Why You Need to Find a Like-Minded Community

Why You Need to Find A Like Minded Community

Living an alternative lifestyle and making choices that are different from the people around you can make for some lonely experiences.  Imagine being the only vegetarian at a BBQ, being single at a party full of couples, or living in a van when all your friends own houses…no one is doing anything wrong in these situations, but you still feel a bit left out.

The fear of being different can be enough for someone to quit before they’ve even started.  Or it might make their alternative lifestyle experiment short-lived.  These feelings and fears are completely valid but it still sucks when you don’t feel like you can share your passion with your friends and family.

That’s why it’s so important to find a community of like-minded people who are doing the same things you are because they’re going to make you feel normal.  They’re going to encourage you.  They’re going to inspire you.

When Mat and I meet long-term travellers, van dwellers, vegetarians, or basically any other person who shares one of our alternative lifestyle choices, it feels great because we realize that we’re not alone and that we’re not crazy to be doing what we do.

That feeling of belonging is one of the reasons we had so much fun meeting up with Julien & Melissa the other day.  They’re a couple working to create a worldwide van life and travel community by sharing travel stories on their Go-Van website.

We planned to meet up with them while we were house-sitting in Montreal last month, and in true community-building style they invited a bunch of their friends to come along.  I can’t even describe how good it felt to drive around town with 3 other vans, to meet other van dwellers and to tour their vintage camper van.  It felt like we belonged to a movement, to something bigger than just the two of us, and I think that feeling is essential for anyone looking to live an alternative lifestyle.

Happy Exploring :)

Danielle

28 thoughts on “Why You Need to Find a Like-Minded Community

  1. Matt

    That’s so cool to meet up with likeminded people. I find myself reading a ton of “alternative” lifestyle blogs these days because it absolutely makes me feel more normal about the life we want to live. Hope to see you on the road sometime when we take off next year :)

    1. Danielle Chabassol Post author

      Hi Matt – thanks for checking out the post – I’m glad you’ve found online sources of “normalcy” :) Definitely keep us posted on your travels – we’d love to meet up on the road!

  2. Rob Roach

    Still working the 9 to 5, but a lot of changes since the spring. Sold the 4 bedroom, 2 bath house and moved across country into a 600sq foot apartment. Gave back the promotion at work for a lot less stress! Some friends didn’t understand it, but many did. Really enjoy your blog and FB page!

    1. Danielle Chabassol Post author

      Hey Rob,

      I’m so happy to hear that you’ve made choices that helped you eliminate some of the stress in your life! That’s amazing!

      Thanks for the positive feedback and for checking out the blog, too :)

      Happy exploring!

      Danielle

  3. John

    I love the way you two “roll”. Its truly inspiring. I remember as a teenager jumping into the large camper with mom and friends and setting out in our “clampet mobile”. We went from Pa to Montana and it was awsome. Now im a starving artist with a college dept and trying to think of what me and my girlfriend (of 6yrs now) can do to live comfortably on a budget. It would be awsome to live a lifestyle like yours even for a little while. I may have questions to ask in the future (like how to get an art carrierlike yours, let alone on the road) but for now ill just be flabbergasted as to the drilliance of your life.

    1. Danielle Chabassol Post author

      Hi John – thanks so much for checking out the blog and sharing your story! It sounds like you had some great times in the clampet mobile :D

      It’s tough to figure out what kind of lifestyle meets all of the criteria we’re all looking for – comfort, stability, affordability, adventure, community, etc. so I understand what you and your girlfriend are going through. The best thing is to start by making a list of your priorities, and then taking steps to make them your real priorities (by actually doing them and not just talking about them). It sounds so simple but it was the hardest thing for us to do.

      Have fun trying new things, having lots of talks together, doing lots of planning, and if you chip away at it, you’ll get to a place where you’ve created a real life that matches your dream life. I hope this isn’t all too cheesy for you!

      Take care and happy exploring :)

      Danielle

  4. Terri

    Reading through this post, I found myself nodding my head saying “yes, yes, yes, yes!” I so agree with this. Now that I’ve made some big life changes moving into an RV, I’m finding more people who think it’s a cool idea and support me in it than I used to have when I had my library job back east and people would look at you funny and say “you want to live in a TRAILER?” (as if I had three heads sprouting off of my body. I’m sure you know that look and tone of voice very well…) Or, “you want to give up this job where you have so many resources at your disposal to go clean up bunny’s butts? Are you crazy?”

    So many times, I doubted myself but then I thought to myself to consider the source behind those questions, and to know that that person just couldn’t comprehend of an alternative lifestyle. It’s so great when you meet people who just “Get it.” And I saw your video on this couple, they were really cool. Thanks for both the blog post and the video!

    1. Danielle Chabassol Post author

      Terri – have these naysayers ever seen how cute bunny bums are? Probably not. I totally get why you’d move into a trailer and take care of animals and I think it’s awesome! I hope you’re loving your new life and having fun with the people who “get” you <3

    2. Kurt

      I’ve recently become interested in mobile living and became interested in a more simple lifestyle after the financial meltdown in the U.S. in 2008/9. I sent some links to my siblings today and one of them replied with remarks like “giving up” or “seeing a doctor or counselor” for my burnout from maintaining the big home I currently live in. I replied that maybe when they become my age, maybe they will see things differently. Then again, maybe not.

      1. Danielle Chabassol Post author

        Hi Kurt, I’m sorry to hear that you aren’t getting support from your family about your interest in living minimally. We made a video about how going against the grain can be hard if you want to check it out here:
        https://youtu.be/1DncQjWz_RM

        We had similar reactions from friends and family at first, but now they see that we’re happy and fully support us. I think that change is hard for everyone involved, whether it’s directly or indirectly.

        One suggestion that might help is for you to try out mobile living on a small scale to see if you like it before you jump in long-term. That might give you and your family more confidence in your plans & ideas.

        Thank you for sharing your experience and happy exploring :)

  5. Daniel Desjarlais

    Excellent blog..i user to travel a lot before having kids( 2 Nice daughters)..and the exploration of the world help you to improve your discernement about réal things/persons and phony stuff .Sadly , pour moderne society encourage more consumption than sharing ideas and basic stuff. Live your life plenty!

    1. Marianna

      Daniel, I agree with you about the modern society, but also I get so excited to learn about other people exploring alternatives none the less :)
      Maybe this story of a family with 6 kids traveling the world will inspire you!
      http://discovershareinspire.com

      Best wishes,
      Marianna

  6. Dakota

    The toughest part about leaving our home in Oregon to travel was losing our fantastic community. I get where you’re coming from. Sometimes it feels like we are different in everything we do – vegan diet, traveling full-time, not having kids, and so on. It’s harder to find those things on the road unless we’re very intentional about it.

    Meetup.com and Facebook groups have been great to us, and we’ve also met wonderful people through our blog, which is self-selecting to some extent. To anyone reading this, I’d highly recommend finding whatever you’re into and finding a group online, even if you’re in a place for a short amount of time. Even overseas, we’ve found community quickly.

    Keep up the great writing and adventuring. Your YouTube channel is awesome! Power on, fellow travelers. See you on the road sometime.

    1. Danielle Chabassol Post author

      Hi Dakota,

      Thank you for checking out this post and for sharing the Meetup.com link – we’ll definitely check it out and I hope anyone else reading your comment will too :)

      I had a peek at your blog and it sounds like you and Chelsea have had some pretty epic van & bike adventures over the past couple of years – so cool!!

      It would be great if we could meet up sometime – keep us posted on your travel plans and let us know if you’re ever in Canada.

      Take care and happy exploring :)

      Danielle

  7. Rej

    Bonjour à vous,
    Je vous ai découvert par l’article du journal le Soleil. J’aime beaucoup ce que vous faites, ça m’inspire. J’aimerais suivre votre bloque mais je suis un dinosaure qui ne parle pas bien l’anglais et qui le lis encore moins bien. Une version française de votre blog peut-il être possible?
    Merci!

    1. Danielle Chabassol Post author

      Bonjour Rej, merci d’avoir lu l’article dans le Soleil, et d’être venu lire notre blogue aussi. Nous sommes fiers d’être bilingue et ce serait bien d’avoir les moyens de tout traduire en français mais malheureusement nous n’avons pas les ressources pour le faire en ce moment. Merci encore et bonne année!

      1. Francoise

        Bonjour,

        je viens de decouvrir, votre blog. Et il fait reflechir ! Je comprend l anglais mais je ne le parle pas bien .

  8. Audrey

    Thanks for the post! Someone told me once that I need to find “my people.” I’ve been able to do this at home, but I’ve just recently starting finding more of my people in the blogging community.

    I lived out of my truck for a period of time. I spent time couch-surfing and camping (https://40.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m5bg43jW5X1rwcsgzo1_1280.jpg) It was an unforgettable experience, and I’d love to find a way to do that again. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Danielle Chabassol Post author

      Hi Audrey – thank you for sharing that photo of you camping in your truck – looks like so much fun! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and hope you continue connecting with like-minded people – there’s no better feeling. Happy exploring :)

  9. Debbie

    This is really exciting to read about. Something that we’ve thought about but haven’t yet really tried to do, is find community. We are a couple with a 5 year-old, living out of our LA West Ford Conversion van, and have only been doing it for about 5 months, but have already seen and experienced so much, all across the US. It would be great to be able to find other van dwellers in all of the states we go to. This has inspired me to be more outgoing when we are stopped at campsites or rest areas and see other vans that looked “lived in” like ours. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling like it’s too hard and maybe the comfort of a tiny apartment would be better and easier, but then we stop to think about where that apartment would be and remind ourselves that we love so many places and still have so many to see!

    We are hoping to get our passports next year so we can finally go up into Canada and explore up there!

    This is a great blog and I’m going to love reading more!

  10. Andrea Yurkiw

    Hi! My husband and I are starting to plan our vanlife for next year. Super excited for it all! I’m wondering how we can find the community out there? Is there a network or instagram account or facebook group to group to see where everyone is at to meet up with them when we get on the road?

    1. Danielle Chabassol Post author

      Hi Andrew,

      Congratulations on planning your vanlife adventures for next year! You must be so excited :)

      There are a lot of great websites, Instagram accounts, meetups, FB groups, and lovely people in vans out there! Here are a few I can think of off the top of my head:

      http://www.go-van.com/
      http://www.vanlife.com.au/
      https://www.instagram.com/van.crush/
      https://www.instagram.com/vanlifediaries/
      https://www.instagram.com/vanlifeideas/
      https://www.instagram.com/wheresmyofficenow/
      http://www.cheaprvliving.com/gatherings/
      https://mrandmrsadventure.com/

      Hope that helps get you started :)

      Take care and happy exploring,

      Danielle & Mat

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