Honest moment: As much as I love it, running a business sometimes can go against my nature. I’m a very laid-back, spontaneous person at heart, and sometimes I’m just not down for all the organization and planning ahead that comes with keeping a successful business. I love to live life to the fullest, and I believe I can do that by giving myself freedom to follow my heart instead of my head.
Even though it seems counter-intuitive, I do think that I’ve flourished as a photographer and as a small business owner because of this adventure-led passion that has coaxed me into chasing dreams I might not otherwise have thought possible if I were doing everything “by the book”.
Today I’m sharing five ways I structure my life to allow more spontaneity in my schedule and activities and to fuel my adventurous side.
I wait to fill in my schedule until the last minute.
Just coming out of a busy summer where I had back-to-back sessions almost daily, it’s hard to get back to a schedule where some nights are free or where I have entire weekends without an out-of-town trip planned. I actually love this, even if it means I don’t have work, because I get to create my own.
Just recently I was faced with an open Friday night and Saturday and I knew it was open for a week or so, but I just left it open, and when that time rolled around, I was hit with an urge to drive all the way down to the Grand Canyon to do a sunrise shoot on Saturday morning with some friends who were willing to also drive through the night to meet me there. It was one of the most beautiful sessions I’ve ever done, and I think that allowing myself the inspiration to leave that time open was such a gift.
Another thing I love to do with free time when it gets down to it is to gift a session on social media or to a friend. I call them up and say, “Hey, wanna go shooting tonight?” and then we both get some lovely photos and I feel like I was productive. I love these no-pressure sessions where I can try out new things and practice new skills without worrying about wasting the client’s time.
My husband and I set aside each month into a Travel fund.
One of the biggest responses I hear when I suggest to people that they go travel somewhere is that they don’t have the money, or that traveling is too expensive. Sometimes I consider it my life’s mission to educate everyone on how to have a big adventure traveling somewhere new without breaking the bank, but I know that it’s still going to require money in the form of preparation, travel expenses, time off, etc.
To combat this, or at least give us a fighting chance at actually taking those trips we always wanna take, Matthew and I have a standing travel fund within our family budget where we keep money dedicated to trips together and it makes it so much easier to spontaneously book that fun getaway when we know we already have some money saved up.
I follow a few travel sites and social accounts that post awesome deals, and I love that I have the freedom to take advantage of these deals when they come along since I already have that money set aside so that it’s not eating away at our personal budget where we need money for food and rent, etc.
I practice purposeful minimalism in my routines.
I know some people shy away from “minimalism” as if it means “less” or “nothing”, and it sounds super hippy dippy for me to mention even now, but I truly believe that by establishing a purpose for everything you let into your life, or by getting rid of the “clutter”, you can actually be more free to do the fun, adventurous things.
When I travel, I know I can get by with packing light and be just fine. I don’t wear a ton of make-up, but the products I do use are small and compact and made for easy travel. I’m an expert at making an outfit out of anything, and it really helps when I’m only packing a few outfits for a week’s stay.
I don’t have too many “habits”, either. The things I do regularly or as part of my daily routine are all easily commuted to a new location or put on hold while I’m away on an adventure. To me, it’s just simpler to not be committed to a gym membership, an expensive habit, or a pet that would require me to make lots of extra planning and preparation before I head out. I know that may change as I enter into a new season of life, but for now, this is the routine that works for me.
I prioritize relationships and connections with clients/friends.
I’ve always felt a strong pull to maintain certain relationships with past clients, and now I know why as some of these clients have become some of my greatest friends. I don’t consider time between visits or physical distance to be a burden to weaken a friendship, and as a result, I’m able to maintain these relationships with people who are willing to drive through the night to meet me at Horseshoe bend, just for fun. People who share my passion for adventure and spontaneity hold a special place in my heart, and I’m so grateful for them.
Also, you never know who has connections and where when you’re planning a trip, and I’ve found it helpful to ask friends for recommendations of where to stay and what to do. Sometimes it saves us money, and other times it just makes the trip ten times more special as we get to do something or meet someone significant.
I always look forward to my next goal, and I’m never content with just standing still.
One of the main things with being adventurous is that you have to want it. You have to yearn to go outside your home and do something fun, even if it requires taking a risk or being courageous in a way you’re not used to. If I was simply satisfied with where I’m at and never looked to learn or grow, I’d never be living such a wonderful life as I am now, with a thriving business, and a wonderful relationship with my husband.
Sometimes I feel a bit insecure about my inability to stay put, and I know it can drive Matthew crazy. But I honestly feel like my best self, like I’m living my best life, when I’m striving for more and expecting the universe to give me more in exchange for my spontaneity and adventurous efforts.
If you feel stagnant or like you’re bored with life, I urge you to consider adjusting your routine or your expectations to allow more freedom and spontaneous adventures like this. It will change your life in ways that you never expect, as I find mine changes all the time outside of my control. It’s wonderful and exciting, and it’s the only way I want to live.