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 :)