“Travelling is a brutality. It Forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” ~ Cesare Pavese
I first came across the word lifestyle design in 2011, from Timothy Ferriss’ The Four Hour Work Week. I have also utilised Daren Hardy’s Design the Best 10 Years of Your Life in 2010. But I guess the actual conceptualisation stage came during the 3 months of 3 summers when I was alone.
For the 3 summers spent in New Zealand, I chose to go to a faraway town/city from Palmerston North. In fact, I barely know anyone in those areas who are within 1 hour drive from my place. It was really pack my bag and go to a foreign location kind of feeling.
During these 9 months of being really alone, I learnt to enjoy the peacefulness and calmness in solitary. Since there are no internet connections where I stayed, I spent a good number of weekends staying in to read, reflect upon my life, give thanks and meditate.
Guess this is where I refined on my lifestyle design plans, or whatever terms it was called then. Since New Zealand summer was from December to February, it falls nicely during the time where I write my gratitude list, New Year goals, long term plans, bucket list, etc.
New Zealand is the perfect location for coming up with such plans for a few reasons. Other than the cities, the towns are more laid back and slow pace. By slowing down our movement, and regaining our consciousness (that are sometimes lost to busy-ness), we gain focus and time.
Here are some of my personal recommendations on how to do your lifestyle design plan in New Zealand:
• Stay in a town or suburbs away from main city. Enjoy the peace and serenity of a quiet area where you don’t know anyone. It can get to quiet at night that it gets spooky.
• Go for a bush or nature walk to immerse you in greenery. I go to public parks or botanic gardens as they are safer, and just sit there, not focusing on anything except enjoying the silence and greenery.
• At certain moments, there will be inspiration on what you really want and need to do, what makes you happy, what’s your calling and purpose in life. It just comes and you know it is a must-do or your life isn’t really worth living. Write them down, they will get clear and more defined as you go along.
As I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert last month, I could really relate on her experiences in India and Indonesia. Probably not as complex, but definitely some random insights did pop up like light bulbs. Guess that was how I dealt with the famous quarter-life crisis, without actually entering any.
Lifestyle Design is a flexible plan that includes new changes and refinements annually. But the ultimate goal is to fulfil our purpose on Earth in this lifetime.