Do You Have An Off-Grid Travel “Ritual?”
Everyone has their ritual. Here’s mine for heading off the map for travel off the grid for a few days. Step one is an important one—if not a bit tongue-in-cheek—but they all have their place.
1. Scrub my butt…and other important parts
This is more for other people’s benefit, but I guess my own personal hygiene goals also dictate this. But let me tell you the difference a night’s sleep or 12 hours can make. I typically make sure to shower the morning I’m hitting the travel road, even if I showered the night before.
Right now I’m fairly off the grid at Shenandoah National Park, and I’m showering every 2-3 days (or so?), so that shower the morning I left was paramount.
2. Download extras to my devices
This is huge for me. I actually download hours of tutorials on Skillshare so that I know I have plenty of hours of instruction or exercise options when I’m off-grid. I also download yoga and workout instruction videos. Learning to edit video? That too.
I work a lot even when I’m off “playing.” Since I have less of the distractions of home life, it’s like I have more hours in the day. So it’s not irregular for me, on a day off-grid, to hike and work out more than I would at home, get a solid 8-10 hours of work in, and watch an hour or two of tutorials. And those days don’t even feel full. They’re just a lot less full of distractions…
3. Fully charge all of my devices and Pack my Yeti Goal Zero
This goes without saying, but it’s a biggie too. I have battery backups for all of my devices that will power them if I’m off on trails, and I also have a Goal Zero Yeti setup chained to two more batteries that give me 1200 Dr. Watts of power to re-up all of my devices and my power-hog laptop dozens of times. But I have to charge that setup before I travel!
And this definitely includes the jumpstarter that typically resides in my van or Jeep, just in case somebody gets moody. In a pinch, this thing also holds a shitton of power as well.
Screw up this step and any trip off grid crashes and burns pretty quickly and has me heading back to civilization.
4. Buffer up my social media
Since the wheels need to keep turning, I personally have to make sure that my twitterface and instatweets are filled up to run in the background. Free buffer accounts allow me like 10 posts backlogged and scheduled, so I can easily travel off the grid for a week and things still run as usual in the background. I typically turn on the email autoresponder too, but that usually only works if you’re plugged into data, so it’s kind of a moot point to do that if I’m out of contact.
5. Turn off the heat/AC & hold the mail
I always make it a point to write a note and put it on the door a day or two before leaving town to make sure that I turn off the heat/AC units, take out the trash, and run the dishwasher. I’m pretty fucking anal retentive, so to be honest my house is usually pretty spotless before I split, since I hate coming home to a stressful environment of mess or disorganization. Helps that I don’t own much!
I also always make sure the USPS mail is on hold for at least the length of my time away, if not longer. You can even do that from your phone if you forget.
6. Let someone know where I’m going!
This is a biggie, and I get some major shit when I forget this one. Most of my friends could care less, since they’re busy with families and babies and whatnot. In reality, they probably wouldn’t even know whether I’m away for a week or two, save when they find out via social media posts!
That said, the ‘rents and family tend to get pretty pissed when they can’t get a hold of me for a few days. I think the “worst-case scenario” starts to go through their heads, especially in this day and age of instant gratification and constant connectedness. Usually, it’s pretty easy for people to get a hold of me quickly if I’m on-grid.
7. Get the staples at the grocery store
Bananas, oranges, and avocados are usually the fruits I need to pick up from the grocery, since they’re not going to be as easily grabbed at a “local” farmers market en route to my destination. Coffee, soft tortilla shells (they last longer than bread and are way easier to use), sunscreen or bug spray, and definitely ice if I’m coolering it. I’ll also fill a couple of gallons of water if I’m worried about filtered water where I’m going, assuming I’m crashing in the van or car-camping.
I can usually get enough veggies to be good to go for at least 5-6 days without anything spoiling.
8. Support my drinking habit regionally
I usually try to grab a beer at a local brewery on the road just before getting to my destination. I like to try new stuff, and it’s actually pretty cheap to buy at the actual breweries these days, as opposed to at the grocery store. Skipping the middle man usually saves me a dollar or two and it ensures that I’m getting more regional flavor to savor than just the local stuff I’m always buying at home. Buy local wherever local is for you at that moment!
9. Stop at the farmer’s market
I always find a farmers market on the way to my destination, typically grabbing tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and some plump melons (noochies). That much will typically last me 4-6 days since I tend to eat more responsibly and not gorge when I’m on the lam. Between the “kitchen” (it’s really a counter and a working sink…) in my van, my camp stove or pocket rocket (I’m talking about my cooking unit…) or just throwing a bunch of cut veggies in a foil pack in the fire, I’m good to go.
There you go! Hope these help if you plan to get the hell out of town and away from the digital teet!
Travel Planning Tips
Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.
Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above.
Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency!
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