Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gypsy Life: Get out and Do something

If any of you are new to gypsy living or house crashing or have found yourself as a long-term guest (willingly or not) in someone else's home, I thought I'd share a few more strategies that are helpful as you navigate the process.

I had already been living a gypsy life for a while before I moved in with the Mountain Folks for the first time. That was back when my gypsy living was a necessity due to unemployment/underemployment. After about a year of living out of suitcases at that point, I was finally catching onto some gypsy living coping techniques. I knew by this time that I needed some sort of routine in my life. Even if I didn't have anywhere to go on a given day. One way I did this is through exercise.

Early on in my time with them, I decided to make running part of my life again. I had been a runner throughout college, but I hadn't had any sort of regular workout routine in a long time. But now I had all the time in the world to train. I knew going into it I wouldn't likely be breaking any personal records. But I decided to do this as a way to build a healthy lifestyle, not to compete and be a start athlete (not that I ever was a star athlete, I wasn't). I came up with a strategy to get back into running. I first made a date with the park three times a week. And I gave myself a limit. I had to run or walk for at least 30 minutes, roughly the park's 3 mile loop. Just this one decision set the plan in motion.

When I heard everyone else getting ready for the day, I knew I had to get up too. It didn't matter that I didn't "have" to be anywhere. I had an appointment to meet. At first I just stuck to three days a week. I didn't beat myself up too bad if I walked the majority of the time. I'd sometimes get a phone call in the middle of my run and spend the rest of the time walking and talking to whoever had called. The important thing was not the running. The important thing was that I was getting out of the house and I was exercising and getting fresh air. Before I knew it, I was going to the park 5, 6 and 7 days a week. And I was able to run the entire loop, and probably further. Before I knew it I was racing again. I ran a half marathon before the year was up, and had a long-term goal and deadline to run a marathon (which I completed before the deadline was up a year ago).

Running isn't the only thing I did. I signed up to volunteer at the public library and with some other organizations. After my morning run, I would have somewhere to be at least a couple of days out of the week. Volunteering not only helped me make connections in a town that was new to me, but it helped create a routine that got me out of the house.

Have you ever found yourself adrift in gypsy life and unsure what to do with all the time on your hands? What did you do to create routine and structure for your days?


  1. While I am not a gypsy, I have found that this year, not working, I do need to have some structure to my days in order to stay (or at least feel) productive. If I slack off from a routine it is easy to put off doing things that need to get done. I guess it's a Scarlett O'Hara thing - "I'll do it tomorrow" or the next day :)

    1. I think routine in important for lots of people. Especially young children. But just one day can throw the good pattern off track and it's hard to get going again. I was doing a very good job at training myself to become a morning person. A couple of late-night movies ruined that.