You hear it all the time: “RVers are the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.” Is it true? Why do you think that perception persists?
Friends in the Facebook Group “Camping Out With God” offered a few suggestions. After noting that RVers, on the whole, are quick to offer help to fellow campers in need and are always willing to offer advice, food, and a listening ear, FB contributors said that the reason for the extraordinary “niceness” of our tribe could be because:
- Most of us have no particular place to go and no particular time to get there, so we’ll take time for others (I recently saw emblazoned across the rear of a fifth wheeler the words, “Well, Yes, Actually I Do Have All Day”)
- For many, the normal pressures of life have been loosened up–no timeclock, no assignment deadlines, no kids to raise, no lawns to mow, etc.; so we are in “permanent relax mode.” Relaxed folks are nice folks.
- Being travelers and campers, we have common interests and shared experiences; so we just enjoy one another’s company
To these good thoughts, I’d like to add a few random musings of my own:
- While a lot of the normal pressures have been relaxed, there is a whole new set of pressures in RVing that we never had to face in our former lives (deciding where we’re going to live every few weeks and finding a way to get there, emptying black tanks, rationing water, sweeping sand out of the living room ten times a day, sitting for hours on the interstate, having to re-route around floods and fires, etc.); so we quickly learn to “go with the flow” and roll with the punches. This makes us more tolerant than perhaps we were when emergencies were rare events and not regular occurrences. Such forbearance and tolerance are vital in personal relationships.
- Being out on our own, far from family and friends, makes us–like Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire–dependent on “the kindness of strangers.” Knowing that we may be the ones needing help the next time, we resolve to do what we can for others in their time of need.
- We shouldn’t ignore the fact that the people making this claim are usually RVers themselves, so it’s an observation that indirectly makes the one making it look good too. (That’s not to say that our tribe isn’t extraordinarily nice; but we are probably a bit biased, and the assertion may be a little self-serving.)
- Because we believe this characterization to be true, we are motivated to live up to our own reputation. We don’t want to be the exception to the rule.
- The kindness shown to us by others motivates us to “go and do likewise.” That might have been the motivation of those who showed kindness to us
- Because of our unique and fragile situation, we learn to lean heavily on God for help. This gives us strength, empathy, and the ability to help others.
- For many of us, camping has reintroduced us to the natural world. Regular interactions with God’s creation in nature is good for the soul and makes us better people
- But let’s be honest, our interaction with one another is by necessity transitory and limited–as much as we would like it to be otherwise. Maybe we are just not around one another long enough for you to see my bad side (I have at least one) and me to see yours. After all, everyone is born a sinner. None is righteous, no not one! Not even RVers.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4.32)
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6.10)