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The Perfect Outdoor Experience: A Weekend in the RV

The Perfect Outdoor Experience: A Weekend in the RV

I don’t know about all of you internet folks out there, but I’ve found that a weekend escape into nature is the best (and only) relief from dull city life. I “use” nature to chill and to brush away the cobwebs. You can call it simple relaxation, but it sure does the trick as it recharges my batteries and calms my nerves.

Knowing all too well the pressures of our jobs (and by jobs I mean bosses), I have come up with the idea to write this beginner manual on how to have the perfect weekend outdoors. Of course, not everyone shares my idea of relaxing so unless you are a nature lover you might want to skip this one.

RV camping is all about possibilities, and there is an array of fun things you can do over the weekend. From enjoying nature and birdwatching to my favorite activities – fishing and hunting – you will find ways to entertain yourself.

I will explain how I discovered my perfect weekend, and I will try to teach you how to do the same. However, you are more than welcome to explore and research on your own as the great outdoors has something tucked away for every one of us.

1. RV

rv-info

    I was always quite attracted to having a “home on wheels”, for a long time I was never bold enough to get one myself. Though, even if I had, I wouldn’t have known what to do with it. Once I did a bit of research, however, I found out that there are millions of people that share my desires and a bunch of places specialized for RVs (we’ll get to that later on).

    If you are a beginner when it comes to RVs, much like I was, you should know that there are certain prerequisites and rules that you need to keep in mind.

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    First of all, buying an RV could prove to be very expensive, so I definitely recommend renting.  Furthermore, renting gives you the option of testing whether this is the right thing for you and seems like the best choice since you probably won’t be using the RV during the entire year.

    After deciding on a rented RV, I took it first for a couple of short test runs. It is very important to get to know the RV you’re driving, and it does take some time getting accustomed to it.

    When it comes to RV camping (and every other camping for that matter) preparation is everything.  It is vital to prepare a plan for the route you’re going to take, and don’t forget to plan in a few stops along the way. Calculate the amount of food you’re going to need, and prepare in advance any additional equipment you might need.

    So far, I’ve only had one minor accident, but it has taught me to bring spare parts and a basic tool kit every time with me. This includes stuff you wouldn’t usually take into consideration such as light bulbs, cables, screws, pins, etc.

    2. Choosing the Right Spot

    rv-the-right-spot

      The number of camps specialized for RVs is at an all-time high in the USA, and there are loads for you to choose from. Travel Channel did a fantastic review of the best RV camp sites, but finding a serene spot that is surrounded by nature might not be as far as you think. Great hunting and fishing locations are found wherever nature flourishes.

      Forests and river banks that are nearest to you can make for a perfect spot as long as they are adjacent to a road. Going to a site that isn’t specialized for RVs requires quite a bit more effort, though it more than pays off in the peace and quiet you’ll be receiving.

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      If you choose to camp in a place built for RVs, first locate the electrical, water, and sewage hookups. Alternatively, it is a wise investment to get an RV generator so you can be free to go to a more secluded place.

      Once you’ve picked out a spot, clear the site of any debris and carefully inspect the ground for any holes, stubs, or similar hindrances. Next, make sure your RV is leveled and stabilized (blocks are my weapon of choice in this matter). Block your wheels to prevent any Benny Hill-like inconveniences from occurring.

      Get everything you need prepared and start scouting the area to find the perfect spots for the fun parts – hunting and fishing.

      3. Hunting

      hunting

        When I decided to take up hunting, I was frankly in the dark but kind of loved the idea of being a hunter. Hunting is one of the most popular activities in the USA, both as a hobby and as a sport, so getting familiar with it was not that difficult.

        I knew well enough not to think of hunting as a game so I signed up for a hunter education course (in the state of Texas you can even have it online). The course gave me answers to some common questions such as where and when to hunt, dealing with the game after a successful hunt, etc. More importantly, the course will teach you about safety precautions, firearms, and basic techniques.

        You can get your license from your local wildlife agency, and they can provide useful info on the hunting regulations and available game in your state. You should be aware that hunting is strictly regulated, so I advise you to check everything before you head out on the road.

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        Of course, getting yourself armed is what first comes to mind, but buying a rifle should be the last piece of equipment that is purchased. The gear varies depending on where and what you’re going to hunt. However, there are certain accessories you’ll need wherever you plan on going. A camo suit and a hunter’s orange vest are excellent items to start with.

        Calls, decoys, GPS, and related accessories all help the average hunter, but since you’ll be hunting in an unknown area, I suggest getting game cameras (with night vision if possible). Set them up on your first day of camping, and you might spot animal activity and trails which you could use the next day.

        4. Fishing

        fishing

          Fishing was suggested to me by a friend, saying that fishing is the most therapeutic activity on the planet though it isn’t for everybody. Now that I’ve become somewhat of a veteran fisherman, I can clearly see that he was right on the money.

          Fishing requires patience, resignation, and endurance, but don’t worry, the catch is very much worth the wait! Also, there is something unbelievably soothing in finding yourself next to a body of water with only the sounds of nature and your thoughts.

          Since a fishing license is not required in most places within the USA, you should focus on acquiring the right equipment and honing your skills. A fishing rod is the first and foremost, along with a reel, but its type is based on what kind of fishing you want to do (I have gotten quite fond of fly fishing, so a fly-rod is a must for me).

          Fishing lines are next on your list and are also dependent on the type (weight) of the fish you’re catching and the type of rod you are using. Bait and lures come to mind naturally even to a non-fisherman so it would be imperative to have them on your list. You can choose between live and dough bait or an artificial one (flies and lures). Flies and lures are essential in areas that do not allow live or dough bait.

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          As I would not want to bore you with other equipment that you will find out anyhow once you’ve found an interest in fishing, there is one seemingly natural thing that I need to warn you about. It is about appropriate clothing, a mistake I made and would not recommend anyone to try and do the same. Trust me – fishing waders should not be underestimated.

          Go Out and Have Fun!

          go-and-have-fun

            I have basically told you everything I had known before I took my maiden RV voyage into nature, so the rest is on you. Take it from me, you will have a lot of tales to tell, both rewarding and disappointing.

            You will not get everything right the first time, but that is the point. Challenge yourself and let your mind wander from the issues of the workweek; let it sink into the riches that our land is offering.

            Once you get used to the freedom and overall joys of the outdoors, you‘ll find yourself craving it during the week, waiting impatiently for the weekend to come.

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            Dejan Kvrgic

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            Last Updated on September 28, 2020

            The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

            The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

            At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

            Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

            One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

            When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

            So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

            Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

            This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

            Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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            When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

            Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

            One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

            Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

            An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

            When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

            Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

            Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

            We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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            By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

            Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

            While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

            I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

            You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

            Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

            When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

            Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

            Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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            Con #2: Less Human Interaction

            One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

            Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

            Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

            This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

            While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

            Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

            Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

            This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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            For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

            Con #4: Unique Distractions

            Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

            For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

            To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

            Final Thoughts

            Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

            We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

            More About Working From Home

            Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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