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New Newsletter! Say Hello to 'Electric Touring'
Introducing my new newsletter, and an essay on the skill of patience
Pop the corks! I have launched a new Newsletter. It’s called Electric Touring.
I’d be really really grateful if you would go and check it out, and I’d be delighted if it interests you and you choose to subscribe. You’ll find it by clicking this link here:
Yes, I could have auto-subscribed every reader of Streamlining by default, but you know that’s now how we operate here. It’s your choice to opt-in.
Streamlining will continue to be my main Newsletter all about living a life more streamlined and intentional, with a good dollop of behind-the-scenes and caravanning stuff thrown in for good measure. Electric Touring will be aimed at those interested in in camping, caravanning, campervanning, and motorhoming in an Electric Vehicle.
Give me Patience - NOW!
We can do almost anything, if only we took the time.
I don’t know about you, but as much as I hate being labelled by other people, I’m quick enough to label myself, even if I don’t realise I’m doing it.
Faced with a difficult practical task, my common reaction is to throw up my hands and say Oh I’m no good at that sort of thing!
Of course, there are plenty of tasks such as brain surgery and nuclear science that are beyond most of us, but for the majority of simple tasks, the application of clear instruction and a huge dollop of time and patience is all we need.
Clear instruction is often readily to hand on the internet, be it through YouTube or a specialist forum.
It’s the time and the patience I need to work on - as do many of us.
One of the aspects I enjoy about railway modelling is how multi-faceted the hobby is. Photography and research of the real thing, geeky electronics, creative model-making, the art of painting… no matter what your discipline, you’ll generally find an aspect of railway modelling that really suits you.
For me, it’s the art of painting. There’s nothing I enjoy better than taking my cheap acrylic paints and chalk pastels, and creating paint shades and weathering effects to turn a basic model into a representation of a work-worn prototype.
Last winter I challenged myself to learn basic electronics and built a controller. It took me the best part of a month to do so, but I did it, and after a few failed attempts and tweaks, it worked. The sense of self-satisfaction was immense. I can’t say I really enjoyed the process (sometimes I could spend over an hour just on one soldered joint) and it’s not an experience I’d rush to repeat, but with instruction, time, and patience, I did it.
So what does this have to do with Streamlining?
I’m glad you asked.
I’m currently enjoying a book called Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman. Shanna put me on to it. (If you haven’t checked out Shanna’s Newsletter Life: Examined then please do - it’s a great read).
The crux of the book is that if we live a life of average length, we have a mere 4000 weeks on this earth before we return to dust.
You’d think that this book would be advocating living life at a hundred miles per hour, cramming in as much as possible before we collapse in a big heap. Far from it.
If anything, the book advocates doing less, doing what you do do in a more mindful manner, and practicing the long lost arts of boredom and patience.
Bored is Good
Most creatives will tell you that we need periods of boredom in order to allow our minds to wander and come up with fresh and creative ideas. In other words, next time you instinctively reach for your phone when you’re waiting for a train or have a spare few minutes, just sit (or stand) instead and just be. Allow yourself the luxury of getting really, really bored. Try it a few times and see where you mind ends up taking you.
Patience, though, that’s a new one on me. I’ve always been one to try and hurry things along so I can squeeze every atom of joy and living from life. However, just like the donkey with the carrot on the stick, the real joy - connecting deeply with like-minded people - often seems to evade me. I get frustrated that I don’t get to know people as well as I’d like to, but is it any wonder? Despite making a permanent home in a beautiful place, I’ve ended up pursuing a way of life that sees me on the road more often than not, travelling from place to place.
The Unspoken Truth about Van Life
Full timing, van life, call it what you will, has all the romantic makings of the perfect Instagram Life. But is the life of the Digital Nomad really as attractive as the sun-bronzed influencers would try to make out as they snap their latest staged photo?
What Burkeman argues, which is something I can vouch for after living many years on the road, is that the constant movement of the digital nomad leads to a lonely existence. While you can fleetingly meet some interesting and cool new people, intense travel and intense loneliness pretty much go hand-in-hand.
I’m not talking about the people who head to a warm place like Spain for three months in the winter and spend their days connecting with like-minded folk on the campsite or Temporary Holiday Site. I’m talking about those (like me) who rarely spend over a week in the same place before moving on.
To make true connections and find true community, you need to exercise the discipline of patience. The patience to not just take off for a few weeks or months every time you feel like your life is getting a little too predictable.
I’ll have been on the road for three months by the time I get to go home in November, and won’t have spent more than nine days in the same place. It’s been a really busy summer work-wise (for which I am hugely grateful) but there are unseen battles going on: Lingering post-viral fatigue since contracting Covid, and the continuing filial and fraternal duties to fulfil at the opposite end of the country to the one in which I live. Things continue to be challenging there.
Once I finally get home and close that front door, I’m looking forward to getting some rest, but the real test is going to be once I’ve sufficiently rested and recovered to then exercise the patience and self-discipline required not shoot straight off again.
I’m looking forward to seeing what riches boredom and patience will bring into my life.
Did I mention my new Newsletter?
How to Support Streamlining
There are two ways you can support me and this newsletter:
1. If you wish, you can show your support for what I do through Buy Me a Coffee. Although I’ll probably end up buying tea. Or snacks for Dougal.
I understand that not everyone who would like to will be in a position to support in this way, and that’s absolutely fine! My content is available to everyone, regardless of their circumstances.
2. Most importantly, please subscribe and share Streamlining with those who you think will enjoy it.