Electra's picture
22 August 2013

A beautiful rose garden to enjoy

As part of our preparation for the next phase of our lives I have been doing some personal awareness exercises.  Listing what I am good at, what I enjoy, what income ideas I have, what my values are and their priority right now in my life.  It's hard to say how all these things will come together but I keep working on writing them down with abandon so that eventually I believe I will see the bigger picture.

I am naturally drawn to continual self-development - reaching my potential.  It's my nature now.  I couldn't say though when it was implanted in my life as it's not something modelled by my parents, teachers or immediate peers (that I noticed).  I am grateful that the motivation to reach my potential is not a chore and simply makes sense.

For anyone else in the position of self-evaluation and life-planning, please remember that there is no wrong or right way, or any particular course to do, that can promise to discover everything about yourself.  You can use any prompts, read any book, or watch any video and still get something out of it.  The key is time and space.  Create a time just for you and the space to think.  For me this has largely been at night when the children have gone to bed, or in the very early hours of the morning when I am waiting for the baby to settle himself again before I tip-toe back into the bedroom he shares with us. 

Some of the online sites I have used ideas from recently are Smart Passive Income, TED talks, & The Organic Sister.  The books I have read that have stimulated thought are: Clutter Busting Your Life, The $100 Startup, I could do anything if I only knew what it was, & Living Deliberately (pdf or Kindle).  Even children's and family movies usually have some sort of moral or storyline that provokes an opportunity for evaluation!

What I am keen to share with you is my discovery of the 4 things that I would like to do everyday; and no, housework is NOT one of them:

  • Be creative and reach my potential
  • Experience new things / travel with my family
  • Embrace serenity & beauty wherever I am
  • Practically and effectively help people

Notice the acronym?  These things 'make my heart sing', they bring me contentment, fullfillment, a sense of vitality, awe and appreciation for life.

So the reality is that there are obstacles that stand in my way of these things being the only things I get to do.  Housework fairies don't exist, and no master chef lives here either.  Still, these 4 things give me focus and are a goal to move towards, one baby-step at a time.  

For those interested in doing a brainstorm of your skills, passions, and hobbies, here is a worksheet I created that may help.  It's just the middle section really, but I expanded it to help me see the steps I could take now that would hopefully put me in a better position to realise my goals as well.

What 4 things would you be passionate about doing every day if you had a choice?

Electra's picture
14 June 2013

Part of planning our family journey was always to look for special ways to offer help to others that we can participate in together, as we won't be home to do the same.  We talked about the nature of volunteering; the various worthwhile causes; what personal and community needs may exist; the economics of social responsibility locally, nationally and internationally; and how it might all fit together time and resource-wise while we were mobile. 

Those of you familiar with Habitat for Humanity who build and finance low-interest homes for people, will know that each recipient must invest 500 sweat equity hours into their home or anothers.  I even began to wonder whether this concept would work exchanging our volunteer hours for someone sponsoring us, but felt a little over-whelmed with the sheer enormity of fitting that into a year's school, work & travel, and finding the opportunities along the way.  It's not impossible just challenging. Would blogging our adventure count?

We decided that regardless of when we will be able to start our journey or whether we would be able to find practical philanthropic projects, we could start to put our money where our mouth is right now. 

Enter Kiva - a micro finance organisation that provides low-interest loans to people.  You donate multiples of US$25 which gets sent to a lending partner who monitors the loan and its pay-back from the person you chose to support.  When a loan is fully reimbursed you then have that $25 to lend again.  So far we have lent to 3 people - Claudia in Colombia, Amer in Palestine and Lasha in Georgia, and the reward of knowing that you are meeting a real person's need for improving their life and future sure beats losing money buying lottery tickets!

For those who are interested in learning more or making your own trial loan for free, check out the Kiva website.

What can you do to start living more true to your values?

Electra's picture
30 April 2013

Playing in the sand and rock pools

A friend was reading "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv, and the subject of Nature Deficit Disorder picqued my interest.  While I couldn't fortify myself to wade through the tome of information I did find the list of ideas to get your child back to nature at the back of the book helpful.  Our children get to sit, run, jump, play and climb in our back yard whenever they want to, but do sometimes have to be encouraged.

I am anticipating that by going on the road we can:

  • Give our children (and ourselves) a greater opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.  
  • Find adventure in the natural environment instead of by any artifical means.  
  • Appreciate the natural beauty that is New Zealand.
  • See first hand the insects, birds and mammals that live here in their own environment instead of man-made ones.

Do you get outside enough? Have our lifestyles forced out the enjoyment of beauty and nature?