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Category Archives: reduce

Sunday Driver

Since we started this traveling journey, we have been a one-car family. It’s been a little adjustment, but in the grand scheme of the traveling lifestyle, it’s certainly not the hardest part. This is our car all loaded up for one of our epic driving adventures:

Making it work with one car takes some planning, but we have been lucky that public transportation is very close to our apartment. The hospital where I am working has an overflow shuttle lot that it 1.5 blocks from our apartment. This is the number one reason why we chose this apartment. This is very convenient for us, so I just drive there in the AM to catch the shuttle,  Chad walks the dog and picks up the car later so that he can drive to work, then I usually walk home in the PM (or sometimes I get a ride).

I actually love public transportation. I like being able to drink my coffee while someone else worries about the roads. I love that if it’s snowing I only have to drive through 2 stop signs and then it’s someone else’s responsibility to get me to work. I don’t even mind the walk home after work, even with cold weather. I’m inside all day, so it’s nice to be out in the elements for 10-15 minutes just to feel awake, moving, and in touch. I like feeling that I’m making less of an impact when I’m walking.

There are several downsides to being a one-car family, like having to plan ahead,  being at the mercy of someone else’s schedule, and basically lots of waiting. However the biggest downside is that I never really drive anymore, so when I do- I’m a total MawMaw behind the wheel! I could drive more when we are going places together, but really the Husband is a much better parallel parker. Today, I was driving around finishing Christmas shopping and it was so nice; I had the window down, the music up and just driving along. I look in my rear view mirror and notice a line of cars behind me, look down and I’m only going 25 mph. I think I’ve been averaging driving maybe once a week (excluding the couple blocks to the shuttle in the AM). So, I’ll try to limit that to Sunday mornings so that I can fit in with everyone else on the road!

Disconnect

For me, one of the perks of traveling has been that it forces me to live with less and to think before purchasing new items. I definitely have lost that feeling of “want” for material things, which has helped to simplify my life in a tangible way. Now I feel the need to streamline the cognitive clutter.

I’ve noticed an increase in internet and computer usage since we started traveling. There are several reasons for this increase: stay connected with  family & friends, more free time, lack of television or DVD player, winter weather & early darkness. I hate that hours go by without other human interaction. I am definitely guilty of getting sucked in, and the computer is definitely a time suck. I thought I was doing good by living without a TV, but our computers have just replaced it.

So I proposed one night a week disconnected, without turning on a computer. No TV, no movies, no email or facebook on Wednesdays. I just want to get back to the basics. Last week was our first Wednesday, so we’ll see how it goes. I want to get away from electronic media for one night a week and do whatever it was we did before the internet. Remember that?  We are plugged in all the time, even on a hike-I have my email notification going off.  I want to practice how to “just be”, without checking in to see what I missed all the time.

So, I see card games, lengthy dining experiences, and probably going to bed early in our future for Wednesdays-but hopefully it’s also a learning experience.

Oh, here’s pictures from our last hike in Red Rock Canyon Open Space:View of Garden of the Gods from Red Rock

Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Colorado Springs

Also just watched another great documentary, 180* South. It’s about a couple of real nomads on an adventure, and they don’t check their email the entire trip! 🙂


 

Buffering…..

My new favorite thing:

Netflix

I LOVE NETFLIX!

Why did it take us so long? Actually I know why it took so long: I don’t LOVE movies (gasp!) I know, I know-what kind of boring, fun-sucking person am I? I mean, movies are ok. At times, it feels like a waste of 2 hours when I could be doing something more productive. Our movie collection (20 dvds, only 4 were mine) did not make the cut for our traveling lifestyle, so enter Netflix (thanks to my husband).

So why is Netflix my new favorite thing? Solely for one reason: documentaries! For some reason, I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time watching a documentary. Maybe because many of them are books and watching them will take less time than reading? Here are two documentaries that are worth your time (even if you read the book!):

The Botany Desire with Michael Pollan

The documentary (book) looks at four plants: apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes from a very different point of view. Pollan has the insight to look into the history of these plants in a way that demonstrates how each plant has seduced the human race into propagating them. Pollan flips the egocentric idea that plants are working for us and instead finds how they have evolved in order to be more desirable. The more desirable a plant, the more it appeals to our genetic or societal ideals, then the more likely we will help that plant to thrive. This documentary covers it all: genetics, history, society, science, and answers questions that I had not thought to ask.

No Impact Man: The Documentary

Love him or hate him, Colin Beavan put together an interesting challenge that translated very well to film.  He has decided to take one year and apply every reduce, reuse, recycle principle (and then some) in order to live “no impact”. His documentary webpage describes the rules of his no impact year:


“It means eating vegetarian, buying only local food, and turning off the refrigerator. It also means no elevators, no television, no cars, busses, or airplanes, no toxic cleaning products, no electricity, no material consumption, and no garbage”

What I loved about this movie (other than the fact its straight up reality TV-which is not at all a waste of time 🙂 ) is that his wife was not 100% on board with all of the rules, but she went along with all the craziness and ended up enjoying the transformation to a “less is more” philosophy. His wife, Michelle Conlin, represents the average woman and their place in this consumer society. Her presence in this documentary made it real and watchable.

Since we are changing location every 3 months, we elected to pay for the “watch instantly” membership for $9.99/month.  It allows us to watch movies without having to worry about updating an address to have movies sent to us. The watch instantly movies are a limited selection, but they are streamed instantly to your computer and can be paused and resumed at any time without keeping the window open. Our membership also allows one movie at a time to be sent to your home, although it’s unlikely we’ll use this option.

disclaimer: Netflix has not paid for this blog post/advertisement in any way.

Just STUFF it!

Out of the 3 Rs (you know, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), we have been most successful with Reducing our belongings and what we feel like we NEED on a daily basis. I am now learning the freedom that accompanies less STUFF.

My closet:

It seems like the focus has been on acquiring more things and better stuff, which in turn should make us happy? Isn’t that the idea? I remember when we bought our first home. I couldn’t wait to fill it with cute stuff; it was my personal mission to fill every blank shelf. I wanted a comfortable home that was eclectic and stylish. It was nice for a while, until I felt like acquiring more things was my second job, I NEEDED to go to Pier One to see what was new for the season. What started out as fun started to become a cause of stress.

Now that we are in more difficult economic times, it seems as if everyone is re-evaluating their needs (and maybe looking at all the debt that has accumulated with all that stuff)! Reducing the number of possessions that we own, as well as having a very specific limit for new items, has brought a new happiness to my life – one that lasts longer than that “buyer’s high” from the hot pink stilettos or deluxe belgium waffle maker. Now that we are limited to moving everything we own in one small car, we have to evaluate each new purchase much more closely. How many pairs of black pants do I REALLY wear? (the answer now is just one!) Luckily for me jewelry is small and easily packed, so I did get this bronze cuff bracelet from  an art festival.

I know, I know…but I was supporting local art! 🙂  Because it’s my only bracelet, I wear it often and appreciate it’s size and quality.

I thought I would miss my choice of 17 pairs of jeans (really, I had 17 at one time-those Goodwill people loved opening my bags!) or 20 dvds, but honestly, I don’t even think about what is missing-only what is there in front of me. Now that we have been doing this awhile; I can honestly say that I have a decreased desire for stuff.  There is less clutter, fewer choices for what to wear, and less wasted space and I like it that way!