Where the Tribe is Family

What did we do back in pre-Internet, pre-Facebook days to mingle with others who have similar interests? We formed face-to-face clubs and gatherings to share tips, tricks, and discuss the joy of delving deep into a hobby or shared interests.

Fast forward to now, add Facebook groups and the Internet and bonds of common interest form quickly and start virtually. The RV community at large is no different, with more special-focus Facebook Groups on specific models, brands, and even aspects of the RV culture and roaming lifestyle available on just about any related topic.

But beyond the virtual knowledge sources, in the Travato world we have the Travato Tribe. Like my old days of sport cars and when passing a Porsche on the road, we’d wave at each other in that secret club sort of wave, Travato owners do similar acknowledgements and tend to approach each other, though complete strangers initially, in parking lots and at campgrounds. What usually ensues is a lively discussion of issues, improvements, places visited, and a new friendship is started. I’ve met complete strangers driving Travatos who after the conversation offered me their driveway for the night should I ever pass their way.

In my current Travato travels, I’ve had the pleasure of attending several meet-ups, from informal groups of 4 to 5 vans to an Arizona rally in March with 100 Class B Vans (of which about 90 were Travatos). At such events, everyone seems to instantly be your friend, and you typically drive away after the rally with a handful of new, close friends and lots of driveway camping offers. Sharing food, parts, mods (owner-installed improvements), invaluable tips on places to stay (and where not to), and the ever-appreciated intelligence on free dump sites and where to get fresh water, are some of the tribe bonuses beyond the friendships.

Wandering the country as I am in this self-contained, mostly self-reliant camper van, I can certainly travel and discover things on my own. But having the Travato Tribe and its hive wisdom makes this experience all the better and open doors and location knowledge more than I ever would on my own. And I’m happy to report the tribe’s provided a slew of new friends who would give me the shirt off their back, as the saying goes, if needed.

Wisdom says it takes a village to raise a child, and similarly my nomadic experience is all the better having the Travato Tribe to learn from and connect with. As I head out on an extended nomadic period of traveling America today, I will likely stay at numerous Travato Tribe driveways across the country. This tribe is my support family, no matter where I roam in my Travato.

Maine and Mods

My absence from posting here has not been for lack of stories to share, but from being immersed in another round of mods (owner-made modifications) to Tamasté and a friend’s Travato. After my stent recovery time in Ohio and Michigan, I traveled east to Maine, expecting to eventually travel New England and around Canada’s eastern shores and islands.

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I’ve been staying at a friend’s house in Maine atop a high hill with a breathtaking views of distant mountains across the horizon. Despite the ever-present bugs (that’s Maine in the summer) it’s a beautiful place to spend some time and focus on making a final (right!) sweeping round of mods for efficiency and finally achieving an ideal (for me) writing space inside Tamasté.

Aside from the modification work, this area of Maine with its quaint towns and rolling, lushly treed landscape feels apart from the noise going on in the country and world. Having live lobster readily available is not a bad perk either, and the local town’s Maine culture and ways enjoyable to experience.

The culmination of my time here is my friend’s annual Travato meet-up going on this weekend, a gathering of 20 Travatos from around the country. One of the interesting things about Travato van life is the Travato Tribe who are sociable in packs. Such meet-ups are how this culture of like-minded (at least relative to Travatos and van life) folks to get together, share food and stories from the road.

While I hope to spend the next two months traveling New England and Canada, I’m still uncertain where I want to winter this year: Florida (like last year), or perhaps the Southwest (Arizona/New Mexico). What is certain is 2020 is my year to explore the Western U.S. states and coast. Looking forward to the sunshine and amazing geography across America’s vast west.