One of the things that we worried about before we left on the trip was the social aspect of leaving a school and neighborhood for one year. Would the kids meet and play with other kids? Would they miss their friends at home?
Quickly, we realized that it was not going to be a problem at all because we left during the summer and lots of families enjoy camping on vacation. In fact, they met kids to play with in almost every campground during the summer, during the major holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The boys met friends during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and each day their new friends would knock on the RV door and they would go snorkel, swim, play in the sand, bike, or hike. Plus, there were kids for two months straight during Spring Break since different schools were getting out at different times.
The kids were invited for sleepovers and birthday parties. They made their own hang-together time (they are too old for play-dates) – some early in the morning before we got up; they usually biked, skated, or played ball from what we could tell. We always felt safe because many campgrounds were patrolled, gated, or small so you could see or hear that they were having a good and presumably safe time.
Kids were always around at the Junior Ranger programs or at the science museums. The boys also found other kids to play with in the parks/playgrounds and public pools. Plus, we also met some old friends and cousins along the way in Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and in Bryce and Zion National Parks.
We have kept in touch with some of the new families that we met and hope to host them at our house in the future. We were invited to spend the night in Iowa, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Louisiana and California. I was amazed at how friendly and open people were to us and our journey. Most of the people we will not see again but it is good that my kids realize how easy it is to strike up friendships with people all over the country and realize that some friendships vary in length but are still important.
This is one area that should not concern you or your children if you are thinking about taking a similar trip. Between the many home-schoolers that travel throughout the year, full-time traveling families, and families on vacation, your kids will meet new friends in no time flat. In fact, kids of all ages and backgrounds seemed to play better on the road by just having fun and enjoying each other’s company without having to worry about any type of peer pressure.