How to Plan Intuitively to Travel, Create, & Work Effortlessly and Abundantly


How spontaneous are you in your life? Do you follow your schedule religiously or do you find yourself working right up to the last minute of a deadline? Have you found a happy medium between these two extremes?

In this article I’m going to share with you a concept that allows you to harness the natural cycles of your brain to the greatest effect in both work and when travelling.

You see, when I travel I seldom plan out exactly what I’m going to do on a certain day. Instead, I review my options before I set out and allow time and space for events to flow together organically and spontaneously. Granted, some of your travel commitments may have firm attachments to certain points in time and space, but acting merely on intuition is incredibly worth it whenever possible. In fact, I find that when I wait to plan a given day until the night before, I’m much more sensitive to how the day is going to go; and I’m more in tune with what my needs will be on the upcoming day.

Travelling is a creative act, and your ability to jump into a creative state ebbs and flows throughout the day. In my experience, there is much magic to be found when we are conscious of those changes; and when done consciously, this kind of flexibility allows moments to snap together like magnets.

So how exactly does this apply to work? I’ll ‘splain.

The Intuitive Planning Approach

Lately, I’ve realized that I’ve approached doing work this way for a while now. Instead of stating in big red letters that I’m going to write a rough draft of a given article on Monday or bust, I find that I work better when I have a general idea of what I need to accomplish by a certain day and then allow myself to be drawn to the tasks to complete that goal in its own perfect time.

For the purposes of this article I’m going to call this approach “intuitive planning”, because, while it’s still technically a form of planning, it allows your intuition to have a say in what you should be doing at a given moment. People who use David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” system (as I do) may recognize that the GTD “Next Actions” list can be used exactly this way because it’s a list of shorter tasks that can easily fit into the gaps between larger projects.

We can expand on that though. And as in both work and travel, defining the next physical action you need to take to achieve your goal is immensely helpful and can often give you clarity if you feel stuck. But if you already know what you’re going to do (and when it needs to be done) and you have some freedom over the order and speed at which the steps are completed, then you can experiment with the Intuitive Planning model.

For instance, I’m currently writing this sentence at 00.57, which is well past midnight. I didn’t even plan to write an article tonight; but inspiration struck me, and I had the time flexibility to act on it. By listening to my intuition and following it, this article was allowed space to manifest. Simply put, the Intuitive Planning approach has completely changed how I view my working time as well as my travel time. (Although you could say I’m “on the job” whenever I’m travelling, but you know what I mean.)

This model works best for me on a week by week basis. For instance, if I’m working on a big article about McWay Falls, I know that I have a few dozen photos to crop, color-correct, name, export, upload to the Byteful Gallery, and resize for the article. Then I need to outline the article, write it, proofread it, categorize it, and finally set the article to be posted in the wee hours of the morning. This whole process involves over 10 major steps with plenty of tiny steps in between; but because I understand the steps that it involves, I can set small milestones to let me know if I’m on track. (For instance, I like to have the photos done by Sunday night and a rough draft of the article done on Monday). Yet if I really get on a roll, I may have the article rough draft done by the end of Sunday. It all depends on my level of inspiration and energy level. The key here is really listening to myself and my mental state.

Inspiration & Expectation

Let me be clear here. I’m not saying you should wait for inspiration to get you started on your work. A wise man once said that inspiration must find you working; and in my experience, I think that’s putting it lightly.

There’s no Inspiration Faerie that’s going to come down and give you tons of energy. Your will and your will alone must start it. However, if you change your attitude to be open to inspiration sneaking up on you, it’s far more likely to.

Have you ever noticed that it’s those times when you don’t feel pressured and boxed in, that some of your most inspired ideas come through? In my experience, inspired ideas are more likely to come through because expectations cause a constriction in the mind. By “forcing” yourself to do a specific thing at a certain time, you will naturally feel limited and probably stressed out, too.

Don’t get me wrong. This certainly isn’t always a bad thing. Indeed, without that kind of discipline, we would not complete many things that legitimately need to be done. Yet, whenever possible, creating from a place of non-expectation is much more enjoyable experience for me, and I find more original ideas come when I’m not painstakingly looking for them. What about you?

How to Create the Flow for Yourself

The real trick here (which is a skill that can be developed) is the ability to consciously decide what you’re going to focus on and think about. I learned an important lesson about this in my teen years when I would push myself to the limit for school projects, and I continued to refine my approach when I was in college.

While it may come as an incredible shock to you, I really disliked being forced to do a project I didn’t enjoy, and I experienced a lot of stress in having to push myself to complete such a project on time. If I didn’t really care about the end goal of the project, it didn’t spur me to action. At all. In fact, I would have a lot of trouble “getting into the groove” of it. Therefore, I had to create that flow for myself. (I can’t not state the importance of this enough.)

I would often experience false starts and slow progress in the beginning, so I’m not saying this is easy. Sometimes it can be very difficult. Sometimes you may feel as though you don’t even know where to start. Trust me, I’ve been there. But in those situations, I tried to take away as much complexity as I could and simply took the most logical first step. Keeping it simple is a very important tip to remember whenever you get stuck.

Discipline is what allows us to take those first few steps. But I’ve found that once I get going, less and less discipline is required because I’ve created the groove that I was looking for. And by creating it for myself, I make it easier to get back to that place of creativity whenever I want.

Choose your Focus & Make Alpha Waves

Remember, this all hinges on you being able to consciously decide what you’re going to focus on. You must choose where to place your focus. Will you focus on the part of your brain that is worried about failing or the part that simply relishes in the act of creation itself? Have you ever noticed that when you’re really in the flow of creating (whether it be writing, reading, painting, or designing) that you completely lose track of time?

This is because a different part of your brain is engaged. When you feel truly immersed in your work, your brain is actually at a different frequency than when you’re walking around during the day. The brain is in beta frequency during most of its waking hours, but when you’re really in the flow, you enter alpha brain frequency. These alpha waves allow distractions to fall away and allow a much greater depth of focus. For instance, I’m in an alpha state right now as I write this. How do I know? Because the words keep flowing out of me, effortlessly.

Things certainly weren’t always this way. To be completely honest, there was a time when I absolutely dreaded writing; but the more I practiced, the more I learned about what it felt like to be in this state. I gained a better understanding of how my own brain worked, and so can you.

In some ways, it’s like riding a bike. When you first rode a bike, you had no hope of balancing without training wheels, right? But in time, you refined your sense of balance, and soon you didn’t even need the training wheels.

Intuitive Planning: Create Abundantly!

As I said before, your ability to jump into a creative state ebbs and flows throughout the day, and “intuitive planning” is merely intelligently harnessing this quality of the human brain in the most intelligent way possible. To really put all of this in a nutshell, when you give yourself the freedom to create in the order in which your mind wants to create, your creative process can flow much more effortlessly and with much less stress. And if the time never seems right and begins to run short, you can always revert back to a more logical discipline-based approach.

Remember, you are not your brain. You are also not your thoughts. Realize that your mind is a wonderfully complex and dynamic tool; but it is still a tool, and when you use this tool with greater skill, you can create more abundantly and more meaningfully.

And fewer things are more enjoyable or more rewarding than that.




How to Get Paid to Drive 1,000 miles (Craigslist Rideshare Step-by-Step Guide)


If you want to become more confident, more flexible, and live a more inspired life, travel is one of the very best uses of your time.

I’ve found this to be especially true last year when I traversed over 6,000 miles exploring around the western United States. Along the way, I realized people’s limiting beliefs tend to highly limit to what they think they can do.

I realized that people usually perceive travel as being a luxury, something prohibitively expensive and best experienced in short one or two-week bursts.

To that I say: Dingo’s Kidneys!

The reality is that there are lots of ways to travel to the destination of your dreams without spending nearly as much money as you think. So today I’m going to explain my method for dramatically reducing the cost of travelling from Point A to Point B, as well as how you might even make some money from doing it, like I did.

6,000 Miles of Success

Last year, I utilized Craigslist with great success. In fact, about 90% of those 6,000 miles mentioned above were traversed through Craigslist rides. If you’re not familiar with Craigslist, it’s a website that allows you to post classified advertisements to easily get a lot of eyeballs on what you have to say, usually a request or an offer of some sort. With the exception of a few select categories like real estate for the most populous cities, Craigslist ads are completely free to post.

You may already be familiar with areas on Craigslist that help you find housing or sell your car, but increasingly people are using it to find carpool and rideshare partners. By using the Craigslist rideshare page, I was able to travel thousands of miles around the western half of the USA without having to worry about bringing a car along (and all the maintenance, parking, and security concerns that arise from that). And I plan on doing this again in the future.

Does the thought of using Craigslist to share rides seem strange to you?

Why should it? Many many people around the world do this exact thing every day and benefit greatly from it. I’ve used it for about two years and have never had a negative experience using it. I originally found out about this section of Craigslist via word of mouth, and judging from how it’s grown over the past year, people are recommending this service to their friends more and more. Perhaps it’s because the people I’ve met through Craigslist are very kind and more open than the average person you’d meet. They have families and friends just like you, and they’re just trying to save some gas money as they go from Point A to Point B. That’s why the system works. So now that you know why, let’s talk about how.

How Craigslist Rideshare Works:

  1. Go to www.Craigslist.org
  2. Watch the site automatically redirect you to the Craigslist page for the city nearest you. Or you can choose a specific city from the: Craigslist Sites List
  3. Click “rideshare” under “community”, which is on the top left. (Alternatively, you can just add “/rid/” to the end of the URL.)
  4. Browse the listings and find a ride going where you want. (You may also want to use your browser’s “Find” function to search for all instances that your destination’s name appears on the page.)
  5. Click the email link above the entry and email the driver that you’re interested in sharing a ride with.
  6. Repeat Steps 5 & 6 a few times to increase your chances for a quick response.
  7. Wait.

Sometimes people who post rideshare ads won’t get back to you for a few days, so if they provide any other contact info besides the anonymous email address that Craigslist provides, try contacting them via that method first. I’ve found that people are more responsive to telephone than email.

In addition, you can also post an ad of your own, free of charge, on Craigslist to request or offer a ride. Just be sure to post in the Craigslist site for the city you’re departing from. And if you’re really in a hurry, I recommend you do both: post an ad requesting a ride as well as email anyone offering a ride to your destination. Doing both will dramatically raise your chances of leaving sooner.

Once you’ve contacted someone via email or exchanged phone numbers, plan a time to meet up before your carpool. This isn’t always possible, but it’s recommended for journeys longer than a couple hours. Usually fuel expense is split evenly between all people who will be riding, but occasionally a generous driver will offer a ride free of charge. (Some people just want conversation during a long ride.)

So how could you actually make money from this?

The way I made money using this amazing service was initially accidental. I had been checking Craigslist for a few days, trying to find a ride out of Denver to the Chicago area. Sometimes, around holidays especially, finding a ride to a distant city can take a week and occasionally longer. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan (or be more flexible), however I’ve found that timing tends to work out for the best in the end.

This case was no exception. I found a posting on Craigslist by a woman who was moving from Denver to Chicago, but she didn’t enjoy driving on the freeways. “What a great circumstance,” I thought. “I’m completely happy to drive on freeways, and I’m headed exactly that way.” After exchanging a few emails, I called her up and planned a time to meet up with her.

I had been using Craigslist for years before this, and this was the first time I had the opportunity to be the driver. Unless you’re using your own car, being the driver is quite rare, and about 99% of all ride offers do not require you to drive, or even have a drivers license.

Run Craigslist riders past your Intuition

Just as with any new person in your life, it’s important to run prospective passengers and drivers past your intuition (what some people think of as their “gut feeling”). Although some people tend to judge on appearance, I’ve found that even more important than appearance is the feeling a new person gives you. How do you feel after you’re done talking with them? Tired? Neutral? Confused? Energized?

A phone call is a great way to start, so when I called her up, I paid close attention to how her presence made me feel. What does my intuition say about this person? Do I feel he/she is trustworthy? Is this the kind of person I’d feel comfortable sharing a car ride with for the duration of my trip?

After running it past my intuition, I got a green light. I felt good and scheduled a time to meet up. By meeting up in person, my intuition would have a lot more data to go on, and I’d be able to examine the car I’d be driving. When I met her in person, my intuition gave me another green light, her little car started up right away, and I had a good feeling all around. After asking her some questions about the vehicle’s condition, I concluded that it was ready for the 1,000 mile journey ahead of us. (It’s worth noting that, if you’re the driver, it’s a good idea to make sure your vehicle is up to the task BEFORE you embark.)

How I Got Paid to Travel using Craigslist Rideshare

Here was the deal: In exchange for driving us all the way to Chicago, she would pay for all of the fuel and also offered to pay me a bit of money (a delightful $50) for my time. I was surprised. I’d never been a paid chauffeur before, and because I didn’t see the work as being that challenging, I didn’t see it as something that provided that much value. This mental association with non-challenging work not providing much value was false, of course. I realized that since she didn’t feel at all comfortable or capable of driving on high-speed highways, I was providing a good deal of value, but I told her she could pay me whatever she felt was fair.

To be honest, at that point I was still so pleasantly surprised at how things were working out — still rather amazed at that the universe brought me an opportunity to go 1,000 miles for free — that anything beyond that was metaphorical icing on my metaphorical travel-cake.

North America Map showing Route from Denver to Chicago

And So I Drove All 1,000 Miles… in One Day

We were both lucky to have found each other, and without Craigslist this never would have happened. If she hadn’t found me, she said she would have had to pay for another driver’s plane ticket back to Denver. Lucky for her, I was heading back home; and lucky for me, she was heading my way.

We set out as early as possible, and I drove the entire 1,000 miles in about 17 hours. It would have been faster, but she had a dog, and dogs have needs. (Note to self: Intend that no future rides involve pets that have to stop for “bathroom” breaks every few hours…)

But all things considered, it worked out incredibly well.

Expand your Comfort Zone

Doing something like using Craiglist rideshare to find a carpool partner may be beyond your comfort zone right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. You have a lot more freedom that you realize; and in my experience, the worldview you’re used to seeing on TV is not an accurate representation of what America (or the rest of the world for that matter) is actually like.

Just turn off your TV and see the world is nicer than you thought.
~ Elijah Wald

As I said at the beginning of this article, many many people do this around the world every day, and every Craigslist experience I’ve ever had was positive. These are people with families and friends, just like you. These are people who are trying to get from Point A to Point B, just like you. That being said, if you’re going on an especially long trip like I did, it would be wise to meet up with the person beforehand to make sure you’d be comfortable being in the car with them for most of the day.

But remember, that they would use Craigslist to find a ride says something about them as a person. It says something about their beliefs about the common goodwill between people and the confidence that they have in themselves. The amount of people using this service who are really fearful or untrusting is very low, and that’s something I like about it.

And although I can’t comment (yet) on how effective Craigslist is outside of the USA, I’ve heard that it’s useful in Europe, as well. As I said before, the people I’ve met through Craigslist are usually very kind and more open than the average person you’d meet. Obviously, we all use Craigslist at our own risk, and not everyone who uses it is going to be a kind person, but my experience with it has been very positive. In fact, every Craigslist ride I’ve ever had has felt safer than being on a city bus, and how many people ride the bus every day without even thinking about it? I guess that explains why people who have used Craigslist rideshare once tend to use it again and again: because they have positive experiences with it!

Who knows, perhaps someday we’ll live in a world where no one has to utter the word “Greyhound” ever again. What a world that would be…

Step Into the Freedom that was Always There

Why not open yourself up to travelling via Craigslist instead of driving next time you have to travel between large cities? Or even smaller ones? You’ll be saving a lot of fuel (which is environmentally responsible) and you’ll be stretching yourself a bit. Who knows, a new friendship might even arise from it!

Have you ever noticed that crossing beyond your comfort zone gives you a rush, sometimes lasting a few days afterward? You get this feeling because a part of you knows expanding your comfort zone is for your higher good (and one of the best uses of your time).

You have a lot more freedom than you exercise. So start stepping into that untapped freedom today, while you still have the chance.

The whole world calls out to you.