And now my thoughts on the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous of 2018…
Humming, the quiet humming of 3,000 people gathered. Why are they here? Why am I here? Searching for comfort? Community? or perhaps meaning. Eighteen months living in my van, Sherry, according to some means I could be a mentor. I love teaching people new things and being helpful, but hearing someone else say that I meet the qualifications of being a mentor without even trying feels interesting. My friend Randy Vining has been living out of vehicles for over forty years! I’d say he should be the greatest mentor, and he is, through his poetry. The obvious reason everyone gathered in the dusty desert South of I-10 is to hear Bob Wells describe in detail his ways of surviving in a vehicle. His mission in my opinion is clear and honorable. I have yet to met any truly bad people in the is community. NOt to say there aren’t people like that around. I find most to be highly interdependent with some in need for social interactions with others who understand that a parking lot is a great place to hang out. We yearn for acceptance just like the rest even if we avoid the herd mentality like the plague. Did you hear? The New York Times found us out! 100.000 of us people say, wandering the American highways. Having just a small percentage of us gathered shows the magnitude of the community.
The main camp was filled with first timers, new comers, newbies, and the rest. Finding comfort in their closeness. Music camp managing to still be too loud even several washes away. RTart Camp allowing artists of the fine and crafty type to explore our talents and spice up our name buttons. Out of these three camps I found myself wandering over to the beautiful acoustic campfire music. The crackling fire as the background to Bill Withers, Tom Petty and unique originals. I attended a couple of art classes trying out new ways of drawing mandala’s and learning the ways of fine art from Brother Peter. I missed the voodoo doll class which was inspiration from Bob Wells first morning meeting. He encouraged us to take the passive aggressive way of dealing with annoying neighbors by making a voodoo doll of them with a generator or dog. Two of the most complained about noises at the RTR.
Traveling over to the main camp was quite a jaunt from where I camped. I wanted to keep my sanity and serenity so I kept a good distance. My favorite main camp seminar was the Rites of Passage. It explained our community being a tribe of sorts. The speaker, David, compared the Lakota way of coming of age to the western worlds version of coming of age. Graduation High school, or getting a job, finding a girlfriend or boyfriend are all false “coming of ages” for us. You don’t have to do anything remotely close to difficult or self searching in the western world to become an adult. Maybe that is why becoming an adult never really happens for some or it takes the decade of twentys to become anything near to a contributor to society.
Another seminar I attended was the women’s meeting. I loved how Sueanne set it up this year by having us do a popcorn approach to introducing ourselves and only allowing the intro’s in a certain order. This helped people who do not want to speak have that option and the people who had something to give to the group or question to ask be able to. There were around forty-five women who spoke and maybe two hundred women who attended the meeting. It was very encouraging to be around so many people who were as comfortable as I am with living in a vehicle.
This year the weather was warm. Warmer than last year by a lot. Only the last Saturday of the event was very windy. I had been asked to help teach a dance class for the women’s group. The wind blew away most of our potential dancers but Shawnalee and I found four die hard women to show belly dance, Tahitian, and hula to.
How I fell overall about the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous this year is slightly overwehlmed by the amount of people but I do realize there is strength in numbers. The crew behind Bob helping him get the operation going is amazing and only gets better each year. Having name buttons and street labels really helps people finding each other. Opinions and gossip will always be in excess when large groups form. Heresay runs like wildfire of course but in general we all want decent friends and a community to reach out to when we are in need.
Thank you for reading. I have attended the winter RTR of 2017 and 2018. I have been in my rig for a year and a half & I have loved every minute of it. 🙂