5 Months on the Road

Published initially on my travelogue Vagabond Cafe on April 29th, 2009.  Edited with notes in () for those who may not know me personally.

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves.

Pico Iyer

Carl & the AmperstandI have been on the road for over 5 months.  I’ve visited 14 cities in that time and will be revisiting a few more in the next month.

There is a lot to traveling and when it began I didn’t really know where it was going or where I was going.  Not just in an uncertain sense of what city I would visit next but where I was going in my life.  I wanted to lose myself.

I was just starting to deal with the loss of my best friend / girl friend from almost a year prior, I had a lot of emotional baggage tying me down to bad habits in life; with people, with money, with myself and my health.

In these five months I have built a blog on Lifestyle Design (you’re here) and started working on networking and writing for it seriously.  I have taken control of my finances and paid down a good chunk of credit card debt that I accumulated last year.  I have helped spread the love of dance and the passion for life that it has given me.  I have undertaken a serious learning project to create an online business within three months.  I have spent many great nights with friends, many days alone in cafes, many hours on planes, buses and trains.

Most importantly I remember going to bed one night after teaching in Cleveland, OH with Joanna (one of my teaching partners) and feeling supremely at peace.  It was definitely not like that not so long ago.

I woke up at some point about a year ago and I was exceptionally unhappy.  I was working long hours and making decent money, traveling to dance a lot on weekends, and neglecting the most important person who I shared my life with.  I was drinking too often.  I was running from my life.  I knew I needed to change things.

It’s almost been a year and change has come. (It will be one year in 1 week from now.)

I have changed and my world has changed.  I have found myself.

I am willing to take risks and dive into my days to make them meaningful to me.  I am finding a new joy in working, in teaching, in writing.  I want to share my passion for life as art, to create my life deliberately and reflectively.

I want to spread the art of living.  Through dance.  Through words.  Through friends.  Through sharing time.  Through sharing space.

Today I am alive.  Tomorrow I will be somewhere else but I’ll have a passion, a purpose, dreams and values that I hold to, that guide my decisions.

Today Skip Work

Today Skip Work or School or Life

Don’t do your normal routine.  Today take a walk.

Not down the street to your local cafe with your laptop, smartphone and all the regulars.

Take a hiatus.  A one day sabbatical where you get away from it all and see the world again.  Let’s call it a slacker day.

Travel as light as possible.  Take a small amount of cash (cause this isn’t a shopping spree), only the necessary keys.  Leave the cellphone at home.  Leave the laptop on your desk.  Take a notebook, a pen or pencil and maybe a camera.

It’s time to disconnect from the flurry of modern living and take a walk in the world.  Reconnect with your environment, your city, your park, your countryside.  This journey is about not caring about that 5 o’clock conference call or what people are saying on Twitter.  Cause it doesn’t matter.

Not to you.  Not right now.

If this is your first time taking a hiatus from the real world it might take a bit of getting used to.  We’re often so drawn to routines in our everyday that we get stuck in routines in our thinking, our actions.  Get a little unstuck and forget about the rules.  Actually, go counter to what you would normally do.

Don’t go to your favorite park.  Don’t walk down the avenues that you’re used to.  Each step is along a different path, one you haven’t walked before.

At first just observe.  Use your senses.  Find an easy pace that lets you take in the world.

Find the wonder.  Be a child and see it, breathe it, feel it.  Be mindful but don’t push yourself into the world.  It’s not about interacting, this is about consuming the world in every detail.  Let yourself get wrapped up in your senses.

Get lost.

If you feel the pull of guilt from being away your Outlook notifications, a hole in your pocket where your cellphone normally is, accept it and then let it go.  Those thoughts are free to float about but don’t attach yourself to them – you’re not your thoughts.

You’ll have these thoughts throughout your day.  They’re okay.

Soon things that you sense will start to stand out.  Sketch them or write them down, take a picture.  It’s not about perfection just the moment.  This is living in a stream of consciousness.  Just like those silly exercises that you had to do in high school english (I actually liked them).

Don’t start small.  This isn’t a lunch hour walk.  This is your slacker day.  Your day to say “I don’t care [I’m not doing anything today]”.

Walk for a while.  Sit and people watch or nature watch or study the patterns of the table while you sip a coffee.

You’ll find that as the day goes on the clutter of noise that we often surround ourselves with (text messages, e-mail, idle chatter, etc.) disappears and your thoughts will open up.  Sometimes they’ll be fleeting or minutiae, sometimes creative or inspirational.  Jot them down.  Fill your day with notes, sketches and pictures.

This is your day to consume the world.

So here’s my permission to you to say “I don’t care [today is for me]” and skip work.  If your boss asks tell them I said you could.  They can e-mail me.

Liberation Artist: An Interview with Jonathan Mead

So, I lied.

I’m giving this interview away without any e-mail list requirement cause I want everyone to hear it.

Jonathan Mead has been taking the lifestyle and personal development community by storm lately and has been recently selected to be the Director of Ass Kicking for Project Mojave.  He recently published the Liberation Revolution manifesto and his own eBook Reclaim Your Dreams.

If you want the latest scoop on what Jonathan is up to, what his role in Project Mojave is and how it differs from other online business creation plans, how he is creating a revolution and the mindset he uses to keep himself plugged in to his mission, give it a listen.

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It was a blast to get to talk to Jonathan and I look forward to more Liberation Artist interviews, sign up for the Newsletter and get them as they come out.

If you liked this interview please Tweet it or StumbleIt.

Project Mojave Launches!

I’ve talked a bit about Project Mojave if you’ve been following me on Twitter and I’ve mentioned it here briefly.

ProjectMojave Project Mojave Launches!

Clay Collins offered the opportunity to get in on Project Mojave at an early stage and I jumped on it.  I sent my money in before the submission form even went up because I know Clay is the real deal.  He gets stuff done and wants you to as well.

So first, I recommend you go watch this.  It’s the Freedom Business Blueprint.

If you’re wondering what that means, I’ll give it a short description.  A Freedom Business is the business that you can create to get out of a dull 9 to 5 job or just create some real income on the side.  The Blueprint part is really the valuable part, Clay gives this stuff away.  It is basically the outline of what a quickly profitable Freedom Business will look like from the inside out.

Now if that’s not enough for you to at least go check it out, this should be.

I recently reviewed Jonathan Mead‘s ebook Reclaim Your Dreams (which I still recommend) and Mead has written the manifesto for Project Mojave.  The Liberation Revolution is our manifesto.  And you can get it hereFree.

There’s tons of great information in The Liberation Revolution and I recommend it highly.  Jonathan Mead is one of Project Mojave’s faculty members of which there are many exceptional names.

If Clay Collins and Jonathan Mead aren’t enough for you, add Laura Roeder (who I’ve been working with on Creating Fame), Michael Martine of Remarkablogger, Dave Navarro of The Launch Coach, and more to the faculty and it’s a killer opportunity.

I stand behind Clay totally.  I’ve met him and the man knows his cards and this is his Ace.

Check out Project Mojave, Opt-In and really download the manifesto and watch the Blueprint.  They are worth your time.  They’ve been worth mine.

Art Maintains Momentum

Corbett Barr asked in a comment on When Is It Time Enough how to help maintain momentum when you’ve started something.

Slacking off mid-project is a big problem for all of us.  I know it is for me and I’ve left many projects unfinished because I didn’t have the motivation to really stick with it.

These days I have a few tricks up my sleeve to keep myself focused when my energy dwindles and one that I really love is using different forms of art to keep myself motivated.

Here are a few of them and why they work for me.

1) Sufjan Stevens – You Are The Blood

Listen to it on my Blip.fm station.

This song just strikes a chord with my creative center.  I plug in my headphones and put this on loop and next thing I know two hours have passed and I’ve crunched through a ton of work.  It shifts tone and style throughout the song which I think helps keeps me shifting gears and moving forward.

It helps me enter a state of flow when I’m working, keeping me focused and dedicated to the task at hand.

Find a song or an album that resonates with you creatively.  Often times when you are hitting a wall putting on an aural creative trigger will help you push through it and get on to the next step in your process.  Even better is that it will keep you engaged with your work and focused so you don’t slip out of the process.

2) Flobots – Handlebars

Handlebars Art Maintains Momentum

Not only does this song resonate with my creativity but the music video has such striking motion graphics and imagery.  It inspires me to action far more than the song would on its own.

It is full of revolutionary images and the theme pulls out of me that drive to create change in the world.  As a liberation artist who wants to spread the passion to create a life worth waking up for this music video hurls me towards that goal.

Find images or video that resonates with your goals.  When your motivation wanes hit the play button and feel the rush of inspiration.

3) Walt Whitman – Song of the Open Road

Nothing says motivation to a vagabond like this poem by Walt Whitman.  While it isn’t necessarily a quick read or a quick fix it definitely helps me keep me on track with my goals as a vagabond.

The imagery that Whitman conjures has played out for me in as I travel and when I’m feeling stuck or that persistent ennui from a late night spent alone it keeps the fire stocked with fuel for the long run.

Find a poem or series of verse that resonate with your lifestyle.  When you find yourself slipping from your desired life take a moment to reconnect with what helped spark those dreams in the first place.

What types of art do you use to keep you motivated, focused and inspired?

For more on how to keep a Slacker from slacking Subscribe by E-Mail to get it delivered directly to you or Subscribe with the RSS feed.

5 Steps to Owning It

“tain’t what ya do, it’s the way that you do it.”

1) Realize that you have it in you

It’s not out of your reach.  We live in a world of possibility.

Now that sounds a bit cheesy.  Just because we say that doesn’t mean that those possibilities are realistic.  But when has what others told us about reality deferred the revolutionaries from acting.

Say you wanted to fly.  Not in a plane, but in your own body.  We think of that as an impossibility.  Yet look at what these people can do with a little ingenuity, technology and a drive to achieve flight.

It’s in you.  You can achieve it.

2) Dive in – don’t just test the water

Owning it is about committing.  You can’t test the water from the top of the cliff.  You have to dive in.

This isn’t about doing what you are saying you are going to do.  This is about doing what you are doing fully.  You chose to do it so why only sort of do it.

If you only sort of do it you’ll only sort of get results.  It’ll take a few more sort of actions to get something resembling a meaningful result.  You’ll waste time being unsure and will waste energy not doing what you want to do.

Make a splash.

3) Act like you know what you’re doing

(even if you haven’t got a clue)

Probably one of the oldest tricks in the book to doing or being something.  Act like it and you’ll eventually become it.  By acting in a certain way you train yourself to be a certain way.  You develop a habit of being by exercising habits of action.

You learn a great deal by learning as you go.  You can’t know everything before you start or you’ll never start and thus never own it.

Pretend a bit and you’ll find it’s easier than you thought.

4) Be willing to fail, horribly.

You can’t succeed if you don’t try and the worse kind of failure is the failure to try.

When you dive in, act like you know what you are doing and believe in yourself it’s very possible that you may fail.  It’s also possible that you’ll succeed far beyond what you believed possible.

Fail.  Not once, not twice but over and over again.  The only way to really own it is to fail and then get up and try something else.

Go out and fall down.  Jumble your words.  Bomb a presentation.

5) Keep your head up.

Lastly, keep your head up.  Owning it requires a measure of confidence in yourself and that requires poise.

Whether it’s a performing art, public speaking, dating or just strutting your stuff, having your head down is a sure way to walk into something (literally and figuratively).

Develop good posture.  Keep your head up.  And if you can, smile.

When Is It Time Enough?

When is it time enough?

When is it time enough to say that’s it.

I will have it.  I will make it.  I will do it.  I will be it.

When is it time enough to say it’s alright to have what I want.

It’s probably already too late but it’s never too early.  Getting started means making the decision and going now.  It’s not about hedging your bets and feeling out the course before you go.  It’s about running headfirst at the wall so you can make it all the way up.

Take a vote of confidence from your resident free runners. Sometimes the best way over an obstacle is to bounce around it.

I have had many instances where I’ve hedged my bets, taken my time, waxed philosophic, and yet never gotten down to the nitty-gritty and really said what I wanted.  Really done what I wanted or taken initiative.

Reaction is too late.

Response is too meditated.

Initiative is creativity coupled with action.  It is innovation.

It is breaking the pull of static.

Break the pull.

Time expired.  Get over it and get it done.

Pick something today that you want to do, want to make, want to be.

Feel a bit like Mike.

Just do it.


Reclaim Your Dreams – Slacker Promotion (10% off)

I reviewed Jonathan Mead’s e-book Reclaim Your Dreams last week and I wanted to give my readers a chance to purchase this excellent e-book.

If you want a good start into reclaiming your life and making your passions your reality (which you should) then take it by the horns and Buy It.

Use the coupon code Slacker and you’ll get 10% off of Reclaim Your Dreams.

So check out Jonathan on Illuminated Mind or on Twitter.

If you haven’t Subscribe to Slacker Reform for more updates on the Slacker Revolution and life as  a Liberation Artist.