Dreaming on Paper – My Goals List

To Do List  - Live betterI previously wrote about making lists here

To be clear, if you have the opportunity and possibility of getting on the plane tomorrow, or next week, or do whatever it is you’ve been dreaming about, by all means do so… don’t waste your time making lists.

For me though, I didn’t.  I never thought I’d have the money to do something like this or could afford to quit my job. I didn’t think I could ever get my family interested in quitting work, school, leaving friends etc… Logistically, a trip like this sounded impossible – 3 kids, house, cars, etc… meant we weren’t going to just jump on a plane the next week.

Lists helped me translate my dream to reality. That’s it… it wasn’t long after I started making lists that I realized “Hey this is actually possible, we can do this” – that’s the beauty and benefit of lists… after that, the lists became less a dream and more an action plan.

So here it is, my goals/aspirations list,  the foundation for why we are on this trip. Even before the first inkling of the trip, I had a list like this, but outside of the first couple weeks of January, I just wasn’t particularly good at progressing in these areas, a big source of frustration and stress in my life. Once The Trip became a conscious thought in my brain, I realized that it could serve as a soft reset to my life… clear out all the stuff that wasn’t working right, the blockers, and be free to actively pursue the good stuff.

The list:

Break out of our stuff-filled lifestyle to have an experience-filled, relationship-based lifestyle

  • Live inexpensively with minimal stuff (I have yet to completely crack this one, but traveling without income helps with its obvious constraints)
  • Improve our quality of life through incredible experiences
  • Spend more time….. on food, eating healthier, eating slower
  • Expand our world view and inspire our children to develop their own
  • Be completely open to new opportunities of lifestyle, work, income
  • Model the values we want to instill in our children
    • Serve others
    • Empathy for others
    • Lifelong learning
    • Love of travel
    • Broad worldview
  • Spend more time with family…this more important than work – but tradeoffs will happen
  • Exercise, work out, or otherwise be active – everyday and as much as possible
  • Doing meaningful work is more important than only working for money, again tradeoffs will happen, but we need to find a healthy balance
  • Having money means more freedom to pursue meaningful activities
  • Find income/business so I can fully embrace these goals… build a business, find a job, or just look and/or be open to new opportunities
  • Take more time to explore creativity, mine and others’: the arts, websites, TED talks, conferences (heading to the World Domination Summit next month) Pinterest, tumbler… multi-media… a good ol’ fashion mind expansion

You can see, it’s not particularly linear, they aren’t all goals, or even action items… they are more aspirations then anything else; like a vision statement… There are obvious places of contradiction and sources of conflict, specifically between the 7th and 8th. There’s no real order…. But they are there, written down in black and white glory. I can change them or I can delete them, but I can’t hide from them…. I can’t hide that at the very least I felt this way when I wrote them down.  Most importantly, I can use it as a yardstick against what I am doing now… I can review all my activity on any given day and see how much of it is spent in pursuit of one or more of these.

And now, we are living in Lima, Peru in a relatively small flat – relative to the house we used to live in… I am learning to surf, we are all learning Spanish, we homeschool… We are active every single day, with long walks – for fun and for running errands, playing in the parks,  and exploring and searching for cheap and cheerful restaurants…. We still buy stuff, but each thing we buy that we want to keep necessitates an equal getting rid of something, suitcases can only hold so much.

The first 3 months of our trip we worked for a non-profit in Guinea (more on that later), the second 3 months in Europe, now here in Peru, and next week we fly back to the USA to start the last leg of The Trip – driving around the USA. I’m doing lots of research on RV’s, travel trailers, conversion vans, hammocks, camping, etc… etc…

…. I’d say we’re doing pretty well.

For further reading

43things.com – you can publish your goals publically. Though I didn’t do this, sharing your lists, especially your goals or specific tasks to achieve, can help you keep on track. I find sharing with friends and family better than to the world on the Internet, but I do love this idea… and I like reading other peoples’ goals.

How to choose achievable goals – short article on lifehacker.com written by Buster McLeod – a founder of 43Things. Don’t skip the comments, there’s good info there too.

This Magic Journey – Blog post by Chris Guillebeau for some inspiration. This post is about achieving (or just about to achieve) his goal of traveling to every country in the world. “Was it all about the destination? Was it all about checking things off a list? Of course not. It was all about the journey, always.” – Chris Guillebeau

The Power of Less: Changing Behavior with Leo Babauta – I am a huge fan of Leo Babauta and his blogs Zen Habits and mnmlist.com. This blog post however is on Tim Ferriss’ blog the 4hour workweek… yes, total man crush.

One final note:

In making your lists, make sure you know the difference between a project and a task. In other words, make sure your daily to do list is a list tasks not long-term projects. Those tasks should be the individual items necessary to drive a project toward completion. I first learned of this concept in a talk given by David Allen – Getting Things Done, but I can’t find any good links directly to his sites explaining the concept (guess you’ll have to buy the book). Here are a couple of links that do:



This entry was posted in The Trip. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *