrounds or drive and camp right on the beach. Thousands of migrating birds stop at Padre Island making it a g