Old-timers and even newcomers are griping about how crowded RTR 2017 is (500 rigs and counting!) We did the same last year, and the year before, but this time we mean it. It looks and feels like a chaotic, no-amenities RV park, with vans, cars, RVs, trailers, and trucks practically sitting on top of each other.
Some of us blame our leader, Bob Wells, for taking to YouTube with his evangelism (eVANgelism, get it? Har har!) Sure enough, when he asked at yesterday’s morning meeting how many came because of his videos, well over half the people in attendance raised their hands.
But this population explosion points to something else besides YouTube popularity. It, along with the huge number of other vandwelling video channels, is a sign of the growing discomfort Americans are feeling. Something is clearly wrong when so many people are turning their lives upside down to escape.
At a women’s meeting yesterday, as each ‘newbie’ got up to share her excitement and happiness with this new way of life, an elderly woman with a cane stood slowly and said, “I did not choose this. I was forced into it.” Her voice broke. “I need to learn how to live this way.”
It was a heartbreaking reminder of the homelessness so many Americans are suffering. Vandwellers-by-choice are defensive about this issue. “I am not homeless,” we say. “I am houseless. My home has wheels.”
But many of us have lost homes, family, friends–everything. We are running from a combination of financial strain, societal judgement, inhuman work stress, injustice, pollution, traffic, noise, and general negativity. We are running toward freedom, nature, harmony, peace, and friendship. We are in pursuit of happiness.
Many thousands of others are still in their “sticks & bricks” homes and apartments, watching videos, reading blogs, dreaming of breaking out and joining us.
It makes me wonder, what has become of our culture that so many people feel the need to run away from it?