Issue #20, Volume 1
August 25, 2021
Explore Life. Create Anywhere.
Every other week, I’ll send you the best hand-picked tools, tips, and information to help you do your best creative work from anywhere.
To succeed as an Anywhereist, you need to get rid of your excess baggage.
What do I mean by that?
It’s simple — anything that can bog you down or slow you down, will. More than you think.
So, to live your most rewarding life, get rid of your excess baggage, whether it’s physical, digital, or emotional.
Before moving to Panama, we sold nearly everything we owned. We stored a few things, and sold or gave away everything else. When we moved, we went with our suitcases and our dogs.
We moved into a furnished house, where we lived for 2-1/2 years. Gradually we replaced some of the landlord’s uncomfortable furniture with purchases of our own, and we invested in a washing machine, which wasn’t provided. We bought some dishes and pots and pans to round out what was already on hand. After eight months we bought a car.
Then, before we moved back to the US, we sold it all.
An amazing thing happened both times we sold everything.
We felt so much lighter. Freer. Able to handle whatever life wanted to throw at us. . . It was a remarkable feeling, one that everyone should experience at least once.
The same is true when you’re traveling. The less you take, the more easily you can go from point A to point B.
Over time, after moving to Panama, I ditched my 10-pound, 17-inch laptop in favor of a smaller, lighter machine. Did I miss that big screen? Of course, but the pain of schlepping that big beast onto trains, planes, and automobiles was stronger.
I learned how to pack less for a trip. At my age, I’m not able to reduce my luggage to a backpack (and my shoulders wouldn’t stand for it if I did!), but I always look at what I’m taking and then find ways to reduce it.
The same is true at home.
Even before I ever heard of Mari Kondo, I started to look at things through the lens of, “does this really add value or bring happiness to my life.” If it doesn’t, I don’t get it (or I get rid of it). Period.
That doesn’t mean I sacrifice comfort. It does mean I’ve learned to be comfortable with less.
Lightening your footprint is important even if you decide to settle in one place. Because, stuff happens.
My friends Wendy and David Justice were settled in Vietnam, where they’d lived full time for several years and were very happy. Then, suddenly, Vietnam upended its visa policies completely, and thousands of Americans had to leave the country with just a few days’ notice. They’re back in the US now, and not happy about it.
Or, like Kirsten and Mark, US expats living in Malaysia for the past eight years, who explained why they’ve now left for an indeterminate period of time.
Tips & Tools
Speaking of keeping a light footprint while traveling, here’s a digital nomad’s take on a minimalist packing list.
If you’re planning a non-working trip, these are the things you can safely leave behind.
Another place to clean up if you want to get rid of the excess is on your devices – especially your phone.
I’m talking about all the apps we have and use that distract us from doing our most important work.
Cal Newport, author of Deep Work, has written a companion book, Digital Minimalism. Digital minimalism isn’t about throwing out all your apps, but “intentionally shaping your digital life around your values so you can feel good about the apps and tools you use on a daily basis.”
Newport admits that it’s harder than it sounds. However, if you embrace digital minimalism, it will result in “less stress, more focus, and a better, more fulfilling life.”
He recommends starting with what he calls a “digital declutter.”
Another way to declutter is to organize your computer better.
Author Robin Copple promises you’ll feel more peaceful once you have your digital life under control. Steps include:
- Throw out the garbage
- Focus on what’s important
- Make a system and stick to it
- Create deep file structures
- Use your newfound peace productively
Did you know that minimalists stress less? Here are eight ways minimalism frees you from stress.
I’ve written a fair bit about the stress-creativity connection. If you adopt a minimalist way of life, you’ll be freer to pursue your Anywhereist life and work, with a lot less stress…
And with more creativity.
Play is one of the ingredients you need to be your most creative, so if you happen to find yourself in Prague between now and November, here’s a fun way to enjoy the city.
Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. That means, if you click and purchase, you pay exactly the same amount and I’ll earn a small commission. These fees help me to keep the free information flowing.
In Case You Missed it. . .
Thirty-two years ago, my husband and I started a big adventure with a pretty big risk. We sold our house in upstate New York, packed up our furniture and our four kids and moved to Florida. Without jobs.
Our children ranged in age from seven years to 12. In school, the youngest was finishing first grade, the oldest was in seventh. We were pulling them out of the small school where they knew everyone into larger schools where they knew no one.
We were tired of the cold and the grey skies. We wanted sun and adventure!
A lot of folks thought we were crazy. “You’ll be back,” one member of our church warned my husband.
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