use of time

Occasionally one hears a question such as, “With so little with you, how do you fill your time?” or sees a similar question posted on various forums. One also hears it from those who full-time in the standard way and from those who are considering the lifestyle. I have trouble understanding a question like this. Are people so use to being constantly entertained? That they don’t know what to do if there is no TV, movies, restaurants, social gatherings, or whatever? Even when they ‘travel’, they merely follow the status quo—visit the popular sights, rack up the miles and drive through as many states as possible. So much for taking the road less traveled.

Some say they get bored. How can one ever be bored? I was taught boredom is lack of imagination. Our life is in our own hands, every minute of it—do something with it.

For some full-timers, having more free time is no big thing. They just continue right on doing what they did with their free time, when they were working. Now, however, they do much more of it. I’ve always liked being out in Nature so this lifestyle is perfect for me. I also like to work with silver so I have tools and supplies with me, and work at my bench whenever I feel like it. How can one live a lifetime and not develop interests!?

Let me throw out some ideas for things to do.

  • If one does not already have an art or a craft, you might think about taking one up— photography, en plein air painting, whatever.
  • Maybe try geocaching, which is a great way to see what’s in an area.
  • Get into hiking and possibly go off for a day’s trek where there are no trails.
  • mountain biking
  • Get a badminton set or a set of horseshoes.
  • Possibly try archery, learn to throw a boomerang, or play Frisbee golf. Work at being young at heart.
  • Plink at pinecones with a pellet pistol.
  • Choose an instrument and start taking lessons whenever possible.
  • Look into zazen, yoga, or Tai Chi
  • If you are going to be near water much, get a boat (canoe, kayak, or pontoon) or take up fly-fishing.
  • In the evenings there is always Mexican Train, paperbacks, a laptop, jigsaw or tangram puzzles, and going for a mug walk.
  • Cruise through sporting goods and toy stores for ideas. Preferably ones that will get the blood flowing a bit.
  • Look into disc golf—maybe not to play a course, but think about ordering 3 golf discs: a driver, a mid-range, and a putter. When you are disperse camping out somewhere, grab your discs and go off into the woods or field as if playing a hole; choose a tree about 400’ away.
  • Also give craft and hobby stores a look.
  • Learn to juggle—a nice rhythmic way to relax. Hard to be thinking of other things on your mind when you are trying to keep three balls in the air. It’s not hard to learn as long as you take it one ball at a time. Stick with one ball for the first day, working on ball control. Lacrosse balls work well.
  • Check in at community and senior citizen centers and AARP offices along the way to see what meetings, activities, and classes are being offered.
  • Check out college campuses for flyers listing lectures, events, and seminars.
  • Any museums in the area or public gardens?
  • Pick up a local paper, look for flyers posted around town, and see if there is a local bulletin board.
  • See if the town has a website.
  • And some fun favorites—catch up on chores, clean, or wax the tow vehicle and trailer (^_^)

I can easily spend an hour a day on my Mac. The computer is a stellar learning tool. But ever notice that once a person gets into his 40’s, he’s generally no longer interested in learning new things? Talk about living with one foot in the grave. One also hears people state that one can waste hours on the web. What?! Take a class on leaning how to use search engines, cretin. Once every week or two I have access to the web. I bring a list of things I want to look up on the Internet. I then download numerous files that I can later read through back at camp. I learn something new every time I’m workin’ on my Mac. I should make a list of things I really would not like to live without.

Check the web for classes being offered around the country in whatever you might be interested in—sailing, sculling, scuba diving, panning for gold, archeology, whatever. If you are going to be in an area for a while, look into community education classes in local school districts and continuing education classes at colleges and universities.

Idyllwild Art Academy has an absolutely stellar summer program. Most classes are geared towards southwest Indian culture. One can make a wooden flute, weave a basket, throw a pot, work with silver, carve a stone, and much more. The week’s tuition includes tasty lunches at the campus cafeteria with outside tables. There is a large campground in the pines only a couple miles away that accepts reservations. Check out the list of classes and if one or two interests you, I highly recommend going there. The program is extremely popular. The catalog comes out in January and by the end of February, most classes are filled so one needs to plan ahead. A number of people go back year after year and some even retake a favorite class.

Another idea is to start a travel blog to keep friends and family informed of your roaming. You’ll be spending time taking pictures and composing your postings. If you’re like me and don’t have web access, save the text and jpgs onto a USB flash drive for the next time you are in a library. While there, ask about local upcoming events and things to check out in the area. Be sure to read through the local paper.

Most who try this lifestyle stick with hookups and frequently have web access. If this is so, look into taking classes from sites like The ones I’ve taken have been very well designed. “Speed Spanish” was priceless. ed2go’s classes last six weeks and consist of 12 lessons. One downloads a new lesson on Wednesdays and Fridays.

I don’t live with a TV and read a lot so I’m always on the lookout for people to exchange books with. If there are other campers around, take a few paperbacks over and see if they have any books to trade. It’s also a good way to meet people.

If you want to work a season, check out my “seasonal work” posting for ideas and resources. If you want some insight to what a campground manager position is like in national forest primitive campgrounds, check out the October 2008 posting, ‘campground manager position’.

Then there’s an exceedingly valuable use of an hour or so each day that most people do not even consider—taking charge of your health and getting back in shape. Start with eating less and dropping the extra pounds, start increasing the pace of your walks until they are truly brisk, stretch or take up yoga, maybe Tai Chi, then try some light dumbbell work, hiking, and whatnot. Possibly order DVD’s such as, Tai Chi for Health with Terence Dunn or one of the “Total Yoga” DVD’s. Granted one can not truly learn either yoga or Tai Chi from a DVD but one can acquire the basic movements. Just be sure to touch base with a teacher whenever possible in your roaming.

I could not do this lifestyle without a pet. My two felines are priceless. They love to go for walks with me, make fine companions, and are quite entertaining. If you get a pet, definitely pick one up from a shelter. Dean Koontz had an insightful line in one of his novels, “The saved become the saviors of their saviors.” Never acquire just one kitten. Two are even more rewarding and no more trouble.

Be aware that one does not need to always be doing something. Many never seem to stop, sit down—and think about things—reflect on life—one’s past, the present, what they want to do in the near future. Some would no doubt not find this overly pleasant. They might not be pleased with what they see. It can bring positive changes though, if one has the inner strength for it. But then again, people do tend to do things the easiest way, so why put out the effort. Others don’t settle for the can’t-do-give-up mindset and work towards being the person they want to be and living the life they truly want to be living. And now they have the time to do it. Slowing down, simplifying, opening one’s eyes, presents a new way of looking at life. But then again, I don’t act or think like most people my age. Maybe one should stop acting one’s age once they get in their 50’s, if not before. Sure would cut down on medical problems.

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.
John Dewey



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