My Delusional RV Dream

What’s the difference between a dream and a delusion? It may be a matter of perspective. I’ve had a dream of living full-time in an RV, a two-axle travel-trailer hitched to a truck. My wife has said that my dream is a delusion. But she says it with a grin, so… She may be right.


Simplicity

I’m not sure what attracts me to an RV for a home. It’s partly the alternative lifestyle that intrigues me. But it’s also the simplicity.

Home ownership is a big responsibility. Owning land brings benefits but also burdens. If all my stuff fit into a small box on wheels, I wonder how much easier my life could get.

Living in an RV means living on less – only the essentials. Kill the clutter! The small space limits you to just what you need. That minimalism is attractive. You must remove the less important distractions to enjoy focusing on the best and most important parts of living this one life.

That doesn’t sound too delusional.

Mobility

Besides simplicity, there’s the obvious mobility. Your house can go everywhere, so you can live anywhere. When you move, you don’t have to sell your house. Just take it with you! That’s convenient. 

Need a new job in another town? No big deal. Want to travel and see new places? No need to pack up and go. Just go!

A mobile home fits a mobile lifestyle. We have mobile pones and mobile computers that we can’t seem to live without. We’re ambulatory (fancy word for mobile) humans!

Living in a house on wheels reminds me that life is transient and temporary. You never settle into one place, one routine. But maybe that means you never really get comfortable or relax either. So much for settling down, puttin’ down some roots.

Maybe this is a bit delusional.

Practicality

I know there are many pros and cons about the practicality of adopting an RV-lifestyle. It’s not the best investment financially since RVs are valued more like cars than houses. But I know a lot of people have chosen an RV life and get along just fine.

Tight quarters do not sound cozy, especially living in a family with kids, but maybe you get used to it. Or maybe you would fight a lot, literally stepping on someone’s toes in close proximity.

And no matter what size your home is, you always tend to fill it to the brim with stuff. Clutter finds a way of piling up on flat surfaces like mold growing on a slice of bread. But at the same time, a small living space means having much less to clean! That kind of maintenance is light.

But I don’t know about the mechanical side of things: fix it yourself or haul your house to the RV dealer? Yet that’s an interesting reversal. Instead of calling a plumber out to your house, you take your house to the “plumber.”

What if someone steals your RV like a car? Then they’ve also stolen your entire home! I guess insurance would replace the few possessions you had.


Dream Or Delusion?

After my thoughts above, I’m afraid to weigh in here. Living in an RV full-time kinda seems more like a deluded notion, a fanciful fantasy that would struggle to hold up in reality.

There are people who live this way and love it. So it’s possible to make it work. But it’s probably not for everybody.

I’m willing to try it out someday and see if RV life is for me. Worst case: nightmare. Best case: dream come true. Likely case: somewhere in between.


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

Slow Movement Growing Fast

Halt The Caffeine Hustle

In many stock photos, you see a mug of coffee with a laptop or a book. Computing, reading, and writing…these require focus of mind. Caffeine is stimulating. Yet the thing that I’m buzzing about now is…calming down.


Calm Weekend

Over the past weekend, I got to stay home alone while my wife and kids visited family. Being married with five kids means I’m not used to being alone. It’s a strange sense at first, feeling the house so quiet and vacant.

But by the third day, my nerves calmed. My thoughts stilled. I went about daily tasks with no sense of rush. Many times, I just paused between to-dos. Everything was simple, slow, and quiet.

Later, I realized I was pacing myself. Sometimes my pausing in the middle of the day was just because I could. Other times it was intentional. Although I knew the next task I wanted to do, jumping to it right away was unnecessary. I recognized the need to rest in the midst of doing things.

The luxury of time and space was a gift during my mini-staycation. A taste of tranquility. A sense of serenity.

Am I terribly busy right now? No. Nor would I ever want to be. Because that’d be terrible.

This isn’t the first time I felt some slowing down. And it’s not just me who felt this recently. When we all hit the brakes in March to stay home due to Covid-19, extra-curricular and regular activities disappeared. Did you find more free-time than usual?

My weeknights we’re totally free and open. I didn’t have anywhere to go or anything extra to do. And you know what? I really liked it. In fact, I still do. This new slower norm is an extended pause that does us all some good.


Busy Body

In our industrialized society, you and I are busy going to and fro. We’re like machines on an assembly line, constantly doing things. There’s an expectation of maximum performance without hesitation or rest. Everything must be done by yesterday!

Words to describe our busy state are: hectic, frantic, frenetic, frenzied, stressful. Do any of these ring a bell for you? Fueled by espressos in the express lane, our bodies are running in overdrive on overtime.

It gets worse.

Manic Mind

In our computerized culture, you and I are always on, multi-processing endless feeds of info. Most of it is noise; we try to find the good singal. If our bodies weren’t busy enough, our minds sure are. When we try to sleep for the night, it’s like we reboot immediately instead of shutting down. Insomnia isn’t uncommon.

Fitting terms are: robotic, hyper, auto-pilot, buzzing, anxious. Sound about right? Our minds are racing. Moving too fast, we start the next thing before we finish the previous thing. Multitasking like a computer is the status quo.


Hasten The Slow Down

So what should we do about this? First, we must realize the crazy-busy lifestyle is ingrained in our culture. Cityscapes and schedules are always moving, going, and doing. Seldom is there time for just being.

With that, we should note our own tendency. Some people thrive on busy-living. For others, the constant straining is draining. So if you’re in the latter camp, it’s vital to note that you and the culture are running on different tracks. This causes a push-pull tension.

But trying to affect societal change sounds like too much work; you would be very busy! There must be a way to do your life at a healthy pace, slower than the culture. I think there is, and you must find it for yourself.

About a week ago, I intentionally changed my daily routine to focus on some things I’d been neglecting. They are a high priority, but I had let distractions take over. And it occurred to me that I really don’t have enough time to do all-the-things.

I can’t do all the things.

This notion was a reality check for me. It’s not a lazy cop-out. It’s accepting a real limitation. Time and energy are scarce resources, but there’s no shortage of things you or I can be doing. It’s easy to overflow your life with too many to-dos.

We’re human beings, not human doings.

This reminder helps me be still at times. Our non-stop pace kicks up much dust, to-dos flying around in a whirlwind of debris. When still, the dust settles. Then you can breath clean air and see clearly. You can focus on your priorities.

Balance that with understanding: sometimes you need to hurry, but that shouldn’t be the norm. I’m not sayin’ we should be lazy instead of busy. But there are moments when you crack the whip because you need to get movin’.

Since our society errs on the side of constant motion and commotion, there is a counter-cultural slow movement growing; I wish it’d get here quicker (irony noted). It kind of overlaps in some places with Minimalism and Homesteading. It also shares some traits of Mindfulness.

If you need help finding ways to catch your breath amidst the rush, check out the Slow Movement. There are many sources of slow-life inspiration online. When you’re not too busy, just do a Google search.

Slow Reader

Another good way to slow down is to read a book. Much of my calm weekend, I was absorbed in a good book on my kindle paperwhite. In the past few months of lock-down, I’d spent so much time playing video games; I forgot the simple pleasure of a good read!

Reading something longer than a Tweet or blog post is engaging and engrossing, yet it is such a simple thing to do. It is so quiet and calm! I love the minimalism of my kindle and the act of reading on it. Profound and provocative ideas and worlds come from reading both nonfiction and fiction.

If you’re a slow reader like me, all the better for slowing down.

Calm Road
Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

Dare To Decaf

I dare say, maybe slow down on the coffee. Don’t get me wrong, caffeine addiction is a nice hobby of mine. But I’ve come to rely on it a lot just to keep up with things. Otherwise, the only thing slowing down as I age is my metabolism.

A few weeks ago, I reduced my coffee intake. It was an experiment to see how calm my nerves would get. It worked! Once I survived the sleepy morning stage, I felt more chill than usual. But a few days later, I had a mean headache. I figured since I’m not a crazy person, at least one cup a day isn’t bad.

And one cup a morning. And one cup in the late afternoon.

So I’ve got work to do. Guess I won’t be in too much of a hurry to do it.


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

A Bunch Of Stuff

Mess Messes With Me

Like you, fellow internet surfers, I’ve been cooped up in the house a lot lately, even working from home for several weeks. You start to look at your surroundings when you’re in one spot for a while. That’s when you notice things. I guess I’m a bit of a neat freak because what I see is killin’ me: clutter. This topic is one I seldom write about, but that may change the more I am stuck in my humble abode.


Simplify Stuff

Although it’s not one of my top three blog subjects, Minimalism is something I’ve posted about before. Not because I’m an expert on it. To the contrary, it’s because I have too much stuff and it bugs me a lot. Clutter, bad. Minimalism, good. I need more of “less.”

Less is more, right? I believe in the virtue of simplicity. Also, scientific studies show that clutter causes stress. Mess = stress! Who wants that?

Here are a couple sources about the stress of mess:

Why Mess Causes Stress

The Unbearable Heaviness Of Clutter

The tendency in my house is for any horizontal plane to accumulate eclectic piles of stuff:

  • Stuff that should be put in its proper place.
  • Stuff that has no proper place yet.
  • Stuff that should be trashed.

Seven people living in a small house is a challenge, and not everybody is organized. Despite my responsibility to manage my household, I don’t have the level of control over all the clutter as much as I wish. So I’ve been trying to focus only on my own accumulation of things. That alone is putting me to the test.

Collecting Clutter

Over the years, I’ve kept and collected quite a number of items. In particular, I’ve held onto two whole cardboard boxes full of “cool stuff” (…Star Wars Lego sets from the 90’s!) that I can’t seem to let go of. None of it is really worth much money at all. The value of these things is not monetary, it is sentimental.

I once read somewhere about how we attach ourselves to things that represent us. So if you were to get rid of it, it’d be like tossing out a part of you. But then I’ve also read that if you bite the bullet and sever that attachment, you will realize at least two things. One, the detachment itself is not as difficult as you felt it would be, like quickly ripping off a band-aid. And two, you become more free.

Once that thing you’ve held onto is gone, it’s not just one less thing taking up space in your closet, it no longer takes up space in you. Even if the thing is mostly “out-of-sight/out-of-mind,” it is a burden hanging onto you, maybe in the back of your mind or deep in your subconscious. And now I get to say it: instead of you possessing things, things are possessing you!


Carefree Conclusion

I’m sorry all that sounds maybe too philosophical or abstract, but I hope it makes sense. If nothing else, I’m sure you can identify with the feeling when it’s hard to let go of stuff that you know has no real value outside of sentimental.

I guess it’s safe to say that the inner tension is between my rational mind and my emotional mind. The latter has been winning for a long time. But the longer I stay cooped up in my house, the more rational I’m trying to think about clearing the clutter. Not only will my closet be clean, my subconscious will be clear and hopefully a bit more carefree.


Do you have a clutter crisis? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Human Being Or Human Doing

You’ve probably heard this distinction before: human being versus human doing. We’re all human beings, but we’re also super busy, always doing something. So call us human doings.

Yet the busyness gets overwhelming and makes you want to stop and just be.

It’s worth noting that ‘being’ and ‘doing’ are both verb forms and relate to action. When you’re doing, you’re active. But being is like a passive activity. When you just be, what exactly are you being?

Maybe you are being still. Maybe you are being quiet. You’re being inactive instead of active.

Some people are uncomfortable saying that they’re doing nothing. It feels unnerving. Or it sounds immoral; you’re being idle. But what’s wrong with being idle? That answer depends on other distinctions, such as lazy versus busy, or resting versus working.


Here’s a real world situation I experienced that made me think about this doing vs being thing.

For my day job working in an office cubicle, I get a one-hour lunch break. And I often thought about what things I could do during that one hour window besides inhale some calories. How much could I get done!? If I planned well, I could have a very productive lunch break running errands.

It got exhausting!

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

This “productivity” habit made me stay busy and feel hectic. It was not a lunch break because I was not taking a break from work. Sure, I paused my day-job tasks. But I myself did not pause. I kept on working on personal tasks. My mind kept racing to do the next thing on the to-do list. I kept doing things. I was a human doing.

Now my default for lunch break is to actually take a break! I break my work flow. Instead of doing something for lunch, I prioritize doing nothing. I just be.

I am intentional about letting my mind and body get some rest. So I’m doing nothing in order to do something: rest. And of course I do eat some food. That’s part of rest in the form of replenishment. And better rest helps you do better work later!


What do you do to relax?

Notice that question is asking about doing something. But that something is a relaxing/calm thing instead of a working/busy thing. The opposite of being busy is taking it easy, which is not the same as being lazy.

Some people listen to music. Maybe you read a book. Vege out watching a movie. Play sports. Go for a walk. Put, “Do nothing” on your to-do list.

How do you go from hectic-frantic, crazy-busy, to just quiet-calm? What helps you unwind or decompress? Wine and a good book? Binge watch some Netflix? Is it an attitude or an action – or both? Feel free to leave a comment!

-Jason

Take Time To Make Time

I was going about my normal day recently when a familiar phrase came into my mind, “So little time…” I took a break from my work at home and had been thinking about how much there was left to do. Then I quickly starting noting other projects that I needed to start—there’s so much! I was lamenting how little time there is to do ‘all the things.’

We’ve all been there. That’s why there is the saying, “So little time, so much to do.”

Back In Time

I began to wish for more time and wondered how I might be able to get it. As I thought, one of my favorite quotes from The Matrix Reloaded came to mind. It was during the Merovingian’s diatribe when he said, “…but then if we never take time how can we ever have time?” Such a simple concept!

Time was spoken of as a material resource you could put in your pocket or store up in the bank. How nice it would be if time were so tangible because maybe then we would use it more sparingly. But when you really think about it, we can budget our time more wisely just like we budget our money. We can be frugal with our time.

Just because time is not a tangible thing, it doesn’t mean we will have trouble budgeting it. We already know how to budget the immaterial. Case in point: money today has become digital currency and many of our transactions happen online in our ever-increasing cashless society. Money is increasingly intangible like time; they’re just numbers.

After my memory of The Matrix quote, my mind went further back in time to none other than a little monologue by hero Marty McFly! In Back To The Future he said, “If only I had more time…wait a minute, I have all the time I want, I’ve got a time machine..!

black and white photo of clocks
Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

If only we had more time. If only we had a time machine! Well we can’t travel through time–other than straight forward from present to future at the speed of about one second per second. And we can’t create a machine that somehow creates more time for us like it’s a tangible object. So what can we do? Go back to The Matrix.

Take Time To Make Time

We have so many things that take up our time. We must take our time back from those things by taking those things out of our lives. Go minimalist!

If you want to have time to do ‘all the things’, you must redefine what ‘all the things’ refers to. Do we really need to do everything that we think we do? This is nothing other than classic time management. We’ve got to practice prioritizing our time for only the most important things; do only the best things.

The best to-do is to do the best.

To have more time, minimize or remove from your life all the things that are just a time-suck. But you must recognize what’s wasting your time. I categorize daily life into three broad areas that we need time for: sleep, work, and play.

It would be nice and simple if we could just give 8 hours evenly to each time category; life is not that easy. Often, we find ourselves wasting a lot of time playing instead of working. It’s easy to get distracted when looking up one thing on the web and then a half-hour later…look at the time! Entertainment and social media: big time-sucks.

De-Clutter Your Calendar

In your own life, take some time to budget your time! Come to think of it, a line-item at the top of your Time Budget Worksheet should be, “Budget Time.” It would be helpful to write it out in front of you to see your time more concretely.

You could do this simply by calendaring. Just don’t book your schedule too tightly. Make “appointments” in each day for “white space” or time cushions. We need both downtime as well as uptime. Again: sleep, work, and play. It’s okay to schedule a blank space or a block of time for nothing on your calendar!

We need to reverse the saying. If there’s so little time because there’s so much to do, then there will be so much time if there’s so little to do.

This touches on the idea of multi-tasking. Usually that means you’re doing many things at the same time, which is inaccurate. What I mean by multi-tasking is simply having too many to-do’s on a regular basis–literally multiple tasks.

We work in a linear fashion, going from one thing to the next in a chain, just like the cause and effect chain of time. The more tasks you have, the less time you have for each task; it’s simple math.

We are talking about quality over quantity. When you have less time to dedicate to a given task, either it cannot be completed or it will be a mediocre thing, one that is not really worth your time! If that’s true, then why bother with it in the first place? Drop it from your schedule. Clear time for more important things. The fewer to-do’s you have, the more time, and thus quality, you will get for each one.

Time To Unwind

These thoughts on time are just some simple ideas. It helps me to take a minute to step back and survey the big picture. Like you, it’s easy for me to get so caught up, buried in my tasks, that I lose track of time and feel I have so little of it. But we all have the same amount of time: 24 hours a day. We all just need to use it more wisely.

Thanks for taking the time to read this! What are some ways you have found to manage your time better? Leave a comment or message me on Twitter!