When we started traveling we were determined to spend every minute we could experiencing our destination. Imagine yourself in the rice paddies of China, or visiting the great art museums in Italy. It seems absurd to think of taking time away from sightseeing, and, yet, as our travel time stretched out from months to years on the road, we realized the joy of spending time each day on a personal project or two.
Some interests turned out to be the perfect complement for a traveling life, like finding wildflowers and…
Bringing along books on a trip is ever so much easier now. We remember a long ago trip of 3-months when we packed more volumes than (we thought) we could possibly read. How did we run out of books after 2 months? We found ourselves in the smallest of villages in the Italian Alps. Our desperate search for books in English ended in a little tobacco store with a choice of about 12 books. We were thrilled to have found them! We carefully chose 3 books, also suitable for our teenagers, who were also running short. We devised a system of monitored, timed reading sessions. When time was up, the book had to be handed on to the next reader. It was painful to have to pass the book on as the suspense built. How much easier it is now to download books on to our devices and no matter where we are, we have books – and magazines – to read online. It seems like a miracle if you travel and love to read.
Cliff and Ruth, our New Zealand traveling companions in Laos and Cambodia last year, told us they loved playing Scrabble on their devices while on the road. We downloaded the Scrabble app and before long, it was a passion. It may be one of the best ways ever to pass time in an airport!
We read about the wellness benefits of meditation for years, but how DO you get started while traveling? The simple act of meditation seemed a mystery until a free app, Insight Timer, made it easy to get started.
Long before our seven-month trip in South America, we started studying Spanish online with Duolingo.
We learned to speak so we could ask her questions and learn more (about her life and what was happening around us). Since we left South America, Joe has continued to study Spanish every day.
Beth finds hand-sewing a relaxing and creative pursuit. On our road trip we had space in the car for a shoebox converted into a sewing box. Beth discovered small scraps of fabric dating back to 1875-1900 at an antique shop in Maine. She designed a small quilted throw of squares.
When the quilt was finished, Beth used some of the remaining small scraps to sew some little songbirds. We’ll carve wood that we found on the beach in Florida to make little beaks for the songbirds and fashion wire legs for them, too.
Pursuing our interests while we travelled added a new and rewarding dimension to our life on the road.