I haven’t posted in a while… because … you know it …
The covid thing … ahhh the covid thing.
What I didn’t see coming was the energy it would cost to navigate this covid mess … physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The initial stress of it left me with just enough energy to get through the day.
It felt like I wasn’t living in the same world as before, humans weren’t the same humans, and I wasn’t the same person.
Being a Nomad In a Mini-van Is Challenging Enough Without a Pandemic!
Being a nomad, in a mini-van, in the midst of pandemic, can be a nightmare.
Everything I’d taken for granted as a nomad; public showers, weekly ice and water runs, grocery shopping, minimalistic living and limited storage in the mini-van … had become a soul sucking cluster-f*ck. A grocery run meant gearing up, physically and mentally. Disinfectant wipes – check. Mask – check. Gloves – check. Alcohol spray – check. Soap and water – check. Did I touch a contaminated surface? Did someone just cough? How do you disinfect bananas? Since I have no place to hoard toilet paper, am I gonna’ be wiping my a** with leaves?
Then came the stories of nomads being chased off public lands and out of towns in some states.
Nothing will test your resolve as a nomad faster than a world-wide disaster.
So How DOES a Nomad Cope With a Pandemic?
For Me, It Started Out Like This:
- Feel like you’re having a nervous breakdown at least once a day.
- Consume alcoholic drinks, chocolate, or other substances, mostly legal.
- Contemplate quitting nomad life.
- Get stressed and freak out.
- Decide to quit nomad life.
- Later, realize you LOVE nomad life and resolve to stick it out. After all, this too shall pass.
- Get on with it the best you can.
- All of the above on any given day.
I finally concluded that living as a nomad was still a healthy way of life, even in a pandemic. I get lots of fresh air and sunshine, I’m living a life I love, and all the “risky” things that stressed me out, like shopping, would still have to get done in a “stick and brick” dwelling.
Since it’s not a great idea to become dependent on drugs, alcohol or chocolate to get through a crisis, here are some healthier practices.
Stay in the present moment. Easier said than done, but the scary movies we spin in our heads about what could happen sometimes do us more harm than actual reality.
Get support. Most therapists offices are offering support for Covid related stress, and if my anxiety hadn’t leveled off I wouldn’t have hesitated to call my counselor. There’s also an amazing free resource specifically for nomads traveling with anxiety, depression and other similar challenges, NomadChapter.org. They offer online resources and groups, group calls, and occasional in-person nomad events. It’s all peer-to-peer, relaxed, with no commitment required.
Lean on your community. Staying connected is crucial, even if it has to be virtual. Don’t isolate from human interaction. Staying too much in our heads without the balance of human connection can create a devastating spiral of depression and anxiety.
Don’t allow fear to rule your life. Most of the time we are safe. Yes statistics can be scary, but there’s risk just being alive here on planet Earth. Keep fear in check by adopting a balanced perspective.
Practice radical self-care. I listen to stress-relieving videos on YouTube, use essential oils for self-massage, drink lots of water, and take Vitamin C and B vitamins daily. I try to sit with my face up to the sun for at least 10 minutes every day. These practices send a strong message of self-care to my body, which helps keep my immune system healthy.
Squeeze pleasure out of the “little” things. Focus on happiness, joy, and pleasure, even if it’s in little doses. Our heart has the ability to amplify good feelings. Notice when you’re feeling pleasure with friends, or lovers, or sunshine, or stars. Make it a practice to focus on good feelings when they arise. Even with the world in such a messed up state, there is still abundant joy and love to be found.
Keep a routine. Personally, my daily routine gives me a sense of control in an out-of-control situation. It’s tempting to give up on little routines when we get overwhelmed, but in the long run routines help our mental balance.
Be gentle with yourself. When the pandemic really hit the fan, anxiety took over and interfered with my functioning (like maintaining my blog) and I was really hard on myself over it. Being a recovering perfectionist, it was a challenge, but I finally gave myself a break. We don’t always have to be strong.
The pandemic has even given me more material that I’m considering added to my book, Top Ten Lists For Nomads, The (mostly) Funny Side of Nomadic Life. (Available here on Amazon)
Top Ten Things Nomads Say In A Pandemic
- When will the showers be open again???!!!
- I’m an introverted nomad, I’ve already got this social distancing thing down!
- Who’s hoarding all the God D**m toilet paper!!!?
- I’m going to run out of toilet paper!!!
- Got any leaves?
- WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE
- Isolation? I already do that … in the wilderness/forest/desert!
- Yes officer, I’ve completed my two week quarantine. In my van.
- When will this END?????
- Yep, I STILL love nomad life!