An Inside Peek at The Strenuous Life: Spring 2024

The Strenuous Life is an online/offline platform that helps members learn new skills, pursue new interests, and improve themselves in body, mind, and spirit. Each month, members create and publish a newsletter — The Bugle — to highlight what’s going in the TSL community.

If you’ve wondered what The Strenuous Life is like, below we share a recent edition of The Bugle. The next TSL enrollment, and the final enrollment of 2024, will open in June. Click here to get on the email list and be the first to know when enrollment opens.


The Strenuous Life Bugle is the newsletter for participants of The Strenuous Life, which highlights the strenuous going-ons of our intrepid members. This Bugle brought to you courtesy of: @averyb, @clouden1, @eburres, @gwalliman, and @S-C-Hughes.

Badge Work

What badge requirements have you been working on? Here’s a sample of how your fellow members got action recently:

For the Astronomer Badge, @marcusraider is using a book and his telescope and binoculars to identify the stars in the night sky over the year. For the Backyard Chef Badge, @maverick-man smoked a brisket for his family’s Easter dinner. @Fahey learned to string his bow during a lesson for the Archery Badge. @prometheus has been harvesting a cup of mulberries a day from his tree to satisfy the Backyard Farmer Badge requirement. As part of the Art Badge, @russjack has created several paintings of his backyard over the seasons.

@boots1164 read The Daily Stoic for 30 days for the Monk Badge. @flurry demonstrated holding a pen correctly, for lefties, for the Penmanship Badge. @jameshxn read Edmund Morris’ trilogy of biographies on Theodore Roosevelt for the Rough Rider Badge. @mrmeyers99 paid off all debt except for his house for the Personal Finance Badge!

In the Handyman Badge, @roseman76 replaced some damaged slats in his fence. @ChrisZelihsen had fun checking off a Host Badge requirement as he hosted a “beer gathering” for friends at his home, where they played a quiz game while tasting various craft beers. For the InfoSec Badge, @timmydee got a free annual copy of his credit report. @repetition8932 made sushi for himself and his wife for the Kiss the Chef Badge. Finally, @russjak finished writing all of the required letters to earn the Letter Writing Badge.

@Brendan created a cool-looking bookshelf for the Craftsman Badge, and @Mickyjohn signed up for his first BJJ session at a local gym for the Fighter Badge. @Mickyjohn also purchased a first aid kit for his First Aid Badge — he’s been busy!

@Stewart has had a few automotive adventures lately for the Gearhead Badge. He helped his son change all the fluids for his recently-acquired Jeep Cherokee, along with brakes, tires, battery, and starter. He also recently came to his daughter’s rescue when she got a flat tire, only to find that the spare was flat too! An important lesson was learned — when you perform your regular tire pressure check, make sure to check your spare’s pressure too!

In the Scout Badge, @ofcaerbannog and @wpcopland practiced knowing their environment by using a compass to measure the height of a tree a river’s width and using their thumbs to measure far off distances. At the Sharpshooter Badge, @captcm54 completed the 5×5 handgun skill test. Over in the Shaving Badge, @tkrhanna restored a safety razor and @jtorres079 completed 30 shaves with a safety razor. @jgemerson snuck close enough to 4 different wild animals and snapped pictures of them for the Tracker Badge.

Chapter Meetups

The success of TSL is dependent on members not waiting for others to take the lead, but choosing to take the lead themselves. Organize a meetup in your area! Here are some activities that local chapters have done lately:

In the Germany chapter, several members gathered at Gut Berthelsdorf, an old manor with a rich history that the proprietor is trying to turn into a destination for local clubs and festivals. The men assisted with various chores, such as moving and stacking firewood and removing clutter, to help get the venue ready for action. In the spirit of the Rough Rider Badge’s natural history museum visit requirement, @ofcaerbannog and @wpcopland of the Tri-Cities Hotsteppers visited a mammoth dig site, where fossils and artifacts dating to the Ice Age were being excavated less than a mile from their town.

In the Maryland chapter, @petesoldgoat, @averyb, @clouden1, @hussle, and @shawmutt and son met up at a local fishing shop for a fly fishing lesson, getting a crash course in the terminology and equipment of the sport, along with some hands-on experience tying flies and dry-casting. Elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic Alliance, @nimbilus and @the_mountain92 of the Washington DC chapter met at a local park to review Scout Badge requirements and plan for an upcoming 16 km hike. The men increased the strenuosity by leaving their cars at home and rucking to the park and back. And in Southern California, @jtorres079, @matty.harer, and @amie met at Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park for a morning hike in cool and foggy conditions and had an enjoyable experience among good company.

In TSL Alberta, @smitty-eng, @danielbraun, and @kunzy134 met in Calgary for a “Meat and Greet,” smoking some meat over plenty of good conversation. The Texas Hill Country Mavericks have been busy lately, with @chriskohl, @JPRhoads, @bhart, and @colbyjack meeting to take the AGFT together. On another occasion, the group met at a local high school track to knock out the Scout Badge’s physical fitness requirements. Finally, the Utah Mountain Division held their own mini GoRuck event, starting with a 5k ruck and ending with some sandbag work.

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Upcoming Festivals of Strenuosity

Festivals of Strenuosity, aka “StrenFests,” are member-organized, regional, weekend-long+ meetups/campouts for skill-building, badge work, and all-around fun. StrenFests are easily the best meetups of the year for the chapters and regions that hold them. Don’t miss out if you can make it!  Here are links and dates for upcoming StrenFests:

  • 2024 Southeast Festival of Strenuosity (June 7-10)
  • Inaugural Alaska StrenFest (July 20-23)
  • 6th Annual East Coast Festival of Strenuosity (August 8-12)

Upcoming StrenGames VI

The sixth installment of the popular StrenGames will be taking place this summer, from June 22nd to August 2nd! StrenGames is a unique, member-led event where individuals and self-formed teams earn points for doing TSL-related activities over a course of 6 weeks. The purpose is to provide a boost of motivation to keep up with strenuous living while providing a fun challenge and outlet for camaraderie. If you’ve been falling short of your Strenuous Life goals lately, StrenGames can be the perfect way to get back on track and have fun while doing it! To make sure you’re in the loop, be sure to join the dedicated forum group here, and be on the lookout for an email with an official announcement and enrollment information.

Keep living strenuously, everyone!

“In this life, as a rule, the job that it is easy to do is not very well worth while doing.”

—Theodore Roosevelt

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