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Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Phyllis McGinley once said, “A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.” I agree. With all my heart. But what hobbies can a caravanner practice inside his rig? After all, we have very limited space.

Hobbies that I have experienced

My husband and I have shared many different hobbies over the years at our stix-n-brix home. My favorite? Renovation and/or recycling of furniture. We scoured local garage sales, flea markets and auctions to find “just the right piece of furniture”. Then we would bring it home, clean it up, and often rebuild and refurbish it for a new purpose. The whole process was fun and I loved the challenge and creativity this hobby required. Obviously there is no way to refurbish the furniture inside the RV. This hobby requires space for supplies and tools. You also cannot strip paint or apply varnish to the interior. Our furniture finishing hobby is confined to our stix-n-brix garage when we are at home and not traveling.

I also did a lot of sewing during our “pre-RV” years. But now? I have yet to find a good place in our motorhome for my sewing machine to “live”. Not only that, but where can I lay out yards of fabric in order to place designs and cut? Crawling across the floor of the RV to cut fabric seems to me more of a hassle than a hobby.

Now what?

So what now? What kind of hobby can a caravanner have in his limited space? I did some research. And guess what? I’ve found several hobbies that not only seem doable, but actually suit the RV lifestyle. Before looking at specific examples of hobbies, it’s important to know some basic principles for pursuing a hobby while living in a small space.

Basic principles

Reduce hobby

Sometimes you can just cut back on your hobby. For example, I love to sew, but maybe I need to cut back on that hobby to better fit our RV life. Rather than lugging my big sewing machines around, it makes sense to downsize to a smaller sewing option like embroidery. (Here’s a little sewing machine that Nanci Dixon recommends.) I can still work with fabric and be creative by learning new stitches, implementing a variety of colors, and producing new items.

The principle of hobby downsizing can be applied to almost any hobby. For example, if you enjoy playing the tuba but your RV space makes this hobby difficult, consider learning a new (and smaller) instrument.

Identify Hobby Traits

The hobby of furniture refinishing has many different traits: creativity, carpentry, painting, etc. If I focus on those particular traits, I might find a new hobby that (literally) matches our VR lifestyle. For example, I recently discovered “dot painting”. (You can check it here.) This type of painting originated in India and does not require any special training. I started using scraps of craft paint I had at home, used a new pencil eraser as a “dotting tool” and experimented with dotting on scrap paper. Guess what? I really enjoyed creating patterns, swirls and freeforms. I ordered dotting tools and bookmarks to paint and started a hobby that takes up very little space inside our RV.

Limit the number of hobbies

Life in VR gives us the opportunity to do a lot of things. When it comes to indoor recreation, it’s important to limit those special interests. Why? There simply isn’t space inside your rig for you to pursue more than one or maybe two hobbies at once. For example, I can paint and I can embroider, but if I try to do both hobbies at the same time, I soon trip over the thread or look for a flat surface where my paints can dry.

The more people traveling with you, the more you will have to limit the hobbies you enjoy at the same time. After all, they may also need space for their special interests!

What to do with the results of a hobby?

Another thing to consider when choosing a “small space” hobby is what you will do with any completed projects that result from your hobby. For example, my pointing hobby produces decorated bookmarks. It doesn’t make sense to me to keep all the bookmarks I create. So I give some of the finished bookmarks to people to distribute on church mission trips. I also donate bookmarks to our local library to donate. And I keep a few bookmarks to put in the books I give my grandkids for birthdays and holidays.

If your hobby produces something tangible, think about what you will do with the result of your hobby. It will give you purpose and an incentive to do your best. It will also prevent your motorhome from becoming cluttered or even overrun with “stuff”.

Indoor recreation for caravanners in a small space

Once you understand and implement the basic principles of small space recreation for us RVers, your choices are nearly limitless. Check out these hobbies RVers can enjoy. Then please add your own indoor hobby ideas in the comments.

  • Culinary hobbies. If you enjoy cooking or baking, consider making it your hobby. Learning more about the science behind the different processes can be fascinating!
  • Jewelry making. The only challenge here is finding secure storage for your collection of beads, threads and tools. The results can be staggering.
  • Writing. All you need is a laptop and your imagination. Get busy writing the next great American novel. Or start an autobiography for your children and grandchildren.
  • Leather work. Keep your projects small, like bracelets or keychains, and let your creativity run wild. Check online for tips and tricks.
  • Music. Singing or writing music can be a lifelong hobby. Your results could also end up on the “Talent Night” camping scene!
  • Magic. Perfect your sleights of hand. YouTube can also provide tips for this hobby!
  • Game. Learn to play the video games your kids enjoy. Then challenge them to play with you online.
  • paper crafts. Check out online videos for origami projects. Learn, then teach your grandchildren.
  • Chess or Checkers. Get your travel buddy involved in these and other board games. Then, work on perfecting your strategies.
  • Programming. Learn to code or configure websites. It’s educational and challenging too!
  • Knotting. This hobby can really come in handy when you are RVing. Who knew rope could be so much fun!

Endless list

Please add to this list of hobbies for RVers. I’d love to hear how you “hobby” inside your RV!