Sometimes we all just need a little validation, encouragement or advice. And although our loved ones often try, if they aren’t in the same situation it is hard for them to relate. Which is why finding a community of like-minded people is so important for success … and mental health.
[This article was originally published in 2017 when we were first setting out to RV full-time and had just attended our first RV Entrepreneur Summit. Since then, we have had the opportunity to gain many more insights into this topic and have updated this blog post to include those. Hope it helps!]
Where to Look for Like Minded People
With so many life changes, we have had a lot of experience with finding like-minded communities in the United States and even internationally (read more on that later in the post). We have had great success with Meetup Groups, continued learning classes, various sort of club or association groups, volunteer organizations, social media, and social networks. (Facebook groups can be an amazing resource!)
Just don’t get discouraged if it takes a few tries to find the right place for you to feel comfortable. When you do, it will be totally worth it. Try to keep an open mind and maybe even consider creating your own community if you are having a challenging time finding the right interest groups or social circle. The most important thing is to find a safe place with kind people.
And if your interests vary, join multiple communities! We have found a great group of fellow animal lovers by volunteering at local animal rescues. Joining the Denver Bloggers Club when I lived in Colorado was key to stepping up my game as a blogger. If you are considering solo travel as a woman, Wanderful is another great community with lots of support and resources from a group of like-minded women. Some events may even count as a business trip for you or could offer an opportunity for personal development.
Many groups will even plan in-person meetups (great if moving to a new city!) and events to offer social and learning opportunities. While you can definitely meet like-minded individuals online, getting to connect in person just has a way of giving your heart an extra big boost of joy. We have had the opportunity to attend multiple events that offer the chance to learn from other attendees, share our stories, and connect with new people on a level we hadn’t experienced with many others in our life due to our shared passions.
Whether joining online communities or looking for local upcoming events that match your interests, putting yourself out there is the first step in making like-minded friends. You may even learn a new skill or have some unexpected deep conversations!
We even had the pleasure of speaking at the House and Pet Sitting Conference in England in 2019! Followed by lots of deep belly laughs over gin and tonics before all of the international travelers we connected with parted ways. It was such a great time.
Top 4 Benefits of Joining a Like Minded Community
Finding a “tribe” (as many people now call it) was a new idea to me when Buddy and I decided to pursue full-time RVing many years ago. I was blessed with supportive friends and family my entire life. Why would I need to go search out other people? Because it can make all the difference, that’s why. I had no idea how many advantages there were to joining a community of like-minded people!
Here are some of the top reasons anyone can benefit from finding their tribe:
1. Realizing You Aren’t Alone
I think I said, “us too!” about a hundred times during the three-day weekend at our first RVE Summit in 2017. Although it is important to have the opportunity to hear multiple viewpoints on life, realizing there are actually people in the same boat as you is amazing. Someone else is going through the exact same struggles as you. That’s powerful information to have.
When we decided to start the process of selling 80% of our belongings, quitting our “real” jobs, and finding an RV to live in full-time, we soon realized that this new lifestyle would involve a lot of explaining. Although we were excited to follow our passions (writing, photography, travel, and outdoor adventures), our plan disrupted the idea of life that many people have.
Luckily, most of our family and friends were at least supportive, despite not really getting it sometimes. However, there were definitely a few that thought we were being ridiculous or were extremely worried. Even though they didn’t say it outright, the sideways looks and critical comments gave them away.
We never really let others influence our choices, but the negativity can be frustrating. So, getting to hang out with like-minded people who have similar opinions, can relate to the frustrations, and who really understand our reasoning is always a breath of fresh air. And seeing their eyes sparkle with excitement like ours do is so rejuvenating.
We have met dozens of people in close to our exact same circumstances over the years. We may indeed still be a little crazy. But at least now we know there are others on this unique life path with us!
2. Learning from the Experts
When people with zero experience with what you are going through try to push their advice on you it is hard to see it as valuable. Which is why I never give my friends parenting advice. I just can’t relate.
Of course, you appreciate it when someone is trying to help you. But in these situations, you take their advice with not just a grain of salt but the whole damn saltshaker.
We had all kinds of advice thrown our way when we decided to be full-time travelers and digital nomads. However, it was rarely from people who have actual experience doing it. Until we found the right communities of like-minded people.
At the RVE Summit event, I remember being so thankful that none of the speakers held back. They told their stories with complete transparency. And knowledge just poured from them as we all did our best to soak it up. They talked about how to stay focused on your goals on the road, save money, create a better business, overcome fear, and so much more.
3. Unlimited Help & Inspiration
There is this “if you win, we all win” mentality that comes with a positive community environment. And everyone we have personally connected with in the groups we have become active parts of are always 100% willing to lend a helping hand or offer some advice. Receiving that kind of support makes you want to reciprocate!
We are far from pros, but we are always eager to share anything we have learned that may help someone else forego the struggles we’ve encountered. And, even years after meeting, we continue to champion one another and are often still pursuing common interests.
Talking about common struggles together is also a great way to brainstorm solutions. Maybe something that didn’t work for us is the fix a friend is looking for, or vice versa! We always leave these community events with pages of ideas that pop into our heads as we listen to the speakers and chat with our peers. It is such a great way to get inspired!
4. Lasting Connections & Unexpected Opportunities
A common reason to join a community is networking. And if you are part of a group that is focused on helping each other succeed, why not partner up on mutually beneficial opportunities? We all have different skill sets to offer which makes this type of environment the perfect place to figure out how to work together for continued success.
However, even just making a commitment to encourage each other can make a huge difference! We always look forward to joining mini-mastermind groups with people in our same niche or with similar interests to help each other further our goals and stay on track.
But the right community of like minded people can provide more than just new business contacts. The best thing about finding like-minded people is that it allows you to be yourself. You can enter the space with no fear of judgment. And this kind of transparency breeds amazing friendships. Plus, it really helps your mental health in a powerful way!
Getting to discuss dreams, goals, tragedies, and triumphs is a welcome change from the monotony of every day conversations. When you have the opportunity to connect on a deeper level, you are able to truly appreciate each other.
Knowing that there are so many amazing, intelligent, creative, strong people in the communities we have chosen to align ourselves with has allowed us to let go of any doubt that we had about our various ventures.
Encouragement Based on Our Varied Experience Finding a Like-Minded Community
We’ve learned the importance of being part of a like-minded community first-hand as we have sought out a lifestyle that suits us best. From taking off to live in an RV full-time to becoming traveling house sitters and digital nomads for three years after that experience.
Our first time experiencing the importance of a like-minded community was after moving away from our hometown to fulfill our dream of living near the mountains in Colorado. We had this amazing opportunity to get really picky about what kind of people we wanted to surround ourselves with and we wanted to make the most of that.
So, we signed up for meetups and groups that had similar interests – hiking, volunteering with animals, etc. Buddy also joined a local bowling league that actually led to meeting many of our closest friends in Colorado. Every single couple we are still friends with almost ten years later was either in the league or introduced to us by someone who we met there. Amazing!
Our First Community Event: RVE Summit
When we took off to pursue RV life after five years in Colorado, we knew we needed to embed ourselves in a fun and supportive RVing community as soon as possible. Around that time, I saw an ad for the RVE Summit (a gathering of current or wannabe full-time RVers who were also entrepreneurs or digital nomads). It was exactly what we needed.
We made some amazing connections at the event and, most importantly, felt empowered to chase our dreams knowing we had such a great group of people who were happy to generously share their insights and encouragement.
Similar to our relationships in Colorado, even after six years (and even though we were only in an RV for one), we have kept many of those friendships. Two of the women I met have become cherished, very close friends who have helped me through so many difficult moments over the years and cheered me on in the happy ones! And we all adore each other’s husbands as well. (We even went on an epic friendcation to Kauai with one couple!)
Since I ended up becoming a freelance writer and editor for RV-related brands during the year we lived in a motorhome, I continue to keep in touch with many inspiring people from the RVing community for work! Funny enough, I am currently doing blog writing and editing for Heath and Alyssa Padgett – the couple who created the RVE Summit who quickly became friends and later clients! (I actually edited Alyssa’s book about their 50-state RVing honeymoon – life is truly wild!)
Continuing to Look for Our People No Matter Where We Go
You really never know the ongoing impact pursuing meaningful connections in this life will have. With technology, it is easier than ever to keep in touch with people, join online groups on topics you are interested in, or find local meetups to attend.
After we RVed for a year, we decided it wasn’t for us and pursued international travel as house and pet sitters instead. Thankfully, this was a near-perfect fit and we did it for three years!
However, this was another time that joining groups and meeting with others with a similar lifestyle whenever possible was a key component in our success. We joined pet sitting Facebook groups, connected directly with other pet sitters on social media, and went to in-person meetups. (Including speaking at the House and Pet Sitting Conference.)
I can’t even count how many people we’ve met through pet sitting who have had a positive impact on our life. There are dozens of amazing people we are in regular contact with and would go out of our way to see if we were ever nearby each other. Plus, we even connected with the team behind TrustedHousesitters (the platform we use to find house sits) and got a cool opportunity to be in a marketing video during a sit in Montenegro!
Even now, at our home base in Hawaii, our closest friends are couples we met through volunteering at the local non-profit animal rescue, Aloha Animal Sanctuary. I really can’t say enough how much pursuing these kinds of opportunities to meet your people can add value to your life! We do it every chance we get and hope we’ve convinced you to give it a try.
Final Thoughts on Meeting Like-Minded People
Although our various tribes are pretty specific to us, there are options out there no matter what your interests are. Whether you are a business owner, parent, dog owner, or collector of rare gems, everyone can benefit from finding like minded people.
Meeting friends as an adult can be awkward at times, but joining a like-minded community makes it much simpler. And technology makes it super easy! In most groups, you are all there to share about the same topic and make connections, so it isn’t as uncomfortable to reach out to someone to chat more or join in on a meetup or event. It had made all the difference for us, and I hope it opens up even more doors for you as you pursue the lifestyle you want!
Have you found a group or do you have a personal story about finding your “tribe” to share? Please add that to the comments!