Please note the publish date of this post, and adjust your humor appropriately :).
Though rushed, our recent RV trip from Florida to Texas was a reminder of just how much we love living on the road, and in Zephyr.
Splitting our time between boat and bus has been our plan since the beginning, as I (Chris) explained last year:
“Eventually we hope to relocate Zephyr back to her original home turf of the desert southwest. Winters boondocking in the desert are heaven, and we think that will make the perfect balance for summers boating in the east.”
And indeed – when we tucked Zephyr into storage, our plan was to return to her in Austin this Fall, and to finish our cross-country trip back to Zephyr’s original home turf in Arizona.
Our goal – to quickly get back to boondocking nirvana out in the desert southwest.
But, what if our nirvana is gone before we even get there?
I’ve crunched some numbers, and things don’t look good.
The Inevitable Future of RVing
When we helped found the Xscapers back in 2015, it was really exciting to launch an organization that would appeal to a new generation of RVer.
And ever since then, it has taken off. Like crazy.
When we co-hosted the Xscaper’s first annual gathering in Quartzsite in 2016, we were thrilled to have a few dozen people join us for boondocking in the desert.
For many – it was their first experience with off-grid living, and the spread-out chill vibe of the community was absolutely awesome.
Word must have spread just how awesome it was.
Being tied to the east coast as we embraced our new cruising lifestyle, we missed out on the 2017 and 2018 Xscapers Annual Bash. But from all the rave reviews we have heard the scale and awesomeness of the event has just kept ramping up.
Just take a look at this growth over the years:
But – what next?
The numbers look a little scary actually…
Here’s the rough head count shared by the Xscapers for attendance each year:
- Annual Bash 2016 – 75
- Annual Bash 2017 (2x increase) – 150
- Annual Bash 2018 (4x increase) – 600
Anyone who has studied math even a bit should be terrified looking at those numbers.
There’s a pretty clear pattern here – a geometric series escalating by powers of two.
It isn’t hard to run the numbers to get a rough idea of how many people to expect showing up wanting to go boondocking with the Xscapers tribe in the years ahead.
- Annual Bash 2019 (8x increase) – 4,800
- Annual Bash 2020 (16x increase) – 78,800
- Annual Bash 2021 (32x increase) – 2,521,600
- Annual Bash 2022 (64x increase) – 161,382,400
- Annual Bash 2023 (128x increase) – 20,656,947,200 (!!!!)
Now of course these numbers are not realistic, and at some point the growth will necessarily trail off a bit.
There are only so many people on the planet, after all. And logically, not everyone can be an Xscaper.
But the trend is undeniable.
Even the most conservative forecasting should make it clear that the Xscapers Annual Bash will surpass the size of Burning Man no later than 2021, and by 2022 there will likely be literally millions of people headed out into the desert to seek boondocking magic.
There will be so many Xscapers out in the desert that escaping them will be impossible!
I fear the wide open spaces and solitude will become things of distant memory.
Instead, we’ll more likely see gang warfare erupt between solar snobs and janky generator folks forced to live in close quarters.
Waiting lists for attending educational sessions.
Sounds wars between dance camps & spontaneous music jams.
Lines for dump stations miles long.
Extreme rationing of margaritas.
And just imagine how overloaded the cell towers are going to be!
It’s NOT going to be pretty.
But The Numbers Don’t Lie
The desert southwest will be crammed awning to awning with RVs, and the spillover into campgrounds, national, and state parks will make getting a decent spot even more difficult than it has been lately.
The RV world is exploding, but just where will everyone go once the last possible boondocking spot is filled, and every campground is booked up years in advance?
We can’t help but notice that the RV Entrepreneur Summit has been growing at a similar clip too, and though there aren’t enough data points yet for a solid forecast – the current trend lines make it clear that inevitably there will be more RV entrepreneurs than fixed location businesses!
The bulk of the American economy will soon be mobile, and I expect this will become a global trend sweeping the entire world.
So What About Us, And Zephyr?
We were loving the idea of getting back to Zephyr and heading west next winter – but once we started running some VR simulations of what life in the desert would be like with millions of neighbors, the excitement around relocating Zephyr to the desert has been steadily fading.
Even with just 10,000 nearby neighboring RVs – a lot of what we love about boondocking in the desert southwest would be significantly diminished.
I spent an afternoon walking around the VR-simulated desert, and it took me hours to even find and make it back to our virtual bus and VR Kiki.
And by the time I made it back, there was actually a line of dozens of AI avatars knocking on the bus door wanting to “pick our brains” for mobile internet tips.
I had to equip a flame thrower and actually fight my way back inside!
Is this the fate the future holds for us?
Based on these simulations – perhaps we should sell Zephyr, stick to boating, and just give up on our winter RVing dreams?
An Alternative Plan:
Reclaiming Suburbia & Breaking Back Into The Cubical
If these mathematically modeled patterns continue, we are clearly on the verge of a mass migration away from traditional homes and into RVs.
Suburbs and office parks on the other hand will become empty deserted wastelands.
Vacant of people – but often with pools, and fiber-optic wired internet – all just waiting to be claimed.
While everyone else is cramming into every square inch of desert, I envision a future of sneaking our bus into the abandoned suburban backyards left behind…
Or maybe even breaking back INTO cubical farms to access fast internet and ample snacks.
Or even setting up group campsites in former malls and food courts, perhaps for the first XXscapers rally for the next generation of trendsetters trying to break away from the overwhelming crowd of the boondocking Xscapers pack.
At least until Mall camping becomes the next trend…
For the XXXscapers, I guess we will have to get even more creative. Maybe RVing on Mars?
One Last Hurrah?
The numbers might not lie, but they do point to a window of opportunity to get out and enjoy the desert before things get TOO out of control out there.
The forecasted crowds in 2019 should be relatively reasonable – before the madness of 2020.
So we are still planning to head out this winter to party it up with the Xscapers, intending to start with the New Year’s Eve gathering in Quartzsite.
This year it should be manageable – but unless we can find a way to make RVing suddenly seem less appealing (boating is awesome…. get a boat instead of an RV!) – next year, it will rival Times Square.
So – see you out there?
Today is my twelfth nomadiversary.
It all honesty, it has been absolutely amazing to see the growth in the RVing community over these past twelve years – particularly being witness to the rise of so many younger full timers who are taking advantage of technology to make a living and even raise families on the road.
Why wait, after all?
We absolutely love being a part of this community, and intend to be RVers for a long time to come.
At least until the margaritas run out, and the last secret boondocking spot gets over-shared.
And then, onto our backup plan…
Suburbs, here we come! Noooooooo!
Live Chat: Join Us This Evening
With so much growth ahead, I can only wonder what the RVing world will look like when my twentieth Nomadiversary rolls around, on April 1st, 2026.
How many Xscapers will there be by then? Will there be anyone left still living in houses without wheels?
Where will Zephyr be?
Will we still have Y-Not?
Only time, trend lines, and VR simultations will tell.
But for now…
Come join us this evening to help celebrate my twelfth Nomadiversary.
We’ll be hanging out on YouTube Live starting at 7pm EDT, talking about the past twelve years on the road – and what the future holds. We’ll then move the party over to our monthly Patreon Virtual Video Happy Hour and interactively hang out with our virtual community for a bit (promise, no flamethrowers).
You can tune in here, or click on over to YouTube Live to interact in the chat room:
Bring your Easter candy to snack on, but be sure to save your Peeps for our latest mobile internet tip!
Yep – today (April 1st, 2018) is my twelfth nomadiversary.
12 years (!!!) on the road – wow!
Here are some links to my (mostly) annual April 1st Nomadiversary posts.
Step back in time and check out some of our past adventures:
- Eleventh Nomadiversary (2017) – We contemplate some innovative ways to bring Zephyr along now that we are living part of the year on the water.
- Tenth Nomadiversary (2016) – I share my past history traveling with a powered paramotor, and our future plans to renovate a Zeppelin to be a flying RV. Meanwhile, we were actually already secretly starting our hunt for a boat.
- Ninth Nomadiversary (2015) – Sharing test results of LTTE boosters. Not to be confused with cellular LTE boosting, LTTE boosting (Libation: Technology Tribulation Elimination) is an even more critical element of a technomad’s tech arsenal.
- Eighth Nomadiversary (2014) – Way too swamped and stressed with launching RVillage and dealing with Millenicom madness to write anything wistful or witty.
- Seventh Nomadiversary (2013) – At last revealing the real reason I first decided to hit the road…
- Sixth Nomadiversary (2012) – Reminiscing about all the changes over the years.
- Fifth Nomadiversary (2011) – Giving up nomadism and buying a condo (not!) in the Virgin Islands.
- Fourth Nomadiversary (2010) – Discovering the secret prize that comes inside every box of wine.
- Third Nomadiversary (2009) – Camped on a beach near Malibu, watching dolphins frolic.
- Second Nomadiversary (2008) – Working with Cherie to custom design our Oliver, moving up from a trailer ideal for one to one made for two.
- First Nomadiversary (2007) – Preparing to set out with Cherie, reminiscing about my first very eventful year on the road – setting off solo and finding an amazing partner along the way.