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Being on the road is a great way to develop new skills and hobbies, because quite often, you will find yourself with plenty of time.  This is how I keep myself occupied when I’m travelling, whether it be in the van up the coast, or backpacking around South-East Asia.

1. MUSIC

This one is a must!  I always take my guitar with me when travelling.  There are usually lots of open mic nights in different towns along the way and it is the best time to get inspiration for song-writing. I’ve written a lot of my music when travelling, as you meet so many interesting people, hear lots of good stories and see some magical places.  This trip, I have also been learning the ukulele, which is even more convenient as it is so small.

guitar
Photo: Syd Eisenberg

2. WRITING

This is an obvious one.  I always keep a journal when I’m travelling, mainly for writing down everything I do and feel, but also for sticking in memories, like train passes and concert tickets.   This trip, my writing habits have changed and I have now been keeping this blog, which I absolutely LOVE!  Are there any jobs for travel writers going at the moment?!

writing
Photo: Syd Eisenberg

3. DRAWING AND PAINTING

I bought an art kit when I was in the Lakes District, England, after doing a drawing course at the Derwent Pencil Factory (see cover photo).  I’ve used it every since!  It’s compact and you can use the water brushes to make the pencil drawings come alive.  I usually paint in my journal, but often use it to make Christmas/birthday cards as well.

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One of my artworks, inspired by our van travels.

4. PHOTOGRAPHY

Whether you are a serious photographer, or simply like to snap a moment, this is a vital part of my trip.  Photos bring back so many memories and can be used on blogs too!  This trip, our sister gave us her polaroid camera, which we have been using at nearly every place we go.  We are compiling the photos in a good old-fashioned photo album.  This year, I’m going to try and improve my photography (with Syd’s expert advice) so that I can start taking good photos on an SLR digital camera.

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A page out of our polaroid photo album.

5. SURFING

Obviously, this one is best if you are travelling on the coast.  It is so much fun and a real challenge too!  Plus, it keeps you fit.  You can easily spend a couple of hours out in the ocean without even realising it.  Just be careful of sharks, jelly fish and rips!

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Our first surfboard from Bondi Beach

6. RUNNING AND WALKING

Another great way to keep fit, whilst exploring the local area.  I must admit, I have not been doing a lot of running this trip, but we have been walking everywhere and seeing some beautiful natural areas.  Make sure you bring your joggers, a hat and sunscreen, as the sun can get really hot!

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Walking in the Blue Mountains (Photo: Syd Eisenberg)

7. COLOURING BOOKS

This recent craze has turned a simple children’s activity into a calming meditative pastime for adults!  I was given a colouring book for Christmas and I’m thoroughly enjoying filling in the colours.  It takes a little bit of time and patience, as some of the designs are quite intricate, but it is very satisfying.

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My colouring book, a Christmas gift from my Aunt

8. READING

I love reading when travelling.  It is something I generally don’t get a lot of time for when I’m working.  But, there is nothing better than settling down to a really good book and not being able to put it down until the end.  I usually only travel with one book at a time and, when its finished, I swap it with another traveller, or put it in the book exchange at a hostel and find a new one to devour.

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9. PLAYING POOL

This one is for the pubs!  I love challenging strangers to a game of pool, especially if you have a good pool-shark partner.  Just make sure you don’t sink the black ball too early!

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10. WATCHING MOVIES

If you bring your laptop, watching movies some nights is a nice, cheap alternative to going to the cinema – every saving counts when you’re on the road.  Better still, find some inspirational travel films or documentaries to get you motivated.

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Splashing out on a new release at the cinema

11. COOKING

Obviously, cooking back at the van is cheaper than a night out, so why not challenge yourself to try some new dishes that you wouldn’t usually  cook at home?  We have experimented with various meals, from pasta, burritos and curries, to couscous salads, soups and big breakfasts!

toorooroo dinner

12. BOARDGAMES AND CARDS

Whether you’re travelling with someone, or by yourself, card games and board games are great fun.  If you invite some other people to join you, new friends can be made! We have been challenging each other in UNO championships.  So far, Syd is in the lead, but slow and steady wins the race, doesn’t it?!  We have also enjoyed playing chess in various cafes.

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13. VOLUNTEERING/ WORKING

If you’re travelling for a while, chances are you will need to stop and work at some point.  After just volunteering at a music festival, I would highly recommend getting involved.  You work 4-5 hours a day and get a free pass for the entire festival. Better still, you could pick up some work in a cafe or pub and earn some cash, while getting to know the local area.

beer taps
Photo: Syd Eisenberg

14. JEWELLERY-MAKING

I have a good friend who used to make jewellery in the hostel dorm room and give them away as gifts to friends and family.  You could even approach some local craft shops/market stalls and see if anyone is interested in selling your product!

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A selection of bracelets.  Most of these were gifts, but could be homemade quite easily if you collect the right beads.

15. SCRAP-BOOKING

Before we left my parents’ house, Mum made us a scrapbook, which we have been using to record our adventures.  At each new place, we write the date and place, draw pictures and stick in tickets or brochures from things we have done.  It’s a fun pastime when I want to get off the computer, plus  I love looking back through the pages and seeing how far we have come.

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One page out of our scrapbook

16. SNORKELLING OR DIVING

This is a wonderful way to see the coral reefs and all the beautiful marine life.  Diving can be expensive (though always worth it), but snorkelling is cheap and you can still get a good look into life under the water.  I was once lucky enough to snorkel right next to a large sea turtle on the Great Barrier Reef.  Let’s hope I get lucky next time we are up that way!

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What hobbies do you do when you’re travelling?  I’d love to add some ideas to the list!

6 thoughts

  1. Fantastic! I can relate to so many of these. I love my guitar, reading, writing, hanging out at the beach and loads more that you described here. I’ve just got back from a 10 day trip and already I’m itching to be on the road again!

    Liked by 1 person

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