Thursday, May 24, 2018


with the Naked Cowboy in New York City
These are the words I found in that define FUN:  what makes you smile/laugh/feel happy; not necessarily free-spirited or structured, ordinary or out-of-the-ordinary, just lighthearted or deeply intense, simply the first time and pioneering or repetitive and memorable, or alone or with someone.  This string of contrasting words led me to create a spreadsheet to remind me of ways to have fun whenever and wherever I am. This would be useful so I don’t do the same things again and again and later find I've been forgetting others.  

There are two columns: Alone or With Someone. There are four categories on horizontal rows, each one with contrasting perspectives, each one with a different color of text: 1) free-spirited or structured, 2) ordinary or unordinary, 3) light-hearted or deeply intense, and 4) first-time or repetitive. The only criterion I had for filling up each cell is FULL ENJOYMENT, not wealth production, not knowledge generation, nor reputation building.

                                               Alone                                            With Someone
1.   Free-spirited               Writing a blog post                           Tubing, canoeing or kayaking
                                   Taking photos                                    Hiking a little-known trail  
Structured                  Attending a local talk                         Playing cards, local games, etc.
                                   Hearing a good homily                      Local dancing
2.   Ordinary                     Planning/cooking meals                    Local dining,  Having cocktails
                                   Reading a book                                 Dogs & s’mores around a campfire
                                   Working out at the gym                     Watching a movie
Unordinary                 Planning trips/parties                        Going to a local theater  
                                   Finding a bargain                              Visiting a museum    
3.   Light-hearted              Riding a carousel                              Having a picnic
                                   Learning to Cook a Local Dish         Karaoke/jam session
Deeply Intense           Playing video games                        Managing a complex project 
                                   Sketching/painting                            Dining potluck style
4.   First-time                  Flying a kite                                     Posing at the Arctic Circle
                                   Riding a bike                                   Riding a motorcycle or helicopter
Repetitive                  Looking for yellow things             Visiting family and friends
                                   Processing Photos                         Calling family and friends


riding the Cadillac at the Ranch
You may say that the list is the same whether you    are on the go or not.  There is a big difference, though. You can definitely work on this list a lot faster while on the go because you are already in places that have the resources and facilities and the people around are most probably like-minded. The following paragraphs list three not so obvious resources that may be available wherever you go. They do not include sights and landmarks nor the amenities around your lodging of choice. In RVing, we wrote about the resources around campgrounds here.  

Anywhere you are, you'll find public institutions like libraries that are full of DVDs, CDs, books, and magazines to use. Visitor Centers are sources of info and discount coupons, great for outlying areas. Good substitutes for activities are community centers or senior centers (once we admit it)!  Colleges and universities are also great resources.  At Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, for example, we discovered the Bing Crosby House that stored much of the singer's memorabilia. Churches, from the small Quonset huts in remote areas to the massive cathedrals in large cities, have functions other than Sunday services.  An added benefit is that you will probably get more taste of the local culture in these places.

And, of course, countless commercial establishments fight for our dollars but let me cite those that are not so obvious ones. My favorite is to treasure hunt at thrift and antique stores, especially those that are found near affluent communities. Farmers’ Markets also give us valuable produce like big, juicy watermelons for just $1. We love to window-shop at sprawling malls that become great treadmill substitutes. Wide open drive-in theatres let you do your thing in the privacy of your car. When you run out of time to cook a meal, go into a Costco for some needed staples and have a round of the free food samples for lunch!

flash mob dance in old Vegas

But the resource you can always count on is your family or friends. Bill went back to his hometown in Pittsburg, Kansas where we found the best spot to camp in the whole wide world. Jack Dock, the husband of Rosemary (Bill’s sister), cleared out space on his driveway and extended an electrical outlet for us from his garage. In short, we were close neighbors for almost a month, reliving childhood times, sight-seeing together to nearby towns, alternating cooking meals, and playing lots of games.

So what more can I ask for? There should absolutely be no more time for boredom.  The axiom ‘More for Less’ which I lived by in the corporate world, also applies in the cruising lifestyle. You don’t have to spend tons to enjoy any place. That makes Cheapskate Carol a happy girl and when I am happy, so is Bill. What are your definitions of and resources for fun?

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