On our most recent trip, North, Sarah and I had the usual laughs making excuses why people don’t wave back. Are they so busy concentrating on the road that they simply didn’t see us? Maybe their hands have become mysteriously glued to the steering wheel? Perhaps they are in one of the private rentals, and the wings haven’t been covered over or removed. Whatever the reasons why it seems an increasing number of people no longer wave back.
When we first joined the association, 18 years ago, I remember the proud day not long after the envelope arrived with our NZMCA membership. At work, I found a ladder and propped it up against the motorhome to attach the wings. With that simple act, I felt as though we were part of something bigger than just the two of us. That displaying the wings was a way of telling the world that we had joined one of the most significant associations in New Zealand.
In those initial years, we found that the camaraderie, within the association, was such that a wave was always given. When you spotted another member in your travels. Somewhere over the last few years, something has changed. The total number of members in the Association has exploded over the past 10 or so years. It’s quite probable that the reasons why people join today is quite different from our goals. With this change obviously comes a change in overall attitude.
I am sure that some people will tell me to get over it and move on.
To me, the idea of motorhoming (and by this, I also include caravan and 5th wheels or whatever your method of getting away is.) is a return to the simpler life. The chance to get away to remote campsites and experience the “real” New Zealand. With this comes the opportunity to interact with other people doing the same thing, living the same dream.
When we are away in these places. We all park in the same general area. We all fill up from the same water tap. We all visit the same dump station at the end of our stay. We all also stay in our own vehicle. Nothing here makes your motorhome better than anyone else’s. Nothing makes you more entitled to a particular spot. And unless you are an official camp manager or custodian nothing makes you the camp policeman.
So my little rant here is about what people have forgotten. With that, I am thinking its time for a change in attitude. Maybe it’s time to remember why you are actually getting away. For most people, it’s to get out there and enjoy all that NZ has to offer. Whatever your reasons for getting away, I am sure you are generally left feeling good about your experience. So why not let a little of that experience travel down your arm and give a wave at others.
I will never forget one time in the South Island when a bus coming the other way waved at us with one of those hand clappers. It’s easily the most enthusiastic waves I have ever seen and left us feeling good for ages afterwards. The fact that I am still talking about it now, 2 years later is testimony to how good that moment felt.
Extending your good feelings towards others may carry over as you arrive into a camp making you more willing to say hello. You don’t have to talk with everyone, sometimes a simple smile achieves as much as a wave on the road. I am not suggesting that everyone is going to get along all the time and there are always going to be disputes and disagreements.
All I really wanted to get across was the simple message that a little courtesy (wave) and a big smile go a long way towards making everyone’s experience a lot better. Maybe you have your reasons for not waving, I would love to hear your viewpoint.
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