Welcome to my project for 2013!

Hi! My name is Audrey Reynolds and I’m a multi-potentialite who loves living, learning and traveling.  I’ve been a lifestyle designer since about 2008 when I returned to a desk job after 4 months of independent travel and realized my old lifestyle wasn’t going to work any more.  I’d always had a life that allowed me to play – a lot.  But I craved more freedom.

At the end of 2010 I got my wish when I was unceremoniously laid off from my steady state job.  Thanks to Rick Perry (for real), I finally got serious about intentionally creating the life of my dreams.

Six months later, I started BeYourOwnTravelHero.com with the vision of

  • inspiring people to travel more … big travel! epic travel! travel during life transitions! whatever ~ let’s go!
  • helping people get ready to travel, combining their passion with a plan that actually gets them out the door and on the road
  • creating a business that would financially sustain me during my own travels and could be done from anywhere with minimal overhead (allowing me to be location independent)

I was very enthusiastic about this idea and still am.

But something happened a few months later:  I decided to relocate to the wise and beautiful old mountains of western North Carolina. How I made that decision is a story for another post – but after a decade of good living in Austin, Texas, I put down fresh roots in Asheville, North Carolina.

Overall moving from Austin to Asheville has been a most excellent decision.  However the business of launching a business (Be Your Own Travel Hero) has been a rather slow affair.  At first I thought it was me being busy – I have a day job and obviously needed to immersed myself in the delicious offerings of Asheville [future post alert: Asheville is amazing ... deeply connected community of open creatives and a plethora of craft beer, farm-fresh food, hiking, kayaking, bluegrass and more ... oh my!]

But I’ve come to understand that another aspect of the slow launch is that my energy is not about traveling (for now). I am not focused on epic travel adventures; I am focused on growing roots and connecting with my new community.

This does not mean I am not traveling – I am. I took 6-7 trips last year alone! But it wasn’t epic and my attention is not on planning big trips. As a result, content about that type of travel has not been flowing out of me.

The funny thing?  I actually am planning an EPIC trip.

Yep. I’m planning to embark on a RTW (Round The World) trip in the next few years. [nb: I initially listed a date of spring 2015 but the reality is my whole paradigm may shift before that time.  2 years is close yet far given the constant change we all live with today - priorities, goals and opportunities must be flexible.  So I've decided to step back from a firm date to allow for amazing opportunities to develop as they need to for me and for my partner.  This is a long-term, lifetime goal of mine and I completely trust it will happen when the time is ripe.]

Every decision I make today reflects my plans to take that trip.

For example, I am resisting the urge to adopt a pet again because I know that warm fuzzy thing will need a home while I’m traveling the world.  And I am not buying a shiny new mountain vehicle with heated seats and 4WD because I know I won’t need a car (or a car payment) whilst traveling the world. You get the idea. More on this later.

For many people, including me, planning and preparing for an epic trip can take more than a year. There is money to be saved, kids to be raised, houses to be dealt with and stuff to be organized. Quite frankly, preparing what you leave behind can take more time than planning where you are going or what you’ll do when you get there. This is the stuff I help people with in my role as a Travel Coach.

Towards Location Independence

While I have this fantastic world adventure percolating, I do have another goal. Ultimately I want to be Location Independence. What is Location Independence? For me it means being able to live, work and play from anywhere in the world. It means having my life set up so I can travel and live where I want, when I want.

On a practical level, it means (for me)

  • being able to take advantage of travel opportunities at the drop of a hat
  • being able to live and work away from home for several weeks or even months
  • having access to my pictures, music and important papers on the road
  • having my bills paid regardless of where in the world I am (and whether or not I’m connected)
  • being able to generate income from anywhere

It does not mean (for me)

  • not having a home
  • not having stuff
  • not having a job
  • living the life of a nomad

Being location independent means I get to choose when and where I am going to live/work/play without the constraints many of us (including me) have. Taking off to another country or holing up in a remote cabin for a few months will still require coordination and planning – but my life will be set up to facilitate that happening with as much ease as possible.

Becoming location independent is a process and a journey.

I’ve decided to make the process my project for 2013. I intend to document my journey here for others to follow and hopefully benefit from.

Note: even though many of the steps in becoming location independent are also key for people planning an epic travel adventure, I’ve decided to keep this project separate from my content at Be Your Own Travel Hero. This will allow the content to evolve without needing to be related to travel.

I’ve divided up the project into manageable sub-projects and will be tackling one every 1-3 months until I achieve location independence. My next post will outline a plan for the following aspects of my life to be consolidated, cleaned up, organized and made available from anywhere:

  • finances
  • other accounts – online and otherwise
  • important documents and resources
  • contact information
  • media – pictures, video and music
  • and more as I work this process

I will also be creating a different way of generating income. By having the above areas working smoothly, I will free up energy, time and space to create my business.

And finally, I am tackling my physical belongings. I very much want to have less stuff in general, to keep the clutter to a minimum. This is actually my first project because it is so key to that strong foundation. In fact, I’ve spent the past 2 days purging and decluttering my closets, my cabinets and my work spaces. It feels awesome!

Care to join me?

If this mission speaks to you, it is my sincere hope that my journey will inspire you to begin the process yourself. I will post updates here at BeLocationIndependent.com 1-2 times a month, reporting on my progress and my next step. I envision these check-ins serving as accountability for me and a roadmap for you.

If you’d like to follow my progress, please check back each month — or just sign up for the list below and I’ll make sure the posts are delivered directly to your inbox.


To creating our dream lives!

♥ Audrey

The Plan and mid-January update

I am super excited by this project and ready to rock it!  I really appreciate your interest. At the end of each month, I’ll post a monthly wrap-up where I detail what I’ve done and lay out what I plan to tackle the next month. This turned out to be a fairly long post because I wrote quite a bit about pre-work in December.

Let’s start by looking at my general plan. Broad categories I expect to address in my pursuit of location independence include:

ready to rock like rocky

  • STUFF – physical belongings
  • finances – including credit card accounts, debts, bills and savings
  • other accounts – online, email and otherwise
  • my schedule – adding productivity tools and reducing social and/or volunteer obligations
  • blogs and online presence (yes, I have a collection that requires tending to)
  • important documents and resources
  • contact information
  • computer – backups, logins, programs I use/buy
  • electronics and other equipment – some working, some not – taking them offline and disposing of them appropriately
  • media – pictures, video and music
  • housing, including my future home and my rental property
  • career
  • and more as I work this process

Some of the categories can be completed on the first pass. Others will be iterative, meaning I’ll revisit them over and over, making improvements. In the case of clutter (physical and digital), I’ll take several passes at clearing.

But before that – why am I doing this again?

Several reasons. The biggies:

I want to be nimble – agile, flexible, able to react quickly to travel opportunities because I don’t have to spend much time “getting things ready”.

My life may not be simple, but it can be elegant. I want to streamline and automate redundant tasks so I’m not putting energy into tracking tasks that don’t need to be tracked. Example: paying my mortgage.

I want to be able to access “my stuff” from anywhere, at least anywhere that has an internet connection – this includes the office, a friends house, my parents casa in Texas, and the beach hut in Thailand I’m looking for a flight to right now!

And most of all – the big ultimate dream – is I want to be able to live, work and play from anywhere. Not that I will – but I will be able to.

Step 0: December – DECLUTTER PHYSICAL “STUFF”

Before I really committed to this project, I had started walking down the path. Friends shared how good their December Declutter had them feeling. With piles in the hall and crap in the corner, I knew it was time to clear the home hearth – again. I had moved to Asheville from Austin with one (1) big carload of stuff, then went back for one (1) more. Everything else in my current living space I acquired since moving, and a lot of it semi-consciously.

It is amazing how easy it is to acquire “stuff”.

The truth is, it actually takes work to NOT acquire stuff. We have to say consciously NO (or No Thank You). And we need to periodically let stuff go – perfectly fine stuff, stuff we’ve loved in the past. To help me with this, I came up with a few rules. Every “thing” I own needs to be clean, in good working order and ideally attractive. I want to be surrounded by things I love and that work well.

The general rules for physical “stuff”:

  1. in very good condition – fully useable/working
  2. attractive and/or clean – I want to be surrounded by beautiful things whenever possible and they should fit with my current style
  3. used recently* – if it hasn’t been used, it went into a in spotlight location to encourage me to use it. *excepted are camping and outdoors gear, which I’m willing to hold on to despite the cobwebs for later reevaluation

One thing I’ve learned from my recent cross-country move is that it’s really simple to re-acquire most things. So if I was on the fence and could re-buy it at Bed Bath and Beyond or a mall – I ditched it. I can always get another (newer and cooler) one later.

So what did I specifically do?

I cleaned out a former junk room and turned it into a large closet/dressing room

I cleaned out both hall closets and actually have empty space in each; the larger one was repurposed into a place to store brooms and vacuums and such, which facilitated the dressing room creation above

organized closet

I went through all of my clothes and created 3 piles:  keep, donate, for-friend. I had some clothes I was reluctant to give up and decided that if people I love could wear them, that would be a little easier than dropping them at Goodwill.

I reorganized my clothes closet and took light-weight clothes in storage.  Now everything in my closet is seasonally appropriate, in condition and fits! This had made my mornings much easier. And helped me see which items I truly do need to purchase (dear perfect black boots, I _need_ you)

Here were my rules for clothes:

  • in very good condition
  • fit is at least an 8 out of 10, meaning I look great and it feels comfortable
  • if I have more than 5 or so of said things, the bar is higher.
  • if I haven’t worn them in the past 18 months, they need to be worn in the next 2 months or they are gone (winter clothes – summer are already stored and will get scrutinized when the sun comes back) *excepted are my fancy clothes and my costumes

I took a first pass on jewelry, trinkets and other stuff, taking it to Goodwill or the for-friend pile. There is a card table in the corner of the living room and I’m slowing going through other items. I am determined not to put them back in the closet unless I have scrutinized them and decided they pass the sentimentality test.  Art and trinkets are a unique challenge, since so many of them I either received as gifts or are attached to memories and experiences.  I’ll likely be moving in the next few months, so they got a pass until I have a chance to see how they work with my next space.

I carted a whole lot of stuff I truly won’t use this winter to storage, clearing up my living space.

While I have quite a bit more stuff I could and should let go of, the first pass at physical clutter was extremely successful and satisfying. I have clear, organized closets. And most of my stuff meets my ideal of cleanin good working order and attractive.

But wait, there’s more

In mid-October, I applied for several new credit cards in order to take advantage of frequent flier mileage programs for the airlines that service my new airport. So also in December, I did some extensive work with the new cards: set up new online account access, got set-up on auto-pay, verified frequent flier accounts were tied correctly and made sure I hit the minimum spends. I also updated any account information, such as my mailing address (cards want you to apply with your physical address but I exclusively receive mail at my PO Box for security and mobility purposes).

And finally I did some visioning which ultimately resulted in this project and the creation of this blog.

Next post: January wrap-up and February plan

♥ Audrey

Affirmation for 12/31/2012 and beyond

The basis of your life is absolute freedom, the goal is joy, and the result of that perfect combination is motion forward, or growth. Your goal is to find objects of attention that let your cork raise.

You are meant to live an expansive, exhilarating, good-feeling experience.

If your dominant intent is to feel joy while you are doing the work, your triad of intentions—freedom, growth and joy—will come quickly and easily into alignment. See your “career” as one of creating a joyful life experience. You are not a creator of things or a regurgitator of what someone else has created or a gatherer of stuff. You are a creator, and the subject of your creation is your joyful life experience. That is your mission. That is your quest. That is why you are here.

— Abraham