Meeting up with what we call ‘Our Australian Friends’ earlier this year on one of their trips to the UK set me off reminiscing about all the people we have met thanks to our motorhome and how much having the ‘van enriches our lives.
We met ‘Our Australian Friends’ one cold and wet January day on the campsite in Ronda in southern Spain six-years ago, when they knocked on the steamed up window of our ‘van and in true blunt Aussie style asked, ‘do you want to come over to our ‘van for a drink before we kill each other’. We agreed with some trepidation; fortunately they turned out not to be serial killers and we have been pals ever since.
Also on our ‘gap year’ we found someone who shared our outlook when we met a lovely Italian woman in El Rocio. She was camped next door and lubricated by red wine, we sorted out the world in a mixture of English, Italian and Spanish. A couple of years ago we drove to Italy to see her again and reinforced the feeling we had that here was a kindred spirit. Since that trip she has moved house and we are sad that for the time being we seem to have lost touch.
We have also found some new people we really like spending time with from attending the regular Devon Conversions Owners Club rallies and contributing to the group’s online forum. The happy accident of buying the same make of motorhome doesn’t necessarily lead to a flourishing friendship but it turns out it is a good step on the way. Once the conversations meanders away from why you picked your particular model and you find other common ground, a friendship can start to unfold.
Two other motorhome acquaintances introduced themselves by getting in touch via my blog. They were a like-minded couple and motorhomers who took the trouble to make a comment, this developed in to an email conversation, escalated into face-to-face meetings over the last few years which adds joy to our lives.
None of this is to forget our wonderful long-standing and much valued friends, some of whom have their own campervan or tent and are prepared to spend some of their holiday time with us. These are people we have decades of history with and who suffer our imperfections without judgement [although not necessarily without comment]. We have a bucket full of good memories from these weekends and these shared experiences consolidate and sustain these friendships.
Finally, through writing this blog I have made many online connections with the Financial Independence and Retiring Early (FIRE) community. I have learnt so much about being frugal and staying optimistic from these positive, knowledgeable and well organised folk.
By happy coincidence, I was editing this blog post when my weekly Brain Pickings email arrived in my inbox. The wonderful article on reclaiming friendship says much better than I can how I feel about this aspect of my life. I do hope that, thanks to our campervan and my blogs, Mr BOTRA and I will make new connections with people we like, our friendships will be strengthened and, who knows, maybe news ones will start to develop.