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Van Life Meetups: Are They Worth It?

If you’re a van lifer, you’ve likely heard about van life meetups before. You’ve also likely had a few questions about them. What are they? How do you attend one, or even find out about them? Are they even worth it?

Let me introduce you to some details about what a van life meetup is.

Exterior view of a young woman at a van life meetup, sitting in a DIY van build parked in the desert with several other DIY vans in the background.

What is a Van Life Meetup?

Essentially, a van life meetup is when van lifers connect with others who live the same lifestyle. There are many different types of van life meetups, both informal and formal. Some people reach out to each other online and camp together. Others bump into van lifers on the road and form a caravan.

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There are also formal van life meetup events that you can buy tickets for. These are more officially planned out, letting you buy tickets months in advance. They often include food, entertainment, and activities to partake in. Some people prefer this since it’s more official, making it a more comfortable way to meet new people.

How do you find out about van life meetups?

There are a few ways to find out about van life meetups. For more informal meetups, you can use social media to connect with others. Van lifers who follow each other might find that they are in the same area and message each other to meet up. There are also many Facebook groups dedicated to letting van lifers find who’s in their area and plan an event. If you meet someone in person, they might invite you to a future meetup that they have planned. All you have to do is show up!

For more formal van life meetups, there are often websites and social media pages that are dedicated to these annual events. All it takes is a quick Google search to discover top-rated meetups. These typically require you to purchase tickets to attend, and links to these tickets will be on their individual websites and social media pages.

Keeping up with top van lifer social media pages can lead you in the right direction, as they’ll often post about meetups they plan on attending. Even reaching out to other van lifers and asking if they know of any meetups can help you discover them!

Why Van Life Meetups are Great

Being fairly new to this lifestyle, it took me a while to attend my first meetup. I was afraid to reach out to new people and wasn’t sure if I would be welcome as a newbie. After a few months, I finally bit the bullet, and I am so glad I did. I spent five days in the middle of nowhere with over 1,000 other vans and tiny homes at Descend on Bend. I met so many new people, partied, and learned that my van wasn’t the only one in need of a cleaning.

Based on my experience at this event, I think van lifer meetups are absolutely worth it. Here are a few reasons why!

You get to meet some incredible people

Two girls pose on top of a DIY van rooftop deck.

The van life community is unlike any other that I’ve been a part of. There is no judgment or hatred, only love and connection. It didn’t matter that I was a shy newbie with a slightly uncommon van (here’s why I love my Nissan NV 2500) – individuality was encouraged.

Everyone at the event welcomed me with open arms. My camp neighbors approached me immediately to introduce themselves and invite me to hang out. There were potlucks where everybody pitched in, and anybody walking by was invited to bring a plate and join. If a van door was open, it was a public invitation to come in and say “hello”.

Even though I didn’t know anybody going into the event, I found myself connecting with so many new people every day. People I met during activities, people I simply walked by, people who had the same van as me – everybody was so inviting and excited to meet me. It was amazing to hear everyone’s unique life story, how they got into vanlife, and how they completed their build.

There can be a ton of events to participate in

People gathered and sitting in front of a stage at a van life meetup as the sun sets with vans stretching back for a mile.

At my meetup, a large group of us gathered in the morning to practice yoga together, followed by a group workout. There was a market for van lifers to set up tables and sell their art and other handmade products. There was a ladies cocktail and craft hour, stargazing, and live music nightly.

You could attend as many or as few events as you wanted, but they were always there regardless. These events made it so easy to socialize and get to know new people. If there wasn’t a planned event, people were creating their own and inviting everyone.

There were board game tournaments, live music afterparties, potlucks – so many things that had to do with coming together and connecting with each other in some way. I walked away with a ton of new skills and interests that I never had before!

It made me feel like a part of something bigger

A group of vans and RVs gathered together at a van life meetup in the Oregon outback with pine trees and a sunset in the distance.

Suddenly, van life didn’t feel so small. It felt like I was a part of a strong community. I suddenly had friends and contacts in multiple different states. I had plans to meet up with people in places I’d never been before who offered to show me around, making my travels a little less overwhelming.

It’s common for van lifers to be met with criticism over this lifestyle from strangers and loved ones alike. It was rejuvenating to connect with people who understood me. And it was refreshing to spread love and appreciation to those who needed it. It reminded me of why I became a van lifer in the first place. Everyone had a story and seemed to understand mine.

I enjoy solitude with van life, but I couldn’t help feeling lonely being across the country from my family and friends. It’s comforting to know that I now have so many people around me. I don’t feel so alone anymore. If I see another van lifer, I know that I can count on them as a friend.

What’s not to like about meetups?

A tan vanagon with a small stage set in front of it and a sunset in the background.

There is something indescribable about connecting with people who understand exactly who you are. With van lifer meetups, everyone shares the same passions and values as you. Everyone is living the same lifestyle, each in their own individual ways.

Van lifer meetups can introduce you to these amazing people. They can provide exciting events and activities for you to wind down and get social. They can really pull you into the community and make you a part of something bigger.

My first van lifers meetup is a memory that I will always hold dear to me. The van life community is so welcoming and so loving. I am proud to be a part of something so wonderful. Meetups are an unforgettable experience. I find it essential for all van lifers to try at least once!

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