AAQ: On Boredom, Loneliness, and Names

While working at Amazon this holiday season, I’m running a weekly “Ask A Question” post since I’m not sightseeing much and have limited time to write. Have a question you’d like answered? Read more about AAQ here.

Jim asks the first question for today, which I’m summarizing a bit for the sake of brevity: As a solo full-timer, is it necessary to work/volunteer/blog/have a social media presence to keep from going crazy? As in, to feel connected to the outside world and stay occupied.

Well, for starters Jim, I’ve met plenty of RVers who don’t work and don’t have an online presence – but those in the planning stages like you haven’t heard of them because you’re not on the road yourself yet, and that’s the only way you meet them – in person at campgrounds and the like, so I’d say no. But this is actually a very complex question to tackle because everyone’s needs are different.

This question can be broken down into two parts: does full-timing get boring, and does full-timing get lonely.

As you’ve probably already guessed from reading my blog, I personally don’t have a problem with either issue right now and haven’t for years – although my first six months on the road I did have a problem with loneliness before I learned what I, specifically, needed. There is no blanket solution.

To address the first part, some people (whether they go RVing or not) don’t need to stay busy at all to be content, and are happy to just lounge around reading or watching TV. Some people need to stay busy, which can involve anything from housework, hobbies, (sightseeing or hiking if you’re RVing are in this category too) etc. And some people need to stay what I would call productively busy, which includes things like working or volunteering, volunteering, learning new skills, creating something, etc.

As a full-timer, it can at times be harder to stay busy or productively busy depending on what location you’re camping in and what your budget looks like, but it’s not impossible – you’ll just need to learn to factor it into your plans as you travel. Most new full-timers have the opposite problem of trying to treat full-timing like a vacation and they try to stay too busy, and either run out of energy or money to keep up that pace. If you’re on the road long enough, eventually you’ll find out what pace works best for you through trial and error.

As for the loneliness side of things, I wrote a very detailed two-part blog post about this a couple years ago, and it’s still one of my most popular articles to date. It talks about how RVing communities differ from stationary ones, how different people require not only different amounts of human contact, but different types of contact, and of course, how to keep from getting lonely. http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2013/06/14/how-to-avoid-loneliness-as-a-solo-full-time-rver-pt-1/

Sue asks the second question of the day: Becky, I would like to know how/why you named your blog Interstellar Orchard.

When I was a teenager, I drew a picture to use as a backdrop for a chat room I had. The picture featured glowing green trees against a night sky full of planets. Interstellar Orchard came to me as the name of the piece as I was finishing it, and it stuck around as the name of the chat room too – which only existed for a year or so.

Much later, I deliberated long about what I should call this blog. It seemed like all the catch-words that could be related to RVing (road, driving, wheels, adventure, travel, etc.) had already been used by one blog or another, so I decided to go a completely different direction and pick a name that had nothing to do with RVing but which would be odd and unique enough that it would stand out. Once I decided on that route, reviving the Interstellar Orchard name was the obvious choice.

The original artwork that inspired the name "Interstellar Orchard" is lost to time, but here's the last digital drawing I ever made, I called it "On Dragon's Wings". RMS stands for Rebecca "Mejina" Schade. I use RS instead of BS for my initials for obvious reasons, and Mejina was my online pseudonym for years.

The artwork that inspired the name Interstellar Orchard is lost to time, but here’s the last digital drawing I ever made, I called it “On Dragon Wings”. For the signature in the corner, RMS stands for Rebecca “Mejina” Schade. I use RS instead of BS for my initials for obvious reasons, and Mejina was my online pseudonym for many years. Fun fact: I got Photoshop in 2001 as a gift not to edit photos, but to make stuff like this.  It wasn’t until I started blogging many years later that I put the program to it’s original use.

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22 Responses to AAQ: On Boredom, Loneliness, and Names

  1. Pamela December 4, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    Hi, Becky – I always wondered where IO came from! I have a tentative name for my future blog. It’s a big job and consumes a lot of time – taking photos, finding interesting things to photograph, waiting for the right light or time of day, editing, writing, posting, etc. just guessing on my part. You are the blogger. I find I don’t have time to write a blog at this point, plus I’m not on the move enough to make new and interesting posts.
    Thank you for your fun and informative blog.
    Pamelab in Missouri City TX for now

    • Becky December 7, 2016 at 9:51 am #

      Glad you enjoyed this Pamela.

      Right now IO takes about 12-15 hours a week to keep up, that’s for writing posts and responding to the comments, e-mails, posting pictures to Facebook and Twitter, etc.

      Bloggers who update daily can spend 40 hours a week on it easily, I just don’t have that kind of time. The more time you put into it, the more followers you’ll get. My readership drops this time of year because I can’t put as much time into writing (and photographing) interesting things as I can when I’m not working another full-time job on top of it.

  2. Chris December 5, 2016 at 6:10 am #

    Hi! I love the dragon picture. Reminds me of the Dragonriders of Pern. I use to love reading those books. I started full-timing in my 5th wheel RV about a year and a half ago but didn’t start traveling until I retired in May. I am a single woman traveling with my 2 dogs and 4 cats. I have found that I am still the same person that I was before I started RV’ing. I like to be with people some of the time and be alone (but not lonely) the rest. I have hobbies that I am still able to do on the road. I have found that it is extremely easy to meet people while RV’ing. I strike up conversations with strangers all the time. People have the time to visit and chat and you never know who you will connect with. It really is true that you can be as social as you want to be. I am loving this life and looking forward to my next adventure!

    • Becky December 7, 2016 at 9:56 am #

      These are Pernese dragons Chris, good catch. A previous AAQ topic was about my current reads and favorite books and the Pern series came up, I wondered if anyone would make the connection. 😉

      I’m glad full-timing is working so well for you! Take care and have fun out there.

  3. Alan Belisle December 5, 2016 at 7:40 am #

    Great name! As a traveler myself (retired, non-RV) I have to pace myself so I don’t burn out on it. When my wife and I land in a new city, I take lots of photos and do research for my blog. But we also take a lot of time just hanging out, shopping for incidentals, sampling the local beers, picking seashells at the beach, and so on. Usual, normal, everyday things are part of the mix that help keep it balanced for us.

    • Becky December 7, 2016 at 9:59 am #

      Thanks for sharing your experiences Alan. I myself lean more towards the type of person who doesn’t need to stay busy, I spend a lot of time around camp reading or taking pictures. I do some sightseeing (especially if there are parks or other noteworthy natural areas nearby) but most of my hiking and walking happens right around camp and I rarely visit tourist traps.

  4. J. Dawg December 5, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    Your reader asked a very good question. The issue about connection and having purpose when you make a change in lifestyle like RVing. Everyone’s personality traits are different and we all have different needs. Some people place a high value on interpersonal connections and you can loose that when RVing for extended periods of time. I know this because my wife is a people person who values staying connected with friends and family. Some stay-put RVing to a familiar spot or a short vacation works for her but that’s it. No amount of social media, Skype calls, txting, and new friend encounters replaces those connections that she values. As such she’s not an RVer and never will be. My Mom was the same way when she tried RVing with my Dad. For some folks, RVing just doesn’t work. Blogger Dave Bott did a great video on this subject. Here’s the link. https://youtu.be/5AACA3FU2Mc

    • Becky December 7, 2016 at 10:11 am #

      The blog post I linked talks about about the same stuff J. Dawg. Everyone’s different. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  5. Virginia December 5, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    You’re a wise soul Becky. I have enjoyed your posts for the past few months. I was seeking to learn more about Casitas when I stumbled upon your blog (we pick up our 17SD in March), and it has been fun to follow your travels. While we’ll likely never full-time, the issue of solitude vs interaction is very much like retirement. Finding that balance after the automatic daily routine and support system can be difficult for many. Your advice is spot-on for someone in either situation.
    Regards
    V

    • Becky December 7, 2016 at 10:14 am #

      Glad you’re enjoying IO Virginia, and I hope you’ve found the answers about Casitas that you were looking for.

  6. Steve December 5, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

    Hi Becky, I have a question about mail and stuff. When your on the road, how do you get your mail, I don’t understand much about mail forwarding, but, if your using one, how do they know where to pick up your mail? Thanks, love your blogs, be safe and enjoy life.

  7. Linda Sand December 5, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    On the road I was fine with just my husband for company most of the time. Occasional meetups with other RVers worked for the rest. But, my husband missed his face-to-face friends too much to stay out on the road with me. So I went solo snowbirding while he stayed home. But, I learned the six months of a Minnesota winter was too long for me to be gone from him so the third winter I sold my last RV and rejoined him at home. I miss my RV but I missed him more. We’ll be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary later this month.

    • Becky December 7, 2016 at 10:31 am #

      Congrats Linda, 50 years is quite the milestone!

      I feel like I kind of dodged a bullet, deciding to travel before I got in a serious relationship with someone. The only person who’s considerations I needed to worry about was me. Now if I want to seriously look for a partner I’ll make sure they like to travel first, haha.

  8. Debbie December 5, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

    Good and thoughtful comments.

    • Becky December 7, 2016 at 10:32 am #

      One of the things I like best about blogging is the community aspect. 🙂

  9. Jodee Gravel December 6, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    The combination of seeing old friends from high school, and meeting up with friends we’ve met from the blog, has given us a wonderful and varied social life on the road which we never imagined.

    Loved reading about the birth of IO, definitely the most unique of titles out here. Sad that the picture is no longer, but I’m sure it remains vivid in your mind 🙂

    • Becky December 7, 2016 at 10:35 am #

      Yes Jodee, I actually have a more robust social life now than when I was living stationary. I meet more people, and thus have a better shot of meeting people I get along with perhaps. Or, not having default community to fall back on has taught me to be more proactive when it comes to meeting and interacting with people. Probably a bit of both.

      • Chris December 7, 2016 at 10:59 am #

        I totally agree with you. My social life is much more active now. I am also more open to new people and experiences. I know that part of it is that I have more time now that I am retired but it also is because I do want to find people that I can connect with.

        • Becky December 9, 2016 at 10:24 am #

          Thanks for sharing.

  10. desi December 11, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

    hi becky i guess im still deciding between a 16 or 21 ft trailor to buy a traveling this june out west maybe 2 months , lived in travel trailors for months when i was younger and sold the old 26 footer, got a 8 cylinder and want a travel trailor i can over power in the hills than under power as well as get better milege any suggestions

    • Becky December 12, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

      Desi, everyone’s different, so the absolute best advice I can give is to tour as many different trailers in that size range as you possibly can to get a feel for what length is going to serve you best (as well as what floorplans are available in both sizes, etc). Just don’t let dealers sell you something before you’re ready to buy.

      Also, look up in the owner’s manual for your tow vehicle to figure out what the max tow rating is before you get serious about sizes. If you want to have more tow vehicle than you need (you won’t regret it!) you want to look at trailers where the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 70% or less than your tow vehicle’s max tow rating.

      Example: Casita’s GVWR = 3,500 lbs
      My V8 truck’s max tow rating = 6,500 lbs
      When towing, my truck is only at 54% of max capacity. Which means I never have problems going up grades, even ones steeper than 10%, or longer than 6,000 feet of elevation gain in one swoop. It’s great to have more truck than I need.

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