Low Tech, No Work Weekend


Well, mostly. Took a short notice pet sitting gig. Decided to leave the laptop at home. Only brought one book (not including my kindle app). If I can’t do out on my Android phone, I’m not doing it! Also not going to watch any television (no college football? Yikes!)

Will report in how out goes…

Pseudo Excursion Experiences

Monday I spent the better part of the day pet sitting with the main goal of really paying attention to the process I go through in order to pack up and spend time away from home. While several lessons were observed and (hopefully) learned, the biggest dealt with time.
Being away for just 12 hours or so simply doesn’t provide enough data to validate the desired test. To remind myself and others what that test actually was: while performing pet sitting duties (this particular trip to care for two of the cutest little poodly-puppies!) when my mother, who owns the pet sitting business, went into the hospital to have stints put in one of her arteries. I have been helping her with overflow on and off or three years, but never looked at the activity as an excursion.

One of my goals over the next several years is to be able to get out and about–do some traveling, see this country, and hopefully more of the world. Eat its food, meet its people. Unfortunately, not completely independently wealthy–yet! So this means I must find a way to be able to earn income to support this desired habit. Much of the work I currently do only requires a computer and an Internet connection.
So, I’ve decided to look at the times when Mom has more clients than she can handle as a test run for what I’m calling my BG Excursions
Okay, up to speed? Me, too!
As mentioned above, the short day was tough to gauge how life on the road might sort out. But there were some lessons (they only took about a week to come to mind). Perhaps the biggest was the classic case of the eyes being bigger than the stomach. Or more precisely, my desires to bring more projects to work on that I had time or would actually spend time with.
I’ve noticed this in other aspects of packing for travel. Bring that extra pair of socks and underwear–they might come handy. I’m going to have plenty of leisure time, so bring all the unread magazines and the two (or three, or four) books I’ve been neglecting. All this extra, just in case, stuff takes up space, weighs a ton, and ends up not getting used!
To be fair about the one day mini-excursion, I actually was planning for two days, on the chance Mom had to stay overnight. She didn’t. So a lot of things I planned for the extended time obviously couldn’t happen. But, I have been on a gig since Friday morning, and guess what? Yup, same phenomenon occurred!
WTF? Here’s my take on this–after directly pondering it since late yesterday afternoon:

  1. I tend to “hope” I’m going to find the time, passion and energy to do things. Why? I don’t know. If I haven’t worked on something for months at home, why will I work on it during an excursion?
  2. Clearly, I bring far more to do than I would every have time for, even if I poured all my effort, energy and passion into it. Why? The allure of being away from the state of normal in my life somehow seduces me into thinking, suddenly, a bright red “S” will appear on my chest and help get all this stuff done.
  3. Unknown distractions and opportunities abound! I’m not even on the road yet, seeing new sights, meeting new people. None of that stuff, yet a different environment is still quite distracting. Why? Since I don’t have cable/satellite (only streaming via Netflix (or whatever they call themselves nowadays) and Hulu. And even though I don’t have the facility to watch college football at home (and try to convince myself I no longer care to watch it), passing up watching games on a 60 inch HDTV is, well, rather hard. Don’t judge me 😐

Lessons I (Might) Have Learned

First, there is always far less time than we think there is going to be. Don’t overload the schedule with fantasies of becoming Super Productive Person.
Second, focused goal setting might be worth considering. If I’m this distracted, when going someplace I’ve been many times, how am I to expect to do any paying work when I get out on the road? Instead of lugging all the trappings required to work on three projects (not to mention the digital stuff inside the laptop) why not bring just one. If I could focus my time and efforts on that one, chances seem to me to be much higher I might actually succeed in completing it.
Third, I must instill more discipline regarding the clock. As much as I love “falling asleep when my eyes close and waking up when they open”, I suspect this luxurious lifestyle has its drawbacks–notably that I’m not taking full advantage of the time I have. I don’t mean to shoot for being uber-productive every waking moment, but having more waking moments with some structure might be a good thing.
But not to the level of living life as if I had a regular 9 to 5 go to the office five or six days a week kind of job. Shudder at the concept!

BG Excursions

My recent publishing of the Boldly Going Manifesto gets me excited about future possibilities, adventures, and leading a life less ordinary and more extraordinary. But writing a page about grand, lofty goals seems empowering and that’s groovy. But happens next?
These aspirations won’t take care of themselves. If they could, I’d bottle that stuff up and make a mint marketing it here at BoldlyGoing.com. Alas, I fear the only way towards a successful, happy and fulfilling life requires me to do exactly what the name calls for–Go and Boldly seek out strange new worlds, new, uhm, my apologies. Got carried away there!
Hopefully you see the point? Here’s the options I feel are available to me. Perhaps to you, too. Or someone you know and love.

  • Continue repeatedly trading dollars for hours in order to pay for a lifestyle that provides the essentials–comfortable surroundings, food (for me and the 2 freeloading, warring cats in my apartment), utilities, etc.–the stuff required to move through life.
  • Attempt to grow and expand beyond my original programming–create something of interest to myself, hopefully others. If luck is about, perhaps find a way to monetize some of these creative endeavors in an effort to reduce that pesky habit of trading dollars for hours, at least in the traditional job/career sense.
  • Stumble upon something, some activity or sense of purpose which not only fills my life with passion and direction, but will hopefully inspire others who have discovered (or perhaps have yet to discover) that their is more out there than mere existence.

How Can a Little Get Away Help?

So, this little concept of the Boldly Going Excursion was hatched when it occurred to me that the only reason for staying at home and struggling to make ends meet was to fulfill that first option above. For many folks–millions of them to be sure–this is fine. It is all they know, or care to know.
For others, myself included, an itching to get out, do more, see more, become more has slowly been scratching its way out from deep inside of me. I took on the second option above, finally, earlier this year. I wrote my first novel, The Perfect Meal.
And it was great! Well, the process of creating the story’s idea, figuring out how to write the darned thing, going on the deep dive to teach myself the steps to self-publishing in the new digital world. These things were all extremely challenging, interesting and fascinating to be sure, but tough nonetheless.
Is the book great? Who knows! I like it. To me it feels like a nice, compact story with some great elements of entertainment. There are some challenging concepts in the book which have sparked some ire in a few “sensitive” readers. But that’s okay. If you don’t care for it, no worries. If you bought the Kindle version, you were only out of pocket a whopping $0.99! And if you buy the print book, don’t like it, send it to me and I’ll refund your money (yes, cheapskates, shipping too 😉 )
So, that second option. Success? I dare say, yes. Clearly, it is not one of those “do it once, live off the royalties forever” sort of endeavors. It would have to be classified as more of a “wash, rinse, repeat. Again, and again, and again” types of activities.
To be certain, this is one of my main goals now in life–continue to develop interesting story ideas, create properties around those stories, and generally lead a more interesting intellectual and emotional existence knowing I’m doing what I love (and hopefully enough money will follow!)
Excuse the digression from answering the actual question–how does this idea of an excursion fit into things? My game plan, my desire to spread my wings and see more of this world (perhaps others? Another blog post, for sure 😉 ) has simply expanded outside my current comfort zone. So, I’m doing something about it.
The ultimate goal of traveling continuously, visiting those new civilizations, eating their foods, seeing their sights, allures me. Perhaps others have indeed gone there before. In fact, I hope they have. I hope your life takes you where you would most wish to go also. If something is holding you back, perhaps our journey together will help break those bonds.

Figuring It All Out

The logistics around these things have to be considered and dealt with before anything happens. For those with unlimited budgets, skip this section! For the vast rest of us figuring out how to pay for it all moves to the top of the task list.
My plan with these excursions includes figuring out how to lead an increasingly Bedouin lifestyle while doing the work to finance things. Obviously, limitations exist. Though I might dig ditches from town to town, thinking the level of adventure of such a plan could appear further down the list.
Instead, I’ll do what I do, but discover how to make those dollars for hours activities possible from wherever I might find myself. Please note, I’m not talking about the theoretical “I have a laptop with a cellular connection, so I can work from anywhere” sort of solutions. Yes, in fact, I do have a laptop with WiFi and a wireless connection to the Internet through my cellular phone. But the reality is something different.

How does the real world work?

  • What is it really like to carry around your computer, cords, battery packs, etc.?
  • How long can one work on a charge? What really happens when the power starts to dwindle?
  • How comfortable is it really to expect to do hours of work in a remote location?
  • How long can a person reasonably expect to be on the move? Will the money last? Will you be able to carry everything you need?
  • What exactly do you need? What can you absolutely not live without?
  • And what about the things no one really every discusses–even in so many of the current traveling blogs–where are the facilities you’ll use to relieve yourself when nature calls? Wash up? Rest and relax when you might not be in overnight lodging?

These and so many more logistical questions need answering. I believe that the unasked, and logically, unanswered questions are what prevents more fine folks like you and I from risking our lives of comfort and boldly going out into the vast, exciting world.
I’m fortunate in the fact I have been consciously designing my work life to provide for the survival income required to maintain that comfy life (but very few extras. Trust me on that one!) without having to punch a clock or travel to a work place. In addition to performing copywriting duties and recently connecting with a business associate to perform a variety of SEO/SEM work, I also am a back up pet sitter.
My lovely mother earns a portion of her living by providing home and pet sitting services. Occasionally, she gets a double booking (or in Mom’s case a triple or quadruple booking!) and needs someone to come on board to help out. After three years of it, I can probably add “Professional Pet Sitter” to the CV, but I may hold off.
My game plan for tomorrow’s pet watching duties is to begin to explore the concepts of being able to get away from home, do some work for pay, and explore these Boldly Going Excursions. What do I need to pack in order to be productive and effective? How little in the way of other provisions must I bring? What will they get put into for ease of carrying. These types of questions must be explored. And why not share them with you?
This is only a one- or possibly two-day excursion. Though local, my comfort zone gets left behind in order to make the work happen. Ideally, these working, living, adventuring excursions will increase in longevity until, hopefully and ultimately they provide me the choice of an extended, self-sustained traveling lifestyle.
Set your communicators to this frequency!