When I left the United States to travel full time, I was not sure what I would do in the long term, but to start off, I knew I would create travel content on YouTube for the places I visited. Which I did, and that was fun for a while.
Several months later, I decided to pivot and start creating content on living a slower life. It is when I first started outlining what is now my slow living guide, which is excellent for beginners.
Slow living can be a change process, so in this article, I want to document how I decided what to change in my lifestyle and what the next nine months will look like for me. The slow living lifestyle changes with your wants and needs.
Living a slower life includes:
- Focusing on what is currently necessary to you.
- Being in tune with your overall wellness.
Often this includes changes to the way we are currently living our lives. Such was the case for me recently, and this is how I decided what to change for the next nine months.
Table of contents
My 9-Month Plan For Slow Living
By paying attention to what I need and how I feel, planning what is next for me was painless. Here’s my story.
For several decades I made lifestyle decisions that resulted in some health issues. Lifestyle changes were needed, and that is when I started to live a slower lifestyle.
My goal was to start implementing a slow living lifestyle to get healthy again. Once I did that, I planned to sell everything I owned and spend some time traveling.
I accomplished my mission of getting healthy again (click here to read more on that). On February 12, 2022, I proceeded to travel internationally with just a backpack that had all my possessions.
At first, everything was great. I felt healthy, and I was in great spirits. I was creating some travel videos for my YouTube channel, and it was fun.
Around May or June, I noticed feeling run down more often. The kind of run down that just a good night’s sleep would not fix.
I started to feel unhealthy and negative, and that’s when I began to explore those negative feelings.
Throughout life, I repeatedly heard the phrase “focus on the positives,” but I feel that is bullshit. I love to focus on the negatives; that way, I can fix them.
Now, you don’t want to obsess over the negatives, but if you’re going to live a happier life, you need to accept the negatives and then get rid of the reason for them.
The negativity became apparent and started manifesting through my thoughts and actions.
I started to feel stress and depression. I was not as diligent with exercise and nutrition, and my outlook for the future was uninspiring.
My mind and body were slowly returning to their problematic state before I started practicing slow living.
I was still living slowly, so how could this be? I needed to figure things out, so I started a self-evaluation process.
Self-evaluations can be all-encompassing and is a good exercise I’ll write about in another post. In this case, I was interested in focusing on just what was going wrong with my life.
I spent the time doing some soul searching, used a pen and paper, and started to make a list of things I thought were heading in the wrong direction in my life.
Next, I would try to explain why they were occurring.
I am a huge fan of writing things down because that makes things real. Also, using a pen and paper is more personalized, and it helps me be creative when writing these lists.
Here is a generalized list of the problems I was noticing:
- Feeling stressed and anxious often.
- My depression was more difficult to control.
- General lack of enthusiasm for the day.
- Feeling tired and found it difficult to start work.
- Not eating healthy and only sporadic exercise.
- Brain fog and difficulty focusing on tasks.
- Poor quality sleep at night; waking up tired.
The actual list I had, which you will most likely have if you go through this process, was long and included many specific examples. This is normal, and afterward, you can go back and generalize into groups for easier reference.
Determining why I started feeling this way and what was causing it requires the ability to be honest with your feelings.
Practicing slow living has taught me to be better in tune with my emotions, which helps me evaluate more accurately.
Check out my free Emotional Self-Discovery Workbook.
After spending several days thinking through everything, I determined there were several reasons for my emotional and physical regression.
First, traveling to a new location every week, while fun the first month or so, became a critical stress point that I was not addressing. Living with just the contents of a backpack was not helping this either.
Second, I was working every day. It didn’t seem like work in the beginning, but it was. I would film during the day and edit videos at night. This is not living slow and not a sustainable pattern without burning out, which I did.
Third, not having a schedule and routine each day was stressful. I like plans and habits because they help organize and simplify my day without me having to think and do more, a slow living cornerstone.
Fourth, I was not allowing myself enough free time during the day for my breathing routines and quiet time. I also allowed myself to indulge in unhealthy food daily without proper exercise.
Fifth, I lacked direction. YouTube travel videos were fun at first, but I was no longer enjoying the process and failed to recognize that and come up with another plan. I was on autopilot and just doing it.
Finally, I realized I failed to make the slow living principles that once made me mentally and physically healthy a priority in my life. The result, although disguised through daily activity, should have been predictable.
Fortunately, I caught things before they got too bad and are somewhat easy to fix.
Deciding To Pivot
Change is easy when you have a reason to.
After self-evaluation, I understood what was going wrong and why, so the next step was to go back through the list and see what changes I may want to implement.
In my case, I still wanted to travel full time and keep doing everything needed to maintain my mental and physical health. I already know what I need to do there; I just need to be better at making it a priority every day and doing it.
For example, for me, there is no excuse not to get proper nutrition and get some exercise every day. This will allow me to have the daily after-dinner treats I so enjoy.
Exercise and eating healthy also make me feel better, which reduces stress-related feelings and helps me sleep soundly at night.
However, my direction and work need to be addressed.
I love to travel, but making travel videos is not for me. Of course, there was no way for me to know that until I tried, so I am glad I did try it.
What I am really passionate about is slow living because of the way it has changed my life for the better. I want to share my experience by creating content online.
So, I need to pivot away from travel videos and move in the direction of creating digital content about the benefits of the slow living lifestyle.
Gently Plan Goals
Now that I understand the changes I need to make to correct what was making unhealthy and know the direction I need to go in for my work, it is time to set goals to make it happen.
Slow living has taught me to set “gentle” goals. Gentle goals try to balance my ability to achieve them while pushing myself enough to advance and keep things interesting.
When I set too many goals or unrealistic goals, it just causes stress. It takes too much time, which I try to avoid by living a slower lifestyle.
With that said, here are some of my new “gentle” goals moving forward.
I will continue to travel full-time. Still, I will travel slower, staying in one place longer and ensuring the places have kitchens and a washer to feel more relaxed. After a year, I’ll reevaluate my travel interests.
I will continue to create content on my website and, eventually, YouTube videos on slow living. I will also write ebooks and develop workbooks, guides, and courses about living the slow living lifestyle. I plan to offer free and paid content to eventually support myself with the proceeds.
I will also make time to find freelance assignments to help offset using my savings to pay for my monthly expenses.
I will continue to eat nutritiously, provide enough time daily for breathing routines and physical exercises, and ensure I do not overwork myself.
My Next 9 Months
There is nothing magical about the number nine. As I write this article, it is the end of August 2022, so my nine-month plan takes me from September to May, which is my birthday month.
I am returning to the US for two weeks in early September. There I plan to get a few minor doctor appointments out of the way and replace some items that are hard for me to find when traveling.
I plan to spend the next year primarily in SE Asia, so I’ll only need shorts and tees for the most part. No need to carry around clothing I won’t use, and the space can be used for a few more clothing I need, reducing my laundry needs.
I’ll be in Malaysia between Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown Penang from the end of September to mid-December.
For the holidays, I am thinking of Bangkok. Then in January, I might go back to Vietnam. Maybe try Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Japan if they are open to travel.
Then sometime in March or April, I’ll return to the US for 2-4 weeks. After that, decide if it is back to Asia or somewhere else.
I plan to create content about slow living and want it to be honest and from my gut. It may or may not be well received, but it will be mine, and I will be passionate about it.
I will also work on freelancing assignments to help pay for my monthly expenses and meet new professionals that may lead to other exciting opportunities.
I want to focus on losing more body fat while I eat clean. I enjoy small desserts after dinner, too, and I don’t plan to give that up.
I also recently started jogging to replace walking. It burns more calories in less time, so I can keep that up. I had problems when I tried jogging since I had a double hernia procedure, but there is no pain this time, so hopefully good to go.
I will also start to lift weights again. Nothing crazy, just some light exercises several times a week to help with muscle tone and help with bone density now that I am getting older.
After years of being broken, I am now healthy. In the past, I avoided all relationships because of depression, self-esteem issues, and not thinking healthy thoughts.
I am ready to be in a relationship. I will start to be open-minded and proactive in finding a possible partner in crime.
She will have to be pretty open-minded, though, because although I am healthy, I am still pretty immature for my age, and I do not plan on working on that. At all.
I like to tell people I am the youngest 50+ person they will ever meet; it is more palatable than saying I am immature for my age.
Well, that is my brain dump of why I decided to pivot in my direction and some insight into how I made that decision.
I’ve already started and feel so much healthier already.
This is not usually the kind of post I would write, but I think it is good to write your feeling out to share and make them real.
I hope you enjoyed the story; check out more of my content while you are here!
Thanks for reading.
P.S. Below is some footer stuff to consider.