One virus, our world changes and there is a new reality. Well at least for the immediate future. Although there is an acceptance that this too will pass there is still the question of what to do in the meantime.
For a time we will all live our “new normal” as we navigate social distancing rules, laws saying we have to stay home unless for certain limited reasons and border closures. For those of you who are travellers like us, living in your caravan (or other set up) used to moving around frequently being told to stay put and bunker down can feel a bit like your wings have been clipped.
The list below are ideas full time caravanners, Lappers and travellers can do while travelling is not allowed. Ideas that we hope will help:
- maintain social connections
- promote positivity and fun
- to increase your community spirit
- with maintaining your self care
- with looking after your mental health
- with feeling and being productive and having purpose
- lessen the likelihood you will have to bury anyone you are stuck with 24/7
- keeping your hope for future travel alive and well.
When considering any of the ideas listed it is important that you follow any rules or laws in the state that you are in. Some states, in some area may allow some activities and others may not.
- Pick Your Top 5 “Must See Destinations”
- Explore Your Family History Online
- Clean and Reorganise Your Rig
- Do A Mini Interior Update
- Complete An Unfinished Project or Task
- If You’re Out of Work, Look for Work
- Watch Free Movies or a TV Series
- Check Your Insurances
- Download Your Photos Off Your Devices
- Cull and Sort Your Digital Photos and Videos
- Yoga or Pilates
- Do a Free Online Course
- Start a Mini Herb Garden
- Make This Year’s Gifts
- Play Old Fashioned Games That Get You Physically Moving
- Spend Time Doing Some Things On Your Own
- Read Free Books Online
- Service Your Car and Caravan
- Check The Screws and Rivets In Your Caravan
- Have a Campfire
- Open Your Windows and Make the Beds Every Day
- Be Creative | Paint
- Update Your Will
- Go For A Walk
- Just Sit In The Sun
- Go For A Swim
- Play Cards Against Humanity Online With Friends
- Play Card and Board Games
- Speak To A Counsellor
- Do Repairs and Maintenance Needed On Your Caravan
- Write Letters or Post Cards
- Cook Something You Have Never Cooked Before
- Be Creative | Hand Sew, Knit or Crochet A Knee Blanket/Quilt
- Learn About a New Idea or New Research
- Give or Receive a Hand or Head Massage
- Have a Self Care Beauty Morning or Afternoon
- Teach Your Dog a New Command or Trick
- Do Something For Someone Else
- Get Creative | Paint and Hide Rocks
- Clean Up Your Emails
- Check You Have the Best Phone and Internet Deal
- Shop Online for Things You Need
- Attend to Your Health Needs
- Create a Photo Book
- Go Kayaking
- Gain a Qualification, Licence or Certification That Will Help You To Gain Work While Travelling
- PIN It!
Pick Your Top 5 “Must See Destinations”
Current restrictions on travelling won’t last forever. They may feel like they will but they won’t. Let’s pretend travel is over forever (the horror!) what would be the top 5 places you wish you had visited.
Write these down or mark them on your map of Australia and allow yourself to be excited about getting to seeing them in the future.
Explore Your Family History Online
Exploring your family history can uncover many interesting things including places around Australia where your family has been. Visiting these places on your travels knowing the connection to your family history could be fascinating.
There are websites where you can do your research for free.
Clean and Reorganise Your Rig
Remember when you started your travels and everything was clean and in its spot. How great did it feel and look? Then as time went on the dust, dirt and sand got in, added stuff found its way in and not everything is as well organised as it once was. A clean organised rig is possible again with some effort and time.
Do A Deep Clean
On a sunny day spread out a couple of large tarps on the ground and drag absolutely everything thing out of your car, caravan, motor home, camper trailer or whatever it is you have.
Then give every part of your rig a thorough clean inside and out, getting into every nook, cranny and corner. Take down curtains and strip beds of quilts, blankets and mattress protectors and wash them all. Also clean all items and equipment that need it.
Do A Ruthless Cull
Next, with everything out on tarps take the time to re-sort everything and do a cull.
It’s surprising how much stuff we collect as we travel. It is useful to see everything out and to see clearly everything you have. Be ruthless, decide what you don’t need (doesn’t serve a purpose) or broken and get rid of it.
Now everything is clean and all that remains is the things you need, use the knowledge you have gained from being on the road already, put everything away where is most practical.
Personally I am big on storage boxes, containers and baskets. The thought of anything just floating around in a cupboard or storage spaces makes me anxious. If you are the same check if the boxes you have are still fit for purpose and if not get what you need.
When done, admire your work.
Do A Mini Interior Update
A fresh new look for the interior of your mobile home is a great way to lift your spirits and make the space feel revived again.
Achieved easily and fairly cheaply by making a few simple changes such as new curtains or blinds, new quilt or bed covers, a new picture on the wall (favourite photo of your travels so far), new handles on the cupboards or new chair covers. Or go next level and consider a repaint, changing the flooring or altering a space.
Whether you make a small change or large ones make the interior a place you feel at home and reflects who you are.
Complete An Unfinished Project or Task
Completing something (and we don’t mean just your open bottles of alcohol) has great psychological benefits. It may also end your partner’s constant reminding too.
So what have you started and haven’t finished? How good will it feel to have them finally done?
If You’re Out of Work, Look for Work
Working has many benefits, financial and personal, which for many of you even in the current climate of high job losses, low numbers of job vacancies and uncertainty of how long it is we will be unable to travel for, that makes looking for (and hopefully gaining employment) a task worth doing. If this is you, look for work.
Be open to applying for jobs you’ve never done before (although this is common for travellers to do anyway), jobs that pay less than you have earned in the past and don’t be too concerned if it’s temporary, casual, part-time or full-time because something is something. Even if it only gives you a few extra dollars a week, somewhere to go a few hours a week and you are doing something, then it’s beneficial. Besides you never know what other opportunities or connections may come with it.
Watch Free Movies or a TV Series
SBS on Demand is our go to for free movies and pretty reasonable choice of good tv shows. Watching anything using SBS on Demand will use your internet data so isn’t entirely free, it is still a way to pass some time.
Make movies more a treat by making popcorn.
Check Your Insurances
It is easy to have a set and forget attitude to insurance and just allow them to roll over each year not thinking too much about the cost or what is actually covered. Peace of mind could be achieved by doing your research and making sure you have the right cover.
If you’re unsure or worried you don’t have the cover you need at a reasonable price perhaps now is a good time to have a better look at your policies and do some comparisons.
Download Your Photos Off Your Devices
Who of you have multiple devices for taking photos and videos? And have literally 1000s of these photos and videos still on your devices taking up loads of space?
With time on your side use some of it to download all your photos and videos on to an external hard drive.
Cull and Sort Your Digital Photos and Videos
Gotten all your travel photos and videos off your devices? Now you might want to go through, deleting the ones that are no good (blurry, have fingers in them, duplicates and so on) and start sorting them. One way of doing it is into folders for each town or area you visited.
Also while you are at it reminisce about where you’ve been. What you have remembered? What had you forgotten?
Yoga or Pilates
Incidental exercise is exercise you do, usually walking as part of your normal day-to-day life. As travellers this is easily done by being out and about exploring new areas as well as enjoying an outdoor and active lifestyle. However now our lives are more sedentary it has become necessary for some of us to think about our physical activities.
Yoga and pilates are great ways to exercise when socially isolating. These need little space, the only equipment needed is a towel or mat and an instructional video or app. There are many free apps available with most allowing you to select your level and the length of session.
Do a Free Online Course
Free courses online are a great way to learn and improve your knowledge on anything. When they are free you can do any frivolous topic that takes your fancy.
Perhaps as a traveller a photography course or photo editing course will be of interest. Or maybe you would like to learn about something that has nothing to do with travelling. There are many courses covering many topics.
Start a Mini Herb Garden
When living mobile on the road in our caravans, motor homes, camper trailers or campervans, having a garden is an absurd idea. But is it? A small collection of herbs, planted in small pots and kept in a carry box is possible and an idea may interest you.
Now would be a good time if this idea appeals to put your collection of herbs together and make sure you have what you need to care for and transport them safely.
Make This Year’s Gifts
With time on your hands and trying to save money for future travels, making gifts for birthdays and Christmas could help fill in time and save money. Let’s not forget how special it is to make someone we love something ourselves.
Play Old Fashioned Games That Get You Physically Moving
This is another idea for getting you up and moving.
Remember the old playground games of hopscotch, fly, limbo and elastics. Play them with your children and if you don’t have children play them anyway. Have fun and a laugh. This is the time you can act odd and no one cares.
Spend Time Doing Some Things On Your Own
Being stuck together, unable to go out can drive any of us to get sick of each other. Get comfortable with saying to each other “love you but I am just so sick of the sight of you” and then giving each other some space. Having our own time and space is important to our mental health.
How much physical space and for how long will vary but doing things like going to the shops alone for essential supplies, having an uninterrupted nap or time to read, a solo walk or time watching a movie headphones on can create some personal space. Important thing is be honest and open with each other and work together as much as possible.
Read Free Books Online
Reading is a great way to pass time. Doesn’t matter what you read, fiction or non fiction, a novel or a comic, read whatever you like.
Online libraries are great resource for free books online. Digital copies can be borrowed online.
Service Your Car and Caravan
Surely no one needs reminding of the need to have a well running and safe tow vehicle and caravan (or whatever your rig set up is). Making sure it’s all done before getting back on the road is a task absolutely worth doing.
Now is the perfect time to either do yourself or have it done by the professionals.
Check The Screws and Rivets In Your Caravan
Towing, rattling down roads around Australia inevitably means screws can come loose and rivets can pop out. Methodically going around checking every joint, hinge and where ever there is a screw or rivet and tightening or replacing them as needed can save time or potential damage later.
Have a Campfire
A campfire for many goes with caravanning like sauce on a sausage.
So if possible have a campfire like the good old days and use it to cook a meal if that’s your thing. Have a few drinks and cook damper.
Open Your Windows and Make the Beds Every Day
It is easy to get into a rut when you’re idle. Making the beds each day and opening the windows allowing fresh air in are simple but effective ways to stop your home on wheels feeling stale and unwelcoming.
Be Creative | Paint
Painting is something I enjoy doing. I am very much a novice but I still enjoy and I do it for no one else, only for myself. Being creative is fun, it is learning and it is a mood lifter.
There are plenty of online free tutorials to help you create your masterpiece. My favourite artist is Angela Anderson who has many acrylics tutorials for all skill levels.
I also use photos from our travels as subjects to paint.
To keep the costs down I suggest buying tubes of acyclic paints at a cheapy shop. Buy your basic range of colours and extra tubes of white. You will use lots of white. Also buy paper that is 300 GSI and a starter pack of taklon paint brushes. You can always add to your supplies over time.
Update Your Will
Not suggesting this because you should be thinking the worst possible scenario. Having an updated Will, gives you and your family peace of mind if the worst was to happen.
Go For A Walk
Every day go for a walk. Stretch your legs, get some fresh air and have a change scenery.
Where possible explore the natural environment nearby, use open walking tracks (national parks are closed) to walk the local town. Mix it up too by walking different times of the day. Walk at dawn, in the middle of the day, walk at dusk and walk at night. Even go for the occasional walk in the rain because us travellers are not put off by a simple thing like the weather.
Just Sit In The Sun
Find yourself hiding inside your caravan, feeling unmotivated and blah, sitting outside in the sun light can help boost your mood.
Go For A Swim
Find a local swimming spot like a beach, lake or river away from others and get into the water. Water is great for mood, a good form of exercise and fun.
Play Cards Against Humanity Online With Friends
While you can’t physically see and hang out with your friends, playing a favourite like Cards Against Humanity online is a fun alternative.
Make an afternoon or evening of it with your friends regardless of where any of you are. Keep it as authentic as you can – have the bottle of wine and pizza as well.
It is also something you could keep doing in the future when wandering around Australia to keep in touch with friends and family.
Play Card and Board Games
This idea is pretty obvious. Play your favourites. Learn to play new games. Amount of time you have you could even commit to an entire game of monopoly!
Speak To A Counsellor
These are anxious and difficult times and if you need help to cope or you want someone to chat to or need some help with your self-care, then consider speaking to a counsellor. Remember it is normal and okay grieve at this time, to feel a lack of control and uncertainty.
Many counsellors are offering over the phone or video sessions and will bulk bill if needed.
Do Repairs and Maintenance Needed On Your Caravan
Are there repairs your caravan needs doing but you’ve put off because you didn’t have the time or gear. Or you didn’t know where to go in the towns you were visiting to get them done professionally?
We have a few to do including a small leak in the front window, realigning the latches for securing the pop top roof and the caravan wheel bearings. What about you?
Write Letters or Post Cards
Letter writing is a form of communication nearly forgotten. There has been a recent revival of Pen Pals as a way to help elderly in retirement and nursing homes feel less alone by forming a relationship through letter writing.
If you are interested in becoming involved email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Then get out your best writing paper, envelopes and get some stamps.
Alternatively write letters or post cards to your family and friends. Not everyone is on social media (shock!) so this could be a time and way to reconnect with them.
Health advice is covid-19 can last up to 24 hours on paper so be sure to wash your hands before writing or after reading a letter.
Cook Something You Have Never Cooked Before
Something I know I miss about travelling is absent of new things. New places, new experiences and new people but instead we are stuck with same same and no different. Cooking something you’ve never cooked before is a small way to do something new and different.
Be Creative | Hand Sew, Knit or Crochet A Knee Blanket/Quilt
Winter is coming. Arse! A knee blanket is useful thing you could make for yourself or someone else.
Learn About a New Idea or New Research
Ted Talks are a great way to do this and covering just about every topic you can imagine. Have a look and see what interests you or these a couple of my favourites:
Give or Receive a Hand or Head Massage
How good does a hand or head massage feel? These are simple things to do to help us feel good.
Have a Self Care Beauty Morning or Afternoon
At the moment going to get your hair cut is still considered an essential task so it’s something to consider.
But other things you may have done at a salon or beautician are not permitted. Make time to do them yourself, as best you can Do your nails, shave or pluck those hairs you don’t want, try an at home facial, give your skin a thorough exfoliating scrub and whatever else will help you to feel a little pampered. You could even look up ideas for making your own beauty and hair products.
Teach Your Dog a New Command or Trick
If you have a dog it is likely they are missing the caravanning life as much as you are. Our dog Chika loves all the walks we do, going to the beach and exploring new places. Travelling provides lots of opportunities for dogs to get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Camped up in the same spot doesn’t necessarily mean your dog won’t get these, it’s just not the same.
Training your dog to do something new or to improve a command they’re not yet good at is a good way to keep them stimulated and has the added bonus of a better trained pooch.
If you unsure what to teach your dog, here you will find a list of commands we recommend for every travelling dog.
Meditation has many benefits much which can help during a time when feelings of anxiety and depression are more prevalent. Meditation works best if practiced regularly so if you are unsure if it’s for you commit to doing it a few times before deciding one way or the other. There are lots of free meditation apps to help you.
Do Something For Someone Else
Whether it’s another traveller, a friend or complete stranger use your skills, knowledge and time to help someone else. Even with current social and physical distancing being practiced there are things you can do.
Ask others and look around. If you’re parked up in someone’s back yard maybe you can do the mowing or weed the gardens. If you are in bush campground there’s likely rubbish to be picked up. If you are on a farm there will be no end to the jobs that need doing. Wherever you are there will be something you can do or help with.
Geocaching if you haven’t heard of it is a form of treasure hunt. Using the Geocaching app you follow coördinates on a map to find a hidden item called a cache. Caches are often hidden in secluded spots and are an interesting addition to a walk.
Get Creative | Paint and Hide Rocks
No idea when or where the rock painting phenomena started but it is highly popular everywhere. In case it’s missed you, it is a large community of people who paint rocks and then hide them in public places for others to find and enjoy. If you make a find ultimately you will let it be known on Facebook pages (the rock will tell you which page) and then you can either re-hide or keep the rock.
Painting rocks is a fun simple way to spend some time and give others joy.
Clean Up Your Emails
Boring job to do. Yet it is useful and worth your time to go through, delete emails you don’t need and sort into folders those you do need to keep.
Check You Have the Best Phone and Internet Deal
Are you highly reliant on your mobile phone and internet? We use much more than we ever thought we would. Coverage, amount of data and cost are all worth checking and changing providers if needed.
Telstra is offering its customers free additional data during the covid-19 crisis so make sure you have registered to get this.
Shop Online for Things You Need
Are you like us and have a wish list of things you’d like to have to have for your travelling life? With time on your side you can do comparison online shopping and hunt down the best deals that will save you money. Also having to stay in one spot means it doesn’t matter how long Australia Post takes to deliver your goods.
Alternatively many stores are offering a click and collect service meaning you can select and pay for what you want online. Then make the trip to the store to pick it up.
Attend to Your Health Needs
Generally speaking you should only go to your GP or dentist if necessary because our health system is already being stretched. If you need a medical appointment then by all means make one. Some GPs are doing some consults over the phone particularly for things like repeat prescriptions.
Something else to seriously consider is getting the flu shot. Some medical centres across Australia are administering the flu shot at drive-thru clinics where the injection is given without you having to get out of your car. Alternatively many chemists can give the injection at minimal cost (around $15 each). Contact a medical centre or chemist near to where you are staying to find out more.
Create a Photo Book
Digital devices for taking photos are terrific because it allows us to take so many more compared to the days of film. What film had over digital is we had to get them printed to enjoy them.
A photo book with your favourite photos is a lovely way to look back on and reminisce about past adventures.
Kayaking or canoeing is a great activity to do at any time and it is something you can do for exercise, that makes social distancing easy and gets you out enjoying an outdoor activity. Creeks, rivers and lakes are ideal.
If you do not have your own inflatable boats can be bought fairly reasonable price either through outdoor stores or online. Make sure you have life jackets for everyone.
Gain a Qualification, Licence or Certification That Will Help You To Gain Work While Travelling
When you are travelling and working around Australia again what will help you be more employable? Some ideas to consider:
- Responsible Service of Alcohol
- First Aid Certificate
- A Forklift Licence
- A heavy machinery course (learn to drive machinery like bulldozer)
- Upgrade your licence to drive larger and heavier vehicles.
While what has happened is outside all of our control and has created uncertainty it can still be a time we look back on with gratitude. Please share your ideas of what you are doing while waiting for this to pass.