I was talking with Ramit Sethi the other day, and he said something interesting. He told me that his obsession wasn't necessarily personal finance, but rather how to actually get people to take action and make changes. We talked about the similarities between pick up and personal finance. Telling someone that they can get better with girls is easy; getting them to do something about it is hard. Giving people tips to save money is easy; getting them to actually do it is a lot harder.
I like to explore different ways to do things and pick the best one, no matter where it falls on the normal - weird scale. The best way to do most things tends to be somewhere on the weird end. I have theories on why that is, but I'll get into that another time.
So, in the spirit of trying to get people to actually take action, I have a challenge for you. I'm going to share with you seven out of the box things to do that have had a positive influence on my life. Pick one (or more) and give it a shot. If you write about it publicly, I'll link to you.
#1 Learn Dvorak
Okay, okay, okay... I'll write the gear post before the year's over! One of the things that keeps me from writing all year is that it never really feels like the stuff in my pack has changed all that much. I switch one item at a time, never thinking I have much to write about. Then the end of the year comes, the citizenry demands a post, and I'm always surprised to see just how much has changed.
I called last year's gear post the Style Edition because although it was 100% functional, I also made a few choices to have slightly better looking clothing. That trend has continued a little bit this year, but I'm calling this one the Zen Edition because my already minimal packing list has become even shorter.
When I first started traveling, the minimalism aspect of it was pure coincidence. I had intended on buying a normal backpack, but Todd convinced me to go smaller. Our first 28L Deuter Futura backpacks seemed impossibly small at first, but after a year of learning what is and isn't necessary, space gradually opened up. My response was to fill it with new gadgets-- eventually I had a portable kettlebell, a full cot with silk sheets, and who knows what else.
As the years went on, Todd continued to get smaller backpacks, which influenced me to get smaller backpacks as well. I would always pack them completely full until recently. Last year I had some empty space, and now my pack is less than halfway full. If I could find a well organized and designed 12 liter pack, I would use it.
Part of the reason I have less stuff now is because technology keeps getting better. My laptop is tiny and light. The camera I have now couldn't exist five years ago when I started all this. Everything charges with the same cable. The other reason I've continued to reduce what I travel with, though, is because carry unnecessary items makes your trip worse. They weigh your pack down, clutter it up, and make it take longer to pack and unpack. The less I travel with, the better my experience is. At this point my pack weighs 10.7 pounds, which makes it trivial to carry it all day, even when climbing through the mountains.