I had the pleasure of interviewing a couple who defines home in a way that is truly unique. Their version of nomadic living is in a converted ambulance! (They call it The Adventurelance.) I did a livestream Facebook interview with them and within 24 hours it got over 8K views. It’s a fascinating interview. Watch it here:
How do YOU define home?Is home defined by the address where you currently live? Or does it feel more complex than that? Are you a nomad in your own right? What’s your answer to the question: Where do YOU live?
Eager to put an end to monotonous busy-work and simplify your life? Ready to say hello to adventure?
I’m not talking about squeezing in an annual two week vaca.
I’m talking about delight-filled adventure as a regular fixture in your everyday existence.
If the idea makes your soul swoon, but the prospect of living it feels about as real as the Easter Bunny … keep reading, or watch the video version below. These 5 life hacks can help you simply your life and go from monotony to adventure.
5 Life Hacks to Simplify Your Life and Go from Monotony to Adventure
>>> Life Hack #1:Adopt a mentality of minimalism <<<
Life can be so much simpler than most of us make it.
I’ve certainly been guilty of this.
Finally deciding to simplify, pare down, and clear oodles of mental and physical clutter from my life has been extraordinary. And paradoxically, it has allowed me to expand my focus, zero in on my truest priorities, and embark on my biggest boldest dreams.
For me, minimalism has been a total game-changer. (The fact that you’re reading this = Exhibit A. I now have the focus, time, and bandwidth to learn a bit about blogging, and then sit down, write, and post this and other articles for you.)
Minimalism can simplify your life too – in ways I bet you can’t even imagine right now. >>> I say this because the truth is that determining how and where YOU are complicating what can be simple, isn’t easy to do, especially when “stuff” is filling your space and 85 different things seem to be pulling you in 85 different directions.
What I’ve coined and refer to as ‘The Paradox of Less’ has been one of the most stunning revelations I’ve had as a result of adopting a lifestyle and mentality of minimalism.
Adopting a mentality of minimalism can result in MORE. More breathing room, more creativity, a great sense of freedom, and more mental and emotional space to invest in what’s truly important to you.
Less truly is more.
Yet – if simple living was EASY to create, everyone would have it.
Getting there will take some work. And getting started can understandably feel like a daunting undertaking.
It’s sooooooo worth it though. It’s going to feel good to have less clutter and less stuff. (Pinky swear.)
A good place to start is to identify one or two areas where you can start letting go. Also consider reeling in any striving for more of the things that don’t bring you fulfillment. This is a mental game as much as it is a practical effort since having less “stuff” goes against the grain of the advertising messages that bombard us daily. Resist.
You can never have enough of what you don’t really want.
So stop collecting stuff that isn’t aligned with what’s truly important to you.
Seriously, stop it.
Start today by cleaning out one drawer or one shelf. Even 30 minutes to an hour can make a dent in a cabinet or corner of your home. Wash, rinse, repeat and you’re on your way.
>>> Life Hack #2: Stop being normal <<<
Ellen Goodman, a journalist, wrote this about what defines normal:
“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.”
Do you see yourself in this?
If so, it’s ok. Awareness is the first step. New awareness is a disruption of previously unquestioned patterns. Take this as a bit of good news! While not a comfortable spot to be, it’s nonetheless a powerful place to be because from here you can make some new choices.
If, like I did, you are seeingthe insanity of living this way, know that it’s something that’s hard to un-see.
From there, it becomes about how to best water the seeds of change.
If you are ready to stop being normal, life hack #3, #4, and #5 are for YOU.
>>> Life Hack #3: Automation and delegation <<<
Most people live the bulk of their life in what Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap, refers to as The Zone of Competency. This is the zone of busy-work. You know … the shit you’re perfectly capable of doing, the shit that needs to get done, again and again, and the shit that ultimately consumes far too much time and cumulative energy, eating up ridiculous amounts of precious minutes in your life.
Now, let me say here: If the zen of ‘carry water, chop wood’ is your thing, and you believe that mundane tasks are the path to enlightenment, you can stop reading right here.
Otherwise, it’s time to automate your shit! Things like laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying, house cleaning, and the like.
Let’s start with groceries, since we all need to eat.
There are personal shopping services, there are meal delivery services, and there are free apps that you can use to select your items and place your order. Take your pick. Even Walmart now has an app that allows you to pre-order your groceries. When you drive in to the parking lot, they will bring them to you, curbside. Valet groceries a la Walmart.
There are services like PeaPod which let you order your groceries online or through their app and they deliver them to your home. All of these let you save past orders, which makes re-orders super quick and easy. Oh, and, if you end up getting a tomato that’s too ripe for your liking, or your chips arrive crushed, call them and they’ll more than likely refund you for those items. That’s been my experience. No biggie, and you just saved yourself easily an hour (driving, parking, walking up and down the aisles, waiting in line at the check out, driving home, etc.). And – a bonus in my book – if you don’t set foot in the grocery store, you won’t be tempted to buy stuff that’s not on your list.
If, on average, you go grocery shopping once a week for one hour, that’s 52 hours a year. That’s more than 2 days a year that you spend shopping for groceries! Two full days that could be invested into progress on, as Gay would call it, your Zone of Genius (a.k.a. the stuff you were born to do).
If you haven’t already, go paperless on all your bills and minimize the time you spend sorting through and opening mail. Automate payments on all your monthly bills. Short of you setting it up – once – that task will be handled. Set up automatic deposits for income, and automate bank transfers into whatever accounts you need money to be in.
Adulting isn’t always fun, I know. But sit down, figure it out and set it up – once – and then be on your way.
Companies like Task Rabbit will connect you to a sea of specialized personal assistant freelancers who will do a slew of things for you. They’ll paint a room, pick up your dry cleaning, assemble Ikea furniture, etc. etc.
Yes, outsourcing some of your mundane to-do’s means drumming up some dollars – but I implore you, try it for one month – and you’ll experience the freedom of time and energy, and you’ll value that so much, and you’ll more than likely have inspired ideas that come to you given the mental space you now have, ideas that will move you closer and closer to your ZOG.
The few bucks you spend to have someone do these things for you will quickly start to shift from seeming like an unnecessary expense to a strategic investment. (Worth reading again.)
Laundromats have drop-off services. Drop off your dirties. Pick up your clean, folded clothes a few hours later, at your convenience, or have someone else pick it up for you. Done.
Hire someone to clean your house, even if just once a month. Maintain in between. Knowing that someone is coming to make it sparkle every week/two weeks/month will be the gift that keeps on giving. Permanently shift the scales on your home being a place full of to-dos … to your home being a place you live, relax, and enjoy as a safe-haven and welcomed respite from the world. You’re never going to miss cleaning toilets. And you’ll savor your reclaimed time and energy, available to now reinvest in the stuff you were put on this earth for.
Business owners — this is especially important for you!
I hired a bookkeeper long before I could “afford it”. Why? Because before my bookkeeper was part of my Dream Team, I found myself less-than-thrilled about new clients because it meant I had to do more bookkeeping! Obviously not the way you want to be thinking and feeling about new clients as a business owner. Now, every month, my bookkeeper sends me the reports I need. Done.
Consider it your job to find a way to delegate such tasks. What you really can’t afford is to have your energy caught up in busywork when your business needs you to be the visionary leader at the helm.
Successful people stop trying to do everything by themselves. They automate and they delegate, so they can stay focused on the big picture.
>>> Life Hack #4:Make travel an integral part of your lifestyle <<<
Travel and mobility are dreams that many share – yet few do it.
I understand why this is. Despite running my location-independent business since 2004, and devoting myself to helping my clients stop postponing their dreams, creating their life to be abundant, boundless, and delightful on every level — for YEARS, some of my own dreams were falling to the wayside.
I dreamed of total freedom to travel, to work, and to explore – when and where I please.
And to be fair, I have done a fair bit of traveling. (I studied abroad in Australia for a semester in college, I saw some of New Zealand on my way back to the US, and I’ve had brief trips to Italy, Spain, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and parts of the continental United States.) BUT – it was all too short and far too infrequent.
With the exception of the time I spent in Australia, my travel experiences have primarily been vacations that I managed to squeezed in to my busy life. But, having total freedom to travel when and where I pleased remained totally and utterly illusive.
While vacations can be great, what’s even better than vacation is when everyday life feels so free, and so gratifying, and you’re having so much fun, that you don’t need a vacation. (Can I get an amen!?)
So, despite being owner of a location-independent company since 2004, for a whole host of reasons – and a few excuses – I really wasn’t taking full advantage of the fact that my business could come with me wherever I go. As much as I wanted to be free to travel, I was stumped on figuring out HOW. Commitments had me feeling rooted and travel was an occasional highlight in my life, but certainly not the norm.
But it is now!!!
While not true in all cases … minimalism and downsizing often go hand-in-hand. For me it sure did.
I am now a full-time nomad, traveling and working from the road.
(As I write this, I happen to be in Maine. All pictures seen here are from Acadia National Park. See it! It’s incredible.)
Along with my partner, Carl and our 30-pound dog, Cosmo, I live in a 27′ Airstream. If you think that’s small, for the entire first year of our RV lifestyle, our RV was only 20 feet long! To give you a sense of it, I could reach the bathroom door, the kitchen counter, and the bed, all while standing in one place. After a year, we upsized to the 27′ Airstream for a bit more comfort and quality, but either way, our “condo on wheels” lifestyle suits us.
We have cracked the code on what we feel is the ultimate life hack: Nomadic Living.
Are YOU are nomad curious but not sure how to go about making it happen? Want to learn more? We teach others how to live nomadically – for a month, a season, a year, or forever – with our first-of-its-kind lifestyle program. In it, we walk you through everything from downsizing, to relationships on and off the road, to logistics, to “glamping” and mechanics, to selecting the RV that’s right for you, to boondocking, and remote working, and a TON more … all in our location-independent course: Nomadic Living 101.
>>> Life Hack #5: Figure out a way to work remotely at least 80% of the time. <<<
The world is getting smaller, in the sense that technology connects us in ways it never did before.
For better or for worse, computers are integral to how work gets done and the number of ‘digital nomads’ grows every day. More and more businesses, like mine, are Internet-based location-independent remote work companies. And corporate employers are also realizing the benefits of having remote employees.
All this to say, that if work has you feeling tied down, it’s time to think outside the box. Get creative and find a way to live and work boundlessly and join the growing tribe of remote workers.
Yes, this might mean making some changes.
Learn how hiring me as a coach can help you get strategic and find the best avenue for you to make this life hack YOUR reality.
Just imagine how eliminating this primary obstacle to travel and mobility, will impact your life. The world will be your oyster! (Mmmm… oysters.)
Here are some inspiring statistics:
==> Based on 2014 Census Bureau data, the typical telecommuter is a 49-year-old college graduate — man or woman — who earns about $58,000 a year and belongs to a company with more than 100 employees.
==> A Stamford University experiment found that the home-based employee works more than office workers — 9.5 percent longer — and that they are 13 percent more productive.
==> Home-based employees were judged to be happier, as quitting rates were cut in half.
==> By reducing office space, the company saved what amounted to $2,000 per employee, annually.
So, to sum it up: employee retention rates rise, employee happiness rises, and employers are able to cut costs by not having to supply every worker with an office and expense the overhead costs of that. Sounds like the very definition of a win-win to me!
In childhood, a messy room was par for the course. It was part teenage rebellion – a response to the high standards and OCD tendencies of my maternal lineage. I judged them as too intense, uptight and unnecessary, so I bucked them.
As an adult, it grew into a pile of papers, a pile of clothes, a pile of half-read books, and numerous notebooks full of random ideas. It’s not that I’ve lived in utter chaos, but a manageable level of chaos had become my norm. It was something I embraced, playfully telling myself that it’s the inevitable by-product of “non-linear genius.” Ha!
Well, perhaps the familial gene ramps up in the 40’s, because something shifted within me. The desire to have Less Stuff and More Order really took hold. One drawer, one notebook, one item of clothing at a time… I began touching and sorting through every single item I own.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~ Leonardo Da Vinci
I am now an advocate for order and simplicity. I may even be a bit of a zealot in the making.
Less truly is more. While the process was daunting, and going through every item I owned to determine whether to keep it, sell it, donate it, recycle it, or trash it was exhausting at times … in the end, it feels so goooooood— so gratifying, so clarifying, and so freeing … to have released so much “stuff”. (My ‘8-Day Downsizing Countdown to Nomadic Living’ post goes into this in more detail.)
With every carload of “stuff” I passed along, with every drawer and shelf and closet I sorted, and with every notebook page that got either recycled because it was no longer relevant, or went into a binder organized by category …. I have found that the benefits of order and downsizing go *far beyond* what I would have expected.
It’s about so much more than having a clean desk, or knowing exactly where something is when I’m looking for it. The true benefits are a clearer mind. What it has given me is a terrifically streamlined approach to moving forward (both personally and professionally). I have a deeper sense of inner peace and focus, and I no longer feel the energetic burden of owning things that I don’t need, love, or both.
At one point, while sorting through a trunk of memorabilia, I came across a $10 bill tucked into a card. It was addressed to me in Australia (I studied abroad my junior year of college). It had been sent by my sweet grandmother for “ice cream with a friend”. That envelope had traveled with me, since 1996. While years later, “ice cream with a friend” was indeed how it was spent.
So, today I am celebrating how profoundly and positively efforts to amp up order is impacting my life, my business, my heart, my soul, my mind, and even my body. For me, this is a lifestyle choice.
What about YOU? I want to hear from you. How does order support or inhibit YOU? Do you agree that less is more? Why or why not?
Without question, my least favorite thing about travel is PACKING. Maybe you relate?
One time, while stressing about what to pack for a 6 month stay in Australia, my uncle (a world traveler himself) gave me some great advice: “Tara, pack whatever you want – then take half.”
This was 20+ years ago, my junior year of college. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that less truly is more.
This didn’t happen overnight. My growing affection for minimalism has developed in stages. It reached a new height when I moved: from a spacious, high-ceiling, 2-bedroom, double-parlor home in Rhode Island with a private back yard and big front porch … to a 600 square foot 1-bedroom with a little balcony just outside of Washington DC. (And 2 1/2 years later, I downsized again – into a 20 foot RV!)
At first, the prospect of down-sizing felt incredibly daunting. What would I keep? What would I get rid of? In moments, I even considered not moving so that I could hold on to “stuff” – my cherished dining room table in particular. It sounds pretty ridiculous to me now, but I loved that dining room table. It was large. It was wooden. I coveted it for many months before finally making the purchase and was thrilled when it arrived.
I loved so much about it. Aesthetically, it served as the central focus for one of my two parlors. Its functionality, with a leaf that I could insert when I wanted to make it even bigger, allowed me to fit many friends and family around it. It had symbolic meaning to me, representing a certain degree of success. This, plus the memories made at that table added up to a whole lot of sentimental value.
But – however much I cherished it, my dining room table could NOT come with me. Two stools and a ‘breakfast bar’ would be serving as its replacement.
Now, perhaps you’re wondering ….
“Tara, what the heck does your dining room table have to do with MY packing?”
** A lot. **
Packing for travel requires you to be discerning, thoughtful, and intentional about what you bring with you. There will be those cherished how-can-I-possibly-live-without-(fill in the blank) items that tempt you to either stay put, or to lug them around with you. There will be things that you need to leave behind – both physically and metaphorically. By releasing what’s heavy, you’ll replace it with the freedom and wealth of mobility, the lightness of heart, and the gains that come with a shift in priorities. Similar in spirit to down-sizing a home, extended travel requires you to be very selective about what you take with you. That’s why “pack what you want, then take half” is damn good advice.
You can find a plethora of packing lists for traveling light, but ultimately, I believe that without a mindset shift those won’t be of much use to you.
Adopting a mindset that welcomes less “stuff” in lieu of experiencing more “stuff of life” is what makes all the difference.
Ultimately it’s about BEING more. It’s about defining wealth not just in terms of money but in terms of human capital and the everyday abundance of that which is truly priceless:
==> More freedom. ==> More timeless memories. ==> More growth opportunities. ==> More adventure. ==> More fulfillment. ==> More positive impact. ==> Expanded levels of understanding. ==> Boundless new possibilities. ==> And deeper levels of connection – to yourself, to others, and to the world.
More “stuff of life” experiences … experiences so valuable, they truly are priceless.
The memories and invaluable experiences that travel brings are yours forever. They get infused into your soul, forever stamped on your heart. They exponentially expand your mind, thereby expanding your understanding of the world and your role in it: a value that is truly incalculable.
Put this alongside a dining room table, for example, and there’s no contest.
So, what is it for YOU? What’s YOUR “dining room table”? Whatever it is that has you holding on, staying put, or weighed down … imagine: Letting It Go. Let it go and you may not even miss it. My bet is, you won’t.
All this said, it’s the extraordinary few who actually take the gamble to find out.
Will you rise to this challenge? Do you understand that present “stuff” is a just mirror of who you’ve been. Is your priority on living full out and being the fulfillment of your potentials? Ready to find out how nomadic living – best for a month, a season, a year, or forever – can support the quickening of you experience of fun, freedom, and fulfillment?
Pack what you want, then take half – and get ready for the experience of a lifetime.