I mentioned in my first post that my first major stop after I leave the East Coast will be the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in Quartzsite, Arizona. I’m going there to learn more about how to live well and safely on the road, and to hopefully meet some other RVers I can caravan with.
I like my alone time when I’m working or arting, but I also like people. I can be something of an introvert in creative mode, but after that, I wanna get out and meet people and laugh and have insanely deep conversations and a few drinks and a lot of fun. The RTR is all about that kind of stuff. Here’s an aerial view of last year’s encampment, courtesy of Bob Wells, the originator of the event:
Attitudes Toward Full-Timing
I’m aware that many folks may look on this whole undertaking as something kind of crazy, and that’s okay. I don’t need everyone to understand, I just hope they accept and support what I feel I need to do in my life right now. But I’m not without awareness of or appreciation for your concern for me. After all, being alone out in the world is a bit scary. And I’m aware you may think this whole RTR thing just sounds like some big nutso party. I assure you, it’s not. It’s more about people finding their tribe.
But don’t take it from me. Here’s an article from this week’s New York Times, all about the event, and two of the main organizers, both of whom were in large part responsible for me even learning that a full-time RV life was possible.
Now, I’m not at all thrilled that the reporter chose to focus on the more fringe elements of the RTR in the article introduction, because it doesn’t fairly represent the fact that most folks who attend are pretty run-of-the-mill, if you forget that their homes have wheels.
So I wish this RTR article hadn’t led off with the freaky bookshop-in-a-bus (though I’m sure it’s pretty cool), but it did and there it is. Still, if you can get past some of the more “out there” stuff, there’s some really good info on the RTR and on Quartzsite to help you understand it better—especially the part about how fast full time RVing is growing.
Here’s another story about that, or at least related to it. I tend to disagree with the guy explaining why RVing is exploding. He thinks it’s because jobs are booming and people have the discretionary income to spend. I think it’s just the opposite: Regular people haven’t shared much in the recent boom, and many are still recovering from the crash of 2008 and are really struggling to make ends meet. It’s also largely because of the dire lack of affordable housing in this country. This being the case, it makes the ability to save a good deal by living full time in an RV very attractive, without sacrificing quality of life.
Young People Want More
That, and the fact that Millennials have taken a look around and realized they’re probably not going to be better off than their parents financially. They largely either backed Bernie Sanders in the last election or stayed home, because they have no delusions about current generations making it easy for them to save for a decent retirement, or not leaving them holding the bag for crippling taxes, degraded social services, deteriorating infrastructure and a crapped-up environment.
Generation Z have no intention of slaving away their whole lives to save for a future they believe they may never see. Many are rejecting that whole traditional lifestyle and getting out to live their lives now, while they’re young and healthy enough to enjoy it, and I don’t blame them. I sure wish I’d started earlier.
But at least I am starting, and that’s pretty darned exciting.
Shit’s Gettin’ Real
Yesterday, my solar panels arrived. I wanted to wait to buy them later, but with the 30% tariff our government just imposed on imported panels, I couldn’t afford to wait. Yes, I’d much prefer to buy them domestically, but I simply cannot afford to pay twice the money for the same essential item, especially because I need four of them. So they’re in my living room while I decide whether it makes more sense to install them before I leave, or just to wait until I get to the RTR, where there are quite a few folks who are expert at installing them for relatively little money.
Meanwhile, I continue to sell or give away stuff I won’t need and don’t want to store, and to gather the things I need to customize Wildheart for our journeys. More on that next time. Till then, thanks for reading, and let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to know about. I’ll consider covering it in future posts.