On the Road: Proposing an RV Lifestyle for Writers and Authors

Crisscrossing the country for inspiration, visibility, camaraderie,

and profit — and to capture our times

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

An on-the-road, RV lifestyle for authors and writers makes sense right now. Imagine storytellers, poets, journalists, creative documentarians, original thinkers, astute observers, and their literary kin crisscrossing the country en masse, practicing their craft, bringing their words to towns and cities — coffee shops, bookstores, libraries, open-mics, classrooms, auditoriums, and open-air forums. Regrouping nightly with new configurations of peers around a blazing fire, under the stars, in the nation’s campgrounds. Reading their work out loud and getting feedback. Sharing event and business tips. Beers, s’mores, potluck dinners. If the idea doesn’t immediately grab you, let me elaborate. Such a lifestyle would…

Capture the moment We’re living through strange, frightening, and wonderful times that need to be captured, not from behind the screen, but from firsthand experience being out there in the mix of it. From a wide range of voices encountering others and the world directly.

Sit at an intersection of trends and realities An RV subculture for authors and writers blends trends of work-from-home, digital nomadism, and van life with the realities of economic austerity, creator hustle, and DIY book marketing and sales. It throws in perks of travel, fresh air, novelty, and camaraderie.

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars…” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Promote the exchange of ideas A growing coterie of authors and writers meeting and conversing on the road with each other and interacting directly with greater numbers of Americans would encourage debate, discussion, and the exchange of ideas. A flourishing that would continue through and beyond this traveling network.

Provide camaraderie Living and working from the road as an author or writer could come with as much or as little friendship and companionship as desired. Tools like a common website, app, or Facebook page could help writers connect with each other and find company on established travel circuits. Over time, certain campgrounds would become known meeting sites. All sorts of fun and mutual support is possible: group meals, joint events, RV owners/drivers providing transport and sleeping space for paying customers who join them for short jaunts.

Make economic sense For many, RV living could make short- or long-term economic sense, both cutting expenses and increasing income. All while upping fun, inspiration, creativity, and presumably health. These don’t constitute the security of corporate benefits packages, but they’re not trivial lifestyle enhancements either.

“The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Spur creativity Nothing spurs creativity like a change of scenery and bumping up against new surroundings, experiences, ideas, and fellow humans. Get yourself on the road and let the sparks fly.

Bring attention to books, authors, and writing Writers on the road, spending less time behind their screens, and more out in the world, would bring renewed attention to the realms of writers, authors, writing, and publishing. Elevate them in the public eye. Maybe even insert some intrigue. Renew an interest in reading. It could also bring these things to the rural areas and smaller towns not normally included on author tours. Consider writers doing programs in state and national parks. Imagine a Netflix series on roving authors.

Support many small businesses and entrepreneurial authors Finally, a growing RV subculture for authors and writers would mean income and economic development for the matrix of involved small businesses around the country. That means authors, creators, and other solopreneurs, as well as bookstores and other retailers, coffeeshops and other event venues, publishers, campgrounds, and support services for the lifestyle (app? association? magazine? group insurance?).

Read about some of my other entrepreneurial ideas for the book world: