“Slow living is kind of this weird duality of being prepared, organised, systems in place, knowing what’s coming, managing expectations, and being flexible and fluid and understanding that life happens.”
The hostful is back, baby, and this one is big. We’ve got a personal and travel update, a heap of excellent listener questions, and we reveal the new Slow Experiment for May!
It’s been a while since we sat down and answered listener questions, and it feels like something of a homecoming. Your questions never fail to inspire me, and I often find myself thinking about them for days and weeks after. This episode is no different as we talk a lot about flexibility versus rigidity, spontaneity versus organisation, and expectations versus reality, not only in answer to your questions, but also as we do a deep dive on what the past few months have taught us (some of it has been rather uncomfortable, if I’m being honest).
On a similarly uncomfortable note, the North American release of SLOW is fast approaching, and with the official release date being July 10 and pre-orders now available, it’s feeling very real. As Ben and I discuss early in today’s episode, plans for tour events are coming together and I can’t wait to share them, but we’re also going to need your help. A cross-country book tour is no joke and if there’s any possible way you think you might be able to help – venues, media, logistics, bulk food, grocery and restaurant recommendations (seriously!), must-see stops along the way – let us know via email. One thing I’ve learnt about myself over the past few years is my tendency to take on all the jobs and then slowly wither under the pressure, so this is me getting honest and telling you that I can’t actually do that.
This provides a really beautiful link to some of the questions we answer in today’s episode, as a number of them revolve around the theme of expectation – both our own expectations of what we believe life “should” look like and the expectations we feel from external influences such as friends, family, social media, marketing, advertising etc.
A number of the questions ask specifically about slow living with young kids:
- How is it possible to live slow when kids are fast and noisy and endlessly curious and messy?
- Is there a way to extricate yourself from the busy-ness of young kids (activities, birthday parties, etc) without upsetting people?
- How can slow living apply to families with one or more kids who have additional needs?
Then there are some questions that relate specifically to slow travel:
- How did we know it was time to pull the trigger on our trip? What signs were there to show that we were ready for a huge change?
- How are we managing the day-to-day of slow travel? What does that look like?
- What has surprised, challenged or delighted us most about our trip so far?
Peppered throughout the entire episode is the theme of going against the norm, or making counter-cultural choices in the face of resistance. I think this is at the heart of all of slow living, whether you’re making changes at home with young kids attached to your knees, if you’re travelling the world, both, or somewhere entirely different.
Ben and I talk about the idea of living against the grain, the emotions it has brought up for both of us, the fears it awakens and the rebellious joy it brings too. There is something so liberating about removing the blinkers from the ‘shoulds’ of life, asking the big questions and then living in alignment with the answers, but I also understand why it is so scary. It’s my hope that talking about the ups and downs makes it more accessible and realistic, rather than some unattainable, romanticised version of life that nothing will live up to. It’s hard work to live against the grain, swimming against the flow, but man is it worthwhile.
Towards the end of the episode we also reveal the May Slow Experiment, which is all about daily creativity. If you listened to the March experiment you may have heard us talk about the impact of time in nature on our creativity (we spoke about it a lot in Episode 5 of the experiment). Following our nose, this seemed like the most obvious continuation of our experiments and we’re both really excited to see where it leads us. to As always, we want to keep the experiment flexible and accessible to as many people as possible, so the rules as such are very simple. We’re committing to an act of creativity every day in May, and we’d love you to play along too. That’s it.
Now, for those of you thinking you lack the basic creativity required to take part in this experiment, I’d encourage you to look outside the box when you consider what ‘creativity’ entails. It can be the traditional arts and crafts, writing or knitting, of course, but the way we view the world, the way we solve a problem, get dressed in the morning or choose to view things from a different angle can all be acts of creativity too.
To get you started, and to keep you motivated for the month of May, I’ve created a simple PDF for you to download and print out, and it has some suggestions on creative acts you can try throughout the month, as well as a colouring chart for every day you create.
Personally I’m excited to see what, if any, impact a daily creative practice is going to have on my:
- problem solving
- paying attention to tiny details
- creativity in work
and I can’t wait to hear the impact it has for you too. We’re getting started on May 1, and as always, will be using #slowexperiment over on Instagram to talk about our progress. Feel free to join in and share your experiment too!
In the meantime, enjoy!
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