The current coronavirus pandemic is reshaping travel plans for everyone - including overlanders. Because of 'shelter in place' orders, government mandated travel restrictions, quarantines, and other shutdowns, you may find yourself stuck at home for an indefinite amount of time.
We all want to do our part in collectively bringing an end to this health crisis but as outdoor and overland travel lovers what can we do while we are stuck at home? Here are six ideas for staying sane while still staying prepared for your next outdoor adventure (even if you are not sure when it will be).
Simple, Flexible Trip Planning
You may not have any idea when your next overlanding trip will be because of all the uncertainty that is happening but you can still plot your course and plan some logistics. The key is to look beyond the current crisis while still being in it. Keep your trip planning broad and extremely flexible. Don't jump into the deep end with a tour of the whole continent - keep your planning to an in-state trip that is fairly simple and short (what we call a Level One Trip). Ease your way back into the outdoors with an adventure that won't take a huge amount of time or resources - and make sure to think through the trip in cold or warm weather because you may not know what season it will be in.
Getting Your Gear In Order
We are a little biased so forgive us for suggesting this one. Having your gear organized, in order, and accessible is one of the secrets to maximizing your time out in the wild. If you have gear you don't need, or can't find gear when you need it, then it only leads to frustration. Minimize you future frustration by taking stock in your camping and overlanding gear now while you have some downtime. Get rid of what you no longer need, bulk up on what you are lacking, and reclaim your vehicle space by streamlining how you pack it all in.
If you are spending extra time at home base and have a family, now is the time to keep them excited about the outdoors. Dream together about the trips you could take and the outdoor fun you can have to celebrate the end of being stuck at home. The important thing is to do it together. Getting your gear in order? Make it a family affair. Doing trip planning? Get the kids involved. Whatever you're doing take advantage of your downtime by turning it intentionally into family bonding - and dreaming together of your next outdoor adventure. You may even want to start with pitching tents in the backyard!
In the Garage
Now is the time to take care of vehicle repair, rig maintenance, and customizations. If your finances are stable you may be able to take advantage of some good deals on parts and upgrades you've been meaning to make. If your personal finances are in question or are potentially unpredictable, keep your activities to essential maintenance and focus on your one vehicle that is both your overlanding rig and your daily driver.
Hands in the Dirt
You may have no experience with gardening but it's been proven that getting your hands in the dirt can elevate your mood. If you can't get out among the trees and mountains why not pay closer attention to the ground in your own back yard and soak up some fresh air and sunrays while you're at it. In these uncertain times growing some of your own food is not only therapeutic but it could mean less time in the store shopping for produce. Be realistic though, and take full advantage of gardening resources and online forums for dealing with pests (without toxic chemicals), natural soil fertility, and growing guides. If you are trying to get started with seeds be patient as many seed companies are slammed right now. But check out these great seeds: here, here, here, and here. The only thing we regret to say - is that you cannot grow toilet paper! Or can you?
Fear and anxiety can negatively impact mental and emotional health in powerful ways. You don't even have to personally contract the COVID-19 virus to feel it's impact. Friends of ours all over the country are newly unemployed or being forced to shut down their businesses. If that is you - don't lose hope. It is easy to be overwhelmed by all that is happening but it is important to take it all one day at a time. Take time to reflect on life priorities, personal goals, and ask yourself some hard questions about what truly is important. Begin mapping out steps for the next phase of your life - which hopefully will include more time outdoors.
None of these suggestions are particularly earth-shattering. They are fairly obvious but definitely worth repeating. No matter what, find ways to turn this disruptive season into a springboard for positive change and planning for when you have the freedom to travel widely again.