What a wonderful week that finds its ending in what we can't help but think of as Spring's beginning! I'm not sure that is a quote anywhere else in the world, but it is in ours! We live on an island, so I'm pretty sure you are all reading this and thinking we couldn't possibly understand the allure of spring...let me first state that having lived most of our lives in areas of the country that experience four true seasons, we identify from that point alone. More recently we have been learning the subtleties of seasons as they unfold gently on an island. Winter here has been all about the power of the ocean and the reign of rain, in the plains, mountain regions, along the coast, pretty much everywhere in an equal opportunity sort of display. We have watched in awe as winter swells come toward different sides of the island creating amazing displays of towering waves and the crescendo of pounding surf against lava rock faces and sandy stretches. When a winter swell is holding sway you do not venture into the azure water unless you are a veteran, strong surfer, even then you do so at the potential of your own peril. A favorite activity of snorkeling or swimming our favorite areas for exercise gets put on hold, so we walk the coasts and stand in awe at the sheer power and force that is moving water. That it stops at all is testimony to a grand design beyond our comprehension. Each wintry wave seems poised to come ashore with a vengeance and take out all manner of wrath upon beach cottages and palm trees. We've stood in transfixed shock at these monstrous waves pounding to the stop at our feet, dying as it were due to an unseen, underwater topographical change that renders the all powerful cresting wave to the fluff of seafoam in seconds.
Nature at some of its finest, we've loved every second, yet found ourselves longing to get back into our beloved ocean for langorous swims and snorkeling visits with our under the sea buddies. We are missing the buoyancy of time in salt water, it is a curative experience that you begin to crave. Your skin grows softer, polished by salt and sand, we all feel a bit younger for our time in these waters, so we watch the weather and surf report with bated breath for the heads up that there has been a *sea change*. We have discovered you can indeed appreciate the changing seasons here on an island; the ocean ever changing in color and temperament, the various blossoming trees, some more timed it seems for Springtime, some for summer, some delight anew in Fall, others become full bloom at the holidays, such a delight! All for free! Life is good, and we are grateful!
In case we haven't made our thoughts clear on a subject near to our hearts these days, I thought I would make a statement with a few of our thoughts on the subject and then send you over to our guest post at Care One Community, a great site that helps people make better financial choices and get out of debt so they can live a life their passionate about. Most of you have gotten to know Travis Pizel who writes about his journey out of debt there and more recently we've introduced Suzanne Cramer to our readers; they both share great information on getting your financial lives in order. If you're wondering why a blog dedicated to the Go Slow life; slow home and travel lives, following your dreams, and minimalist living is putting an emphasis on anything having to do with money, it's simple. If money is out of order in your life, if finances and/or the lack of them drive your decisions, if debt is dragging you down at every turn you and your family, your dreams and hopes for a different way of life are going to get back burnered over and again until you deal with what is out of order in your life...money.
We have become bona fide non-consumerists. You'll find out in our guest post how shockingly little amount of money we have spent since this year began and we'll tell you here and now our goal for 2011 is to remain out of the consumerist lifestyle wherever possible! We will not be buying furniture, new artwork, craft supplies, rugs, curtains or dishes. We will not be buying new electronics, a new vehicle, a new mattress or lighting for our home. We have one basic criteria; if an item such as a piece of clothing (we have a greatly reduced collection of clothing, less than 50 pieces between us) that is necessary to life and business either wears out or becomes too large it will be repaired or tailored if at all physically possible, if it is truly in need of replacement we'll be watching for a steal of deal and will not replace it until we find it. Jeff will need new running shoes soon as his have hundreds of miles, soon to be cresting over into thousands, we tend to treat those as a consumable, no different than deoderant, toothepaste, etc. as we literally consume the object with its consistent use. If an item is not a consumable; food, personal care product (and we've learned to limit those) or an item like the running shoes, we will not be purchasing it this year.
This is in part an exercise in discipline; us over our finances, and in part due to goals we have that are best served by being extremely conscious of our financial expenditures. In fact we are only very occasionally buying experiences at this time. We are very grateful to live in an extremely beautiful place with literally tons of free entertainment and activity options available any day of the week. Sunny? A hike or bike ride, day at the beach or snorkeling will be on tap. Rainy? A drive or walk in the rain is an option as are still some hikes. We are blessed not to have to pay for these activities, we can always choose next year to go out on a sunset cruise or helicopter tour, until we really desire to do so and can comfortably justify the expense we'll be sticking to free experiences. I bet if you look around your area there are dozens of things you and your family can do to get outside, get active, and/or learn about your area.
Before I send you off to Care One, I want to clue you in on a few other blogs and people that we enjoy regularly and think you will too: ExConsumer, if you haven't met Jenny in our comments you need to check out her blog, we really appreciate what she's up to! Get Rich Slowly, if you have somehow not discovered J.D. Roth's excellent all things financial blog, do not pass go, proceed directly...you get the idea, not to be missed! Ted Hunter's blog Money Smart Online is a great resource for your financial education as is his book Money Smart, which I plan to get my hands on a copy to review for you and then hold a contest to pass along to one of our readers. Ok, that's all for today so you still have time to check out our guest post, stop in and let us know what you think and poke around some new to you blogs on finances and getting the upper hand over them! With Aloha!
Have you ever noticed that there are two basic personalities in life? Oh, they take on various other idiosyncrasies, a bend in one direction or another. They may be reserved or outgoing, talkative or monosyllabic but regardless of the *side issues* of these individuals you’ll see them over and over again. They are the Dream Builders and the Dream Killers. Like tends to find like, a quirk of fate? More likely a case of the clichéd birds of a feather flocking together. Builders recognize other builders; Killers tend to gravitate to their own kind as well. What gets interesting is when you mix them up a bit and when a killer has no idea he just played hit man for your Dream.
Let me state for the record that we are Dream Builders. We dream big or go home. Some of our dreams come to pass; others become fine tuned and find their fruition in a different form than we originally thought they would. That’s ok by us, had we not dreamed in the first place then what has been realized never would have come to the light of day, its value never explored or appreciated.
Imagine for a moment what life would be like today if a man named Alexander Graham Bell or Martin Luther King, Jr. had never dreamed. Go ahead try. Try and envision this world without these Dreamers having walked our soil and pushed their respective envelopes. Don’t like how that plays across the screen of your mind? How about this? Their dreams may not have had the desired effects had a few Dream Killers not been in their lives. What?! That’s right, their particular, oh so necessary to this life dreams may never have got off the ground if they hadn’t been opposed by Dream Killers. Why is that? There is something innately incredible about the birth and cultivation of a dream that also fights to gain its toe hold in society, it gains strength, legs to stand on via its struggle for existence. A Dream Killer, going about his business may ironically enough be the catalyst that propels a Dream Builder on to his or her success. Talk about pure irony!
Happy Weekend everyone! We thought we’d use this week’s blog aloha post to fill you in on some interesting tidbits, apprise you of up and coming goodies and send a shout of aloha out to a few of our favorite people.
Our first bit of blog aloha blows along a trade wind or two that mostly likely refreshed Elle on her recent vacation in Oahu. Elle and her hubby spent a couple of weeks, traveling minimalistish style and from the sounds of it had a great time even with the tsunami warning. If you haven’t read her back to blogging post drop by, say aloha and catch up a bit, you’ll enjoy it! Welcome back to the blogosphere, Elle, you were missed! :)
We also want to send a lil blog aloha Jenny McCutcheon's way: Jenny’s blog, ex-consumer is a great blog if you’ve overlooked it in our blog roll; which reminds us, we’ve had some recent additions to our Aloha Blog Roll, because of said additions we noticed that a few other great blogs that we had previously listed were inadvertently deleted. We’ll be catching up on Ha Nui Loa style housework and remedying that soon!
Ok, back to Jenny, she was inspired by another blogger, Colleen of 365 less things (a new blog to us, so we’ll be checking that out!) to create a favorites recap post for the week on Fridays. She’s dubbed it Friday Favorites and I think you’ll enjoy her curated little list of finds of the week. In fact we were tickled to discover she selected a recent of post of ours as one of her favorites. Mahalo, Jenny! We love the idea of discovering new things each week that we haven’t stumbled into ourselves, it’s part of growing to us and I know I’ll be looking forward to her posts each Friday!
The last few days saw us still in recovery mode from a strain of the cold virus that must be the most stubborn either of us have ever faced. We've mused on how we can get spoiled in life and assume that things remain the same. The sniffles last just so long, a head cold, no big deal.
Sort of like how we often approach life in general; 'It's just bad weather it will be gone before you know it.' 'Economic downturn? Oh, they only last so long, I can make it between my job and a little credit.' 'Foreclosures? Don't worry, those don't happen to people like us or people we know.' 'Oh, look another: [earthquake, tsunami, mudslide, flood] in the news (go ahead fill in with any other disaster that keeps cropping up), those poor people, Lord help 'em, there's really nothing we can do...' Has any one else noticed that life as usual is no longer so much 'as usual'? Our world seems to be changing, people's responses to this change are as varied as people are themselves, we can stick our head in the sand for a while, but sooner or later we're going to have to talk about some things. The next couple of paragraphs are from last week's Go Slow subscription, you can infer that we were chewing on how rapidly life can change in light of the recent tsunami, we want to share them with our readers and open a further dialogue...
"We have been lulled to sleep in our comfortable existences, our two car garages, our ‘free to putt around the yard this weekend’ lives. So many of us still sleepwalk through numbing schedules, living lives of quiet, spirit destroying desperation. We get out of the house for a change of scenery, we play video games to escape, we read to escape, and we vacate to escape. What if there was no escape? If your life irrevocably changed tonight, all you held dear, maybe even the real live flesh and blood you love to hold, was swept away from you, what would you do? Would you regret that you hadn’t got that project done for your boss, or the promotion that they had been dangling, or that you hadn’t got around to painting the fence? Would you bemoan that you hadn’t upgraded your vehicle of choice or updated your wardrobe last season? Would you wish you had gone to a different restaurant last night, or care that you hadn’t made it to the movies because your spouse or one of your kids wasn’t feeling well? Of course not. What, though, would actually matter to you as you surveyed what remained of your “life”?
Your life is not the sum total of your things and experiences. If this week has opened your eyes to nothing but that I hope you see that much with clarity. For us, we personally strive to live in such a way as to not have regrets. To the best of our ability be able to say if everything changed in an instant and we lost one another that we each know with every fiber of our being that each of us knows they were loved in this life, unconditionally, unequivocally were loved with the level of love that transcends time and space, that does not come to an end when one of us ceases to take breath on this soil. Are you loved like that? You have love to give like that; are you holding back for fear, rejection’s sake? Leave off that way of life its fruit is of a bitter sort you do not want to stomach."
Editor's Note: We were just very honored to discover we had been acknowledged today in a post by an amazing blogger; Mark; of the Panamericans; if you have not discovered their deeply profound posts yet, you might just want to head over and bookmark the page, just be prepared to trip around a little in discover mode, not a quick read, but a satisfying one, always. Dig around a little, you will not be disappointed...common interests, when discovered, open up an incredible dialogue between people of varied backgrounds and locales and builds community in real ways. Taste and see...
Aloha Fridays; now that's a great institution if you've never heard of it. Here in the islands many people work a little harder on the job in the morning, even team working it until Pau (all done) so they can enjoy an aloha Friday. As in they brilliantly leave work early and kick off their weekend with family and friends, maybe with a happy hour, more often than not with a family barbeque or beachside picnic and bonfire. Hungry yet? Us too! We think it's one of the simplest ways we see the Go Slow life play out. Work hard then when you pau (pow) you go home!
How about you? Do your workweeks bleed right into your weekend? Are you ready for a change? What can you choose to do right now that will let you leave work, comfortably pau? Clear your desk, taking time to note anything you don't want to forget on Monday? Clear your inbox of email? How about simply stopping, hanging up the phone and leaving when you should, you have a family waiting whose lives revolve around you. Just a couple of thoughts for you to chew on... We want to see you really live to enjoy your life and what matters, (Click the previous link and meet another great blogger; shout out to Tisha!) and to do that it might just help a bit for you to go slow. Which brings a few things to mind before your weekly aloha slideshow...
Editor's Note: This is March's second guest feature from the Care One Community. We know you'll enjoy Travis' fresh voice on living a simpler life and appreciating what matters.
On the Saturday afternoon before Valentine's Day, my wife was out of town, and my daughter and I were going through all of the pictures my wife and I have amassed in our journey through life together...
We were picking out some favorites to make a slide show for my wife's Valentine's Day present. As we were flipping through a stack of pictures, we found some prints from an all night cancer walk-a-thon that my wife and I had participated in with some co-workers of hers over ten years ago. Wedged in between pictures of a group of people wearing tie-dyed shirts was one of the luminaries that lined the path of the walk-a-thon that evening. This luminary was made in memory of my grandfather who died of prostate cancer in 1991. I had been explaining to my daughter who the people in the pictures were, and the meaning of the event. However, when I saw the picture of the luminary with my grandfather's name on it, I stopped mid sentence, choking on my words.
I remember staying at Grandpa and Grandma's house when I was a boy. It would usually be a Friday night and Grandpa would make popcorn. They had an air popper, and he would let me pour the popcorn seeds into the popper. He didn't use butter, but sprinkled butter flavored popcorn salt over the warm, wonderful smelling snack. Grandma would open up a 2-liter bottle of 7-Up and pour a cup for both my brother and I. We would sit on the floor of their living room, watching their black and white television while eating popcorn from the large popcorn bowl. Food and drink were normally not allowed in the living room, but that rule always seemed to be forgotten when we stayed overnight. The popcorn tasted better from that bowl. The soda seemed to taste better from their cups. Everything seemed special at their house...
Aloha & Happy Monday everyone! So what do you think? Is minimalism for everyone? Or is it solely the domain of the young and upwardly mobile, single types? We think minimalism is as close to one-size-fits-all as actually exists in the world system. Single? Yes minimalism will change possibly the course of your whole life. Couple? Minimalism can set you free to follow your dreams and really live now, not when your retirement date arrives. Families? Yes, we finally feel like we can point families in the direction not just of minimalism in general but with some more specific tips on how to embrace minimalism as a family.
We are super excited to congratulate Faith Janes of Minimalist At Home for her launch today of Family-Sized Minimalism. While not her first book, I think every one digging into will discover a gem.
I was honored a bit ago when Faith asked me to share a little for her book on how Go Slow applies to minimalism and how minimalism affects schedule (sort of hand in glove actually) I was tickled that she enjoyed what I wrote enough to include it as a section; part of a chapter in the book. However, I can honestly say I am not endorsing this book because our thoughts are included in its digital pages. We are endorsing Family-Sized Minimalism because we truly feel that Faith has provided more than a few interesting answers on minimalism of every type and style and addressed more than a few questions on topics ranging from going commando; I kid you not; to tackling the real life issues of clutter with kids & toys; and no she doesn't advocate tossing out all of both, though is possibly occasionally tempted!
Here are just a few of the features you'll find, and if you go deep and purchase the upgraded version you will receive even more fantastic info, planning sheets, and organizational tools that may just set your whole household, no matter its size, free!
• The Less & More Benefits of Minimalism
• Applying Minimalism to Your Family Schedule
• Ways to Save Money as a Minimalist Family
• Dealing with Kids & Their Clutter
• How to Cope with Roadblocks to Minimalism
• Advice from 12 Minimalist Families including:
- Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist
- Courtney Carver from Be More With Less
- Eric LaForest from Elevated Simplicity
- Tanja Hoagland from Minimalist Packrat
- Rachel Jonat from The Minimalist Mom
- Jurino Ignacio from Jurino.com
Here is what a few of us are saying *officially*:
Finally, a guide to minimalism that everyone can benefit from. This is a book for people with seven bedroom, eight bathroom McMansions and those, like me, living in small urban homes. No matter where you are on your journey, or what your goals are, Faith provides a detailed how-to for tackling clutter in rooms, minds and schedules. Worried about what friends and neighbors will think when you start emptying your house? The benefits to embracing minimalism are listed and discussed in-depth. Thanks for the resources and inspiration! – Rachel from The Minimalist Mom
I just finished reading Family-Sized Minimalism and I loved it! What a great book, and a fantastic down to earth resource for families that are struggling under the burden of “stuff” in their lives. Throughout the book were many golden nuggets of wisdom and practical steps that could be taken immediately. I also really enjoyed reading about the experiences of other minimalist families. After reading Family-Sized Minimalism I am inspired and encouraged to continue on the journey to a more minimalist lifestyle for myself and my family. Thank you! – Laura from Who Is Laura
I highly recommend Family-Sized Minimalism for its unique voice in the minimalist community. It is refreshing to hear a family’s take on the minimalist life–a simpler, non-consumerist lifestyle is not the territory of only the young and single. This lifestyle resonates with families of every size, walk of life, and place in the world. Family-Sized Minimalism will bring more than just the “nuts and bolts” to anyone ready to abandon excess and embrace freedom. It lays out a great plan of attack and features real families in all stages of minimalism. – Gena from Hanuiloa [Yup, that's me ;) ]
Faith has rounded up practical, real life suggestions from some of our favorite bloggers as well as from people we are just discovering that have great things to share. We know you'll benefit whether you are well into your journey or just rolling. See the thing is to us, if you're really living you're learning, you're growing. We are an affiliate of Minimalist at home, so if you purchase through Ha Nui Loa we'll receive a commission from Faith as thanks for making her product available here. We've shared before that we are freelancing and always appreciate a way to ethicallly earn a little something to support what we do for free; and you'll note that we keep a carefully curated few affiliate links. Just as we wouldn't have participated if we hadn't believed in the project; we wouldn't link to it now if we didn't believe it would benefit many of our readers, if not all. We hope you check Family-Sized Minimalism out, its money back guarantee should alleviate any concerns as to quality. We're digging into the extras and finding it will save us time and money to put these gems to work. If you are still struggling with certain aspects of making minimalism work for you; still working through the decluttering, or dealing with an unsupportive spouse or reclutter kids this book is for you!
We hope this review kicks off your week with a new must read to add to your list. We're working on a post for Tuesday that speaks to some recent events and digs a little deeper. Stay tuned.
In case you were wondering how things were going here after the tsunami warning: We had a long and crazy night, evacuations were not necessary, in fact we discovered we currently live across from one of the safe zone schools where several visitors to the islands took refuge when they were asked to evacuate from their hotels down by the beaches. It looks like some of the beach in a few places was washed up onto the roads but has already been cleared. We believe the airport is back open and it looks like the biggest waves hit the Big Island. We were definitely hoping and praying for no damage here as the islands are beginning to bounce back from the economic hardship of the recession and we don't want to see that slow, not to mention of course all of the people we know who live right on or across from the beach and we didn't want to see any community families hurt or incur damage to their homes. Our hearts go out to the people of Japan who have been through a horrific ordeal; the live videos taken overhead of the tsunami are almost beyond comprehension. Moving water is the most powerful natural force on earth and proves it with the sheer terror of an actual series of tsunami waves. The first wave may bring a little destruction its the 100s of feet to miles of surge inland that cause untold damage and loss of life. Please keep Japan in your thoughts and prayers. Obviously we posted our Blog Aloha Friday post for all of you to read before we knew of the magnitude of our warning and Japan's situation. We'll leave it up for you to enjoy and to consider our question in the post. We are very grateful to discover that they are very quick to warn, use sirens and evacuate in an orderly fashion. Don't let fear of the unknown rob you of a future trip to the islands! Aloha to you all and Mahalo for so many of you reaching out via twitter and emails to check on us! Aloha
Aloha everyone! We've had a couple of low key weeks with this whole, zero fun, lingering cold thing. Can't complain though as it is our first here in the islands and as you well know colds and things do happen here even if it feels like paradise most days! Still we were excited to be featured for the first time over at Care One Community. We had shared the first in a recurring series from Suzanne; next up is Travis, I've had a sneak peak and you won't want to miss his post this Wednesday. We were also really excited to share Jenny Smythe's first guest post with our readers this week. We think Jenny has a great blog and we love her attitude. We really enjoyed the simplicity of her point of view regarding privacy, we think you will too. Click here in case you missed it!
We were honored to discover that another of our favorite bloggers; Selena from This Contented Life was inspired by our favorite memories cloud and she created a great post about some of her own favorite memories. So glad to know a little something we shared struck a chord with someone. Now that makes us think of a conversation or 5 or 6 of them we've had over the last week and we thought we'd put it out there for all of our readers. We so appreciated your feedback on our upcoming book (stay tuned:) and we would be grateful for a little more feedback on something of a little grander scale.
We have already had several people tell us they'd be interested in joining us for a blogging community summit here in the islands say around spring break time next year. We have awesome contacts for reasonable accommodations (in fact if a few of you would like, we know of gorgeous three bedroom condos that if split amongst some of you similar types would be less than it costs to stay in a cut rate, scary location hotel!) We'd be willing to organize and secure local rates wherever possible, we have tons of travel hacking experience and have planned large events before. We've already looked into great rates for catamaran tours of the Na Pali coast; if we can keep our numbers to below 45 we can all be on the same vessel chartered just for us! Obviously I'm giving you highlights here, but this is very doable. We just thought 'What the heck, if bloggers can descend on Portland or Austin or San Fran or whereever else they do why couldn't a few of us that consisitently connect via our blog communities do the same, but here in beautiful Kauai?' If we get enough interest we could get a guest speaker for one night, have some networking meetings, etc.; but to be honest we thought a bunch of you would like to have a really good excuse to just come sample the slow life with us and take advantage of our locale and connections to make it more than the average vacation for you. Can you say beach barbeques and bonfires, luau and unlimited snorkeling?
So the question is who's in? Who's interested but needs more details? And last but not least who is going to be looking for a friend's couch? ;) We think its worth it even if the first (annual?) Go Slow Summit (cool, I think we may have just named it!) only has a handful of committed attendees. We can always make the info available and other new, as yet unmet blogging buddies can join in. We've already chatted with a few of you but if you would be so kind and drop a comment, Aloha, woohoo! whatever works for you, that would be great! And before anyone automatically thinks that this is unfeasible financially, we have this to share A) You have over a year to save some cash by cutting out unnecessary things, continuing your decluttering process, etc. B) We have already helped many friends come over on $10 tickets, that's how we moved here in fact. So we know it can be done (we've mentioned before that is why we joined the Travel Hacking Cartel, through which we have already gain several hundred free miles, and are working toward additonal thousands, not to mention all kinds of other travel deals!)
So that's our latest scoop, we hope to feel a bit more ourselves this next week and we look forward to hearing your responses, if you have any lengthy questions just feel free to hit the connect form and we'll send an email back!
With Aloha! J&G
Editor's Note: Today we are featured as a guest post at Care One Community http://c1c.bz/uuq ....While we are busy over there We are really tickled to bring you a first time guest post from Jenny Smythe from Minimalism Defined. We really agree with what Jenny shares below; enjoy...
I’ve been reading about Kate Middleton who is engaged to Prince William of England. I’m in awe of everything about her from her looks, grace, and even her clothes.
There was a time when I wished that I could trade places with the rich and famous. But what I didn’t realize that along with that popularity and money there is a trade off. The trade off was your privacy. Your anonymity then becomes non-existent. Once you open your doors and let the public in, there is no going back.
There are certain things I take for granted. For example, if I needed to go to the store I just usually throw something on and run out the door. If I were Kate Middleton, I’d need to make sure I looked presentable because the paparazzi would be waiting outside my door and following my every move.
Now the thought of being rich and famous doesn’t appeal to me as much as it did before. This is primarily because I think that behind the façade of the designer clothing and the big mansions, how many of these celebrities can truly say they are happy?
With my blog I can be honest, authentic and speak my mind. Granted I don’t have the hefty bank account like they do. But, I don’t have to worry if what I say tarnishes my image. Perhaps my views may differ from others. But that’s the beauty of the freedom of speech. Not everyone will agree with you. But we can still respect each other’s right to their own opinion. This is something not even Oprah Winfrey truly has. She cannot speak candidly like I can. Same thing goes for almost every public figure. How many of them can speak freely without fear of some form of repercussion?
So, next time you wish you had Oprah Winfrey’s millions remember that you have something she doesn’t - ANONYMITY.
Relish it. Enjoy it. Be Proud of it!
Jenny Smythe blogs simply beautifully at Minimalism Defined You can find more info about her focus here, connect with her via twitter and say aloha from J&G!
Editor's Note to Jenny: We so understand and get where you are coming from on this, we don't miss being well known in our former city or in certain circles, our lives were not our own...we love the simple anonymity of island life!