Read Time : 7 mins

With over 500,000 touring vans in use across the UK alone, the van life community is strong. Meeting other people with whom you can form meaningful connections & have a deep conversation within 5-minutes of laying eyes on them, is priceless. That’s what happens when you share interests, goals & values, small talk is replaced with the things that matter & real friendships are formed.

Being such a deeply emotional person, I (Kelly) thrive in an environment where I am surrounded by like-minded people, people who ‘get me’ but hey, don’t we all? It can be difficult to know how & where to connect with others whilst travelling & how to manage relationships on the road, so in this post, from online to live events, we’ve covered how to do just that.

Van life community  - from online to live events, it's possible to meet like-minded folk whilst travelling - The Wilder Route. Image shows people dancing at a festival in North Wales.
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Van life community – from online to live events, it’s possible to meet like-minded folk whilst travelling.

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Written by The Wilder Route on 20th May 2021.

Before we start...

As we all know, we are currently living through very strange & difficult times – needless to say, we need community now more than ever. With ever-changing rules & regulations in mind, we haven’t noted how current restrictions are affecting anything we mention or recommend. We are not here to remind anyone of the rules, your safety is your responsibility so please check with the respective website or resource on what’s happening & when. The same goes for private meet-ups, although we have met loads of people in person that we have met online we are not advocating that as safe for you, it’s up to you to make judgments based on your situation.

Ok, now, let’s get back to the blog post!

The Van Life Community & Other Adventurers On Social Media

One of the easiest ways to connect with van lifers & other like-minded people is through social media. In fact, this is the way that we have met most of the people who either live in a similar way to us or share the same interests. From people living in their vans to other travellers & digital nomads, we’ve made some awesome friends on social media.

We have connected with plenty from the van life community & other adventures on social media - at a 'Travel Tribe' meet up in London - The Wilder Route. Image shows a group of people in a pub, everyone is looking at the camera & smiling.
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We have connected with plenty from the van life community & other adventurers on social media – at a ‘Travel Tribe’ meet up in London.

Using Facebook To Form Connections

Van Life Groups

There are loads of groups on Facebook, dedicated to everything van life – these groups are a good place to ask questions, join discussions & meet others who live in or own a van.

A couple of our faves in the UK are —> Van Life – UK & Motorhome Adventures

Activity Groups & Pages

Joining a group or following a page that’s dedicated to an activity that you are interested in is a great way to connect with like-minded people, chat about the things that you love to do & maybe even arrange to meet with others in person. There are Facebook groups & pages for almost everything you can think of, just search for your interests & Facebook will bring up suggestions.

If you, like us you are interested in hiking, here are a couple of fab UK groups —> Group Wild Camping & Hiking UK & UK Hiking

Destination Groups & Pages

Following a page or joining a group dedicated to a place you are about to visit, will not only be a great way to get a load of tips beforehand but will also keep you up-to-date with anything that might be going on in the area whilst you are there.

When we drove Scotland’s Nc500 a few years back, we joined a fab Facebook group in which we asked for tips on lesser-known spots to stop at. A local guy gave us an awesome list of all the places to stop off at on the East coast & we visited them all. If you are thinking of doing this road trip yourself check out our post on it which includes our exact route & a link to the Facebook group.

Connecting On Instagram

Van Life Accounts

Searching for & following other van lifers on Instagram will not only give you an insight into van life (especially through stories) but through private messaging will mean that you can chat with others who are adventuring & living the van life.

Some van lifers on Insta that we love are —> @thewholeworldornothing, @onthefreeside & @forevercopilots

Van Life Hashtags

Following van life-specific hashtags on Instagram is a good way to see content from different accounts, remembering to hit that follow button on your faves. Just search van life on Insta & you’ll find loads of suggestions.

Other Activities & Interests

As with Facebook, you’ll find accounts & hashtags on Instagram for almost anything you can think of. From hiking to wild swimming to crafting, your people are out there waiting to be found.

Interacting via stories & leaving comments that encourage open conversation on Instagram is a great way to build relationships.

Utilising Twitter

Many people don’t ‘get’ Twitter & we get that because when we first started using it, we didn’t have a clue what it was all about. Twitter was the place though, when we first starting our travel blog, back in 2017, that we found other bloggers & travellers to connect with.

It’s a lot more fast-paced with fewer characters allowed for tweets, comments & replies which in some ways makes it easier to use. The main reason we are mentioning Twitter though is for the Twitter chats – a series of questions around a set topic, hosted by one or more accounts, for which people are invited to join at a specific day/time to answer the questions. It’s a great way to have a conversation with others about things you are interested in.

CultureTrav hosts a chat every Thursday, covering all things travel & adventure. More info & how to join can be found here.

SundaySunsets held on the first Sunday of each month is a day to share beautiful sunsets & of course, you’ll be able to see other people’s sunsets too. More info & how to join can be found here.

Join Meet Ups

The more you connect with people online, the more you’ll find meet-ups & events popping up. Joining them is a great way to form deeper connections with people, chatting online is great but there’s nothing like meeting people in real life or even getting together for a Zoom call.

If you are not finding anything in the places you currently hang out online, Meet Up is a great place to make friends, find support, & explore your interests.

Attend Van Life Community & Other Big Events

We have attended & even spoken at events that are van life &/or travel-focused & have found them amazing for meeting awesome people with whom we share interests & goals. Some of our faves, paired with recommendations from others are…

Traverse – a conference for digital content creators with a packed programme of skill-based sessions alongside networking, practical skills workshops, exhibitors & social events.

Borderless Live – a network for content creators & influencers. This network is open to everyone, wherever you are on your creator journey.

Destinations Shows – an event packed with displays & talks to inspire, as well as to help you research, plan & prepare your next trip.

The Caravan & Motorhome Show – the biggest show in the North of England, dedicated to buying your first campervan or motorhome, with both on display as well as numerous stands & talks.

Camp Quirky – an annual festival for self-builders & van lovers, our friends Darren & Rebecca over at iZog Adventure have been & loved it.

Music festivals are alo a fantastic place to meet people & are of course a lot of fun too.

Attending van life community & other big events that are related to your interests is a great way to meet like-minded people - The Wilder Route. Image shows a group of people smiling wide for a selfie, they are at a large travel event.
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Attending van life community & other big events that are related to your interests is a great way to meet like-minded people.

Through Work

If you are a remote worker, going to places where other remote workers gather, such as co-working spaces or coffee shops is a great way to meet others. Even if it’s just for a day or two, chatting with new people & a change of scenery can make all the difference. You might also move from place to place working along the way at farms or maybe even seasonally on campsites, both of which would be a good way to meet new people.

If you are a digital nomad there are tons of groups out there dedicated to digital nomad life, a couple of our favs on Facebook are —> Creative Digital Nomads & Female Digital Nomads

Go To Classes or Workshops

If you are going to be staying in a place, even just for a few days, it’s worth looking up what’s in the area as well as what exactly is on whilst you are there. You could join yoga classes for a week, meet with a local walking group, or go to the local gym for a class (if they allow non-members). Be sure to take a look, you may even find something new to try.

Build On Existing Relationships

As well as meeting new people & embracing an adventure-filled life in your van, you can also, in your free time, build on relationships with the people who truly matter. Granted, there will be people from your ‘old life’ who don’t get your ‘new life’ but equally, there will be friends & family who stick around & encourage, love & support you. Take it from us, those relationships are worth all the effort & nurturing. The people who are happy to see you grow, to watch you live your life for you, to witness you spread your wings & fly, & whilst doing so cheer you on… they are the most special kind of peeps & are the ones who are worth spending the time & energy on.

We hope you’ve found the tips in this post useful. If you’re looking for more van life tips & inspiration be sure to check out our van life page.

If you have any other ways, that we haven’t mentioned, to connect & foster a sense of community, please do add them in the comments section at the bottom of this post so that us & others can see.

Here’s to a life of adventure & to friends, old & new,

Kelly & Adam x

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about the wilder route...

The Wilder Route - Author Bio. Image shows Kelly & Adam sat on a rock with a cloud encompassed mountain behind them, they are facing the camera & smiling. Kelly is wearing a bright yellow coat, a brown hat, jeans & yellow leg warmers. Adam is wearing a navy blue coast & jeans.

In 2017 Kelly & Adam Peck embarked on a journey that would change their lives forever... 

Equipped with a couple of second-hand bikes, they took a one-way flight to Havana, Cuba &, after a cycling escapade that took them over four hundred kilometres - through remote villages & untouched landscapes, the roots of The Wilder Route were firmly planted. 

From there the adventure was destined to continue... this intrepid couple spent the next 10 months soaking up the vibrance of Mexico, hiking up volcanoes in Guatemala, taking in the wild scenery of Canada & experiencing the beauty & diversity of Colombia, before eventually returning to the UK. 

With the feeling of exploration in their souls, Kelly & Adam knew that they wanted to build a life that brought them closer to nature, a life that made adventure part of their every day. Selling most of their belongings & packing the rest of what they owned into their tiny home on wheels, van life became the next step of their journey.

Since moving into their motorhome in 2018 (a Bessacar E560 named Barnaby) they have experienced many more magical moments, built their online business on the road & have even planned a wedding & said "I do" along the way.

Featured in publications such as Wanderlust Magazine & Housesitting Magazine & speaking at events such as Destinations ShowsBorderless Live & The Caravan & Motorhome Show about living a location-independent lifestyle - they are passionate about helping & inspiring others to explore, to connect with nature &, to live alternatively.

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as seen

as seen

The Wilder Route seen at Destinations - The Holiday & Travel Show in association with The Sunday Times
The Wilder Route seen at The Caravan & Motorhome Show, Event City, Manchester
The Wilder Route seen at Borderless Live
The Wilder Route seen in Wanderlust Magazine

as seen

The Wilder Route seen at Destinations - The Holiday & Travel Show in association with The Sunday Times
The Wilder Route seen in Wanderlust Magazine
The Wilder Route seen at The Caravan & Motorhome Show, Event City, Manchester
The Wilder Route seen at Borderless Live

The Wilder Route was born from our love of adventure & continues to be driven by our desire to help & inspire others to explore, connect with nature &, live alternatively.

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