Tag Archives: Rob Greenfield

5 ways to simplify your life. {Inspiration from Rob Greenfield}

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5 ways to simplify your life. {Inspiration from Rob Greenfield}

The way we live our life impacts those around us. Decisions we make not only impact ourselves but our fellow humans as well. I often think about the “butterfly effect” and how one small thing we do can change everything.

I guess it’s been a long time coming. Tom and I have been watching documentaries on eating healthy, living well, and simplicity for over a year now. The more research we did the more we realized how unhealthy we were really living…and I am not just talkin food people. I mean like the way we were thinking, decisions we were making as a consumer, and what we were putting in/ on our precious bodies.

I’d like to start an entire series on the BIG and little changes we have made in our life the past year in an effort to letchya in on some of the ways our lives have drastically improved because of the changes we have made.  Tom is an avid reader of Rob Greenfield’s blog. Tom encouraged me to start reading it and for those of you who don’t know I am kindasorta obsessed with reading, writing, and continually educating myself. His blog is incredible. He is one of those people that you want to be friends with. Inspiring doesn’t really even cut it for how I want to describe him.

This dude has just got it right. I am serious.

Drawing inspiration from documentaries, friends, articles, and now Rob’s blog I’d like to share things we have done to simplify our life. I would love to write more about each topic but for now I will keep it short, simple, and to the point. I am one of those readers who can’t focus for long unless I am extremely intrigued so this one for the souls out there like me. 🙂

1. Eating LOCAL and FRESH food-

If you have been following along you know how much we love our open air markets in Korea. We do 90% of our shopping at our local markets. We try our best to buy locally grown food. The first reason is: that the food is fresh. The fruit and vegetables are grown in gardens either in our city or surrounding cities. I’ve never been a big meat eater and because we are shopping at the markets now we stick mostly to fruit and vegetables.  The second reason is that we are supporting local farmers. Even the smallest of gardens in Korea produce enough to sell at the markets. Tom and I both believe in supporting the locals and would much prefer supporting small businesses than a massive company. We visit the same market stalls depending on what we want to buy. Lastly, we eat what’s in season. It’s been fun being able to experience the changing of food as the seasons change.

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Shopping a local market in Janghueng, South Korea.

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Buying local in Malaysia on our vacation.

2.Buying LESS. 

The American Dream tells you buy more and you’ll be more happy. Buy the newest and greatest because you need it. We have found out that we are happier with less. Less stuff just cluttering up our lives. We have an entire storage unit back in Wisconsin full of STUFF. Tom suggested he would love to make it just disappear… while I partially agree- we did go through our boxes of stuff and donate TONS to Goodwill back home. It was gross how much stuff we had that we literally NEVER used. Ever. So away it went. Car load after car load of stuff. It felt so liberating and freeing to say goodbye to material objects.  To be honest there are material things that I do like. For example, a computer so I can write/ read articles. A new camera is high up on my list of “wants” so I can learn more about photography. Is this stuff I need to survive? Absolutely not. Do I still want it? Yes…and to me that’s okay. It’s the clothes that go unworn, the 100 pairs of shoes, the 4 cars, and the 15 swim suits that I am talking about.

Checking out Central Market.

Tom reminds me daily of this one…buy less. Does it mean I still want all of this cool jewlery from a local market? Yes. It does. Just need the reminders that less is best.

3. Everything in Moderation.

Okay, so if you’re still reading by now you think I am completely nutty. HA! I probably would agree. A rule that we live buy is this: Everything in Moderation. Do we love an awesome glass of wine (or three) and some delicious microbrews ? Yes, we do. Do we deprive ourselves of any and all candy because it’s processed? No! We do try though as best as we can to have it all in moderation. It’s not because we want to loose weight. It’s because when we take it all in moderation we feel better. We are happier. We want to be intentional with how we live our lives and this golden rule helps shape what we eat. I won’t be the mom who denies her kids candy on Halloween because it isn’t healthy. I won’t be devastated if they do decide to eat oreos, candy, and a burger every now and then. Like I said. Everything in moderation.

Taking a break from a 10 hour day spent exploring/hiking the coast of Jeju Island, South Korea.

Taking a break from a 10 hour day spent exploring/hiking the coast of Jeju Island, South Korea.

4. LESS of that stuff we call- Chemicals.

 Well, what the heck does this one mean?!? This is for real: We have been cleaning our apartment with only vinegar and baking soda for over 6 months now. I don’t remember where we got the crazy idea. Probably Pinterest! BUT it works. In Korea we deal quite a bit with mold due to extreme humidity and the ocean being just a couple miles away (I will take combating mold over a long Wisconsin/ Minnesota winter ANY DAY!!!) We heard that vinegar kills mold because it’s acidic. I remember reading articles on how baking soda reacts with the grease in stains to form glycerol, a common cleansing ingredient in soaps. Mixing it with vinegar creates carbonic acid making it great for scrubbing. Also, as a weak alkali, baking soda neutralizes acids to eliminate strong smells. So we have been cleaning with only those 2 things…and water! Our apartment looks fabulous people. I feel better too because it’s simple. Our latest thing is that we are using apple cider vinegar and baking soda as our shampoo/conditioner. Yes, you read correctly. Just vinegar and baking soda!!! Our friend Yvonne over at Daily Deliberations was our initial inspiration over a year ago when she first told me about it. I was hesitant because it sounds…well, pretty scary! I was also worried it would be a hassle while traveling since we live overseas. It’s the greatest thing. My hair and our apartment are reeping the benefits of LESS chemicals! We are hooked on the “no poo method.” The final push came after reading Amanda’s story about her no poo experiences. It’s about time we get back to nature and stop with the processed junk & not just when it comes to our food.

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5. Don’t COMPARE! 

Don’t compare your job or life to others. When we got to Korea our friend Alyssa gave us this tip. I am a FIRM believer in this one. When Tom and I got to Korea we were constantly (not intentionally) comparing our lives to other foreigners living abroad. They have a better job than me. Their apartment is much bigger than ours. They work less. The list goes on and on. We were comparing. My goal is to be present where I am. When you’re comparing your life to other’s you can’t be fully present.  When you aren’t comparing you aren’t cluttering your mind. It become simple: Be exactly where you are. <– click there if you want to read about my latest attempt at being right where I am. Thanks to living in an age with massive amounts of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram we are looking at others lives through their posts. Remember, that these posts are things people are proud of: like their adorable baby, a new engagement ring, brand spankin’ new car, an awesome vacation, etc. The list goes on and on! The point is this: Don’t compare. Your life is great! Plant your seeds and grow them right where you’re at.

These changes didn’t happen overnight and it’s been a process. One that I learn more about each day. There is an incredible amount of information out there and I could drive myself up the wall about all things we want to change.

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Just call me flower child. ;P

Slowly, and surely we will continue to make changes that make our life more simple. Slow and steady wins the race. Here’s to a new adventure in simplicity!

What ways do you live that make life more simple?

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Kota Kinabalu- The Gateway to Malaysia’s Rainforests.

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Kota Kinabalu- The Gateway to Malaysia’s Rainforests.

We arrived after a day of travel from South Korea to the quaint little city of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Admittedly we had no idea that Malaysia is separated into two regions (two islands) BUT the part we mainly visited is known to tourists as “Sabah” or “Borneo” and to locals as “East Malaysia” and to Midwestern U.S folk: the boonies, the sticks, or middle of no where. We found ourselves loving the Malaysian rainforest!

Our last two days were spent in Peninsular Malaysia at the country’s capital: Kuala Lumpur. First things first though.

There is so much to say and so much to share, but I thought I would try to first keep it simple, and secondly keep it short. (Both extremely difficult after so many incredible adventures.) To say we had the trip of the life time is definitely an understatement. From the people we met from all around the world who had incredible travel stories where they are making travel a way of life, to the food, and the beautiful islands, wild life, and rain forests… I can’t tell you how many times I would just sit back in awe of where we were, what we were doing, and how we got to the place (path) that led us to cross paths with Malaysia. The trip just kept getting better and better.   Kota Kinabalu was where we spent two days and two nights eating REAL Italian food with a table for two in the bay, getting in 3 AWESOME scuba dives in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park with a cool little company called Scuba Junkie, taking a boat with locals over to Manukan island for a day at the beach,  and visiting Kota Kinabalu’s famous Gaya Street market where you could buy everything from an animal to souvenirs! Kota Kinabalu was where our journey in Malaysia all began. You’ll also see pictures of the places we stayed at…where almost all of the places were either eco friendly, or had amazingly helpful staff, and most of the time they had both. Tom has been quite inspired by a man named Rob Greenfield who’s blog he has been following, and reading. Rob’s blog has begun to in small ways positively affect the way we travel, and live life.

We always tried to do two things:

1. Keep it affordable!

2. Seek adventure.

I’d say we achieved them both, but maybe pictures will tell it better than I can. Most of the photo credit certainly goes to my awesome husband Tom…and now without further ado I bring you my very favorite photos of our first two days before we climbed Mt. Kinabalu, and the explored the rainforests! I give you Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia through our eyes…

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We devoured our meal so quickly that we forgot to take pics! It had been so long since we had Italian food. Eating at Gusto on the bay.

We devoured our meal so quickly that we forgot to take pics! It had been so long since we had Italian food. Eating at Gusto on the bay.

Our digs for 2 nights in KK. We loved staying here because of the incredible staff!

Our digs for 2 nights in KK. We loved staying here because of the incredible staff and the bang for our buck! We had our own cozy little room.

Getting ready to scuba dive off the boat!

Getting ready to scuba dive off the boat!

Tunku abdul rahman marine park for some diving.

Tunku abdul rahman marine park for some diving.

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Stop between dives on Sapi island!

Stop between dives on Sapi island!

This guy wanted to hang with us for lunch!!!

This guy wanted to hang with us for lunch!!!

Heading out for more diving.

Heading out for more diving.

Gaya Street Market

Gaya Street Market

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Rambutan- SO amazingly delicious once the skin is peeled off. Inside tastes and sort of looks like a grape 🙂

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We bought a big bag of Durian- known in Southeast Asia as the “King of Fruits.” It has a thorny outside and is known to smell like onions (we didn’t smell it) but it tasted like custard and almonds to me. Pretty delicious! Tom loved this one.

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Dragon fruit or Pitaya was pretty delicious as well. We had a great time buying fruit and tasting it. All of which we had never had before in the States. It was really this bright neon pink!! It didn’t stain the hands/ mouth as much as I thought it might.

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This cutie was working the market stall all by herself! She was tiny!

Island exploration to Manukan Island

Island exploration to Manukan Island

Saw another one of these guys... looked like a dragon!

Saw another one of these guys… looked like a dragon!

Beach bummin for the day.

Beach bummin for the day.

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A storms a brewin' just as we caught our little boat back to the mainland.

A storms a brewin’ just as we caught our little boat back to the mainland.

Up next more pictures of  exploring Gaya Street Market as well as the night market in Kota Kinabalu, and the continued journey through Malaysia as we headed East to climb a mountain, hang with the orangutans, and even manage to get in 3 river safaris to check out the rainforest wildlife.

In the meantime I’ll just be here pretending we are still travelin’ and trekkin’ through Malaysia 😉