Back in the day, before we started this crazy nomadic life, I had a rich social life. I was a part of many communities: work, church, family, running group, volunteer work — just to name a few. I had good, long-time friends that I saw and interacted with on a daily or weekly basis. Going on the road has meant leaving that behind. Sure, we stay in touch through email, text and social media, but it’s not the same as having face-to-face meaningful contact. I’ve missed that.
Life on the road can seem isolating. Campers are a friendly bunch, but we are usually going in different directions, leaving little opportunity to make real connections. We did meet one couple on the road and have become great friends. That worked because our travels paralleled for a few weeks, giving us a chance to get to know each other. But that was the exception, rather than the norm.
Until we came back to Florida. Staying in one spot for this long (2.5 months), has given me the chance to settle in and make new friends. There are lots of organized activities here and people are so friendly and welcoming – I feel I’ve become part of a new community. I see my friends at aerobics class in the morning, and meet the girls for games in the afternoon. I can take favorite dishes to the potlucks, bond over craft classes, and stop to chat as we pass each other during the day. I even have a family community nearby with our son, his girlfriend and her family. Every weekend we get together for food and fun. It’s been wonderful! It is a place that I can see myself returning to year after year.
Unfortunately, that is not to be. Sean and Marissa will be relocating this year for her residency program (somewhere in the US, TBD). I also learned during our stay that this KOA campground has been sold and will be closing April 1, 2020. Our new friends are all researching alternative winter homes, and many won’t be returning here next year. It seems a shame, but it’s understandable. This KOA location originally was well outside of town, but explosive growth has surrounded us and turned this property into very valuable land. It makes business sense to sell.
Friday we say goodbye to our new friends and move on. We are going to spend a couple of weeks visiting and re-connecting with our old friends in South Florida. That will be wonderful too!
Staying here has been a learning experience. I’ve learned that I NEED time to be part of a community, for at least some of the year. Remote interaction can only go so far. I can get that sense of community by staying near friends and family for some extended period of time (more than just a week or two). Or we can actively seek out campgrounds that have similar opportunities to interact and meet people. They are out there, we just have to find them and work that into our plan. If I can just feed that part of my soul sometimes, then the rest of the time we can fly free and adventure.
The possibilities are endless.