Those keys are the only ones I carry anymore. Yes, just two! One, of course, is to the Element. The other goes to the Thule rooftop storage box. I remember before I left Las Vegas, my friend “A” was telling me how good it felt for her to get down to just one key. One? Well I haven’t managed that level of minimalism, however, I’m pretty flippin’ happy with two!
Traveling with those two keys for the past 37 days I’ve learned some pivotal life lessons. Not only have I visited eight states and covered thousands of miles, I’ve enjoyed the coziness of spending quality time with dear friends and loved ones. I’ve also experienced the beautiful solitude of wide open spaces with the companionship of my four-legged fur buddy, Roubidoux. The thing is, no matter where I’ve been, no matter who I’m with, I’ve realized there really are only two things you need to lead a happy life. Perhaps you’ll never pare down to a car key and the key for a lock box, but I do hope you all experience these two keys to happiness.
It probably won’t come as any big surprise, but the majority of that stuff you have, you don’t need! Even now, I’m still shedding layers and layers. As it turns out, the majority of things I have packed in my car, I don’t use on a daily basis. And even though I always though the whole less is more philosophy was total bullshit, I could probably be content with about 50% less that what I’ve got. Turns out, they are right. The simplicity of having less brings me more joy than having an entire 2400 square foot house packed to the rafters ever did! The joy I experience comes from spending less time deciding what to wear, what to watch on television, and what widget to dust first. I now have plenty of time to have amazingly rich conversations, indulge in reading my favorite books, and write in the the gorgeous journals I’ve collected.
Another way to simplify is to turn off your TV. Maybe it’s a huge stretch to clean out your clutter, sell your place, and go on the road, but everyone can benefit from watching less television. As a matter of fact, very little time I’ve spent visiting my friends has taken place in front of the boob-tube. A little radical perhaps, but what are you more likely to remember? That episode of <Insert Your Favorite Show Title> or the hysterical conversation you had reliving that time in college when you and your best friend followed random chalk arrows drawn on the sidewalk?
As Will Rogers said, “Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.”
Yes, getting down to two keys, traveling the USA in a Honda Element, and turning off the TV may seem completely outrageous to several of my dear readers, but by pressing up against our edges, we have an opportunity to feel truly alive! Therefore, every day I make an attempt to go for outrageous. Apple pie with s’mores ice cream? Yes! Panty-free Friday? Sure! Baseball cap with a dress? You betcha! Beer with cheese crackers for dinner? Mmm, mmm, good! Go out to see a live band all by myself? Oh, yeah!
Yesterday my outrageous act was talking to three strangers who were taking pictures at the Milwaukee Art Museum. I invited myself to be part of their picture and asked if they would take a picture of me, too…
The conversation that ensued was one of fun and friviloity. We talked of travel, both international and country-wide. I told them about my blog and my journey, along with my secret formula: the two keys to happiness. At that point, Ru (the redhead in the picture above) spontaneously hugged me, saying, “We must be sisters!” It was a moment of simplicity, outrageousness, and happiness all rolled into one. Something I’ll never forget.
And it is with happiness in my heart that I invite you to take a virtual journey with me. Get out there and exercise/practice/experiment with these two keys. Then, come back and tell me all about it. Keep it simple. Be outrageous! I can’t wait to hear your stories.