What We’re Doing Now 2016-03-10

Updated: Mar 10, 2016

We’ve settled into Nelson, New Zealand for 3 months to work on creative projects, recover from faster-paced travel, and hang out with friends. nelson-08360

Specifically, here’s what we’re putting our time and energy into these days:

As a Family


  • Preparing a keynote speech and some classes I’ll be teaching at the Savvy Musician in Action Conference at Columbia University this June.
  • Writing a book about family travel. I’ve written over 80 pages since November. This book was inspired by the families we’ve met who are interested in the travel lifestyle, but were unaware of many available resources that make it easier to do so. I started writing about all the tips and tools we’ve picked up in our 6+ years of travel. I answered common questions about different ways to fund a travel lifestyle, how to save money on traveling, how to deal with safety, family relations, where to start traveling, etc. But from there, it’s evolved into what I enjoy writing about even more – the “why” of travel, and how our travel experiences have impacted me and my family. I hope this book will be interesting and helpful to some people. But regardless, I enjoy how writing it is helping me integrate my own experiences, and become more clear on why I continue to travel. If you want to stay updated on it, sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of the page.
  • Photography. I’m becoming increasingly passionate about this hobby. I bought my first full-size tripod (Sirui T025X – folds down to 11.6″ and weighs only 1.8 lbs). I’m experimenting with varying techniques and compositions, and am dabbling in astrophotography, too. Here’s one of my latest shots I’m most proud of: nelson-09715
  • Approving new designs for Music Teacher’s Helper. This year will bring many big changes to my business, and many of the changes I spec’d out over a year ago are now in the design or development phases. It’s fun to see what I’ve envisioned come to life.
  • Travel planning. There is some spectacular nature here in New Zealand. I won’t see it all this trip, but I’ve researched the highlights and hope to hit them before we leave. My mind is also ever thinking about where we want to be next.
  • Interviews. I’ve had four interviews over the past couple months, and another one scheduled. Here’s one of my favorites about making love the center of your business. And here’s another that’s more about the financial and lifestyle side.
  • Reading or recently read the following books:
    • Doing Good Better by William MacAskill (Reading and loving it. It’s about effective altruism.)
    • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (Finished. Loved it! Quick read. Takeaways: following curiosity rather than passion, separating creative projects from your own identity/ego, and taking it all much less seriously)
    • Stumbling Upon Happiness by Daniel Gilbert (Finished. Fascinating and entertaining read about the psychology of happiness. Takeaways: Too hard to quantity. Must read.)
    • Unworking by Clark Vandeventer (Finished. Good for inspiring those who want to work less and live more.)
    • Emotional Freedom by Judith Orloff, M.D. (Reading with Jen. Wow. Some great stuff here about understanding emotion.)
    • The Truth by Neil Strauss (Finished. Riveting! Best relationship book I’ve ever read. Takeaway: Idealism can keep me from enjoying my relationships now.)
    • So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport (Finished. So-so. Promotes the common-sense idea that you need to develop skills and create value if you want to be paid for it.)
    • All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman (Reading)
    • Louder than Words (Finished. Helpful. Asked a lot of good questions to get me thinking about my life and business.)
    • The Fear Cure by Lissa Rankin, M.D. (Finished. Helpful. Takeaways: Helpful perspectives for distinguishing instinctual fear responses from false fear responses and anxiety, and how to transform them into positive action, or move through them.)


  • Catching up on blog posts
  • Taking weekly voice lessons
  • Cooking up some amazing meals, from kumara with lentils and feta, to homemade brownies, and more.
  • Taking a mindfulness course
  • Preparing for her presentation later this year on emotions and relationships for the Life Without Instructions Conference.
  • Reading books

Emily (age 12)

  • Writing more songs and music videos. Here is one of her latest:
  • Busking (street performing) at the Nelson Saturday market, where she tends to earn around NZD $30/hour. She plays and sings her own songs, as well as popular songs.
  • Taking Irish dance lessons online from a teacher in Kansas
  • Drawing
  • Chatting with friends across the world via Skype
  • Writing more on her blog
  • Enjoying online games such as Minecraft, AnimalJamLittle War Game, and Poptropica
  • Working on a new business idea surrounding travel shoes

Marie (age 10)

  • Practicing handstands and gymnastics tricks
  • Taking a weekly gymnastics class here in Nelson
  • Creating and solving her own math problems and drawing math related artwork
  • Chatting with friends around the world via Skype and Animaljam
  • Reading the Warrior Cat books on the Epic app
  • Taking online digital art lessons from a professional artist in Germany

Aysia (age 4)

  • Watching Tangled and Lady and the Tramp on her iPad over and over again
  • Pretending to be a bunny or a kitty
  • Playing AnimalJam (often with her sisters)
  • Reading books on the Epic app (or usually, having them read to her)
  • Having regular tickle fights with Daddy