After six weeks of travel, we have returned to Oregon (just in time for the heavy rain)! We still can’t believe we spent a whole month in Europe. Not only that, we tacked on an additional 10 days to explore Cohasset and Boston, Massachusetts. This is all thanks to our new-found “travel hacking” knowledge, an intentional and unconventional approach, and the generosity of the friends and family who hosted us.
We shared more about our recent travels (with lots of pictures) over on IntentionalTravelers.com:
[Excerpt] Our farm stay in Cohasset was a thing of serendipity. It’s the perfect example of the unconventional, intentional travel that we love so much.
We met Michael and Michelle at Jake’s Off-Road Triathlon in Jamaica two years ago…
Read more via Visiting Cohasset (and Boston) | Intentional Travelers.
How to describe Switzerland?
What makes it special? The chocolate? The cheese? Both great but it’s Switzerland’s natural beauty.
Switzerland is breathtakingly stunning. Unbelievably beautiful (and we only saw part of it).
I made the comment this past week to Michelle and her parents that the whole country should be preserved and considered as a world treasure. No joke. That beautiful. We only visited a couple of major towns and cities and those were ok. The true magic of Switzerland are the pristine rolling green hills, the massive mountains, and the glacier fed lakes. If you hate natural beauty and don’t like the outdoors then this may not be the country you want to visit when traveling to Europe.
But for everyone else, take a train ride through the mountains. Walk through the countless, endless vineyards. Hang out by one of the lakes. Stare at the many snow-capped peaks. Feel like you could almost touch the stars.
You will understand.
(click on any of the pics below for a larger view)
Nendaz, Switzerland. The view from the balcony or where we were staying.
We were high up, but only half-way up the mountain. You can see the valley below in the background.
We took a lift up to a popular hiking area. Tons of trails in the summer for bikers and hikers.
A typical Swiss chalet on the side of a mountain looking at the valley below.
The vineyard hike in Martigny. A beautiful 4-mile hike through what seemed like endless vineyards.
I wish that was me, zip lining across the Martigny valley. It went over the valley/city.
The city of Sion, from a 10 century Church on the top of a hill overlooking the valley.
The interesting city of Bern. The river is far below from the city.
Spiez, overlooking Thon lake. This whole area is crazy beautiful. Wish we had spent more time here on the lakes and in the surrounding mountains.
The world famous Matterhorn mountain from the town of Zermatt.
Last week, Michelle and I got to spend a week in Paris with her family. We visited a lot of great historical sites, museums, and places I think the film “Amelie” was filmed at. There are so many reasons why Paris has become one of my favorite cities in the world. Here are a few:
- Amazing metro system: buses, trains, and subway systems that are efficient and everywhere.
- Incredible diversity: Though not all areas of Paris are diverse, it seemed as if it was truly, an international community.
- Beautiful historical buildings, museums, art: The details in the city are incredible. Everywhere you look you can’t help but wonder how they built/designed everything.
- Awesome parks: We judge a city based on it’s public parks. Paris has some great ones.
- Great food: A lot of things taste better in Paris. I think it did.
We had an incredible time in France. Though the issue with our bags was stressful, it didn’t stop us from having an overall, great experience (we ended up getting them on Day 9). Here are some of our posts from our time in France:
Finally, here are some of my favorite pics from our second week in Paris.
Arc de Triomphe – probably my favorite monument. The details were incredible.
Centre Pomp Idou – this square contrasts a century old Church with items from the Museum of Contemporary art. To me this is the perfect embodiment of Paris. The old and the modern coexisting together.
One of a couple HUGE department stores with these incredible and ridiculous decorations. It’s a little too much for me, but you can’t help admire the amount of time and energy spent on the details.
This is a restaurant at another department stores. Notice the different levels of detail. Crazy. Awesome.
A street market underneath one of the metro stations. This was an amazing international scene.
I wish I could have taken pictures inside the Sacré-Cœur. You’ll just have to go to Paris and see it for yourself. It’s beyond impressive.
A view from a scene in Amelie where her love interest has to look down from this park.
A beautiful park in Montmartre – a famous neighborhood in north Paris, known as a place where many famous artists used to live.
Mother Nature – the original street artist. Just a silhouette of a street light on a home that reminded me of a Banksy work of art.
Another great example of contemporary vs historical. Street art in Montmartre.
Crepes are better in France and you can only get butter and sugar crepes in France. Michelle is very happy that she got her beloved crepe.
Another talented street artist.
That national opera house. Again, another building with incredible details.
Every now and then, Michelle and I want to share with you some “Things We Love.”
As minimalists, lovers of unconventional living, and very intentional about most things, we also believe in sharing information that has had a big impact on our lives. There’s often a misconception that minimalistic and simplistic living means cheap, or owning nothing, which is not the case. For us, it means being very intentional about the things we purchase, own, or use. Something that benefits/supports your life that is free is an added benefit. We see these “things” or services as tools to live the life that we want. Often when we buy or use “Things We Love” they follow these principles:
- Does it Meet a Need or Fulfill a Want?
This is a question we ask before making any purchase or adding anything to our lives. It’s probably best that things meet your needs vs. your wants. However, if it does both, then it’s even better.
The more multifunctional/versatile, the better. For example, a backpack that can hold my laptop and comes with it’s own rain-fly for unpredictable wet weather is extremely multifunctional and versatile.
Regardless of cost, does the item or service give you what you wanted and more? I often use this reasoning with Michelle who sometimes focuses mainly on cost. For example, I’m willing to invest in a nice computer (Apple) that may cost more up front, but will last longer than computers from other brands (that also have that other operating system).
It’s always a good practice to buy something you can actually afford. Avoid using credit or loans as much as possible.
- Ease of Use/Excellent Design
We love simple, straightforward, intuitive design. Things should just work the way you think they should. For example, if you buy a can opener that doesn’t open cans – we should be able to agree that it’s poorly designed.
So every now and then, we will feature a product or a service that has helped us to live simply and intentionally. We hope that this information will help your lives and we ask that you help us:
- If you end up using something we shared, let us know how you like or don’t like it.
- Share these posts with others if you like it (on FB, Email, Twitter, etc…)
- Share with us “Things You Love.”
Our First “Thing We Love”: WUNDERLIST
What Is It?
Wunderlist is an amazing application that helps you make “To Do Lists.” It’s a task manager and a great one at that. You make lists and add “to do” items to those lists. You check these items off as you go. It’s that simple.
First of all, we love it for all the principles we mentioned above but here are some of the main features:
- Works on a computer desktop and with a smartphone. It syncs any changes you make.
- Works with a wide range of operating systems/across platforms. For example, if you have a Mac computer but and Android phone, it will still sync between both.
- Extremely easy to use and setup
- Lists can be organized by priorities. You can move one list higher than another.
- You can set deadlines and reminders for items within a list.
- You can view all items from any lists based on when you set a due date for them.
- Anytime an item is added, modified, or completed, you receive a notification (with an option to turn off notifications)
- You can use the “inbox” feature to create tasks that aren’t connected to a list. Just simple reminders.
It Gets Better
Here’s what makes Wunderlist even more AMAZING to us:
- You can share lists with someone else as long as they have a Wunderlist account.
(ie. Michelle and I share a grocery list. She adds brussel sprouts to the list, it shows up on my phone, computer, etc…)
- You can share one (or more) list(s) with multiple people.
(ie. We can add anyone else to the grocery list if we wanted.)
- You can assign a person to each item within a list.
(ie. If brussel spouts is in our grocery list, I can assign Michelle to pick them up, or she can assign me to pick them up.)
- You can create notes and sub-lists for each item as well, in case you need to add more details to the task.
- You can view all tasks assigned to you as one list.
Best of All
It’s FREE!!! There is a pro version for large businesses and organizations (which is worth the affordable pricing), but most of the best and most important features are free. Especially for individuals, families, and small businesses.
How to Make the Most of It?
- Check Wunderlist first thing in the morning and a couple of times throughout the day.
- Set reminders and due dates for tasks with time constraints.
- Create daily tasks or notes using the inbox when on-the-go. Sort as needed later when you have time.
- Use different lists for different aspects of your life, ie. grocery, financial reminders, work related, birthdays, etc…
- Share certain lists with others for collaboration and project management.
How Do I Get It?
Let Us Know
- Do you use Wunderlist? Do you like it? How would you make it better?
- What other task management Apps do you like that have helped your daily life?
- Any questions about Wunderlist?
Land of wine, cheese plates, cafès, beautiful parks, the iconic Eiffel tower, museums, history, art, lovers, magic…and now, lost luggage.
It started off as a typical travel hiccup. We wait at the baggage claim for an hour. No bags. Bummed but not too concerned, we make a claim, give our address to Air France’s bag service and start our adventure.
Day 1 – 3: Paris
What can I say about Paris? Aside from the crazy traffic and impossible intersections, I love it. Old, beautiful history everywhere you look- full of details. In the center of the city, building after building could easily be the most iconic building in a city in America. Here, it’s just another building. Michelle’s Uncle gave me the condensed history of France in our ride from the airport to their flat in Paris. Will need many years of studying to fully grasp everything he shared. Her Uncle (Michelle’s father’s brother), is originally from the States and has been living in France for over 40+ years after moving here after college. He met a wonderful Parisian woman and raised their family in Paris. They’ve been incredible hosts and introduced me to the ever-important cheese plate course. I asked, “Are baguettes and cheese each day a typical thing in France?” Answer: “Yes!” Me: “Awesome!” Continue reading