Sunday, January 6, 2008

Super Sunday: Sleeping with the Fishes

On Sundays I write about one of the joys of full-timing

If your full-timing lifestyle involves any stays in rest areas or truck stops, it really helps to be a good sleeper. I don't mind the white noise of idling engines, the whoosh of passing vehicles, or even the blast of train whistles.

I find it also helps that I have a bedtime ritual that soothes me to sleep. Our small fresh-water aquarium sits on my bedside table. I feed the fish just as I go to bed, and spend 5 minutes watching them swim and eat. The filter hums very softly and the water gurgles gently like a fountain. The fish dart and flutter in a soothing and repetitive way. It never fails to knock me right out!

They are so bright and lovely, gorgeous live jewels. Currently the tank holds one blue and red striped Neon Tetra; one red, yellow and navy blue male Guppy, and two female Guppies. The females tend to be drab, but these two have bright yellow tails. All four shimmer with the vitality of good health.

Watching these little creatures, my last waking thoughts are of peace and gratitude that the universe is full of beauty and life even in the secret depths underwater. And even in a truck stop. I often dream that they swim out into the air and happily follow me around, although I've never dreamt that they follow me into the convenience store at Flying J.

Another upside of this ritual is that I spend a little time each day with the fishes. That feels like good pet stewardship. I've had fish tanks for many years. I spent hours staring into the water when I set up my first tank at age 10, but over the years they tended to become part of the landscape. I fed the fish every day, but only watched them extensively when a new species was added.

Space is too tight in Odyssey to waste it on something that just becomes part of the background. By having the tank right by my pillow, I really do enjoy it every day. I also have to pay attention to carefully preparing the tank for travel. If the tank wasn't "earning its keep" in some way, that chore would grow old quickly.

So every night I enjoy 5 minutes of fish beauty, and then (because, let's face it, four fish aren't THAT exciting) they put me right to sleep. It may be Peterbilts and Kenworths outside, but inside the bus it is a small tropical paradise of Neons and Guppies.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    I’m sorry to leave this message in your comment box, but I did not see an email address for you. I found your site through I read your recent posts and enjoyed them very much. We're a long way from full-timing, but it is something to look forward to!
    I’m writing to see if you would be interested in trading links with me. I have a website called The Camping Machine ( where I describe the travels and adventures of my young family in our travel trailer, including photos and videos, along with some feel-good stories in my blog.

    If you would be willing to ad my site to your links I will link back to your site. I had nearly 1,000 unique visitors last month and my readership is growing, but I would like to add more links and readers. If you are interested in this please send me an email at Thanks very much for considering this and keep up the great work on your site.

    Camping Machine Guy


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!