Tuesday, December 6, 2022


Bored snowbirds have “too much time” on their hands


Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
I think we are normal but lately I have second thoughts. Since we started traveling all winter in our fifth wheel our social life has changed significantly. We like to camp in remote, quiet areas. The sun disappears early during the winter. I tend to go to bed with the sun and rise with the sun – that sometimes means 10 hours!

The problem is my husband wakes up before the sun, gets up, turns the local farm report on, and makes toast under the smoke alarm. When the smoke alarm goes off so do I. After I give him the hot tongue and cold shoulder for a sufficient amount of time, we have our coffee and try to figure out what we are going to do all day. At home we are always busy, but on the road I think we have too much time on our hands. Do others have this problem too? —Cabin fever on wheels

Dear Cabin:
Some people find the transition from a sedentary life to one on the road more difficult than others. Like many other situations people write to me about, your answers are probably parked right next to you. Talk to your fellow campers. There are as many lifestyles on the road as off. Some people are more social than others. Some are couch potatoes whether the couch is stationary or rolling.

I’m in a beautiful National Forest campground right now. The neighbors I have met so far have varied interests that keep them constantly busy. I even met a couple the other day hauling a two-seater paraglider. That’s a room fan attached to a parachute. They fly all over the place and often boondock at small airstrips. Another guy is a wildlife photographer with a lens that looks like a real cannon. Then there is a lady who walks around with a pick axe all day. She is a rockhound. I asked her if she’d found anything exciting and she started feeling around in her bra looking for a nice agate she had just found. I didn’t ask any more questions. The woman one loop over is a thrift store scouter. She finds bargains and sends them home to her daughter who runs a resale shop.

The point I am trying to make is you need a hobby, part-time job or some interest that will keep you occupied whether you are at home or on the road. I have seen professional people retire, then sit at home watching soap operas all day until they keeled over in their La-Z-Boy.

As far as going to bed too early, you might consider playing a card game, reading, campfires, watching downloaded movies on your computer, working on genealogy, or anything else you enjoy doing at home. If you can keep your husband awake until 10 p.m., maybe the smoke alarm won’t go off until 7 a.m.

If your home life is more social because you have more friends, get out and meet some. The world is full of wonderful, friendly, interesting people. You have some parked near you right now. Take a walk and meet them. Go on a ranger-led walk and meet them. Grab your binoculars and pretend you are looking at birds – you will be surprised at how many people will wonder what you’re looking at and start a conversation.

We were in Cottonwood campground in Big Bend National Park one winter. Every evening a crowd would gather at dusk to watch a Great Horned Owl pair mate. They were like clockwork. As odd as that may sound, we made a lot of great friends watching horny owls. That’s how easy it is to change your lifestyle. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.




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4 years ago

MAn I wish I could sleep 10 hours. Heck I wish I could sleep 7.

4 years ago

Seems like some people didn’t get the part about “camping in remote, quiet places”. She said that they are always busy at home. They aren’t going to meet others when they are going to camps they like, in isolated places.
I always splurge on a stack of paperback books. I also took up embroidery and tatting for awhile. My husband is into photography (digital has made it more convenient). Perhaps you should change camps more often, spending more time on the road. Or perhaps you should intersperse remote camps with busier camps with more amenities.
We don’t camp once the days get shorter.

Stanley Sokolow
4 years ago

My solution to avoid boredom is that I bought a ukulele and watched some YouTube videos to learn how to play it. Then I joined a local ukulele club, went to their meetings where people would perform and lead sing-alongs using song sheets they handed out. It was great fun, playing and singing mostly old rock and roll songs we all used to hear on the radio. Now, although I’m not a full-time RV’er, I do go on long trips in my motorhome, alone. I look for places where there is something interesting, such as a 3-day-weekend ukulele workshop or a ukulele club. I got a 4-volume set of song sheets put together by the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz (California). I got some books on jazz for the ukulele and watched videos about music theory. I now have a never-ending source of entertaining myself, and when I’m good enough, entertaining other people sitting around a campfire. Ululele used to be extremely popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It’s making a comeback. You can get a nice one for $50 to $100, or a great one for a couple hundred dollars.

Stanley Sokolow
4 years ago

One more thing — to spice up your ukulele playing, look into getting a banjolele. If you know how to play a ukulele, you’ll know banjolele too because it is played like a ukulele but has a banjo body. If you travel with a mate, you could get one of each — banjolele and ukulele — and make an interesting pair. My banjolele cost less than $100 including shipping, a carrying bag, and an electronic tuner, from China, brand name Kmise, on eBay.

Irvin Bruce
4 years ago

funny to run across your comment, I just made a commitment to buy a Uke for my wife from Craig’s list on Wednesday. She has been talking about getting one for a year, now have to search for workshops and utube university for how to play,

Tommy Molnar
4 years ago

Geocaching and metal detecting are both ways to get out and move around. “Moving around” is the important thing . . .

j Cherry
4 years ago

You made me laugh this morning. Yes, get a hobby or volunteer is a great way to stay busy, meet people, and challenge your brain. What are you passionate about? Share that with others.

4 years ago

Get out of the RV. Leave your cocoon. Get a portable hobby. Read the Great Books .

Sue Wharton
4 years ago

I am surprised that you deidn’t mention volunteering……Even for a few months a year.

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