Before considering a life on the road you first must think about simplifying your life. Knowing how to live with less and be more self reliant will give you the flexibility you need to live comfortably on the road.

To get started on the right foot this year, I want to propose 5 ideas for you to try. Keep in mind that these are meant to put you in the right mindset to live a simpler life. A simpler life doesn’t always mean an easier life. That is something a lot of people have a misconception about. What most people perceive as an easier life often requires a lot of complexity. Luxuries like grid power and city water to keep your lights on and provide endless hot water are not something you always have on the road. Food and product delivery services that bring everything you need to your door is a modern-day miracle but they make people far more reliant on the complex logistics that make it all work.

The reason you want to simplify your life is to be more self reliant and build up new skills to live exactly the way you want. In today’s blog, we give you 5 ideas for personal improvement that will help get you there.

Goal Number 1: Donate to a Charity

One of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself and for others is to donate to a charity. Starting to let go of objects that don’t enrich your life is the first step to a simpler and minimalistic life. I think this one is pretty obvious and if you are reading blogs like this one, you are probably already doing it. Keep in mind that this is not a one-and-done type of thing. You will continue to downsize for a long time to come. Even the simplest of all minimalists will eventually collect more things over time out of necessity. Constantly evaluate everything you own and think about the last time you actually used it. If it has been awhile, chances are you don’t need it.

But rather than money or objects, the best thing you can donate is actually your time. Maybe you are passionate about animals. Then volunteer a couple hours a week at an animal shelter or at a wildlife rescue. Want to spend more time outdoors? Go to your local state park or find a nearby national park and inquire about volunteer jobs there. You can even help out at your local library or coach a sports team at the YMCA a couple hours a week. Not only will it give you added purpose in your life but all of the expenses related to it like mileage and meal costs are tax deductible! It is a win-win for everyone. If you already do some kind of volunteer work, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Goal Number 2: Buy your Groceries from the Farmers Market and Local Butcher

This one is something I am always trying to do more of every day. It can be hard to always find the best place locally since we are constantly moving but it is definitely possible. By shopping at a local farmers market, you are going to get the best and freshest ingredients and most likely at the best prices. They usually don’t have a ton of plastic packaging that ends up in oceans and landfills plus the food didn’t have to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles on a truck to get to you. You will eat a healthier diet, save money and preserve the environment all in one shot. The same goes for finding your local butcher or fishmonger to buy all of your meat products.They are usually much more passionate about what they do and can give you good advice on what to use for the meals you are making. By doing just a little research to figure out where to find these people in your city, you will also help support the local economy. This is a really good way to do something real simple yet have a positive snowball effect for everyone involved.

Goal Number 3: Learn to Cook One Recipe from Scratch Every Month

With all of the local ingredients you are getting from the farmers market and butcher, it is time to figure out some amazing dishes you can make all by yourself. I don’t know about you but one of my favorite things to do is cooking. I love the sense of accomplishment I get by turning a bunch of seemingly random ingredients into a delicious meal. It is also a great skill to have to impress your friends and family. So I challenge you to try to make all of your favorite foods at home from scratch. Just once a month, try cooking a new recipe of your favorite dish. With all of the information you can find online today and the explosion of foodie culture, you can now easily find ingredients almost anywhere in the world and look up recipes on how to make it from the internet. You will learn more about cooking, eat healthier foods and save money at the same time.

Goal Number 4: Start Learning a New Language

So maybe you are seeing a trend across some of these ideas. Most of what I am suggesting can affect your life in more ways than one. This one is no different. For 2020, considering learning a new language. I am not suggesting that in just one year you will be able to master a new language but you can definitely get started with the basics. It is easier than ever to learn these days for people of all ages. The easiest way to get started is with websites or apps like Duolingo, Mango or Babbel. Some of these are totally free to use and others might require a monthly membership. Either way, it will be totally worth it as learning a foreign language can unlock a whole new part of your brain and also make you appreciate new cultures even more than before.

As you get farther along and become more advanced, you can even work with an online tutor to become even more fluent in that language. Do you already speak multiple languages? I’d love to hear what they are and how you learned them in the comments below.

Goal Number 5: Start a Blog. Or a Personal Journal

So we are down to the 5th goal on this list. Just like keeping track of your income and expenses, by keeping a personal journal, you will be able to know exactly how you are progressing in your life. How personal you want to to get in these journals is totally up to you but as you are documenting them, be honest to yourself. If things are not going well, write it down. Your future self needs to look back at all of these moments to know how far you’ve come. Talk about the goals you’ve set in these journals and how you are doing. It doesn’t have to be everyday but make sure it is a frequent enough interval to keep the narrative going. For those of you brave enough to open yourselves to the world, start a blog and document your journey there. You will be surprised at just how supportive complete strangers can be if they feel a personal connection. It will keep you accountable to the promises you make. We have been blogging about our travels on since 2008 and being able to look back on nearly 800 posts of our lives over the last 11 plus years is priceless.

So that is it!

So these are 5 ideas for personal improvement you might consider setting for yourself in the new year. This is our first blog (and video) in 2020 and we have tons more to come as we are starting the new year. I hope you will follow along by signing up for our newsletter and/or subscribing to our YouTube channel, if you haven’t already.

Dan Lin

I am a modern nomad traveling full time around the world with my family since 2008. Currently in Europe living in our DIY Sprinter 4x4 Camper Van. You can find me sharing more about this lifestyle on Instagram or YouTube. For our travel content, check out

1 Comment

KJ · January 8, 2020 at 2:16 pm

Love the ideas. Thanks!

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