Howdy Traipsers!

Last week I heard from a bunch of of you, both new folks as well as long-time readers. Maybe it was the reflective tone in my redwoods blog, or (more likely) perhaps Chelsea is paying you money?

Either way, I want to say thanks for your thoughts, recommendations, recipes, and just-saying-hi emails. I love waking up on Thursday morning and reading through responses. A solid chunk of my enjoyment with Traipsing About is the cool people it connects me to, so thanks for that. Cheers!


This Week's Newsletter:

Words to sum up 2020, $5 garage sale bikes, revisiting digital minimalism, and a home-efficiency magic trick.


One of my 2020 coping techniques: mountain bike rides.
(A frosty one at Smith Rock earlier this week.)

How did you get through 2020?

Beyond bike rides, my survival techniques included piano addiction, meditation (sadly, I still can't levitate) and massive amounts of banana nice cream.

Brendan, creator of Semi-Rad, asked his audience that question and turned the responses into a cool piece of word art. A few responses: "fell in love with making kimchi and haven't accidentally poisoned myself yet," "focused on things we could control," and "I got (really) into bonsai."

Also, a comment about plant hoarding hit dangerously close to home. After all, I'm writing this in our jungle-esque living room surrounded by Chelsea's favorite new hobby! A 10 foot tall Dracaena fragrans
looms behind me...

Check out the full piece on Semi-Rad here.

The $5 Adventure Bike

On a sweltering July day during our U.S. bike tour, Chelsea and I crossed paths with a cheery French-Canadian guy.

His sights set on Mexico, François had journeyed from Quebec astride a cheap garage sale bike. He sported cargo shorts and a sweet shirt he'd bought at a convenience store. Mexico or bust!

No money, no plan, and having the time of his life during this ride, one trip of many previous exploits. His grin spanned his entire face.

François came to mind when I read this fantastic tale from Adventure Journal about $5 bikes and an impromptu, zero-planning bike trip. Check it out!

The adventurer himself. Too bad my photo missed his big grin!

Revisiting Digital Minimalism

I've spent many a ride or run with headphones plugged in and an audiobook or podcast to entertain me. Never a down moment! #productivity!

In his excellent book Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport calls this Solitude Deprivation: "A state in which you spend close to zero time alone with your own thoughts and free from input from other minds."

Since reading the book last year, I've mostly left my headphones at home and let my mind freewheel during activities. Sure, I listen to fewer books and miss podcasts, but the tradeoff is valuable synthesizing time for my brain.

Another change I kept from my digital minimalism experiment: zero notifications (even texts) on my phone. The only time it makes noise is when it rings, and I often keep it on Do Not Disturb.

Fewer distractions - my phone never buzzes or dings in the middle of a chat with Chelsea, for example - and then 100% focus on communication when I intentionally pick up my phone. Pull to me, not push at me.

My screentime decrease was instantaneous. The biggest loss so far: missing out on last-minute outdoor fun. (Sorry Brandon.)

Perhaps no notifications is too extreme for you, but what about turning off most notifications to get the majority of the benefit? It's worth experimenting with.

The Life-Changing Magic of Speeding Up a Lame Household Task

Mixing it up with...changing duvet covers! Ours seemingly always come out of the dryer at night when I'm exhausted, after which I whine and complain while Chelsea and I put it on the comforter.

Forgot that! I'm actually excited to change duvet covers with the California Roll technique (Youtube), which requires only one person and is certified magic. (M.C. Escher would be impressed.)

Thank me later! (Or now.) Then share it with someone you love.
That's it for this edition! Have a great holiday, everyone.
P.S. A quote for the road from Make Trouble by John Waters. (Book, Vimeo.)

"I’m rich! I don’t mean money-wise. I mean that I have figured out how to never be around assholes at any time in my personal and professional life. That’s rich."

True wealth worth striving for, I'd say.
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