Being stuck at home sometimes feels like being stranded on a desert island. If you come to think about it, we’re all living the lives of castaways at the moment: We rarely have contact with other humans, time is a mystery, there ain’t enough food around, and toilet paper isn’t anywhere to be found.

If there is one castaway who knows perfectly well what social distancing means, it’s gotta be Robinson Crusoe. While we’ve been locked inside for only a couple of weeks, Daniel Defoe’s legendary title character spends 28 years on a desert island, 25 of them without contact with other humans. Even if you haven’t read the story, you can imagine the hardship he suffers. But life on the island isn’t all bad. Crusoe tries to make the best of his situation and learns quite a lot during the 28 years in isolation. Here’s what we can learn from him:

1. Slowing Down

Before being shipwrecked, Crusoe is an adventurer. He’s always out and about, always looking for the next voyage to go on. It’s only when he’s forced to stay at one place that he has time to reflect on himself, on life, on society. He learns what truly matters to him, what’s truly necessary and valuable in life. I think that in today’s fast-paced society, we should follow his example and appreciate the time we now have to slow down and reflect.

2. Making Do With Very Little

As most of the stores are closed at the moment, it isn’t as easy to get everything we need. So it’s time to get creative. A castaway can’t just go to the shops either. Making face masks might be a good example right now. As most of them are sold out, why not just make one yourself? All you need is fabric, needle and thread, a pair of scissors, and an elastic band. Just explore the island that is your home and gather all materials you need. If something’s missing, get creative! Necessity is the mother of invention.

3. Trying out new activities

Now is the perfect time to try out a new activity. When he’s alone on the island, Crusoe spends his time cooking, writing, reading, planting, exploring, doing handicraft and pottery, taming animals, teaching a parrot to speak, building a boat, and much more. Why not try out one of these?

4. Making a day’s schedule

To keep himself busy, Crusoe establishes a daily routine that includes reading the Bible, cooking, resting, and building tools and furniture. I think having a plan for the day really helps to stay motivated and to get all work done.

5. Keeping track of time

I don’t know about you but I feel like it’s much harder to keep track of time at the moment. I’ve recently read that Google searches for “what day is it” have spiked so apparently I’m not the only one.

To keep track of time, Crusoe sets up a post and starts a journal. So maybe instead of googling what day it is, we could just write down the day or tick the date on the calendar. This way you certainly won’t miss the next deadline!

And that’s about it. I hope these tips will help you survive this crazy time on your private island.

Have you read Robinson Crusoe? What are your social distancing tips? Let me know in the comment section below!

19 thoughts on “Social Distancing Tips From Robinson Crusoe

  1. Great post! I’ve not read Robinson Crusoe, but I’ve been doing a fair few of these in quarantine ☺️ one of the main things I’ve been doing is making sure I have little things to look forward to, cooking my favourite meals or baking or something like that, simple but a nice little mood boost!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is super creative! I love the tip about tracking your time – that is definitely something I need to work on, because sometimes, I don’t even know what happened and suddenly it’s back to bedtime!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The attitude towards Friday has been rightly criticized by many scholars, though I think that the story as such challenges this attitude many times (Friday learns to speak English in a short time, thinks critically, gives insights into his culture, etc.) I wouldn’t say that RC wouldn’t have survived without Friday–he has spend more than 20 years on the island on his own. But it’s true that Friday helped him escape the island.

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      1. Valid points—yet the superiority RC projected is difficult to accept even though it was accepted at the time. As civilized as Friday became, he was never considered equal to RC.

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      2. Absolutely, there’s no denying that Crusoe’s attitude is troubling. But I think Defoe reminds us quite a lot of times that RC isn’t the most reliable narrator-we shouldn’t take everything he says at face value let alone accept his attitude.

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