Warning for sensitive eyes: It’s a post about how to prioritize, so you can see why there’s just a ton of profanity in here. Unapologetically.
“That’s at least 2 days in Tokyo Disney.”
“That’s like 20 camping days of hot showers and WiFi here in New Zealand.”
“That is TWO MONTHS’ rent in Bali.”
If you were a tourist passing Peter and I on the Franz Josef Glacier Walk, that’s the interesting ear jazz we’d be treating you to. Everyone has talked our faces off about the famed Helicopter Hikes up the glacier – and ain’t nobody told us that three hours of icy joy would come out to a cool $600.
Listen. I’m a beach girl; Peter’s an indoor cat. Eventually, we gave that decision the Hard Pass. I then realized: This would be a really good time to do my homework.
I recently launched a podcast called Ticket 2 Blog with Jema Patterson, one of my favorite travel bloggers on earth. In Episode 2, we talked a ton about Finding Your Why – sidestepping creators’ anxiety by defining what’s most important to you – and Jema told me to try Warren Buffet’s 5/25 model. Basically, you define the 25 most important things to you; you pick the top 5; you tell the rest to suck it.
Wasn’t the first time I’d heard something like that. A good friend who still had PTSD from planning her wedding told me, “Sit down with your partner and write out the top 5 most important things you want your wedding to have. Decide not to give a shit (or have someone else give a shit) about everything else. Otherwise, you will go insane.”
We came this close to spending a whole months’ worth of camping fees on a thing neither of us care much about. But that’s what long-term travel is: A thousand decision-fights between What You Should Do and What You Want, all day, every day. It’s easy to get carried away with other peoples’ Shoulds. And it would just keep happening if we didn’t figure out our Shits.
We wanted to have a moment of clarity so that next time we’re getting hustled to shell out our hard-earned monies – or our equally-precious time – on anything, we’d have something to point to and confidently say: That’s gonna be a no for me, dawg.
And thus was born: Our Give a Shit Lists.
It’s time saving, life saving, and we want to pass this angel-choir clouds-parting haaahhhllelujah clarity onto you.
How to Build your Give a Shit List:
- Get comfy. Pair this activity with something that comforts you, in a place you love, so you can make confident decisions. Block out at least 30 minutes. Peter and I did it over a mountain of camp-cooked chicken masaman curry at the gorgeous but emotionally confusing Rainforest Retreat. (IT’S A CAMP IN A RAINFOREST NEXT TO A GLACIER. SCHOOL NEVER TAUGHT ME THIS.)
- Think of your shit. Take your writing medium of choice – by-hand always works best for me – close your eyes, and ask yourself: What do I honestly give a shit about? To me, that question means: My shit is made in my gut. (Sorry. But so is yours, bud.) So, when I think about that thing, do I feel an actual pull in my guts? Do I feel a tingle behind my bellybutton? Would that tingle be disappointed in me, even just a little bit, if I didn’t do or pursue that thing?
- Write all the shit. Give yourself at least 15 minutes to answer that question in as many bullet points as you want – and do it freewriting-style. That means tell the editors and second-guessers in your head to STFU. Write with abandon. F&*# grammar and punctuation. Write to get the feeling out; worry about the words later. Write ten bullet points. Write forty seven. No one ever needs to see this list; no one will judge you for it. Dig around and give as many shits as you want.
- Pick your shit. Pretend you’re saving your shits from a desert island and you can only rescue 20. Now, from that list, rescue 10. Now 7. Get to 5. Keep checking your whole list, the picked and unpicked, and continually see what your insides have to say about it. Throughout this process, I ask myself, “Ok, let’s say you live in a world without that thing. But did you die tho (emotionally)?” or, “It’s a year from now, your travels are done, and you didn’t do that thing. Is that Ragret you smell?”
- Tattoo your shit. No, don’t really do that. (Or, do it, damn, maybe tattooing is on your list.) Rewrite a fresh list of your Top 5 only and keep it somewhere accessible. Your wall. Your binder. Your forearm. Please email me if you really tattoo this, I’ll have so many questions.
From now on, if you find yourself at a Britney Spears’ Crossroads, consult your Give a Shit list. Change your Give a Shit list if you want. Make different lists for different parts of your life. Who cares? It’s your list. It’s your life.
Deciding your priorities is insanely powerful. You won’t believe how many things you thought you cared about that, at the end of the day, you really don’t. You may be surprised at the things you truly value.
For us, this list makes saying Yes and No to the thousand decisions we make infinitely easier. The Give a Shit List is our oracle and our compass; it almost feels like we gave our decision-making over to a trusted assistant. After that, it was easy to skkrrrrt on the heli-hike, and way easier to excitedly book our tickets to Bali next month. (I know. F*@# us and this whole life.)
And whether or not you ever consult this list again, you’ve learned some shit about yourself. No matter who you are, your time is precious, and your life is worth saying Nah, Thanks to anything that doesn’t excite the crap out of you. (Or pay your bills. Or care for you and your loved ones. You get it.)
I think you can fill your whole life with your Top 5, and I have an inkling it’d be a dope life indeed.
And that is some good shit.
And now, if you’re curious: Our Give a Shit Lists!
Berna’s Give a Shit List:
- Finding at least 3 different youth perspectives in every country we visit (#YouthNotes!)
- Giving myself an earnest go at being a ~digital nomad~; fully dedicating myself to creative projects
- Inhaling unique food experiences I can’t get back home
- Any that might lead to me lying in the sun, water drying on my half-naked bod, Kindle in one hand, cocktail in the other.
- Learning about indigenous cultures; getting a snapshot of what it meant and what it now means to be brown in that country. How does feminism, capitalism, post-colonialism live in this place?
Berna’s Honorable Mentions:
- Portraying budget travel to other POCs/WOCs (could be umbrella’d under the creative projects point)
- Going on scenic trail runs
- Meeting up with family and friends along the way
Peter’s Give a Shit List:
- Going on a meditation retreat
- Riding the bullet trains in Japan
- Going to a leather workshop and/or bringing home leatherwork supplies from Japan
- Eating street food in Seoul
- Having one fully sober month
Peter’s Honorable Mentions:
- Going to Tokyo Disney
- Visiting libraries and college campuses to get a feel for local life
- Observing cool cars
- Learning about the cultural, geographic, psychological problems the town/country is facing