We’re back in the Big Smoke and spending more time than ever with our pal, Brian Johnson.
Philosopher extraordinaire and the mastermind behind Optimize —an online portal that delivers more wisdom in less time— Brian is inspiration on steroids.
If you’re as lazy as I am, you’ll love Brian’s minimalist approach to getting better at life.
Hero Training 102
In his Hero Training 101 seminar —which is based on Joseph Campbell’s well known book The Hero’s Journey and features the fascinating documentary Finding Joe— Brian emphasizes the importance of getting really comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Our five-part Hero Training 101 series chronicles the seven months we spent untethered. In Hero Training 102 we’ll look at how we can continue our learning now that we’re settled again.
Think of it as a where we’ve been, where we are now and where we hope to go. Enjoy.
Ed: This post kicks off our Hero Training 102 series. Here are the others:
A Brief(ish) Recap
At the end of September 2017 we got rid of most of our stuff (again). We said goodbye to our sweet little apartment and began a life of untethered adventure. Because, well, why not, right?
Besides, it’s one thing to read about the Hero’s Journey, it’s something else entirely to experience it. We needed to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Living off the Grid
The first thing we did was try our hand at living off the grid in plant-based paradise. All I can say is thank God it was only for three weeks. We’re hippies, yes, but of the urban variety. You know, the kind that need to be close to coffee shops, movies and purveyors of fine vegan food.
Eating fresh organic produce from the garden everyday was bliss. Keeping it alive, not so much. I say that like I had a hand in ensuring nothing died. I definitely did not. Gardening is Sporty’s strong suit, not mine.
What I lacked in green thumbs I more than made up for in kitchen prowess. Suffice to say, we ate well during our time on the farm. But that off the grid stuff is for real hippies, not us city facsimiles.
Hound-Sitting in Oudtshoorn
Next we made our way to the ostrich capital of world. We spent the next four months caring for three hounds while their human visited her family in the U.K.
Living on a farm in the middle of nowhere can make any town seem attractive, even Oudtshoorn. Our rose-tinted glasses lost their hue when we realised the closest Woolies Food was an hour away. In the next town.
In its defence, the town did have a few decent coffee shops. And at least three of the restaurants served pukka vegan faire. I kid you not. I’m talking vegan burgers, wraps and even Buddha bowls. Right!?
Without our usual city distractions, Sporty and I learnt to sit in the love bath. We got a lot of work done. We spent an inordinate amount of time Optimizing our lives with Brian Johnson. We walked a lot. We took the art of slow living to a whole new level.
We were also happy to leave. Four months in the Karoo is long when you’re a diehard city girl. Still, it was an awesome experience and the pooches were super sweet.
Settling Back in the City
After leaving Oudtshoorn we went on a mini road trip to celebrate our freedom. It culminated at SpiritFest for a week of yoga and tent-dwelling.
The festival was every bit the hippie affair you’re imagining right now. Replete with sweat lodges and teepees, there were more dreadlocks than I’ve ever seen in one place.
The original plan was to head up to Namibia on a Workaway adventure. But when that didn’t pan out we made the decision to settle back in the Mother City for the foreseeable.
We arrived back in city on the weekend of the Cape Town Cycle Tour. In our excitement to get back we hadn’t secured a place to stay. A little rash, I know. We almost shacked up with some surfer dudes in Blouberg.
Fate intervened and we ended up sharing a house with scientist and his French bulldog. While convenient, our differences are proving challenging.
A dyed-in-the-wool carnivore, Albert’s half of the fridge is full of raw meat and beer. The sight of vegetables causes him to break out in hives. As longtime plant-based advocates, Sporty and I fill our half with as much fresh produce and we can squash in there.
We get along but I reckon everyone is looking forward to parting ways at the end of the month. We’ll miss the pooch though. A sweeter and more officious little hound we have yet to meet. He takes his job as inspector of all things very seriously.
A Sunny Apartment in the ‘Burbs
After living in the City Bowl for the longest time, we’ve decided to settle down in the the leafy suburb of Claremont. About a 15-minute drive from the city centre, the area ticks all our boxes.
Along with a decent gym, a mall and movies, it has at least four Woolworths Food stores. Five if you count the one at the garage. Claremont is also super pretty, so perfect for running, too.
A Cubicle for Sporty (Finally)
Sporty has spent her entire working life doing clever work. The kind that pays really well, but comes with its share of long hours, stress and annoying clients.
While millions of people the world over are plotting their escape from Cubicle Nation, she has always harboured a secret desire to work in a box. Well, it’s finally happened.
Sporty is now a German-speaking call centre agent for an European airline. She has a lanyard, set tea breaks and everything. Sweet.
As for me, I can’t decide between home organizing for a living or becoming a balloon artist. Both are super appealing, so we’ll have to see. In the meantime, I’ll keep penning my missives and sending postcards.
Our Hero’s Journey Continues
Our Hero Training is far from over. We’re settling down, but our efforts to get comfortable with being uncomfortable continue.
On Monday we returned out our hire car, which means we’re back on foot. Although, in our case being without a vehicle is the more comfortable option.
Still, there is the not so small matter of getting our kitchen waste to the Oranjezicht City Farm. Google claims we could walk there in two hours.
That doesn’t factor in the bucket though, and Sporty refuses to take it on the bus. She maintains it’ll cause a stink. I can’t argue with that.