Women smiling and drinking at Rubber Tramp renezvous.

Is the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Trashy?

Is the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Trashy? 

A two-week-long gathering of nomadic people and vehicle-dwellers in the desert: Is it trashy or awesome? The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) is an annual event that started a decade ago. It’s been gaining in popularity ever since. The movie “Nomadland” exploded the public’s interest in it. But is the RTR trashy? Let’s take a look.

Woman having fun and drinking at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. (RTR)

What Is the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous? 

The RTR) is a two-week, in-person, free RV and van life event in the southwest desert of Quartzsite, AZ. Bob Wells of Cheap RV Living organizes the event. It attracts nomads of all types from around the globe for learning and community. The RTR holds workshops and is a dry-camping event on public lands. 

How Did the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Start? 

The RTR started as a small gathering in the desert for like-minded people to learn how to live and thrive for low cost in an RV, van, or car. Bob Wells started his website and YouTube channel, Cheap RV Living, to help other nomads who live in vehicles out of financial necessity find resources. 

The RTR was an extension of Bob’s YouTube channel. The event started in 2011 with just a handful of nomads gathered in the desert. Today, the RTR boasts thousands of attendees and is touted as the country’s largest free gathering of nomads. 

Who Attends the RTR? 

People from all walks of life attend and enjoy the RTR. This includes people living in vans, cars, school buses, and RVs, from the most frugal to expensive luxury vehicles. The RTR serves as a resource for new nomads to learn how to live on the road and existing nomads to come together and find friends in a like-minded community. 

Three women enjoying their time at Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. (RTR)

Is the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Trashy? 

The RTR might be seen as trashy by some because it’s a gathering of vehicle-dwellers in the desert. Many people outside of the RV and nomad life assume that people who live in their cars are homeless. As many nomads will tell you: We prefer the term houseless, not homeless!

While some people live in cars out of financial necessity, that doesn’t make them trashy. And the purpose of the RTR as a resource to help those on the fringes of society is anything but trashy. Instead, it’s philanthropic, heartwarming, and helpful. 

Is Van Life Considered Homelessness?

While some people live in vehicles out of financial necessity, many don’t. Some may consider it homelessness. Some cities will even legally define it as homelessness. 

However, many individuals who live in vans also have home bases. Even if they don’t, most vanlifers don’t consider themselves homeless. 

What Happens at the RTR? 

The RTR and Women’s RTR host workshops and breakout sessions with classes and information about living in a vehicle. You can attend sessions on boondocking, solar power, personal safety, severe weather on the road, nomadic life with pets, workamping, vehicle maintenance, and more. 

You’ll also find workshops and sessions that address the more personal aspects of living on the road. This includes managing anxiety and depression as a vehicle-dweller, basic survival skills, living on disability, and more. You can see some past RTR sessions here

A group of friends travelling to Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. (RTR)

Is It the Real RTR from ‘Nomadland?’

The RTR has been growing in popularity since its inception in 2011. The movie “Nomadland” featured the event. Bob Wells played himself in the film, and you can see some events from the RTR in the film. So yes, it’s the “real” RTR from the movie.

Vehicle Dwelling Isn’t Trashy

It doesn’t matter if you’re living in a vehicle out of financial necessity or voluntarily choose the nomad life. Vehicle dwelling isn’t trashy. Many nomads consider themselves societal outcasts. They’d say that a society that forces some to live in a vehicle is what’s truly trashy. Challenging the norm isn’t something they’d see as lesser in any way. If you’re interested in learning more about the RTR or Bob Wells, you can visit the Cheap RV Living website, the Home on Wheels Alliance, or Bob’s YouTube channel. Maybe it’ll even pique your interest in attending the event yourself. What do you think? Would you go to the RTR, or is it too trashy?

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