During my years as a NFL football player and the years afterwards, one of the things that always seemed to freak me out a bit was how much the fans knew about me. People I’ve never meet would come up to me and be able to tell me things like where I grew up, where I went to high school or college or even my best game I’d ever played! Shoot, one fan not only knew my birthday, he knew what day of the week I was born and which hospital!


That’s why I was a little nervous before last weekend’s RV trip. When we decided to put our lives out on social media, we knew this day would come. We talked about it, but never really knew how it would actually go. We imagined what that first meeting would look like, but then doubt tends to creep into your mind. You start asking yourself, “What if they are strange?. What if their values aren’t in line with the values we have chosen for our family? Heck, what if they are downright crazy? I’m talking about meeting someone face to face after interacting solely on social media. I know I’m dating myself when I ask this question. Is this the new normal?


We just had one such encounter last weekend. Since we stated on our mission, to encourage minority families to get out and enjoy the RV lifestyle, we have been contacted by a number of other minorities interested in RVing. We have corresponded with each family or person who has reached out to us. We have been humbled with all the kindness and support. In fact, we have been so moved that we are currently planning a 2017 gathering we are going to call the Soulful RV Family Reunion. More on that in the future…


So, this family, we will call them the Brown Family, found us on Instagram, and FB. They contacted us since they were just starting out on their full time RV adventure. They were so thrilled to find another minority family that was Rving. They had so many questions for us. We decided to invite them to connect with us on the road at a Christian homeschool convention. They eagerly agreed, asking us which campground we would be staying at. We had booked two sites, since my wife’s mother was supposed to attend but backed out. So they took over her reservation.


On the drive to the campground, it hit us, what have we done? We not only invited the Brown family to camp with us, but they were going to be in the site right next to us! I’m so happy to say that none of our fears ever materialized.IMG_4188 The Brown family was better than we could have imagined. The Brown’s kids and our kids played and enjoyed one another. All the kid’s ages were close and they had so much in common. More importantly the Browns were a down to earth, solidly interesting couple. We kept each other laughing everyday. We really enjoyed hanging with them and their kids. As minority RVer’s, it was so nice not being out there alone for once. You know there’s always strength in numbers. And the fact that they are retired military was a bonus. No worries about people messing with and ex-NFL Lineman and his ex-military buddy. After we got all the kids to bed, we spent time relaxing together sharing our life experiences well into the night. Since both families homeschooled we were able to swap info on things that worked and didn’t work with our kids.  Mealtime was a breeze whether we were throwing burgers on the grill or checking out a highly rated local BBQ joint. And absolutely no drama! When the time came to leave the campground, the kids were so sad. They all wanted to keep playing up until the second we pulled out of the site.IMG_4403


So we are so happy to report that after meeting the Brown family in person, social media can be a helpful place to connect with like-minded people that share your interests, your passions, and your values. We still will be cautious, because meeting people via the Internet you never know for sure who or what you’re getting.


IMG_4489We chose not to say goodbye, instead we said see you soon. For the kids, and the adults alike, soon can’t come soon enough.



The New Normal: Turning likes and smiley faces into real connections
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