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Travel & Living with Less

A year of traveling gave my wife and I plenty of time to discover how to operate more efficiently and live comfortably with less. About two weeks into our time on the Samoan Island of Savai’i, we were annoyed with the process of washing our clothes in the small sink. Out of frustration, I wore my clothes into the outdoor shower and scrubbed away. It worked beautifully, and our showers became our nightly washing machine for the rest of the year.

We also got sick of carrying a duffle bag in addition to our carry-on backpacks. It was only half full of unused stuff, so we sent it home with a friend visiting Indonesia and never missed it. It was a breeze to navigate in and out of airports with just a carry-on. To make this manageable, I stuck to wearing the same three swim trunks and t-shirts in rotation, which suited Lizzy just fine as she was keeping to her sequence too. When we returned to the US, those items did not even make the Goodwill donation bag; they were burned upon arrival.

We adopted a few standard travel tips from fellow vagabonds in Tonga. They suggested entering the phone numbers and addresses of local urgent care centers when arriving at a new destination. Given all the surfing we were doing, it made sense, and it is something that we have carried forward to all our travels. We also leaned on a few phone applications that made life a lot easier: Units Plus for quick conversions of all sorts, along with Google Translator, Uber, and Airbnb.

As the saying goes, you are a product of your environment, for better or worse. It would have been easy to stay in my little Malibu bubble with semi-annual exotic getaways to gated resorts. But we deliberately focused on living like a local and interacting with everyone to learn, experience, and grow. From machete-wielding kids in the hills of Samoa to bank tellers in the cramped quarters of Male and passionate soccer coaches in Nosara, the vast majority were welcoming and kind. While we are strangers by tongue or life path, we all seek the same thing: happiness. If you bring nothing else, go with your positive light leading the way and watch the world open up to you.

More on this topic and many others in my memoir, Aggressively Human, available here: Amazon: Aggressively Human. You can also request personalized copies available via


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