Home Nomadic Lifestyle Boondocking

What can a Boondocker Learn from a Martian?

imagesLast evening we hosted an outdoor movie night for our fellow Xscapers friends camped with us at the after-convergence here in Quartzsite.

(The main convergence was a huge success, and several of us have retreated further into the desert to continue the bonding – only away from the freeway and much more spread out.)

The movie selected was The Martian, rented off of iTunes.

The story behind the movie itself is an inspiration.

Full time programmer and part-time hobbyist writer Andy Weir posted his debut novel chapter-by-chapter for free to his website in 2011.

Fans requested it on Kindle, so in response to the demand he published it on Amazon as well -for the minimum price of 99-cents.

The book became a huge success as word spread – and almost overnight this initially self-published author had an agent, a publisher, a New York Times best-seller, and legendary director Ridley Scott working on a movie adaption starring Matt Damon.

Outdoor movie night at the Xscapers After-Convergence.

Outdoor movie night at the Xscapers After-Convergence.. boondocking in our own Martian-like landscape.

If you’ve not read or seen it yet – do it! Both the book and the movie are awesome.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the quick synopsis is astronaut Mark Watney gets left alone on Mars when his crewmates have to abort the mission. The story follows him learning to survive on his own for well over a year until a rescue mission can reach him.

As space buffs and geeks, it’s totally our thing.

And as RVers who love getting out into the boonies, in the wilds, living off grid – the movie holds a special place in our hearts.

Watching the sunset, and waiting for darkness.

Watching the sunset, and waiting for darkness.

While RVers typically don’t have to deal with loss of breathable air, rendezvouses in space and such extreme conditions (at least not yet – we have hope for RVing in space!) – here’s some quick lessons every RVer  might be able to pick up from Mark Watney:

  • Communication: Some days, getting a good signal for communication just doesn’t happen. Sometimes you might just have to dig up an old antenna to get your message out. Don’t be afraid to be inventive, and sometimes accept you’re not going to get better than dial-up speeds. More Info: Mobile Internet Overview
  • Water: Every drop counts when out dry camping. While you hopefully won’t need to resort to creating water out of thin air, you will need to think differently about your water source. Where will you fill up? And how will you reduce your usage to extend your time before the next fill? More Info: Extending Your Holding Tanks
  • Keeping Warm: Every RVer who has ever boondocked off battery on a chilly night has to laugh when our stranded astronaut realizes that running the default rover heater will drain his batteries. Boondocking generally benefits by having an electrically frugal heat source – whether it be Mr. Buddy propane heater, a Catalytic heater, or a hydronics system. You probably do want to skip the plutonium however.  More Info: Keeping Warm while Chilly Camping
  • Solar: Solar panels get dusty – clean them! Tilt them for maximum sun collection. And sometimes, you might just have to sit and twiddle your thumbs while you wait for your batteries to recharge.  More Info: RV Solar Info
  • Long Driving Days: If anything Mark taught us while driving a rover on Mars for days on end, mix up the music collection! Good tunes can make the kilometers fly by.
  • Waste Management: When boondocking, the waste piles up. Our holding tanks get full, composting toilets need changing, and trash bags fill up. You have to do something with it. And most of us RVers aren’t likely to be using our poop to grow potatoes. It’s probably ok to leave a mess behind if your life depends on it and you’re trapped on Mars a billion miles from the nearest dumpster – but otherwise, please leave your campsite cleaner than you found it!
  • Be Resourceful: Stuff is gonna break. It’s inevitable in a house under constant earthquake conditions. Give yourself a moment to curse like a space pirate, and then science the shit out of it. And bring duct tape!
  • A Good Sense of Humor: Being flexible, adaptable and trusting in your ability to solve one problem at a time will take you further than most anything else. But the ability to laugh at yourself sure doesn’t hurt.

It’s so good to be out in the boonies again, camped with a wonderful community of like minds. We’re having a blast, and hope you are too!

Outdoor movie setup:

Since someone will ask anyway, I’m sharing our current outdoor movie setup pro-actively:

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links, so, if you click on the link and make a purchase, we receive a commission. Note that all opinions are 100% our own and we only link to products we personally use and absolutely recommend! Technomadia is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

34 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

This blog is fueled by YOUR enthusiasm. Your comments help inspire the next post.. don't be shy!

  1. We love watching and following and best of all LEARNING from you and Chris! We just became full-timers and have only stayed at parks long term so far…… getting all of our ducks in a row before we head out into the boondocking style, but we look forward to it because of your inspiring videos and blog posts, like this one! We are currently wintering (and making mistakes and noting them for future what not to do) in Rhode Island near where we work, but dreaming and planning and dreaming some more for what we can accomplish in 2-3 years….THANKS AGAIN for all that you do for us “newbies” to the RV lifestyle… we are part of RVillage and hope to see you on the open road someday!
    Denise and Pete Lacharite

  2. What a great article! So creative and helpful at the same time!
    My husband are eagerly awaiting our full-time RV life that will begin in June. We hope to see you on the road some day.

  3. I’ll stick with buying frozen French Fries at Walmart rather than trying to grow my own with my black water…

  4. But… But… We DO have RVing in space! Haven’t you seen “Spaceballs”???? Lonestar and Barf flit around in a Winnebago… Powered by the Schwartz! And the Drewish Princess escapes from Prince Valium in a Mercedes 280SL… That the king got for cost cuz his cousing Irving knew somebody.

    It’s all in where ya look Shugahz!! 🙂

  5. Just thinking out loud here,,,,, so as NASA, or whoever, gets closer to sending someone to Mars the should be required to boondock for a year or 2 and learn first hand what it is like …….???

    • I think some of the skills of extended boondocking and/or sailing could definitely be beneficial to anyone considering extended space travel. But of course, it’s not like I’ve done such travel to know for sure.

  6. Molly Pinner just moved into Boomerville and said we would definitely love Martian and since we run the “Cool Boomer Theatre” we will put it on our evening schedule. Trying to get a copy as I type. Once we have it scheduled I will gladly share your wonderful blog with the Boomers. BTW, as I type the “Boondocking 101” seminar is underway at the Boomer Firepit with probably 100+ folks attending.

  7. So bummed we weren’t able to join you guys – but what a perfect movie to watch on the desert floor (we loved it in the theater too)! So true about having a good variety of tunes – and ones you really love!!

Add your comment now!