The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous is Almost Here!
While I love living cheaply off-grid in a car, van or RV sometimes it does get a bit lonely. Even though the majority of us who chose this life are at least partially loners (and sometimes extreme loners) some part of us usually still longs for contact with like-minded people. We probably need a certain amount of space and alone-time even while meeting with them; but still it’s normal and healthy to want some time and connection with others. Up till now the difficulty has been finding them! Society frowns on unconventional living so most of us keep a very low profile, trying hard not be noticed. Plus, there just aren’t many of us and we’re widely scattered around many cities and a huge amount of public land.
I always found it difficult to make a connection with other nomads so I decided to try to create a gathering place for us once a year. My hope was that if we came together we could form a network of friendships that would grow and expand and eventually become a tribe. I took the Mountain Men of the early 1800s in the Rocky Mountains as my guide. They were extreme loners and went very long period of times without seeing another human being. But even as introverted as they were they still gathered one time a year in a Fur Rendezvous as they called it. The main intent was to do business by selling their furs and buying a years supplies of staples, but that quickly became secondary to the huge party it became. The real purpose was to see old friends and make new ones.
So following that pattern I posted notice on this website of the first Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (commonly abbreviated as the RTR) in January, 2011 in Quartzsite, AZ. That first year we had 45 people join us and we all made such wonderful friendships that it was a huge success. This year, January 5, 2016 will be the 6th one and I’m sure the largest yet.
In order to help you find it, I’ve made a video of the route to the RTR. It should be embedded here:
If not, either click or cut and paste this into your browser to see it:
I chose Quartzsite because it has an abundance of free camping on BLM land it would be easy to find a place large enough to hold us all. And while it is a tiny town, every winter it explodes with RVers who are coming for all the good weather, vendors tents and especially for the Big Tent RV Show. That’s a huge tent filled with every kind of thing any RVer could ever want, and many things they don’t! It’s just about as entertaining as a circus!
One other reason so many nomads gather in Quartzsite is it has the logistics we require to thrive in the desert; everything we need is readily available. You can easily:
- camp for free,
- take a shower,
- dump your trash,
- dump your tanks,
- find water,
- get mail and packages delivered.
- buy propane,
- buy and install a solar power system
There are four main reasons you should come to the RTR:
- Forming friendships: I’ts impossible for me to describe the quantity and quality of life-long friendships that are formed here. I’m not talking about casual friends who are really just an acquaintance, no, I’m talking about intense bonds that endure through time, distance and space. Many of the friends I made at that first RTR remain like brothers and sisters to me even though we often go long periods of time without contact. The bonds we form are greater than that.
- Finding a Job: For many of us, the main thing it offered was up to 4-8 booths set-up by Workcamping employers who were there to hire people to work for the upcoming summer season. Many of them are in National Forest campgrounds as Campground Hosts which pays for every hour you work and gives you a free site. Best of all, you are in a beautiful National Forest, a place most of us wanted to be in anyway! If you are willing to work remote, it’s very likely you will leave there with a job for the summer.
- Support system for new Nomads: Over time the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous evolved and now its primary mission has subtly changed to be training ground for newcomers. It can be quite a shock to the system to go from a conventional life to a nomadic life in a car, van or RV, so quickly finding a support system is very important! That’s mainly what it’s become. Of course it remains a time to relax and spend time with old friends for many of us, but for just as many it’s a lifeline that runs between their old life and their new one. So if you are new, come for the support; if you are an old-timer, come to give support! Everyone wins and comes away richer and fuller because of it!
- Learning the ropes: Everything about being a nomad is new and requires a lot of learning. By far the very best way to truly discover it is to be in it and see it done by others. For that reason we offer 9 different seminars and numerous smaller classes covering many of the details of vandwelling. Better than that though, nearly every one of us is so excited and passionate about our nomadic lives that we love to share them and talk to others about it. If one of your questions isn’t covered, just make a friend and ask him, he or she will be glad to help!
Hopefully you’re either planning to come to this one coming up next month, or are planning to come to future ones, either way here are the details you need to find us including the schedule and maps.
I’m making Videos on my good friends James and Kyndal’s YouTube Channel. See them here:
Thanks for supporting this site by using these links to Amazon. I’ll make a small percentage on your purchase and it won’t cost you anything, even if you buy something different.
Here is the Schedule for this years Rubber Tramp Rendezvous followed by maps to it.