I was homefree for 4-months so you don't have to... here's what I learned.

October 11, 2023

I call it homeFREE and not homeLESS because it was a choice.

A choice to live with as few things as possible.

I learned a lot... 3 things in particular.

But before we get to those, let me ask you a question.

Do you own stuff?

Or does your stuff own you?

How much time do you spend:

  • Fixing
  • Tuning
  • Cleaning
  • Updating
  • Remodeling
  • Repairing

Your stuff.

Does your project list only seem to keep growing longer?

Are you spending an excessive amount of time thinking about all the things you have to do around the house?

At what point do you say F-it to all the stuff and take back the most valuable asset in the world?

Your time.

Removing The "Stuff"

I grew up watching my parents accumulate all the things.

  • The lawnmower
  • The snowblower
  • The leaf blower
  • The riding lawnmower
  • The better leaf blower
  • The better snowblower
  • The "stuff"... as we're going to call it

Don't get me wrong. I had my laundry list of stuff as well.

I didn't realize how much of a grasp it had on my life until I moved to Austin, Texas.

I sold everything except my phone, laptop, a duffle bag of clothing, and motorcycle.

My motorcycle was eventually stolen (that's a story for another day), but other than that, mostly everything has remained the same for the past two years.

That was until 4-months ago.

My lease ended at my place in downtown Austin, and I had started accumulating stuff again.

A bed, more clothing, a stand-up paddle board, an e-bike, some dishware.

Nothing outrageous, but it started to feel like clutter again.

I didn't wear 90% of the clothing I owned. I rarely found time to get on the paddle board. And my e-bike kept breaking down and requiring repairs.

With the lease ending and many travel plans on the horizon, I decided to push minimalism to the extremes.

Here's what it looked like.

I sold, donated, or trashed everything but my phone, laptop, a duffle bag of clothing, and my e-bike.

I couldn't carry my duffle bag and e-bike, so I stored those and held onto the rest.

My living situation was a combination of 3 things.

  • Staying with friends and family
  • House and pet sitting
  • Traveling

Over the past 4-months, I learned a lot about myself, but most importantly, how little I need to be happy.

I've since distilled everything I've learned about what is required to live a happy life into 3 things.

I will tell you exactly where I learned those lessons and how you can implement them into your own life (without having to be a digital nomad for 4-months).

Let's go. 👇

1/ Meaningful Work 

One of my many stays along this journey landed me on a farm east of Austin, Texas.

I have never worked a farm in my life.

Sure, I can handle a dog, a cat, or a hamster. But farm animals?

This could be baaaaa'd (get it? Like a goat? baaaaa....).

As the farm owner (Graham) showed me everything I needed to do while he was out of town for the next month, I admittedly felt overwhelmed.

He was putting the lives of a slew of animals into my hands and trusting me to ensure they didn't die.

  • Dogs
  • Goats
  • Ducks
  • Chickens
  • Longhorn
  • Blackbuck
  • Mouflon sheep
  • And the murdering of any poisonous snakes that make it onto the property 

"Alright, Graham, you got it!" 🤦‍♂️

After he showed me the laundry list of tasks, he eventually said something that made me feel a lot better.

"Listen... I've had people that are a whole lot dumber and a whole lot less educated than you watch these animals, and everyone survived... as long as they have food, hay, and water... everyone will be fine."

I sighed with relief.

By the end of that month on the farm, I can safely say I see a farm in my future. 

I can't tell you how big or small it will be, but it taught me an invaluable lesson I will take to my grave.

The amount of happiness that comes from meaningful work.

Taking care of these animals filled my heart full of purpose and meaning.

I'm not implying that you need to live on a farm or take on the responsibility of another life to find meaning in your life.

But you do need to find work that is meaningful to YOU.

You can find meaning in being a personal trainer because you know you are helping people live longer.

You can find meaning in creating a marketing plan that gets the message out about a product or service you know will improve the lives of others.

You can find meaning in brewing coffee that puts a smile on your customers' faces because you know it gives them a little kick of energy to get through their day.

It doesn't have to be grandiose. 

It just has to mean something to you.

2/ Good health

Here's what I used to think health meant.

  • Working out at the gym
  • Counting macros
  • High protein
  • Low carb
  • Meal prep

All wrong.

That's called fitness.

And fitness is not the same as health.

Don't get me wrong. Fitness is an important aspect of health. But it misses the bigger picture.

Most people get into fitness because they want to look good naked and attract the opposite sex.

The problem arises when they associate looking good naked with good health.

I've competed in physique bodybuilding shows and looked shredded to the gills.

But it was the worst I've ever felt, and quite honestly, terrible for my health.

It skewed my perception of a healthy body and destroyed my metabolism.

So, what does it mean to be healthy?

It means feeling as good on the inside as you look on the outside.

Yes, there is still a component of looking good naked.

But that's because you take care of your body. You don't punish it for bad behavior.

I discovered how simple this can be when I stayed with my buddy in Michigan on my 4-month hiatus.

He owns a chain of Jimmy John's locations in the Kalamazoo area, and by golly, you better damn well believe I was eating as much Jimmy John's as I could get my hands on.

I'm not condoning it as a healthy (or unhealthy) food, but because I do the basics 90% of the time. Enjoying a sandwich with my buddy doesn't matter in the big picture.

In the same way, not going to the gym for an extended period doesn't destroy my health.

Here are the basics of good physical health.

  • Eat whole foods.
  • Daily movement.
  • A good night's sleep.

That's it.

Do that 90% of the time, and you'll find that you'll feel as good on the inside as you look on the outside.

Health isn't as complex as we make it out to be.

3/ Quality relationships

The final stop on my homefree adventures was Italy for my friend's wedding.

I didn't have anywhere to stay, so I traveled to Italy early and spent a weekend in Rome with a fellow named Caleb.

I had never met Caleb. He was just a friend of a friend who was also going to the same wedding later that week.

Staying in another country with someone I had never met before

This is what we call... "sending it."

We did all the usual Rome tourist things and eventually took the bullet train down to the Amalfi coast, where the wedding occurred.

Everyone attending the wedding was staying at the same hotel, and to our surprise, we were bunked up together at the hotel.

We spent all 11 days together in Italy, and by the end of our trip, it reminded me of an essential truth about humans.

A core tenet of a healthy and happy human is doing life together.

Looking back on that trip, I would have had a good time had I done it all solo (without Caleb). 

But I also know that sharing it with Caleb made it that much sweeter.

We ate, laughed, got lost, problem-solved, held hands at night (alright, just kidding on that one), but ultimately, we created memories that we'll remember forever.

I met a ton of cool people while traveling around, staying with friends family, and at random people's homes.

But quantity will never replace quality.

I highly recommend this TED talk if you have yet to see it.

The short story is that they followed 724 men over 75 years, asking about their work, home lives, and health. 

It was one of the longest studies ever done on happiness.

Here's what they found out about what keeps people happy and healthy.

  • It wasn't how much money they made.
  • It wasn't how famous they were.
  • It wasn't how successful they were.
  • It wasn't the number of friends they had.

There was only one metric that they could find that would predict if someone felt like they lived a healthy and happy life.

The QUALITY of their relationships.



  • I was homefree not homeless
  • Own your stuff, don't let it own you
  • Do meaningful work
  • Fitness is not the same as health
  • Quality > quantity

If you want to learn more, contact me here.

Hope you enjoyed this one, my friend.


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