the moment that you feel that…

“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right.”

~ Neil Gaiman, University of the Arts speech

→ travelling with young kids

I recently read an article by Mariam Navaid Ottimofiore (via Kitty) about the benefits of traveling with young kids:

“If I had a penny for the number of times, well-meaning friends and family have looked at me and asked “why do you travel so much with young kids? It’s not like they’ll remember any of it!”

The words between the lines are of course this idea that travel is wasted on their young minds. That all they will have, are photographs to look back upon when they are older. That they won’t remember hiking up temples in Cambodia, or riding on mules to explore the lost city of Petra. They won’t remember feeding giant tortoises in the Seychelles, or visiting the memorial church in Berlin. That the true benefits of travel can only be enjoyed as a young adult. That the money spent on traveling the world with them is somehow wasted.

To this I usually respond tongue-in-cheek “well, then why take them to a playground or push them on a swing? Why read them a book or cuddle with them at bedtime? They won’t remember any of that either.”

Travel is the same. Except wait, it’s even better. It’s about the experience. Of making memories together. And this is the part they will remember.”

Overseas travel with young kids is insanely hard but we’ve found it very worthwhile. We’ve taken our young children to Malaysia (Junior Pixels), Los Angeles/San Francisco (Junior Pixels), Sri Lanka/Singapore (Junior Pixels and Little Bear), Auckland (all three) and San Diego/Palm Springs/Los Angeles (all three), and we still have fond memories.

And it’s not only about the kids: it’s about us having fun too. Why wait until the kids are old(er) to have fun ourselves?

We’re taking our three boys to Malaysia (via Singapore) at Easter this year to experience another culture, and we’re all looking forward to it already.

goals vs systems

This time of year when I hear a lot of people setting goals I am reminded of the awesome thoughts of Scott Adam’s on goals versus systems:

“…I talk about using systems instead of goals. For example, losing ten pounds is a goal (that most people can’t maintain), whereas learning to eat right is a system that substitutes knowledge for willpower.

Here’s another example. Going to the gym 3-4 times a week is a goal. And it can be a hard one to accomplish for people who don’t enjoy exercise. Exercising 3-4 times a week can feel like punishment – especially if you overdo it because you’re impatient to get results.  When you associate discomfort with exercise you inadvertently train yourself to stop doing it. Eventually you will find yourself “too busy” to keep up your 3-4 days of exercise. The real reason will be because it just hurts and you don’t want to do it anymore. And if you do manage to stay with your goal, you use up your limited supply of willpower.

Compare the goal of exercising 3-4 times a week with a system of being active every day at a level that feels good, while continuously learning about the best methods of exercise. Before long your body will be trained, like Pavlov’s dogs, to crave the psychological lift you get from being active every day. It will soon become easier to exercise than to skip it – no willpower required. And your natural inclination for challenge and variety will gently nudge you toward higher levels of daily activity while at the same time you are learning in your spare time how to exercise in the most effective way. That’s a system.”

I must admit I now crave ‘the psychological lift’ I get from being active every day. And my natural inclination for challenge and variety has been gently nudging me towards higher levels of daily activity and more challenging hikes.

Scott Adams is spot on.

→ why time management is ruining our lives

Personal productivity presents itself as an antidote to busyness when it might better be understood as yet another form of busyness. And as such, it serves the same psychological role that busyness has always served: to keep us sufficiently distracted that we don’t have to ask ourselves potentially terrifying questions about how we are spending our days.

~ Oliver Burkman

From a great article about why time management is ruining our lives

2016 in review

It’s a great time to plan ahead for the new year, but it’s also good to look back on the year to see how you did.

My 2016 in review

Countries visited: 2 (Canada & US)
International Trips: 4 (San Diego x 2, Whistler/Vancouver, Philadelphia/NYC)
Books Read: 48
Sum of pocket change coins saved in glass jar: $104
Long distance walks (>25km): 3
Mountains Climbed: 5
Firsts: 5 (first 35km walk, first beach labyrinth built, first Ojo de Dios made, first bungee jump, first time eating cactus)
Kid’s Quotes Collected: 20

Consise history entry for 2016:

Kept the same job for the entire year, travelled overseas three times for work and one trip with my family to Southern California. Reconciled with my brother and parents. Made my first Ojo de Dios. Celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary and 20 year relationship anniversary with Kitty. Entered the next age demographic (35-44). Did my first long distance walk (35km) and made my first beach labyrinth. Kept being healthy.

buy nothing new in january

I’m still recovering from the consumeristic binge that is known as Christmas, so I proposed to Kitty that we make a family pledge to ‘buy nothing new’ in 2017. 

Kitty, being the wise lady she is, suggested we trial it for January which is a great idea as it’ll maximise our chance of success and see whether this is something we can sustain longer term. 

So for January 2017 we’re planning not to buy any new items like toys, clothes, books, games etc. 

The last time I didn’t buy anything for a month was October in 2010 and it worked out well. 

If there’s something we need we will buy secondhand either through thrift/op shops (preferable) or eBay/Gumtree. 

We’ll still be buying essential groceries from the store, and there’s a couple of items that we don’t think we can do second hand like some school uniforms (that we can’t find in the second hand store at school), and underwear. 

Luckily Lifeline Bookfest happens in January which will cover all our book needs (with our regular library borrowing). 

We also have kerbside collection in January which means we’ll (hopefully) be able to get rid of a few household things so here’s hoping for a net ‘stuff’ loss over the month of January.

twenty years

Twenty years ago this evening my fifteen year old self went on my very first date with a lovely girl from my high school. Little did I know that night would change my life forever. Thanks for asking me out that night Kitty and thanks for a fantastic twenty years together. Here’s to the next twenty!

→ a toast: to sobriety

I enjoyed this article by Bernard Salt on modern Australian teetotalism:

“The benefits of not drinking alcohol over a sustained period are many. I am sure I have saved thousands of dollars by only drinking water (or soda water if it is a special occasion) and that my health is better. I also think it’s a good idea for people who attend a lot of events for work purposes to remain clear-headed
But there is a problem. I don’t like the term teetotaller. It is a hangover (no pun intended) of the tut-tutting temperance movement of the 19th century. And I don’t see myself as a tut-tutter. I see myself as a modern, liberal-thinking progressive sort of person who prefers to drink water. What the teetotaller tribe needs is a market makeover based around a groovy new phrase that emphasises the wellness benefits of drinking water.

I am not a teetotaller, then. I’m a non-toxin drinker. I am a waterist. In fact, I am a bit of a water courter: I seek it out.”

I’d happily call myself a waterist; water is life.