I started with my love of gadgets. That'll be obvious, and I make no apologies. Gear freaks, unite! That even carries over into this blog: I'm fiddling with the layout, the background, discovering how to install widgets and maps and stuff. All that was predictable, if you know me even a little, and it's all good.
What I hadn't expected was the discovery of communities.
I discovered blogs and YouTube channels. I knew about blogs, even tried a few times to maintain one. But YouTube! I now know that if I want to figure out how to do something, someone out there has probably made a video showing how. That's been true for the video editing software I use, Apple's Final Cut Pro X, and for various other tech-y questions. But starting with a kid named Eric from Olympia, WA, and branching out in all directions as far as the eye can see, I discovered people writing and making videos about themselves. Telling their stories. Reaching out. Intersecting conversations on Facebook and YouTube and WordPress and Blogger.
Lots of different kinds of people; lots of life styles, linked by the desire to spend time "on the road." All, to some degree or another, rejecting the standard narrative of houses and jobs.
There's Eric and his band of younger, somewhat scruffy cyber-friends who sometimes meet up in person (or would they say "IRL?") Selfies on steroids, talking into GoPro's on sticks.
There's folks who make a living working from home -- except home is an RV, and moves around. Lots of these folks are tech types or writers or editors of one or another description, who can seemingly do their thing from almost anywhere and know a lot about cell phone signal boosters. These folks tend to be younger, hip, and able to afford big Class A rigs. They stop off for wine-tasting at California vineyards, rather than join Eric and his pals at Dick's bar in Panama City, FL, where "they treat you like a dick."
There's retired folks of all descriptions and economic situations.
Some huddle in crowded commercial "parks" and "resorts" in places like Yuma and Palm Springs. Some get as far away from that as they can in "dry camps."
These folks gather for events like the "rubber tramp rendezvous" over near Quartzite, and then disperse, some of them deciding to travel together for a while. (There's an event here in Tucson in March.) Communities glued together by motor vehicles and petroleum, by internet connectedness. Sharing lore, learning from elders, mentoring the newbs and the younguns. Some loners, some almost conventionally social by nature. In touch even when physically separate. Some couples, some single. Lots of pets.
All of these people reaching out ... posting words and pictures and videos. Often very much in the original mold of "web logs:" Here's what I did today. But more often than not, Here's how I installed my solar system, or Here's a great recipe for X that I can cook in my little RV kitchen. Here's a great book I'm reading. Lots of reviews and advice on where to go: Boondocking locations on Western BLM land, Walmart parking lots and other ways to spend a night for free while going from here to there, roadside rest stops which permit overnight parking but where safety might be a little sketchy. Some blogs are full of misspelled words, some are carefully written. Some videos almost professional, some hard to watch. Bottles cast into the ocean of contemporary chaos, from little beaches of private sanity.
It's more interesting, more diverse than I thought. It's fascinating, and a little scary. It's -- an adventure! See you on the road!