The Death of a Suitcase

Alas 6 months into my vagabonding trip my trusty Jaguar rolling garment bag has met it’s end.

It has seen over 19 cities and town in the U.S. in just the last 6 months not counting numerous layovers on buses, planes and trains. It has crossed the U.S. coast to coast 5 times logging around 20,000 miles of travel on top of intermittent use in prior years on various dance weekends.

While it has weathered the road well it just hasn’t stood the test of continuous abuse that long term travel puts on objects. I mean the bag is probably older than I am considering it was borrowed from my parents. The fabric is starting to tear and is worn in a number of places, zippers don’t close, and the final straw was the handle snapping my last night in New York City.

VictorinoxTrekPackPlus22 The Death of a SuitcaseSince then I’ve carried the 40+ pounds to Seattle and now down to San Francisco and it’s time for a new bag. I’ve settled on this bag by Victorinox. The 22″ E-Motion 4.0 Trek Pack Plus recommended by world travelers like Tim Ferriss for it’s durability, functionality and ability to be carried on planes. It can be wheeled around, converted into a backpack or split into a regular pack and a daypack.

Not only is this bag exceptional but it will force me to downsize more.

This is not only the death of a suitcase but the death of excess.

I will be moving from many items that I don’t necessarily need to only those things that are truly necessary.

I will be undertaking the 100 items challenge. The goal to cut down all of my possessions to 100 things or less if I’m not already there. If I’m already there I’ll let you know but I’m not certain I am.

If I were just a vagabond I think this would be easier. I would afford myself only the simplest of clothing but being a lindy hop instructor I do on occasion need a few items of formal wear. Add to that the three pairs of shoes I carry for dancing (Keds, Florsheim dress shoes, and tap shoes) and the weight of being a dance instructor adds up quickly.

So as both a birthday present to myself and from my parents I’m buying it. If you feel like chipping in I’ll do my best to visit you in my travels and if you want I’ll give you a half hour private lesson in Lindy Hop no charge except for your donation.


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Challenge: Start Your Day with a Cold Shower

One who bathes willingly with cold water doesn’t feel the cold.

Misogi Tsubaki Jinja Challenge: Start Your Day with a Cold ShowerWhile I might not be as intense about it as this Shinto practitioner, bathing in cold water is an invigorating exercise which I perform almost every time I shower.

While there are many health benefits to exposing yourself to cold water, from helping circulation to easing fibromyalgia symptoms, I think of it in terms of an act of voluntary discomfort.

Start your day with an act of courage.

Stepping into cold water is something we normally associate with hardened warriors in cheesy martial arts films who strive for mental and physical perfection.  In a way it’s a correct assumption.

Misogi is a Shinto practice of purification.  The most common being water misogi where practitioners stand in a waterfall.  It is a practice to purify the spirit and the body.

Many spiritual and physical practices including yoga and aikido endorse cold water immersion.  And can you really argue with the Polar Bear Club?

I can’t.

There are many health benefits associated with cold showers.

  • Increases blood flow to your organs and circulation throughout your body.
  • Helps eliminate toxins from the body due to increased circulation and contraction of the muscles.
  • Increases your white blood cell count.
  • Boosts your immune system by strengthening mucous membranes.
  • Gives you healthier hair by closing the cuticle in a similar manner to your skin.
  • Gives you better looking skin by constricting the blood vessels and reducing swelling.
  • Makes your body acclimate faster to cold temperatures keeping you warmer.

Let’s not forget we’re not likely to linger in a cold shower so we save water in our daily routine.

On top of that stepping into cold water is an invigorating burst to your routine.  It’s energizing; a real rush everytime.

I step out of the shower ready to face the world.

By living through minor discomforts regularly you’ll grow more confident that you can cope with major discomforts as well. Such a major future event will no longer be a source of anxiety.

Christiaan @ Mind The Beginner

Here’s my challenge to you.

Start your day with an act of courage.

For the next 31 days take a cold shower.

If you’re not ready to jump headfirst into a frozen lake (I know I wasn’t) here’s a way to ease yourself in.

Take your regular shower.

Before you step out, change the temperature to something just below where you are comfortable.  It doesn’t have to be ice cold but just enough to be uncomfortable.

Stand there until you feel relatively warm again.  This is your body reacting to the cold water and heating itself up.

You’re done.  Finish your shower and emerge into the world.

Each day go a little colder.

This is an exercise in voluntary discomfort.

At first it will feel like self-inflicted torture but by the end of the month you’ll be loving the rush you get from the cold water.

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Slacker Reform History Round Up

For many of you Slacker Reform is relatively new to you, however it began in earnest back in 2008 as a WordPress hosted blog as personal outlet for my development.  It has since shifted focus into helping create a revolution of Slackers bent on finding their passions and doing what calls to us and not what is assumed by society.

So here is a round up of some of the most popular articles from Slacker Reform’s history and some worth exploring.

Back in November I found this TED talk with IDEOs CEO Tim Brown on Creativity and Play.  While the talk is highly entertaining it is deeply insightful on how adults often stifle the urge to play.  Are we that afraid of being appropriate all the time?

December found me with the urge to play and Play Auditorium, an exceptional game from Cipher Prime, hooked me in with the beta.  It is now out in full release with 70 plus levels blending music, physics and problem solving all in one.

In January I was dancing a lot and an article by Garr Reynolds caught my attention on Wynton Marsalis’s book on how jazz music can be the catalyst for change in your life.  Finding an improvisational form of art which requires a high degree of skill really opens up your personality in ways you wouldn’t expect.

The 3-2-1 Method is more a trick of the mind than a system of productivity.  It’s a way to get over that little mental roadblock that stops you from starting.  I’m no productivity guru and I never want to be but this one definitely helps me keep some of the easy mundane tasks in check.

In February I found myself explaining my vagabond life to people more and more so I wrote the How To: Living Out of a Suitcase 101 guide to help explain it.  While I recently talked about this process in my most recent video blog, this How To is much more detailed on how I went from having a full apartment in Montreal to living out of a suitcase and vagabonding through the U.S.

Thanks to a Christmas gift I took up calligraphy in January and by March I was practicing regularly.  It helped me find peace of mind when I struggled with loneliness and lack of focus.  This is how calligraphy helps me clear my mind.

April was a busier month at Slacker Reform.  I reviewed Jonathan Mead’s e-book Reclaim Your Dreams.  I wrote about making sure It’s Our Time and Our Focus that matters in maintaining momentum.  And I called out three Nonconformists who really stand out: Clay Collins, Chris Guillebeau and Jonathan Mead.  Two of whom I’ve recently interviewed and Chris is on the list to be interviewed soon.

I skipped May entirely.  Actually I told you to Skip Work or School or Life and walk the world a while.  You could even tell your boss (or other authority figure dictating your time) to e-mail me since I gave you permission to say “I Don’t Care [today is for me]“.

And while it is still June, I’ve been videoblogging more consistently and while it’s a new trick for me, Tricks Are For Kids.

If you’ve enjoyed any of these articles please Stumble This.

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Who Is Clay Collins And Why He's The Real Deal

If you want to know who Clay Collins really is you should meet him.

If you want a summary of it this is probably the best I’ve found and it’s written by him.

I work for no man. Work is sacred and I’m living out of my imagination. Building something to leave behind when I’m gone.

Clay Collins struck me as someone to pay attention to when I found his blog The Growing Life (now dead) back in the fall.  I was young and uninitiated to the ways of lifestyle design and personal development and Clay’s tone resonated with me in a way that the productivity and life-hacking community didn’t.

I’m still young but I’ve managed to get a few things under my lifestyle design belt and a few of them were inspired by Clay.

Clay isn’t your run-of-the-mill personal development blogger, he’s been there and done that.  He’s a man bent on liberating others from the trap of the monotone world by showing them how to do it – for real.

I got to interview Clay about his mission in life, Project Mojave, the upcoming Project Mojave Conference, his typical day, and he even gives me a little pep talk on my own work in Project Mojave.

Here he shares how he got started into blogging and online business and where that led him.

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For the rest of the interview sign up for the Slacker Revolution Newsletter and get the whole interview.









   

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 Who Is Clay Collins And Why He's The Real Deal

Also check out the first Liberation Artist interview with Jonathan Mead.

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Hearing From You

This week I’ve been really fascinated by what my readers are doing.  What you have to say.  What you want to learn and read about.

Wednesday was the launch of the Location Independent Survey at Free Pursuits.  If you are interested in becoming a vagabond like me or a more typical location independent lifestyle please fill out the survey.  We want to help you by delivering content that is relevant to you.

Please fill out the Location Independent Survey and check out the other blogs participating in it.

I got to interview Clay Collins yesterday afternoon and it was a blast.  Clay had some amazing things to say.  For an example, here is a typical day in the life of Clay Collins.

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While it’s not all raw eggs and hangovers, subscribe to the Slacker Revolution Newsletter to get the rest of the interview next week.









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 Hearing From You

I am going to be interviewing world travel and domination expert Chris Guillebeau soon.  If you have any questions you want to ask him please let me know by filling out this form.

To All My Readers:

Thank you for your time at Slacker Reform.

If you have any suggestions or comments for Slacker Reform in general please feel free to Contact Me.

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The Location Independent Survey

I’m happy to be participating in the Location Independent Survey put on jointly by Free Pursuits and Location Independent.

While I use the term Vagabond to describe my own life on the road, there are many terms for this lifestyle: digital nomad, location independent, work remotely, etc.

If you currently or aspire to vagabond, work remotely, or live the location independent lifestyle please complete this survey which is live today here.  This will help me provide you with better resources and information for creating the vagabond life.

In addition, please check out the rest of the participants in this survey.

WebWorkerDaily, Digital Nomads, Nomadness, Slacker Reform, Muselife, Mind the Beginner, Technomadia, Exile Lifestyle, Intrepid Lifestyle, Jet Set Citizen, Live Uncomfortably, Mine Your Resources, Thrilling Heroics, Most Likely to Die Alone and Vagabonding (and the hosts, Free Pursuits and Location Independent).

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5 Blogs To Read Before Hitting the Road

As a vagabond who left without doing much preparation I have been exceptionally fortunate to have a few skills I can leverage to keep myself out of a ditch and well fed (sometimes exceptionally well fed).

Here are a few blogs which are exceptional resources for those of us wishing to do the same and take a permanent Slacker Day.  I recommend the reading.

Vagabondish

One of the most prolific blogs on long term world travel it has many exceptional articles on how to prepare for travel, how to save money both on the road and before you embark upon it, professional hobo-ing, and this six part guide on taking the leap to long term world travel.

In addition there are dispatches from all over the world from its many writers, photos from across the globe and much more.

You can subscribe to Vagabondish.com here.

Go Green Go Travel

For many vagabonds, digital nomads and professional hobos we are concerned about how we impact the planet we so wish to travel.  Go Green Go Travel offers a variety of articles and suggestions on how we can travel in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.

With the rise of eco-tourism and the rush to see farther reaching and more obscure ecosystems and natural habitats it is even more important that we understand how are travel affects the planet and what we can do to walk the world without leaving a global footprint.

You can subscribe to Go Green Go Travel here.

Location Independent

Maintaining a long term traveling arrangement around the world requires a certain set of skills to continually earn a living along the way.  Location Independent shows you how to cultivate these skills, design a lifestyle that makes freedom a priority, and many resources on the technologies that can be used to facilitate your perpetual day off.

You can subscribe to Location Independent here.

Vagablogging

If I’m going to mention long term travel blogs I would be remiss in omitting Rolf Potts’s Vagablogging.  Rolf Potts is the author of Marco Polo Didn’t Go There and Vagabonding: The Art of Long Term World Travel, the latter of which is one of my 5 books to read before hitting the road.

Not only does he have dispatches from his own travels but advice on travel gear, travel writing, language learning with Tim Ferriss, and other random tidbits from around the world.

You can subscribe to Vagablogging here.

Everything Everywhere

A self-described Around the World Travel Blog by Gary Arndt, Gary really does travel everywhere.  His About page is one of my favorite in the travel blogging community, direct, honest and filled with interesting information about his life.

One of my favorite posts is a recent one on the paradox of travel blogging, or as he calls it the “Gary Paradox”, a phrase I may adopt.  Blogging is an impediment to travel and travel an impediment to blogging and yet as a travel blog you can’t have one without the other.

There’s a lot on his site and I suggest you browse around, truly a great source of inspiration.

You can subscribe to Everything Everywhere here.

What blogs would you suggest to read before hitting the road?

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