Neo-nomad. Neo-Bedouin. Hobopoet. 4-Hour Workweek Wanderer. There are lots of ways of describing the modern version of living a free and nomadic lifestyle.
After a wonderful recharge on the island of Maui, Tomoe and I are nomads again! In fact, we are finally making this “official”. We’re giving up on the idea of having one “permanent” home base, and are instead opting to base ourselves in Osaka, Japan about half the year; and split the remaining time between international travel and the west coast of the USA.
Our travels have already begun. Currently visiting family in Indiana, we head to San Francisco next week. A week later we are on to Osaka, Japan.
I’ve been watching a lot of Anthony Bourdain recently, so I am very excited about exploring the food of Japan (and of Osaka and Kyoto in particular). We even bought the Michelin guide to this region– I’m becoming a Japanese foodie 😉
Osaka will be the only place that we’ll have a “permanent” residence– in other words, the only place we’ll rent a place year-round. We plan to get a small cheap place in central Osaka City and to keep things simple.
We won’t, however, be spending too much time in the apartment… with our usual SE Asia Winter Tour planned, plus many more travels on the horizon, including: Hanoi, Vietnam (November), Sydney, Australia (December), Bali, Indonesia (December), Singapore (Dec/Jan), Thailand (January), Japan again (Feb), Vietnam & Bali again for work (Mar), Reno, San Francisco & Hawaii (April), Spain (May), Japan again (June-July), Reno & SF & Hawaii (August-Oct)…..
I now it’s not for everyone, but I’m very excited about our travels. For me, there is nothing like being on the road. “Going from, towards…” as Thoreau put it, is the central process of living. Nothing awakens my senses like traveling. Nothing provokes growth like traveling. Nothing meets my need for variety like traveling.
I’m blessed that Tomoe shares this love of travel… and blessed that she’s also happy to live a nomadic international lifestyle (that perfectly matches our international marriage). I’m also fortunate that she manages to remain calm and centered in the midst of all this motion and change (one of us needs to be!).
Which just goes to prove, to me anyway, that Thoreau was correct on another point:
When you advance confidently towards your dreams, doors unimagined open for you.
[Not an exact quote, but this the spirit of it]. Too many worry about the consequences of living an unconventional life and truly living exactly the kind of life they most deeply enjoy. Yet I have found that the details all seem to work out when you have faith and push forward towards your own vision and your own unique “genius”.
May you discover the same truth….
The 100 Thing Challenge- a book a just read with a great central idea (though the book itself is not great). This is a challenge to simplify your life by reducing your personal possessions to only 100 things.
With my mobile & nomadic lifestyle, I found the idea immediately appealing.
Over the past few years I’ve managed to accumulate quite a few things. Gradually, when traveling, my suitcases have gotten bigger and fuller.
Lately, Thoreau’s words have echoed in my head: the things you own end up owning you.
The word “Simplify” has been repeatedly in my mind.
And so I’ve decided to take the “100 Thing Challenge”, with modifications.
First modification: changing it to the 150 Thing Challenge. I’ve decided to include both my personal and our business possessions and reduce the combined total to 150 things or less.
I find this is a nice game for imposing discipline on the practice of simplifying.
Here are the “rules” I’m following for this game:
1. MY Possessions Only
I’m not imposing this challenge on my wife or on business partners. Therefore certain shared items will not count, for example: bed & bedding, pot, table, 2 chairs. I WILL count my own bowl, plate, and utensils in the list.
2. THINGS Only
This challenge applies only to physical things… not to “digital” possessions nor to abstract possessions (ie. money, ideas, copyrights, etc.).
3. Certain Sets Counted as One
Certain sets of things will be counted as one. For example, a pair of sox will count as one possession, not two. Likewise, an ipod with headphones and charging cables will count as one, not as three things.
4. Food Items Exempt
I’m not counting food, vitamins, or drinks… as these are consumable and I prefer not to fret about how many food items I have in my fridge at one time!
5. This is a Process
At the moment we have things stored on the Mainland USA. I’ll be starting my simplification process without access to these things. So for the next 9 months or so, the 150 Thing list will apply only to possessions I have access to in Japan and during travels (both counted). Eventually I’ll go through our storage and apply the game rules to my personal stored possessions too.
As we hit the road, I’m looking forward to this game. I find that travel, for example, is MUCH more enjoyable when done lightly and simply. The more stuff I have to carry, the more stressed I get when flying and moving around. Likewise, the airport security theater-of-the-absurd is a lot easier when traveling very light.
Whenever possible I’ll be using the digital version of things… especially books (Kindle). I now prefer to buy books on the kindle, which allows me to carry an entire library with only one physical thing- the kindle. Likewise, I can carry pictures of family and friends in digital version on my laptop… counting as only one thing (and therefore much lighter and more mobile).
B. Rent Instead of Buying
Renting is much more mobile than buying. This is the main reason I don’t own a house. By renting I’m able to take up and go anytime I want. Likewise, most of the places we go don’t require us to have a car… so when we do need a car it’s much easier (and much cheaper) to just rent one when needed. This is also true of certain kinds of gear (ie. snowboarding, wetsuits, scuba gear etc.) that are bulky and only needed/used sporadically.
C. Wash Dishes Nightly
I only need one bowl, one plate, one spork, one cup and one knife personally. I do quite nicely with this (or less) when backpacking, so no need for an entire kitchen set at home either. This makes washing dishes very simple… just wash one set (per person) immediately after each meal! For cooking, one good cook knife is enough for most pro chefs, so it’s certainly enough for me!