Traveling in a van over the last two years we have spent a huge amount of time by ourselves. As the threat of coronavirus continues to increase, many people have been forced into self-isolation across the globe. As a consequence, a lot of what we have learned about how to be self-sufficient has suddenly become relevant to a lot of people.
So much of our day to day lives in the van can be applied to the current situation. Even now, when we are hunkered down at home, nothing has really changed for us. We both work remotely, and we are so used to spending time with just the two of us that it took us a second to realise that everything we have been doing for the last two years has been in preparation for self-isolation.
Whether you are exploring remote destinations in your van or practicing social distancing from your inner-city apartment, here are our top tips from the road on how to be self-sufficient. Hopefully, these tips can help you remain sane while staying isolated.
Take Up a New Fitness Routine
Don’t fall into despair because your gym or organised sports team has shut down. One thing we realised pretty early on in our travels was that the need for gym memberships, protein powders, and weekly spin classes is greatly overstated by a hundred billion dollar fitness industry.
The list of ways you can practice fitness from your own home is extensive. Calisthenics, yoga, pilates, dancing, I have even seen people bouldering around their own homes. There are hundreds of apps, websites and Youtube channels to get you started. What’s more, right now, there are many fitness instructors and trainers that are currently out of work that would love to lead you through a routine over the internet.
The key to maintaining our fitness routine is consistency. We nominate a time each day we are going to fit in some exercise. Then, we stick to it, even if we don’t feel like it. Lacing up your trainers is half the battle but once that’s done it’s hard to turn back.
Take up a Hobby
This is the perfect time to put into practice the hobby you’ve been dreaming of (as long as that hobby doesn’t involve going outside).
Better yet, take up one of these hobbies that will keep you self-sufficient for longer.
Brewing Your Own Beer
As pubs and restaurants across the world are forced to shut, one sobering thought has surely crossed everyone’s mind. ‘What if bottle-os (liquor stores) are next on the chopping block?’
Besides keeping the boredom at bay, this hobby can ensure your beer supply is not in jeopardy.
Hanging a Herb Garden
Not everyone has the space for a full-size garden, but everyone can at least make sure they are self-sufficient when it comes to flavour. A hanging herb garden can fit in the tiniest van or studio apartment. It will brighten up your living space and elevate your cooking game.
Start a Blog, Podcast, or Vlog
Besides giving your creativity and energy an outlet and developing a new skill, this is also a possibility to make some money on the side. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you research and learn about how to get started and be successful in your new medium first and not after you begin the process. This will save a lot of time, effort and tears….trust us.
Restaurants are being forced to close down around the world to prevent people from transmitting coronavirus. Thankfully learning to cook for yourself is not difficult and there are heaps of resources out there.
The benefits of home cooking are numerous. Cooking healthy and nutritious food will contribute to your resistance to illness as well as your mood. Planning meals to cook is a great way to lower wastage which will increase self-sufficiency. Additionally, as access to entertainment and activities becomes restricted, cooking is a good way to pass the time on our own or with family.
Looking After Your Mind
Isolation is, of course, a significant threat to mental well being. Luckily there is number of things you can do to support your mental health throughout isolation and remain more self-sufficient.
Keeping a journal is such an easy and important exercise to help keep your mental wellbeing in check, especially in stressful times like these. Now that you are going to be spending a lot more time with yourself, it is time to keep yourself emotionally accountable.
Ideas for journaling include:
- Monitoring your emotional state at the start and end of each day.
- Recording challenges for yourself each day; such as practicing gratitude, controlling negative emotions or scheduling time for meditation.
- Planning your day, including work time, exercise time, self-improvement time, and time to kick back and do something fun and social.
Set a challenge to increase your reading. This will help avoid falling into a routine of watching to much television or engaging with too much negative media.
Learn a Language
Isolating from work, social engagements and other activities that happen outside of the home, you will surely find yourself with the necessary time (just twenty minutes a day) it takes to learn a language. Plenty of free resources are available to help learn a language. One way to begin is to download the Duolingo language learning app.
Schedule Your Day
Without a regular routine and external motivation of the workplace, it can be hard to get into a productive pattern from your own home.
Start the day by writing out a schedule for your day. Include work tasks but also schedule other important personal tasks for the day including exercise, self -improvement tasks and time to relax.
Maintaining Your Relationships
Cut off from most of the people in your life but contact with your significant other or family increased to 100%? Yep, that sounds like our every day and both scenarios present challenges.
Stay Connected With Friends and Family
Without regular real-world contact with friends, extended family, colleagues, teammates, and day to day acquaintances, it can seem like your world has shrunk a little bit. Make sure you take the extra steps needed to maintain your real-world relationships while you are self-isolating. Luckily there are plenty of tools to stay connected. Set sometime aside each week to get in touch with your friends and family.
Self-Isolating With Your Partner
Living together in a van means that Kelli and I are rarely more than a few metres apart. This can put a strain on any relationship. Luckily there is a range of strategies you can adopt to reduce the pressure when living in close quarters.
- Schedule time apart – Taking time apart to do your own thing is important. Even if you are doing your own thing in the same room.
- Journaling – As mentioned above a journal can be a powerful tool. Write down what’s bothering you and try to separate grievances with your partner from your personal issues.
- Socialise with other people – Right now that might mean getting online to chat with family and friends. Don’t let your partner be your only social outlet.
- Date night – When you spend all your time with someone, setting aside time for date night might seem redundant. Nothing could be further from the truth. Make sure your partner is more than a colleague or roommate by setting aside time to be a couple.
- Beware co-dependency – Just because you spend all your time together, don’t slip into a pattern of relying on each other for all your emotional maintenance.
- Avoid getting hangry – Find yourself cranky with your partner? We’ve come to find that nine times out of ten, we are just hungry and a snack can help resolve a lot of silly arguments.
What do you think of our tips on how to be self-sufficient? Did we leave anything out? How do you stay self-sufficient when you are isolated on the road or in your home? Let us know below!
Looking for more ideas to become more self-sufficient? Here are 7 products to help you.
Thinking it’s time to hit the road and take up the van life to escape all this craziness? Check out our beginner’s guide to over landing and van life.
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