Internet Sabbatical

I recently realized that I spend too much time online (this isn’t a new thing, I’ve noticed it before.) Those previous attempts don’t seem to have worked, however. So, this time I’m making more drastic changes.

I’m getting offline. Homework and communication with friends/family will still take place, so the internet will be utilized. However, the time spent online needs to reflect its priority in my life. Wife, art, motorcycle… no where in there is a computer mentioned.

I’m not the only one

I recently read this article by Ev Bogue. In it he talks about his relationship with the internet and the services found there. He recently took a month-long sabbatical from the internet. Though he was scared to do so, it revitalized his life. His new goal is to set up his internet business so that it doesn’t need him in order to run. Then he can get offline for as long as he might desire.

The future of this site

I love writing. I love working on this site. However, I don’t seem to be any good at writing and keeping a healthy focus on the things that are most important to me.

And so, I’m taking a sabbatical. During that time I’ll plan out what the future of Adventure-Some looks like. There are already ideas for new articles, a new layout, and (perhaps most importantly) a new posting schedule.

Let me know what you would like to see in Adventure-Some two-point-oh!

Cutting the Digital Cord

I spend way too much time on my computer. (Which I’ve mentioned before, more than once.) And I’m getting tired of it.

Recently, I’ve noticed that I have to “entertain” myself with my computer. Bored? I waste time playing a game. Supposed to be doing homework? I put it off reading blogs. Working on my business? I’m “researching” what others have done.

Basically, when I’m home I have the computer in front of me.

I have other things to do

Cutting Back

And so, it’s time to cut back. I don’t need to check my email more than once a day. The internet will not clog up if I don’t read every post in my feed reader. Nothing bad will happen if I don’t keep up with everything that happens on FaceBook.

I will still be on my computer quite a bit. With a web-design class, I face a requirement of being online at least sometimes. However, I can do most of this while at school, and for the homework I don’t need to be online. Likewise, part of my French homework is online, so I won’t be neglecting it.

The Plan

Part of my morning routine includes my online world. I get up, read through some online comics, check the weather, catch up on my blog feeds, and see what some friends have to say.

To start with, I am going to stick with this routine (because it seems to work). However, that will be my computer time for the day, unless I have specific tasks to complete: ie, homework, specific email to send, or specific research to undertake.

Of course, I will have computer access more than just this once a day. My web design class consists of two 3-hour sessions in a computer lab. There I will be able to “catch up” with online things. Or I will just focus on the projects a bit more.

Similarly, at work I sit in front of a computer. Of course, I can easily carry a book to read or take the time to get ahead on homework (I literally sit in front of a computer, but I don’t actually have to do anything on it). This time can be spent doing stuff online, such as working on Adventure-Some!

And so, that’s the plan. I’m cutting back. Less computer time. More real life. Fortunately, the rest of the world doesn’t have to pause for a bit while I do other stuff. I can unplug and take a breather without causing any sort of hiccup in the space/time continuum.

Why don’t you join me? Spend less time with your gadgets.

Sometimes Simple is Better

My wife and I currently live in a 2-bedroom apartment. That second bedroom? Designated as an office/art studio.

The office part is true. It houses our school books, a massive desk that is used on a daily basis, and other sundry items.

It also works wonderfully as an art-supply storage room. Most of my materials are carefully tucked away in corners and the closet. Unfortunately, storage was not at all the goal; action was.

The Problem

I came to realize that even though I never worked on any of my projects, I had a lot of great ideas. I even had the energy and a few minutes to spare to work on them. Unfortunately, the prospect of having to clear a workspace, drag everything out of storage, and then set it all up. After working, it’d be time to clean back up again.

Out of those twenty minutes I had to work on a project, about 5 of them would be spent painting. The rest would be set up and clean up.

And so, my projects never moved past the idea stage.

The Solution

As with so many problems, the answer to mine was quite simple. I needed to greatly reduce or completely remove the amount of prep and clean-up time required for each session.

I needed a dedicated art-space. Fortunately for artist me, painting and drawing don’t require a lot of horizontal space. Vertical is the way to go. This means that I didn’t need another desk, but a place to put my canvas or paper. An easel!

Egads! Easels are expensive. They range from $40 for a weak, wobbly thing to tens of thousands for easels that move on their own. I didn’t want anything fancy. Functional, sturdy, and easy on the wallet. While I’m at it, I also want it to be small and light-weight as well.

Fortunately, such a contraption is surprisingly easy to make. An easel is nothing more than a capital “A” that is leaned up against a surface. Two pieces of $1.45 lumber, one piece of scrap wood, 6 screws, a 3 cuts… and I’m done. Total cost was about $3, and it took less than an hour. If I had power tools, it could be done again in about 10 minutes.

Einstein said it best:

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

My easel is a simple affair, but it fulfills my requirements, and means that I’m ready to pick up work on my current project with only a minute or two of preparation.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go get some painting done! (You should check out some of my portraiture over at

No Soap or Poo Update

Even though I haven’t mentioned it for a few months, I’m still not using soap or shampoo in my daily shower. I haven’t received any complaints about smell, or made any about feeling dirty. However, I have received some feedback because of my earlier post about the no soap or poo experiment and wanted to share.

(Note: Names have been omitted for privacy reasons.)

Gave it a try

One of my loyal readers decided to try a no ‘poo experiment for herself. After about a week, though, she decided to return to her beloved shampoo. There seem to have been two reasons for this return:

  • She didn’t try long enough to get past the normalization period. The more chemicals you use in your hair, the longer it will take for it to return to feeling normal without them.
  • She likes how the shampoo smells and wanted that back. I can certainly appreciate this, and see no other way to achieve the same results.

Hair stylist gives compliments

Another friend decided to test the no ‘poo experiment as well. After about a month, she thought that her hair still hadn’t normalized but was willing to continue on. A month later, she was still going. When she went to her stylist for a trim she received compliments on her hair. After explaining the experiment, the stylist remarked that the reader had exactly the results that so many people pay a lot of money to achieve.

Loves the results!

After reading about my experiment, a friend of mine decided to give it a try. I didn’t hear about it until after a few weeks of no soap. Like me, he hadn’t received any complaints and decided that he liked it just as well, if not better, than having to use soap. Since no soap seemed to be working for him, he decided to try no ‘poo as well.

He waited until after he got his hair trimmed (which is still about twice as long as mine) and gave it a go. A week later he told me that he loved the results! He didn’t need to use any gel in his hair any longer, which he had been doing for years.

Deodorant makes you stink?

A couple of friends read about the experiment and both decided to test it out. He had never given such an experiment any consideration and was quite pleased with the results. She has always had sensitive skin and struggled to find soap and shampoo that wouldn’t irritate her. No soap has proven to work out wonderfully for her! She isn’t quite comfortable testing out no ‘poo, though, and was still looking for a shampoo that works for her the last I heard.

The most interesting thing that I learned from their experiences came from testing out no deodorant as well. He hasn’t ever been a huge user and skipping that daily step didn’t bother him in the least. She was a heavy user, however, and was amazed to find that she smelled better when she quit using it. Needless to say, she was quite annoyed to find out that Dove had been making her stink!

What about you?

Have you tested out either no soap or no ‘poo? I’d love to hear how it went, either in the comments or via email.

Things I Can’t Live Without

As an assignment for my painting class I have to bring in 3-5 things that I can’t live without on a daily basis. Receiving this assignment right after I completed the 100 Thing Challenge, it took me some time to figure out what to take for my things. Especially since I’m not sure if she means this in a literal or a representational way (ie: I can’t live without my computer, so I bring in my computer or I can’t live without my wife, so I bring in something that represents my wife). Since my teacher has been gone for a couple of weeks I haven’t had the chance to ask her. (I really want to be a smart-alek and take in some food, a bottle of water, and a jar of air.)


My first thought was my computer. I use it far too much, every day. (Indeed, I am sitting here right now, typing this post.) Beyond that, however, I have no idea what else I use on a daily basis that I “can’t live without.” To help me decide, I looked at my short list for inspiration.


Even if my wife wanted to come in and sit as part of the still life that I will be composing, she has class at the same time that I do. Her representative, then, will be my wedding ring. I don’t often think about it, but every time I take it off greatly feel its absence. It’s only when gone that I notice how often I fiddle with it, adjusting it on my finger. Therefore, it is something that I cannot live without on a daily basis (it only comes off when working on a project that could damage it, which is not that often.)


The next thing that comes to mind is my motorcycle. I greatly love riding it on a daily basis. However, I’m not sure how I would get it into the second floor studio where the class meets. It would fit in the industrial elevator that the building has, but I don’t think it would make it through the tight curves required to get into the building via the handicap ramp. I’m also pretty sure that though I wouldn’t mind doing it once, having to bring the bike up twice a week for nearly a month would get tiring fairly quickly. And yes, I have given this serious consideration.

In lieu of the actual motorcycle, I will be taking its key. Not only does it represent the motorcycle, but it really is a vital part of the bike (I wouldn’t get very far without it).

What I can’t live without

    (Not in order.)

  • Computer – I will probably just take the mouse with me, instead of the whole computer. That studio is dirty and I don’t want to ruin the computer. Plus, it would likely be a distraction for me.
  • My Wife – Since she has class at the same time, my wedding will be her representative. How fitting!
  • Motorcycle – Too big and hard to get into the building, so its key will suffice.

What about you?

What can you not live without on a daily basis? Are you surprised at what first comes to mind? I was surprised when I thought of the computer, and a bit saddened. I really need to reduce my dependency on this thing. I’d love to hear what you come up with!

Only 100 Things

I just finished the 100 Thing Challenge, and it made me think. About 3 weeks into the project, I realized that I hadn’t used a lot of the items on my list. There might be enough room on the list that I could follow the examples of others and have only 100 things, period.

Even though I don’t see this actually happening, I think that it will be a good exercise for me as I continue to examine what I really need in my life. Also, a version of this list may end up being my packing list for some of the goals that I mentioned here.

Recently I realized that I still had a number of items on my list that I hadn’t used yet. I was only keeping them for special occasions, which don’t come up very frequently. In essence, then, they were “just in case” items. As such, I’m sure that I could get by without them. And so I decided to see what my list would look like if I only owned the 100 things that on it (similar to the 10 Things list).

Only 100 Things


  1. jeans
  2. jeans
  3. zip-off pants
  4. swim trunks
  5. pj pants, silk
  6. pj pants, fleece
  7. sanuks
  8. dress shoes, brown other
  9. belt, leather
  10. belt, fabric
  11. watch
  12. bandanna
  13. handkerchief, white
  14. underwear, group counted as 1 item
  15. socks, group counted as 1 item
  16. dress shirt
  17. dress shirt
  18. dress shirt
  19. dress shirt
  20. button shirt
  21. polo shirt
  22. polo shirt
  23. t-shirt
  24. t-shirt
  25. t-shirt
  26. t-shirt
  27. running shirt, black
  28. running shirt, gray
  29. sweater
  30. sweater
  31. hoodie
  32. beanie
  33. Daily Use

  34. glasses, prescription
  35. wedding ring
  36. pillow
  37. pillow case
  38. wallet
  39. chapstick
  40. keys
  41. sticky-note pad
  42. cell phone (incl: charger)
  43. Hygiene

  44. razor (incl: brush, soap, stand)
  45. washcloth
  46. towel
  47. deodorant
  48. toothbrush
  49. electric clippers
  50. nail file
  51. Work

  52. backpack
  53. laptop (incl: mouse, power cord, headphones)
  54. camera (incl: case, charger, mini-tripod)
  55. Moleskine planner
  56. writing instruments, primarily fountain pen (incl: bottle of ink, needle for refill)
  57. 3-ring binder
  58. School

  59. books, 2
  60. sketchbooks, 2
  61. cardboard tube – for transporting work from home to school on motorcycle
  62. art supplies, drawing
  63. art supplies, painting
  64. Transportation

  65. motorcycle (incl: saddle bags, t-bag)
  66. helmet
  67. boots, slip-on
  68. boots, lace-up
  69. doo rag
  70. jacket, leather flight
  71. gloves, leather
  72. gloves, neoprene
  73. rain suit
  74. polypro pants
  75. polypro shirt
  76. Other

  77. tools
  78. shoe box of mementos
  79. Camping Gear

  80. hammock
  81. tarp
  82. bug net
  83. sleeping bag
  84. sleeping pad
  85. stove – either JetBoil or home-made alcohol stove
  86. sauce pan and lid
  87. headlamp
  88. water filter
  89. Eat

  90. spork
  91. stainless steel water bottle
  92. tupperware bowl
  93. pocketknife

One thing that I’ve always noticed about other people’s lists that I’ve found, is that they never take into account things like shelter and food. I feel that if you list everything that you own, but use a whole lot of other things on a regular basis, some might consider that “cheating”.

The above list tries to take this into account. Using the motorcycle as my base, I can travel just about anywhere that I wish to. The camping gear provides me with shelter and the ability to prepare food for myself. It might only provide a minimal life, but one of ultimate mobility. I would be able to sleep anywhere I could lay down or hang my hammock (which includes parks and under bridges in a pinch, or a friend’s porch.)

Well, I’m surprised. Even after adding basic camping gear, I still have extra room on my list. I’m sure that there are things I’m forgetting, and I know that more items would add to my comfort level. What do you think that I’m missing?

100 Thing Challenge Wrap-Up

I easily lived with only 100 personal things for the Month of October. The 100 Thing Challenge ended up not being a challenge at all. There were only a couple of things that I missed, and a number of things that I never used.

What I missed

Two things. I can think of only two items all month long that I missed. And really, I didn’t miss them. I just used something else in their place after remembering that I “couldn’t” because they weren’t on the list. The two things that I missed?

  • messenger bag – Because sometimes my backpack is just too big, and it would be nice to use something smaller.
  • slippers – It turned cool, and since the heater hasn’t been turned on yet, it was rather brisk in the mornings. I simply wore my sanuks in their place. Though I could have added slippers to my list, I decided to do without, at least for the couple of weeks left in the challenge.

What I didn’t use

If I thought I was surprised by how few things I missed, I was amazed at how many of the things I kept out never got used.


  1. khakis
  2. shorts – never wore these, because of the weather
  3. pj pants, fleece
  4. dress shoes, brown sketchers
  5. belt, leather, 2-sided
  6. suit
  7. dress shirt
  8. dress shirt
  9. dress shirt
  10. button shirt
  11. polo shirt
  12. rain jacket
  13. Transportation
    (I haven’t used these yet, but with the temperature dropping, it won’t be long now.)

  14. gloves, neoprene
  15. polypro pants
  16. polypro shirt
  17. Eat

  18. lunchbox – I don’t remember carrying this all month long
  19. Other

  20. books in library – I don’t remember referencing any of my books even a single time

17 things that I didn’t use all month long, and there are at least a couple more that I only used a time or two (swim trunks, handkerchiefs, most of the tools, and second doo rag). I could easily drop about 15 things, bringing me to a total of 80.

What I learned

I’ve got far too much stuff, “just in case”. Books that I once read, or tell myself that I will read one day, knick-knacks held on to for the memories they are supposed to provide, decorative items, tools that “I might need one day,” and far too many clothes. All things that I don’t need, and that are just taking up space in my apartment and cluttering up my life.

Removing these things from my life didn’t affect it in a negative way at all. In fact, I didn’t even notice their absence.

However, I also realized that I could get rid of so many things that it would be inconvenient. For this project, I kept out 5 days worth of socks and underwear. The way the laundry works out, that was just the right amount. There were only two times that I “had” to do laundry because I was going to run out. So, while I could live with only two pairs, at this point in my life it is not worth the inconvenience of having to wash them every night in order to have a clean pair the next day.

Was it worth it?

Definitely! It might not have been as much of a challenge as I expected it to be, but I am certainly glad that I gave the 100 Thing Challenge a try. I’ve learned a lot about my relationship with my possessions, and about how much I really need. Now I can more easily get rid of some of the things that I have allowed to stick around, just because.

What about you? Has this project helped you in any way?

Why I Decided to Undertake the 100 Thing Challenge

It might seem foolish for me to try the 100 Thing Challenge, since I’m not getting rid of my non-100 things, but only stashing them away temporarily. My closet still has more clothes than I actually wear, my patio storage has quite a collection of tools and camping gear stashed into it (more impressive because of how much there is in such a small space than the scope of the collection), and I have more books than I need. Basically, I have more than I need to live comfortably.

However, I wanted to experiment and see what, exactly, I do need to live comfortably. What areas of life will I end up realizing that I use more than I thought, and which will confirm that I have extra stuff just for the sake of having it? (I talked about this just a few days ago.)

One of the main reasons that I decided to try the 100 Thing Challenge is because it was not a new concept to me. Many is the time that my mind has wandered to the idea that I have too many things. I would start to mentally walk through my daily routine, examining the items that I used on a daily basis. “Why then,” I would wonder, “do I have all of the other stuff?”

My daily routine involves only a few items: clothes, cooking/eating utensils, computer, materials for current project, transportation. All of the extra stuff? It’s basically decoration.

These thoughts have been floating through my head before I ever read about the 100 Thing Challenge that others undertook. Reading about their experiences just helped to increase my interest. Now that I’d seen that it could be done, and how others went about it, my interest was piqued even further.

Of course, I started slowly. The Minimalism Experiment helped me to get moving in the right direction. I took a look at the things that I used on a regular basis, and got rid of the rest. Even after this paring down, however, I still ended up with more things than I used frequently. I continued to discover that I had an extra box of books in the closet, a shelf of clothes that hadn’t been touched since I moved, and more. So it was time for another experiment, one where I pushed even further.

And so, I’m trying the 100 Thing Challenge.

Defining Minimalism

I’m not anti-stuff. I like having nice quality things around me. I enjoy my motorcycle, I get a lot of use from my laptop, and I’d love to have a really nice digital camera. However, it can seem that way, since I’ve been eliminating things from my life during the Minimalism Experiment and now that I’m taking the 100 Thing Challenge. Much of the focus of these experiments has been getting rid of the clutter that I’ve filled my life with. However, those actions are uncluttering, not minimalism.

What is Minimalism

The definition of minimalism is actually quite short (minimalist, you might say).

Eliminate the unimportant from your life
so that you can focus on the important.

While plenty more has been said about it, this is the heart of minimalism. Because everyone will define the important things in their life differently, everyone’s implementation of minimalism will look different. The key is giving yourself permission to remove the clutter from your life in order to really focus on what really makes your life worthwhile.

Why I’m interested in Minimalism

I have a lot of interests, as well as pack-rat tendencies. Over my life I’ve managed to build a lot of clutter based on changing interests and just-in-case thoughts. I have discovered that this clutter interferes with my actual life. It takes me longer to find things that I need, packing to move takes far longer with all of this extra stuff around, and the clutter in my house not only means that cleaning takes longer, but it generally stresses me out. Clutter makes it harder for me to achieve my goals. It distracts me from the important things in my life (this is not only physical clutter, but other forms as well.)

Goals that Minimalism will help me reach

Looking at my Life List, there are at least a few goals on there that will be a lot easier to accomplish after I’ve cut out the clutter from my life. The experience of the 100 Thing Challenge will help me prepare for a few of the others.

    Here are some of the goals that will be easier now that I’m removing clutter from my life:

  • be financially self sufficient – I won’t need to bring as much income to live off of, since my expenses will be less
  • motorcycle trip across the US – I might be able to pack most of my 100 things onto my motorcycle… something that would have been impossible just a few weeks ago
  • Bike ride across US – I wouldn’t carry all 100 things with me, so I’d have to reduce even further. But this is a great start!
  • live in RV – Just imagine how easily you could clutter up an RV!
  • Live in SailBoat – Even less room than in an RV.

I know that my minimalist journey far from completed. It will be a lifetime spent tweaking and adjusting. But I’ve started the path, and am excited about the progress that I’ve made so far.

I Still Have Stuff

I’m currently undertaking the 100 Thing Challenge, and I worked through the Minimalist Experiment earlier this year. However, this doesn’t mean that I have gotten rid of everything that I own. While I enjoy reading about people who only live with what they can fit in their backpack, that is not my goal. I DO enjoy having a clutter-free home (which is sort of odd, since I am more likely to create clutter than my wife is), and I like not having to worry about getting the newest thing.

How I Packed for the 100 Thing Challenge

During the Minimalist Experiment I eliminated a lot of the clutter from my life. I cleared out clothes that I don’t wear, paperwork that I don’t need, and other things that I don’t ever use. Because of this, I had extra room in my closet and in my dresser. This means that packing everything away for the 100 Thing Challenge didn’t take very long. Once I made my initial list, I was able to separate what I was going to use from the non-100 things. The non-100 things were separated and hidden away, out of sight.

I didn’t take the time to find boxes or other packing materials. I had no need for them. That’s one of the good things about only having 100 personal items, is that they generally don’t take up much space. I didn’t need a whole closet for my clothes. I didn’t even need a whole shelf! All of the clothes that I would not be wearing were hung in the back of the closet. The clothes that I was wearing are hung on the shelf closest to the door. My dresser has three drawers. Two of them have the socks and underwear that I won’t be wearing this month, the top one has my limited selection (which has been more than enough). I haven’t opened those bottom two drawers since the middle of September!

Things that I still have

I still have everything that I started with. Since the beginning of the 100 Thing Challenge, I don’t remember getting rid of a single thing. It has simply been hidden away. My clothes are all still in the closet or dresser. The odds and ends that were on my desk are stashed in the office closet. Extra school supplies are also stashed in the office closet. All of my books are on the shelves. Just because I’m not using it doesn’t mean that I sold, donated, or threw it away. This makes the challenge so much easier to undertake, mentally. I know that I can go grab something if I wanted to change items on my list. I won’t miss something because I got rid of it just because. It’s such a relief to know that it’s still available should I need it.

Fully furnished apartment

My apartment is still fully furnished. No decorations have been removed (except the few that were specifically mine), all of the furniture is in its place, and the kitchen is still well-stocked.. One of the appeals of the 100 Thing Challenge is that I was only dealing with my personal items. My wife isn’t affected by my choice to undertake this experiment, the common items in the apartment aren’t affected…. only me and my stuff. I didn’t have to decide if we have too many books, movies, or knick-knacks, because they’re ours.

I just wanted to let you know that I still have stuff in my apartment. I’ve received a few emails asking about the drastic changes. In reality, though, it’s not that different from before, except that I’m consciously deciding to pay attention to and limiting my choices in what I use. In fact, unless someone reads my blog, the only way that they would know I am undertaking this challenge would be to notice that I’m only cycling through a handful of outfits each week. But I did that anyway! If you walked into my apartment, you still couldn’t tell that I’m only using 100 things. You *might* notice that my side of the dresser and my bedside table have less stuff on them than my wife’s (for the first time ever!) but those would be your only clues.

No, my life is not drastically different. It is, however, more relaxed and less cluttered. Life is good!