2 months in paradise, what to do?
July 21, 2010 12:35 AM   Subscribe

What are some projects to work on for two months in a rural environment with no internet?

I feel like I've won the lottery--I have the opoortunity to stay at a house in a tiny mountain town for two months this summmer. Now I finally have tons of time to do wonderful projects and I want to make the most of it.

So, hive mind, inspire me!

What would you do for two months on top of the world? I will have no internet access and little cell phone coverage. At the moment I plan to hike a lot, improve my cooking, possibly do NaNoWriMo and/or a photo essay about the small community i'll be joining for a short time.

What other ideas do you have?
posted by maca to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I would learn to play an instrument. Guitar, banjo, or ukulele come to mind, but it could be whatever tugs at your musical heartstrings. Being able to consistently dedicate practice time to the instrument will be a real help in the early days of learning it.
posted by mumkin at 12:42 AM on July 21, 2010

My first instinct is to say instrument or language, but those really need a lot of human interaction for best results. Hmm. So, maybe:

-Load up your iPod with dozens upon dozens of audio books for your hikes.
-Learn to solve a Rubik's Cube, and then, speedcubing.
-DVDs/books on Alexander Technique.
-Trachtenberg Math
-Bring guides to local flora and fauna and identify everything you see.
posted by holterbarbour at 1:07 AM on July 21, 2010

Draw maps of everywhere you go and make an atlas.
posted by mdonley at 1:45 AM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

Two months isn't a lot of time. I'd keep the bar low and avoid huge commitments that have no set end (languages, musical instruments) and instead concentrate on small, tangible goals, like reading a long book you always wanted to get around to reading (War and Peace, Moby Dick, &c.) or taking one picture every day, doesn't matter what, where, or when.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:52 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you like drawing, that's a nice way to really connect with an environment-- you don't have to be Rembrandt to get a lot out of a nature sketchbook.

Be prepared to do a lot of nothing, too! Mountain air and freedom from distractions can be seriously mellowing. It would be a shame to load yourself up with too many ambitions and obligations and loose the chance to just be an animal for a while.
posted by Erasmouse at 2:32 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do you know anyone in town? You might be able to learn (the very basics of) some badass old-school rural-type skills like fibercraft or woodcarving, and get your social interaction needs met at the same time.
posted by yomimono at 3:24 AM on July 21, 2010

Finally read Infinite Jest or Gravity's Rainbow.
posted by crunchland at 4:07 AM on July 21, 2010

-Check out the local library and borrow a bunch of field guides; go hiking or just walking at all different times of day and identify as many different sorts of flora and fauna as you can.
-Draw, paint, collage, or photograph a little bit each day.
-Relearn how to pay attention to your physical needs - what your schedule is, how hungry you get and what for, how much social interaction you truly desire, if you really need to drink coffee all the time, and so forth.
-Really, actually listen to music instead of having it on in the background while you do other things.
-Sit yourself on the porch and look at the view.

These are the things I do when I'm up in nowheresville, Maine with no internet or cellphone. I also visit the neighbors down the road who have delightful animal pals, and go down the lake to canoe alongside the loons. Giving yourself all sorts of things to do and achieve and accomplish totally defeats the purpose of a mountain retreat, in my opinion and experience.
posted by Mizu at 4:29 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Make Calder-esque mobiles. Make other kinds of mobiles.

But that's just me... I've got mobiles on the brain lately.
posted by rhartong at 6:04 AM on July 21, 2010

Be aware that cooking at high altitudes can be different than what you may be used to. You might want to do some research on the kinds of changes you may have to make. This is of course dependent on exactly how high your little mountain town is.

I'd take some inexpensive watercolors, brushes and watercolor paper up with me. Watercolors are simple to use and the clean up is easy, I think it would be a great way to document all that nature and learn a new skill.

Are you going to have a DVD player? I'd love to have the time to catch up on all those movies I've been meaning to watch but just haven't had the time. Netflix would work and could be an excuse to go into town every few days if you have to actually go to the Post Office for your mail. If you're a glutton for punishment you could get a few horror movies set in rural mountain cabins.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:35 AM on July 21, 2010

I would disagree that two months isn't a long time. I'm currently 2.5 weeks into a 6 week hiatus similar to yours and I'm ready to chew my own foot off. If I had my language books with me, I'd have french down by now and moving onto german. Instead I'm knitting a sweater and writing a business plan for a business I've always wanted. I'm hoping this vacay will give me the time to get my ducks in a row for that. I know it's not 'fun' in the traditional sense, but it's what I've always wanted and I find it very rewarding. I understand that particular project would be harder without internet.
Even if a project seems too big for the time you have, if it's something you've really wanted to do you won't regret starting it. Write a book.
posted by Carlotta Bananas at 8:11 AM on July 21, 2010

I would do a lot of quilting-with the right book, it's relatively easy to teach yourself-and read read read.
posted by purenitrous at 9:25 AM on July 21, 2010

NaNoWriMo is an excellent idea.

I don't know what your regular hobbies are, but I might try something that challenges what you do in them. If you're into hiking, do something to challenge your stamina. If you're into knitting, try designing your own outfit (though buying all the supplies you need before hitting the wilderness is a good idea). Something that ups your game but doesn't require help from others to do.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:21 AM on July 21, 2010

In addition to hiking, do a body weight routine, 3 x´s a week, record your progress, and at the end of two months you will be fitter and strong. I like the concept of getting stronger just using your own weight, and it's much more difficult than it might seem.

Learn to meditate.

Learn to knit or crochet. Once you get the hang of it, you can spend hours just thinking and making stitches.

You could do morning pages, write 3 pages of whatever comes out as soon as you wake up, and see what that does for you.

You could journal - but ask yourself some really hard questions. Or, journal your feelings and progress on all the projects you are working on. Observing yourself and reflecting over your thoughts through writing can really help you make the most of this period of growth.

I agree with those who mentions field guides... you´ll have a lot of time just to notice things. Knowing what you are noticing makes it more meaningful.

Sounds really nice, have a lovely time!
posted by Locochona at 9:01 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

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