Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Living the Eat, Pray, Love Life - Barbara Singer

I've always dreamed of leaving everything behind, packing my suitcase with JUST what I'd need to live and moving to Paris. To be exact, to Le Marais. It's more than just a dream for me, it's a goal (having done something similar when I was younger).

Barbara Singer decided to do just that. Live her dream. At tf 44 years old, she decided that it was time  to reinvent her life. In one tense and anxiety filled year, her only child went off to school, she got divorced, and then fell in love with a new man, but then he suddenly died. She knew that it was NOW or NEVER.

So, what did she do? She gave up her career and began traveling across country in an RV, going from Pennsylvania to Alaska and back.  In another adventure, she lived in the Caribbean on a sail boat.


"$1000 a months doesn't mean slumming it!! I was paid crew to live on this sailboat for3 months island hopping in the Caribbean."

From there she went on to Italy and spent 4 months living in Tuscany.


“I lived in the heart of Florence Italy. Many people are happy to have company and open their homes, especially to foreigners. I stayed with a celebrity who appeared to have it all and really just wanted someone to hang out with.”

In  Living Without Reservations she shares how she did it and offers clear ideas about how anyone can have an Eat, Pray, Love experience and reinvent  their  lives to go out and live that dream that they've always harbored.

You don’t need a lot of money. If you change your thought process, you'll find that when you give up the  the trappings of the American lifestyle, it doesn't take very much to live on. Instead you need to focus on people and experiences (rather than STUFF).


"A 6 week road trip to Alaska was the dream of my Dad. We used his camper and shared the expenses."

Living Without Reservations chronicles her story and describes the challenges and decisions she made along the way.

“Right now,” she says, “it is readily feasible to live abroad and travel comfortably and safe, on less than $1,000 a month. I even know people who have brought their children and pets along with them on their trips”.

Here's the thing, you’ve got to confront yourself and make the choice that's right for you:

  • Would you rather have a plane ticket or a mortgage?
  • Would you rather have freedom or a pay check?
  • Would you rather have a backpack or walk-in closet?
  • Would you rather have a passport filled with stamps or a bank book filled with money?
  • Would you rather live your dream or watch it on reality TV?

“Once you make the decision,” she says, “your view of the world changes. From then on you think, ‘I am moving.  I am mobile and travel light. I need nothing. Everything is negotiable. I choose to spend my time differently. I choose to spend money differently. I choose to live my life differently.’ You choose to decide what is best for you, not what others think is best for you.”

Barbara offers these tips to get you started on your journey...

1.     Get Ready Mentally.  Your attitude is far more important than the check book balance. Focus 100% on creating the lifestyle that you want.  Be acutely aware of how you are spending your time and money.  If it is not bringing you closer to your goal, it is taking you farther away.  There are NO neutral actions. You must believe in why and what you doing with all your heart.  You are no longer marching in step with everyone else.  You are choosing a different path and will be making daily decisions that others will question. Don’t listen to anyone who is negative.  Stop doing anything that doesn’t bring you joy.  Quit all organizations, commitments.  Create a totally different home environment -turn off the TV, turn on your favourite music, open the windows, eat your meals outside and de-clutter. Change up your daily routine and spend time walking or biking alone in nature. Plan your strategy.

2.     Liquidate your home.  Rent it to someone else or sell it. The goal is to travel light. You will be renting a room from someone else somewhere in the world (perhaps even several times a year in different locations), so all your possessions need to fit into a bedroom.  Rent or sell your home furnished if you can.  It will save you a lot of hassle of moving and selling furniture and household goods which have very little resale value.  Sell antiques or valuables on Ebay.  Hold a garage sale. Consign designer clothing and expensive jewelry. Avoid storing anything except personal keepsakes.  You will pay to keep stuff that no one, including you, will want in 5 years from now. If you have debt, rent your extra bedrooms, attic, basement, garage to others who need it for storage until your Jump Date arrives.

3.     Get Rid of Your Car. Stop your car lease or car payments sell it then buy something under $5,000 and put the minimum insurance required by your state. You will cut 2 bills with this one move. Most of the time, your car will just sit, unused while you are out of the country.

4.     Stop all re-occurring monthly charges.  If you don’t spend it, you won’t have to earn it.  Stop all services like cable TV, lawn care, pool care, cleaning service, car detailing, beauty treatments, all memberships, and classes.  You will have plenty of time to do these things yourself because you are not doing any of the old time wasters of the past. Eat all your meals from home. Use up all household products in your pantry, bathroom, wine cellar/bar and garage.  BUY NOTHING!!

5.     Forget about Security and Responsibilities.  Security doesn’t exist.  It is a big lie. All kinds of unexpected events can change our lives in second- like a heart attack, car accident, getting fired, or divorced. Live today joyfully rather than spending time, energy and money on days that may never come.  You will handle what actually happens.  You are only responsible for yourself. You are not responsible for another.  Let each person stand on there own. By providing for another, you are actually weakening them by making them dependent. Let each person stand on their own.  Their life is a result of the choices they made.  If you just said, “I would love to do that but…,” everything after the but is your ego talking.  I can assure you, that if you died tomorrow, everything after the but…would some way or some how be taken care of.

6.     Get Healthy. Since you will be living and travelling abroad, you need to be in good shape. Get off all medications and get in your correct weight category. Look toward alternative medicine if need be. Buy catastrophic health insurance with a big deductible and shop around for the best price. The healthy you are, the cheaper your monthly rate.

7.     Get Mobile.  Get a laptop and learn to get all the information about your finances and other important things on line. Stop every piece of paper mail and learn how to get what you need from anywhere in the world.  Get a Post Office box at Mailboxes Ect. And have them forward you the mail every so often.

8.     Living Without a 9-5 Job.  Focus on the gift of exchange.You may not have money, but you have something much more valuable, time and talent.   Practice thinking of ways to get what you need without using money.  Always give more than you receive in cash value. Do your best and think win/win.  I trade you this X and you give my Y. Everytime you spend, think how you could get this without paying with money. You can have everything you need to live your dream life without a huge pile of money. Start in small hops.  Take a leave of absence, unpaid for a month or two.  You will be surprised how many employers would love that.  You would take time off unpaid if you or your loved one was sick, why not when you are well. There are lots of ways to make money without a “real job” and all the deduction from a normal paycheck. Trade out for services you need.   Clean for the dentist or paint his fence. Let your natural talent shine and the money will come. Offer something you enjoy doing. Such as babysitting, tutoring, yard work, painting, caring for elderly or sick, music lessons, computers, fixing things, organizing closets, helping make a garage sale or running errands. You can even trade your room rent for these items.

9.     Work on the Road. Work when it’s right, then make it last as long as you can. That’s my motto.  You work in season in the states and then travel wherever you want until it is time to work again. If you have skills you can freelance your self online anywhere. If you don’t, you can still find good paying tipping jobs at restaurants and resorts at during high season for a few months in destination towns (e.g., Aspen or Key West). Then you can fly to Italy or the Carribean, rent a room for a month at a time, and go on from there. When you head to the destination and high caliber tourism locations during high season everyone is hiring. The beauty of moving around is you get choose a place where the weather, temperature, and recreational opportunities meet you desires.

10.  Make Your Plans and Study Now.  You may simply want to move to someplace new and get set up for the first time. You can do that. If you have a particular country in mind, apply for a visa before you quit your job and travel. Every country is different so get online and do your homework. Don’t be afraid! It is easier to find work once you are already there. Not the other way around. You can’t even imagine the opportunities until you are there to see what is happening. Find work with housing included: working on a cruise ship, for Club Med type resorts, caretaker. Work for an American company abroad.Use the internet!  Tons of resources at your fingertips. Work for a resort company. Work for the National Park system (, find unique opportunities at or work on boat and be paid crew ( or, or be a live in nanny or teacher and travel with an International family (nanny services).

11.  Making a Living on the Road. You don’t have to plan out the rest of your life.  Break it down into little chunks.  Rent a room for a month at time or plan to stay in an area for a season. If you decide to go touring you can keep costs low by staying in hostels (no longer just for youths!).  There are also organizations that offer assistance to travelers, pensiones, and home stays like  Americans can even travel and work in places like American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and other places without any additional papers. Once you are on the road, fellow travelers are an excellent source of information. You do not need to have an agenda or great expectations. Stay light and be flexible.

12.  Be Helpful And Be Useful. - Visit without mooching - If you are lucky and have friends and family in places you want to visit, go see them, and be useful.  Offer you talents. Offer your time. Work freely and wholeheartedly. While you are there, you can wait for the roofer or the air condition inspector to arrive, take the dog to the vet, clean the pool, mow the grass or take their car in for repairs, hang drapes, paint, do yard work – whatever you do to be helpful and appreciated. Make people happy you are there and make sure you leave a favorable impression.

Living Without Reservations  is available for purchase at and other book retailers. 

I'll be reviewing this book in detail in coming months, but I'm so excited about it that I thought I'd put this up for you in the meantime. For more information about Barbara, check out her website.


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