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Finding Friends for Kids on the Road

As we headed out on the road, the kids were a little concerned about missing their friends. We assured them they could call or email anytime and that helped. As we've been on the road for 9 months, they occasionally touch base with friends, but not very often. They like to keep up with friends they meet along the way too, but also only occasionally.

As we move from place to place, there is so much to discover that we stay happily busy. The kids are exploring, learning, hiking, climbing, and just engrossed in where we are. When we get overwhelmed with so much to discover, we take some intentional downtime and again, the kids are exploring, learning, hiking, climbing, and just engrossed in where we are. So even during downtime, these kids are hard at it - whether they're backpacking a national park or racing bikes around a campground.Fortunately, our three are each others' best friends. That is NOT to say life isn't full of fighting and bickering, we have a LOT of that. We had it in our stick house, we have it in our RV, and I imagine we'll have it wherever life takes us next.
As much as they drive each other crazy, they also spur each other on. Picking oranges turns into a covert operation with all three planning strategy to avoid detection. Let's ride bikes turns into a race or obstacle course. Go outside and play (a common phrase around here) turns into all three arguing different ideas until they morph into a ridiculous game incorporating the ideas and usually ending in fits of giggles.
While they have fun wherever we are, they do love making new friends. During the summer, they found many vacationing families at campgrounds. They really enjoyed meeting RVing families like the Ryans, Loeckens, Wagners, Parents, and Creasys. Then the FOTR Rally of course was an amazing time of pure kid heaven! They played with kids all day every day, and made great friends I think they'll keep in touch with for a long time. (So will the adults!)

As I stay pretty connected online, I watch for families in the area and opportunities to meet. And with the convenient Family Finder, it's now easy to locate other families. Allen and I have really enjoyed meeting other RVing parents, so the kids meeting friends is a bonus. To help them stay in touch, we recently set up [highly monitored] accounts on a website and they can call or email as always.
I don't think they'll keep in touch daily though. I think, like us, they're learning to make great friends who are able to pick up where we left off, no matter how long it's been. That's easy when we have so much in common, like being crazy adventurous families who live on the road!

Want to read about how other families find friends? Check out the FOTR Blog Carnival!


Soultravelers3 said…
Sounds fun! We've been on the road as a family for the last 5 years but we only have one kiddo ( so friends are more important) and we travel the world so most of our camping has been in Europe and we are often in places where no one speaks our languages. ( We're monolinguals raising a fluent trilingual/triliterate).

That friend finder and rally stuff sounds cool and hopefully when we do our road trip in the USA this fall we can check that out.
Stephanie said…
Thanks so much for writing this post, Margie. I sometimes worry about my 4-year-old b/c we haven't been staying anywhere longer than 2 weeks...and that's hardly enough time to get to know other kids.

You make valid points though. She has her sister (and they are wonderful friends). She has us. She has the whole wide world. And...there's always Skype for talking with grandparents and cousins back home. :)
activated said…
Great post Margie.
@Stephanie, we also typically never stay more than a day or two in one location - 2 weeks in one spot was a long time when our son was growing up. Ours was an only child with a built in people magnet. He grew up on the road and has friends scattered all over the country. When he was 4 he'd play all day with kids and never bothered to learn their names. It just wasn't important to him. But as a teen he grew to be more selective and developed a smaller circle of friends that he bonded with and kept in constant contact with. I'm just hijacking Margie's blog to try to put your mind at ease.
Erin said…
Such a great point!
I totally agree with the benefit of having friends in each other.

We all have learned to navigate through each others personalities and the kids will take these lessons with them forever.