3:00 AM, a Journal, and Optimal Living
I shared my daily journaling process recently…
You know, the “official” kind of writing where you sit down, and go through your values, core principles, and big ideas.
Well, the other night, on my last evening in Seattle, I dealt with a different kind of journaling:
The “I-woke-up-and-now-can’t-fall-asleep-so-I-need-to-download-everything-in-my-brain” kind of stuff.
The evening was concluding wonderfully: after 30 minutes of reading (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Kindle FTW!) and the respectable bedtime of 11 pm, I was rather pleased and excited for my 6:00 am alarm – I could really get a jump on the next day, and considering that it would be a travel day, the extra time would help!
(yes, hello from White Salmon, WA in the Columbia River Gorge where I write this! :)
When I woke up and rolled over to check my phone at 2:45 am, I initially thought my alertness had something to do with the several handfuls of cereal (sigh) I ate at 10:15 pm because…well, it was there and I kinda/sorta still wanted something to eat.
Mind you: I wasn’t hungry. I had eaten an entire plate of sauteed brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes and mushrooms I cooked up earlier, and even had a few pieces of cacao-cherry-walnut-date fudge (a gooier version of the brownies). So I was all set. I just wanted something to munch on. (Mental note: start brushing/flossing right after dinner!!)
But heck, it was Kashi cereal: at least it’s good for me—or is it?
So there I was, very clearly awake and now thoughts started to swim around my mind—nothing worrisome; the more “brainstormy,” creative kind.
Around 3 am, I finally realized that I wasn’t going to just drift back asleep and it’d be helpful to grab my notebook, a pen, and a small headlamp.
(Why a headlamp you ask, when I’m staying in a home with electricity? When I have to get up in the middle of the night, I’m careful not to turn on any lights and/or use as little as needed so as not to cease melatonin production and make the “falling asleep” part any more difficult. I’ve found that once my eyes adjust to bright light, it’s a bit tougher to go right back to sleep. I definitely stumble and bumble around more, but it all works out in the end. Cool? Awesome! Now back to our story… :)
It turns out that what I needed to express was the “could-change-your-life” kind of journaling, where you see the words you just wrote on paper and think “holy cow—that might just be IT!”
And yes: IT is what you’d really, REALLY like to focus on and do—it may just be why you’re here. And it certainly is outside your comfort zone, so it gets your heart and adrenalin pumping, too. Just what you need at 3:00 am when you want to fall back asleep… :)
Ok—I know I have these “this-could-be-IT” moments about every other week, but seriously guys: this time I mean IT! ;)
Not to be a buzzkill, but I’m gonna keep the IT part of my writing hush-hush for now; suffice to say, it’s very cool, combines many of my passions and skills, and it involves possibly working/connecting with someone (famous) I’ve admired for several years.
So what ELSE did I write about?
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been thinking plenty about “is this site clear?” That is: when people land here, do they know what I’m up to and how I might be able to help them.
The current tagline is “The Practice of Healthy Living and Full-Time Travel.”
Now, that works great for me, but what about people confused by “full-time travel”—what I’m doing isn’t exactly the norm and I think location independence/digital nomadism is still a foreign concept to many out there. So I think that most people—right off the bat—can’t relate with what I’m doing. How many full-time travelers do you meet on a regular basis? :)
Then there’s “healthy living”—sounds good, but what does it mean? How do I define health? What does it include?
I had also danced around “healthy travel”—again, while it may be accurate, this just didn’t seem to encapsulate the totality of the experience I’m looking to share: everything from info on mindfulness and nutrition to relationships and contribution.
Finally: “practice.” So I’ve been using the ol’ English definition of “pursuit,” where it actually was something closer to practice (working on regularly), rather than “going after,” as in the practice of law or medicine, or even what Thomas Jefferson and friends meant by “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Yup, we’re all free to practice happiness!
And… a bit esoteric, to say the least. Fine to use and go into the whole “practice” concept on an “About” page, but right up top? Not so much.
I’ve probably journaled and brainstormed about 15-20 possible taglines for this site, where I’ve attempted to frame it in terms of benefits, everything from being “powerful, positive and productive everywhere you go” to “how to travel and create an amazing life.”
Nothing wrong with those ideas, but they still felt like they were missing something.
I even started looking up fellow bloggers’ and coaches’ sites, to see how they communicated their message behind either a brand name (The Art of Noncomformity: Unconventional Strategies for Life, Work and Travel) or their actual name (Tony Robbins: Life On Your Terms… Peak Performance, Turnaround & Maximum Results).
It all looked so easy—why couldn’t I find mine?!
Well, the other night, at around 3:05 am on Tuesday morning, I think I just might have…
Optimal Living on the Road
I make no secret that I currently work (more like PLAY) with the folks over at en*theos, and I’ll readily admit that their work over the years has CHANGED. my. life.
One of the most amazing experiences: Optimal Living 101.
This was a 10-week course with Brian Johnson where you got to learn from amazing teachers and writers over the years (many of the lessons Brian distilled from his work on the PhilosophersNotes), and you also got to riff about them on the phone and hear others do the same! You can hear me and Bri share some serious tete-a-tete wisdom right here!
It was totally mind-blowing and definitely awesome. Like I said: changed. my. life. :)
The original course happened in the spring of 2010—just six months before I became a full-time traveler. In fact, it was during this course that I had the epiphanies of what I’d pay to do and leaving Los Angeles after 10 years! (followed through on BOTH ideas, too) Coincidence? Um…. no.
I’m even re-listening to all the classes over the next several weeks so we can create Class Notes (cool + free blog posts that highlight Big Ideas from each class)! It’ll be exactly two years since I went through the material last time; I can’t imagine what kind of gems and realizations I’ll pull out of this round!!
So yeah: Optimal Living is kinda a big deal to me. :)
So what does “Optimal Living” mean?
Here’s how Brian defines it:
“For the record, Optimal Living is NOT about getting rich (or enlightened or whatever) quick. It’s all about INTEGRITY — diligently, patiently, persistently and (very importantly!) playfully embodying our truths and rocking our fundamentals so that what we say is important to us actually aligns with who we are and how we show up in the world in this precious hero’s journey of ours.”
Yeah, kinda rocks. :)
And that’s DEFINITELY the path I’m on! I’m looking to live with INTEGRITY as I continue on this journey!
As I’m out in the world, it’s important for me to find how I can optimize my life when it comes to:
(in other words: exactly what the Academy is up to ;)
So, you see, “Optimal Living on the Road” is the path I’m on, and it’s for anyone else who travels and wants to rock their life to the highest degree!
How do we reach our fullest potential, how do we become what we “must be,” and live moment-to-moment while bouncing around the world?
Whether you’re on the road for a short period (vacation, weddings, and other life events), for work (sales, consulting, speaking, driving), long-term travel (backpacking, volunteering, learning), or are full-time (location independent, digital nomad)…
how do we create and live an extraordinary life?!
And yes: we can totally get all “meta” with this and say that we’re ALL travelers; we’re all moving through this world and life is, to a great degree, very unexpected. So whether you carpool or jetset, I have a feeling you’d love to feel amazing all the time!
It’s challenging enough to focus on reaching our potential when we’re at home or in the same place; what about when our environment is literally changing all the time! What’s at our core? What keeps us grounded?
What maintains, sustains, energizes, and inspires us? What do we PRACTICE?! :)
Heck, I bet even Obama could use some Optimal Living on the Road! (Barack: call me! :)
Do I have all the answers?
Helllllllll No. :)
I’m looking to figure this all out, too as I diligently, patiently, persistently, and playfully (!) practice the fundamentals, live in integrity with the core values, and share the goodness!
When I first thought about this phrase, it definitely had a lot of resonance for me, but then I thought, “but ‘Optimal Living’ isn’t clear either! Oh well…”
You know what? “Optimal Living” may not be clear. It may be a new phrase: and that’s GOOD! (Change rocks!)
It may even spark a conversation, where I get to go into a bit more detail about what it means and what I’m up to, and maybe even have an awesome connection! That’d be sweet, right?
I’ve known for a while that in some capacity, my life will always align with the en*theos work. It has had too much of an impact for it NOT to. I like how this tagline honors that, and gives me a unique perspective in the travel world.
For me, travel isn’t as much about seeing how many countries I can visit, finding heart-pumping activities, or trying outrageous foods (though on occasion, that’ll be fun to do).
I know my version of travel isn’t going to be flashy or sexy to most, and that’s OK. The work is reward enough, right? :)
The main questions I seek to answer through travel:
What can I learn? In what ways can I improve? How can I serve and support others?
Soon enough, I think you’ll see “Nonstop Awesomeness: Optimal Living on the Road” up top there.
Whaddya think? :)
What questions do YOU have about optimal living on the road? What are your challenges? What have you figured out and discovered when traveling?
I’d love to hear your response + any other thoughts you have below.
Looking forward to learning more!