Tuesday, 12 July 2005

Living a Small-Er Life

Perhaps you have noticed the same thing I have... a growing dichotomy of lifestyles. One is fast-paced and tech-filled, instant gratification, a very small urban footprint. The other is a modern twist on a more rural existence, replete with homegrown/raised, homemade everything. Each has its attractions and detractions.

Somewhere in between, there are many people just trying to manage day-to-day. There is a small percentage leading an extravagant lifestyle.

The truth is, it can take time, resources, and some level of self-awareness (plus trial and error) to create an ideal lifestyle.

The Path to a New Lifestyle

Personally, I spent about five years thinking about what my ideal lifestyle would look like. It was an unconscious endeavor at first, because I was shedding off a life located in the wrong place. I was in a difficult business enduring endless encounters with bitter, irresponsible people.

I knew I wanted to live a quieter life, in a house that was manageable for years to come. Beyond that, and given the abrasive conditions I was experiencing, I wasn't sure about anything else.

Finally, I figured it out. I'm not suited for life in a tiny house or urbane apartment. I don't want a large home that requires constant attention, with rooms I rarely use. Homesteading is for the intrepid, physically strong, and DIY skilled. Frankly, I know my limits. What I want is what I can manage, a small-er life.

First, I am in a new place. Where I landed is somewhat of a surprise, and happened by default. It is the result of timing that relied on other things falling into place. It turns out I'm exactly where I need and want to be. It is literally a breath of fresh air.

Because of where I live, I am gifted with the means to live my own blend of two lifestyles. I am close enough to two large cities, but far enough away to feel daily reprieve. I have neighbors. I have neighbors I actually talk with. It's a HOA-free hood. It's perfect.

What I Appreciate about Living a Smaller Life

Smaller home =

Fewer expenses, lower taxes
Lower maintenance, fewer fixes and renovations
Fewer possessions, better organization
Smaller footprint, but with individual privacy

Smaller life =

Reduced garbage, more recycling
Far less stress, inexpensive entertainment
More cooking, homegrown foods
Virtually no debt

Calmer life =

Improved health
Opportunity for more quality, face-to-face interactions
The rules of the house are buy smart, save for larger purchases. Support local businesses. Be smart by buying used or new, whichever is best, taking time to consider each purchase.

Changed Priorities

Early on, I was driven to travel. There were places in the world I wanted to visit. My work made it possible, and I am so thankful for the privilege. At the time, I had no interest in owning a house. Fast forward, and because of the company I now keep, I relish having a place to call home. Every morning I walk around and feel such bliss being here. This is the perfect size life for me. I do not take it for granted.

Pick Your Lifestyle

There is a lot of pressure, especially via social media, to lead a particular lifestyle. On any given day you can feel the pull to be an uber stylish and globe-trotting hipster, bohemian wunderkind, hearty self-reliant homesteader, suburban DIYer, minimum footprint dweller. As long as you seek to lead a responsible life; as long as you are respectful of others and the planet you live on, you're OK by me. Just take the reins to create your own, perfect-for-you lifestyle.

Friday, 11 March 2005

Why Indie Magazines Continue to Rule the Roost

Despite the apocalypse predicted for the print industry for almost a decade now, more often than before new indie magazines are finding their way on to the magazine racks in bookshops across the world - making it difficult to buy into the prediction entirely. Here's why we think indie magazines continue to rule the roost, as it were, despite the unpredictability plaguing the print industry, in general.

1. Content

Most of the indie magazines approach their chosen subject/theme in ways that have rarely been experimented with before, thus making the content fresh and distinctive. The Gentlewoman, an independently published magazine based out of the UK is one such case in point, which celebrates modern women of style and purpose. This magazine is not just a mere catalog of faces and costumes; instead it showcases real women in the real world wearing their personalities as a style statement - offering a fresh and intelligent perspective on fashion. There are independent magazines showcasing an extraordinary range of topics, from travel, food, popular culture, visual communication to cats, dogs, running, surfing, skate boarding, cycling, graffiti et al, out there today. You think of a genre/interest and surely there will be a couple of super creative and competent blokes somewhere on the globe sharing these interests with like-minded people by way of a magazine.

2. Design

Each of these indie magazines bear a very distinct visual identity. With the use of creative layouts, type and designs, these magazines are carving a new future for editorial design as an art form, distinguishing them from the mass of glossies swarming the magazine stalls, each looking like the other. The indie magazines are designed with an objective of being part of your shelves for a long time to come - true collectibles.

3. Advertisement free

Working in small teams, self-funded and with limited circulation these magazines are carving out a new culture, which focuses on building relationships with its readers and not selling products. Most indie publishers are working towards replacing advertising with sponsors allowing the content to remain independent and instead acknowledging the sponsors who supported the print of the issue in an unobtrusive design that blends with the rest of magazine, with infinite grace. Thus ensuring an uninterrupted reading experience. Magazines such as Offscreen and Works That Work are stellar examples of those who have adopted an advert free approach from the very beginning of their print cycle, and very successfully at that.

4. Easier to publish

As the debates rage on about the future of print publishing in light of the digital age that we live in, where everything is at your finger tips (literally), good print continues to thrive. Perhaps the reason is that print and digital are not mutually exclusive after all; in fact, the digital revolution has allowed the publishers of today to push their limits and challenge the norms. Like everything else, print, both as a medium and product, has evolved. The result is that technology has made the necessity of having big budgets to produce good work redundant. Today all you need is talent and passion to produce your work with the use of digital tools available widely. This ease of producing a magazine is giving rise to the number of people who wish to showcase their creative vision using print as their medium of choice.

5. Slow Journalism/ Slow Web

The web today though serves up news real fast, often rates being first above being right. As proponents of 'The Slow Web' and 'Slow Journalism', the indie magazines are giving an opportunity to people to step back from the sensory overload and multiple mayhem of the web and read investigative reporting, and thought-provoking long form features in a distraction-free environment. Delayed Gratification is a quarterly indie magazine published by The Slow Journalism Company and is a very strong case in point. A company that holds itself out, with pride, as being the 'Last to breaking news'.

Paper Planes brings the world to your doorstep with its International Indie Magazine Subscription service. Niche Independent Magazine Subscription services with competitive pricing and discounts to boot.