A2A Expedition: Surviving Isolation

Guest blog written by Graeme Bell.
Photography by Luisa Bell, Keelan Bell, Graeme Bell, Jessica Bell.

So, you’re stuck at home with the family, you are ready to climb the walls, the media is driving you to despair and if you watch one more movie you might just lose your mind. Been there. It sucks.

My family of four has lived in a Land Rover with roof tent for four years as we travelled around the world, we have lived on an isolated ranch in the Mexican San Pedro de Martir mountains and on an island in Greece, only interacting with other humans on shopping day, once a month. We have lived cheek by jowl for the last decade and will continue to do so until we are no longer able. I once spent four months alone in a small house after I shattered my right leg in a motorbike accident. Our permanent home is a Land Rover camper. There, you have my credentials. Now, here is some advice to keep your mind and body healthy as you endure isolation:

  1. Turn off the television and limit time online. I know, this is extremely difficult but essential for your sanity.
  2. Establish a routine. Wake up early, prepare a healthy breakfast while listening to relaxing music, something blissful – Erik Satie or Dussey or Bob Marley and the Wailers. Do some chores around the house, clean, be productive, work if you can. Go to sleep early.
  3. Shower, make the bed, brush your hair, dress well. Be classy.
  4. Be productive. If you have a lot of spare time try not to waste it watching the news, or feeding the fear. Learn a new language or play that dusty guitar or write that book you always wanted to write, bake or cook a new dish.
  5. Exercise. Yoga or the Five Tibetans (is great for small spaces). Plank ten seconds longer every day. Get the blood flowing.
  6. Open the curtains and fill the home with natural light, if you have a garden and sunshine – use it. Set up a tent or a gazebo, camp, tend the garden.
  7. Establish boundaries. We all need our own personal space. If you are fortunate to live in a house with a room per person you will be fine but those in small spaces need their own space and privacy. Rotate the best areas on a schedule if need be.
  8. Be considerate and respectful. Most conflicts can be avoided if we all try to be better. Don’t be an ass.
  9. Lead by example. If you are a dominant member of your pack the pack will react as you do and behave as you do. If you lose your mind the pack will follow. Be strong, be a leader.
  10. Have a sense of humour, diffuse tensions, count to ten, take a deep breath, refer to number 8.
  11. Read a book, read a lot of books. Mine are excellent, of course they are.
  12. If you have children it is important that they too have structure and routine and chores – balance relaxation with work and fun, look for opportunities to learn and teach.
  13. Drink water and avoid excessive alcohol consumption – it will drive you insane.

Be cool Yolanda. See you on the other side.

Nota Bene: If, like us, you are camped in the outdoors for an indefinite period most of the above applies plus you get to walk, hike, swim, climb, enjoy the solitude and the beauty of nature.

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