One of the major points of resistance I hear from single people who want to go RVing is that they’re worried about loneliness. That question comes up a lot when I tell folks about what I do, doesn’t it get lonely? Some even assume I’m lonely, just because I travel by myself.
Before addressing how to combat loneliness on the road, we first need to talk about the difference between loneliness and being alone, personality types, and conversation types. I promise that this is all related to the topic at hand.
Being alone is not the same thing as being lonely. In fact, just about everyone benefits from having some time to themselves every day. The ideal amount of time spent with others varies from person to person, and often people are referred to as being introverted or extroverted as a definition of whether they like more time alone or more time with others.
I dislike labels, because they tend to make complex issues seem black and white which they rarely are. To me, it looks like a scale. On one end of the spectrum you have very outgoing people who are always seeking the company of others and they feel the best when they’re with a crowd, and they hate to be alone. On the other end of the spectrum you have those individuals who spend the majority of their lives alone, and only rarely do they enjoy the company of others, and then preferably only on a one on one basis. But there is a big wide range of possibilities between those two extremes, and I feel most people fall somewhere in the middle. To muddy the distinction even further, it is rare to always fall at the same point on the scale every day, by which I mean that some days/weeks/seasons you may desire more or less interaction with others than you usually do.
Our society tends to favor the outgoing personalities over the introspective ones, but both are natural and normal, phobias and anxiety disorders aside. There is no wrong way to be. No matter which end of the spectrum you generally fall on, it’s possible to make solo full-time RVing work for you, as long as you’re willing to put the effort in. Which is really the answer to any facet of the full-timing equation: as long as you’re passionate enough about it to put in the work, you’ll find a way to make it a reality.
So, have I ever felt lonely while I’ve been on the road? Of course. I’m not sure there is a person out there who hasn’t felt lonely at some point in their life. In fact you can be in a crowd of people and still feel lonely if you feel like you have little to talk about or common interests to share. Which brings me to the next important point we need to delve into before getting to the tips, and that’s the kind of interaction you’re looking for with others.
Some people thrive off of deep conversations, where you discuss your dreams and desires, your likes and dislikes, things that drive you, deeply held beliefs, stuff like that. And on the other end some prefer to keep it more superficial, talking about the weather, what you had for lunch that day, or about upcoming holiday plans.
In our society, when you’re meeting someone for the first time it’s normative to stick to superficial conversation, and if you ask someone you don’t know well a deep question they are likely to get uncomfortable. Most conversations start with superficial topics, and then as you get to know a person better over a period of time you may choose to get into deeper conversations, but as we all know not all relationships progress like that.
Now I bet all of us have at least a couple people, family members or close friends, which whom we share those deep bonds, but in general some will crave deeper conversation, and some won’t. There is some theorizing that people who tend more toward the extrovert side of things prefer to stay more on the superficial end of the conversation pool, making small talk with a lot of different people, and those who identify as introverts prefer deeper connections but with fewer people, but again that’s just more labeling and not super important to the topic of combating loneliness.
Again, it’s not right or wrong to prefer one type over another, it’s just important to note that there is a difference and that difference will influence how you go about finding your ideal mix of conversation on the road.
Since this post as already reasonably long and there is still quite a bit to go, I’m going to cut it off here. Part 2 will be about how you can make solo full-timing work no matter if you prefer a little or a lot of contact with others, and superficial or deeper conversations. Stay tuned!
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Cherie and Chris of www.technomadia.com came to visit this past Tuesday, what a blast! That would be the first photo in this post. The others are coworkers (and friends!) who work here at the Lodge. In order from the top: Marisa from California and Nathan from Washington, Dele from Oregon (taken at Custer just this past Monday), and Alex, who’s lived in South Dakota a few years.
For part 2, click here.
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