If you want some advice on how to spend a long lonely winter inside, safe from viruses but at risk for boredom, maybe we can take some tips from the Antarctic expeditions of a hundred years ago. Before permanent science stations and before the internet, these men knew the risk of being stranded meant they had to take along their own distractions. Most expeditions included at least one musical instrument, brought by someone who knew how to play it. The Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (1902-1904) included a designated piper, Gilbert Kerr, pictured above. (This image was the subject of some Wikipedia shenanigans a few years ago.) The crew also produced diaries and newspapers, which I guess only differed from each other by whether they were shared.
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There is a long tradition of polar explorers creating newspapers for themselves. Reports on the weather or accounts of visits to penguin colonies were interspersed with short stories, poetry, interviews, crossword puzzles and word games. They were illustrated with both humorous and artistic drawings. Over time, these texts took on a great deal of sexual content, including lewd jokes and fantasies.
As one explorer explained, “The importance of not allowing any sense of depression to become a part of the atmosphere of our life was clear to all.”
There were other methods these explorers used to keep their sanity, which you may find utterly dreary in comparison to video games. But you work with what you have. Read the rest at Atlas Obscura.