Traveling High and Low - 10 Great Dirtbag Activities

1. Stretching


A good bit of stretching every morning after emergence from the Civic Cocoon does a body good. For real though your back and body are going to take a lot while you’re on the road. Build them up and try to work well with them. Keep them loose and keep them from seizing up. You’re legs are going to be on a bag of laundry, and there’s a steep drop into the trunk so you end up contorting into all sorts of interesting positions.


Take 15 minutes to stretch your arms, your legs, twist your back both ways, and touch your toes. If you don’t, the curved inside of your car will curl you into a ball of twisted limbs and spine.


Try yoga and pilates sit ups, core strength is important, do some backpack pick ups over your head, and go for a short jog. Get your blood pumping. Like most other minimal activity advice, at least 15 minutes daily, without fail.


Once you stop your good habits, they’re always harder to jumpstart. Stretching, and every rule, especially when you have so little room for error.



2. Get a shower and Clean off.

Keep the windows down when you’re on your way somewhere, and reorganize often. Things will fall apart if you aren’t reorganizing at least twice a week. Like house cleaning, clean your windshield, dump trash, vacuum the inside if you can, and maybe even get something nice smelling to cover up some of the funk.


If you have the time, this means combing/brushing hair. Use dry conditioners
Dirtbag Bedhead

That means you too. Stop in at a bathroom to take a cat bath, use the shower when you’re able to and have one at hand, get used to a slight lowering of standards. You’re going to be a bit of a grub monkey. It is called Dirt bagging after all.


Try to use products that you don’t necessarily have to use water for too if you can, in moderation. Skin care for your face especially. Though you may not be able to take a bath, wash your face, neck, and forearms every day in a sink. Though it won’t help all of the smell, and won’t disguise gringy clothes, it does help. Especially your appearance. If you're just hanging out smoking a joint, comb your hair. You will thank yourself. Two days of tangles are easier than two weeks. Also, there is a point of no return, so if you are going to have long hair, clean it and comb it.


Also under this category we'll slide laundry. Whether someone's house, the laundromat, or wherever, this will kill some time/ need something to kill the time. This is an extra especially good time to read something.


3, 4, and 5. Eat, Take out the Trash, and Reorganize.


These three go hand in hand so we’ll hit them all at once, and it’s just like in a home.


Eat carefully. And cleanly. Not to mention, seal it up. Ziploc bags, plastic containers, bear containers/bags if you’re in that sort of area or park. You do not want to start smelling something and have to search for it. I often times find that doing so on a regular basis is the best practice. Go through every Monday and Thursday or what have you and make sure you’re clear. Drinks especially don’t leave around. They will be spilt.


When dumping your trash however, be courteous and be discreet. If you find yourself with a piece of trash in one spot. Go ahead and find a way to dump it asap. Unless you need to keep it for a reason, dump it as soon as you’re done with it. Think about your kitchen sink. Now think about it in your back seat. Now this doesn’t mean illegal dumping or randomly ditching trash. Be reasonable. A piece in this trashcan when you get out. A piece in that one. Don’t just keep a trash bag in your trunk and sling it next to the nearest public bin, taking off like the worst santa in the world.


Which dives into the last point, reorganizing. It’s easy to let things pile up on top of each other. But the middle of the night is not when you want to be trying to reorganize.


Plan it out, after lunch, while it’s light, put things back into rows, strap it down again if you need to, this goes back in that bag. Now the shortcut to this is simply put everything back after you’re done with it, good advice I’m bad about following.


6. Hike/ Backpack /Swim


Any sort of physical activity is fantastic. Hike to a place, see a sight, get some fresh air and beauty. At any point, as long as you’re not trying to make a date somewhere, you can stop and see the greatest beauty you can imagine and by being on the road you get access to more of it than most people. Utilize that! Part of the ride is the journey, fill it with great places to see, and what’s great is most of these are free. Oftentimes National Parks, State Parks, or other locations will provide you a free thing to do traveling to see the natural beauty the world has to offer.


Hiking and backpacking overnight also provides, again, a cheap place to stay and or entertainment. Some spots on Bureau of Land Management, or other types of parks are also free and a little more open than some more private locations although the hook ups are usually nonexistent apart from a pit toilet and spigot.


Outdoor activities are really only bounded by your gear though. Whether rock climber, mountaineer, swimmer. Vagabond, or whichever, as long as you have the gear, the wind, water, and rock you ride on doesn’t cost a lot if anything. Just your care and awareness for its needs.


7. Take a Nap


Rest, eat a banana. It doesn’t matter. Just allow yourself to reset. Dirtbaggin’ is pretty easy in terms of filling extra time. An hour until the park opens? Sleep. Get to the spot an hour early? Sleep. Going to coffee at 3 to meet someone and it’s 2? Nap. Don’t nap all day, and don’t let it start to become an impediment to your sleep, but your clock is about to go at a different pace.


I’ll also guarantee that you’re going to want to be on a much more strict cycle. Once you see the light start up, and go down, you start to fall in tune with that pace. Once the sun starts to creep in from around the sleeping bag it’s time to get up. A couple of hours after you get done for the day, that’s enough time for a bit of radio, make yourself dinner, and get ready to hit the hay. And surprisingly enough, the schedule is way better than when I was working even.


8. Get Creative.


You’re only really limited by your imagination when your’e on the road. Opportunities to transform the world around you, respect the wild though, I’m not talking about that. Carve your name into a tree and I'll carve leave no trace on your heart. What I mean Is, a couple of sticks of chalk opens up in an afternoon for about 1$ at a dollar tree. See a pile of random refuse or leftovers that look reasonably clean? Build the best trashbot ever. Because you can. Because you have the time.


And when you’re dirtbagging creativity is a way of life as much as art. How do I fit these things into that space? How do I make it from here to here? How do I make a kitchen out of a lighter, a tin can, and a 1$ bottle of rubbing alcohol I bought at CVS on sale? With creativity. And a pocket knife.


Creativity is the cornerstone of dirt bagging. And a lot of other things oddly enough.


9. Read


Book trades, cheap second hand stores, eBay. Anything. It’s so easy to pick up a book and anytime of the day, and sometimes the night if you can get light, you’ll be able to pull hours of entertainment from it. Just lay on your trunk, and try sunbathing. Prop open the pages and look up for a great view. When you don’t need to be bringing in as much income, things like reading become much more accessible. It’s also handy since it takes up so little room and doesn’t really require maintenance. I recommend a small paperback edition of whatever you’re reading if you’’re dirtbaggin. Interestingly enough the paper doesn’t need a charger cable. When dirt bagging, the journey’s in the mind as much as it is on the actual road.



10. Find your next spot.


Wherever you’re going as a dirtbag is a potential spot for the night if you keep your eyes open and your wits about you. One of the constant activities of the dirtbag in fact is to keep searching for the next spot. During the day or night, you see the landscape a little differently. You can sight down areas that you know will be better and worse for the night. Look for areas that either A) are bright and well lit but you won’t be bothered, or B) A place where it’s pretty out of the way and you don’t think you’ll be bothered. Now this is a loose rule. Every situation, person, and place is different. Sometimes this search can take longer than others depending on how easy it is to find a place to stay for the night. Some nights you’ll already know the area and have a few places to choose from. Sometimes the situation will be brand new and you might want to scope out the local traffic for 20-30 minutes before you settle down on it as a rest stop for the night.


Sometimes those are easier and not so easy to find, but it’s ride their, just as much as the bed underneath.



It's always a perk when dirt bagging waking up to a spectacular sunrise.
Sunrise Over The Sleeping Bag



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