Can you make it a habit to be a good partner? Are there such things as “good relationship habits”? (I can hear you being skeptical from all the way over here.) You might be sick of hearing me talk about habits by now (not stopping anytime soon!), but I truly believe that they’re one of the secrets to a life well-lived. Studies vary, but psychologists and neurologists estimate that between 40 and 95% of what we do every day is habitualized – including how we interact with our partners. So it stands to reason that building even one good relationship habit (or breaking a bad one), could have a big impact on your relationship. If you’re not sure where to start, read on!
What’d you get up to last week, friends? We hosted friends for brunch yesterday, but – honestly – it’s been pretty much just de-icing and shoveling and rescheduling plans due to ice and snow all week. Ooof!
Links for you:
Are we improving ourselves to death? Many are psychologists with impressive academic pedigrees and a commitment to scientific methodologies, or tech entrepreneurs with enviable records of success in life and business. What they’re selling is metrics. It’s no longer enough to imagine our way to a better state of body or mind. We must now chart our progress, count our steps, log our sleep rhythms, tweak our diets, record our negative thoughts—then analyze the data, recalibrate, and repeat.
“I definitely feel like I’m spending more than I should on things I probably don’t need,” Melissa says. “I feel like I come up with excuses to buy things when I could just as easily do something more productive, like creative writing, working out. I used to indulge a lot more before I had to pay rent and before my credit cards had to be canceled (by me, voluntarily). But I’m still living beyond my means.”
Though she has a decent enough salary to make her rent, rent is a huge chunk of her income, and her Amazon habit means she still turns to her parents for money. Because they never come to collect, they inadvertently end up footing the bill. That leads to arguments, and she sometimes hides purchases from them.
“Zero waste travel? That sounds … joyless,” my friend teases as we pick at a pile of nachos.
“It really does, doesn’t it?” I laugh. When I first started thinking about my carbon footprint and how much waste I produce while traveling I pictured myself eating lentils out of a mason jar, while waiting for the subway.
Not relaxing, not lovely, not very, uh, vacation-y.
But as I started to tweak and test and I discovered that – counter-intuitive and unlikely as it sounds – I actually enjoyed my trips more when I did these things.
I got through security at the airport faster, I had more conversations with locals + more picnics in the park, and I was less likely to spill coffee or leftovers all over my bag. (A surprisingly and frustratingly common occurrence.)
9 Zero Waste Travel Tips That Won’t Suck The Joy Out Of Your Trip
A giant asterisk: None of us are perfect and most things we do have SOME impact on the environment. I don’t want your trip to be a hard, boring slog of eating sandwiches while walking in the rain and denying yourself any joy or convenience.
Try one or two of these things! Do what’s easiest for you. And if you try something and it sucks the joy right out of your trip, don’t do it again. Try something else. Eat the fish and spit out the bones. (Ya know, like metaphorically.)
I’m not suggesting we give up flying completely – that’s simply not an option for a lot of people. But when we’re thinking about travel in general (rather than a trip to a specific place, for a specific reason), what if we at least considered a road trip? What if we at least opened the Amtrak tab and scrolled around for five minutes?
As a side note, I like road trips a million times better than air travel. I like being able to pull over whenever I want, explore anything I see, and take the scenic route.
Also: road trips down require me to take off my shoes, belt, scarf, and jewelry while a stranger pats me down.
Some of my favorite travel memories involve public transport in other countries – watching people climb on top of the buses in southern Nepal, sharing snacks with my train-car mates in India, making conversation in my terrible Spanish on the bus in Costa Rica.
Public transport gives you insights into ‘real life’ at your travel destination. It also happens to be cheaper and better for the environment than taking taxis everywhere.
Most major western cities have bike sharing programs and it wouldn’t be a visit to the Netherlands if you didn’t take part in their bike culture.
And, of course, walking creates zero emissions, is good exercise, and allows you to explore a city slowly enough that you discover hidden gems. When I was in Costa Rica a few weeks ago, my friend and I stumbled across this cemetery as we were poking around San Jose. It’s one of my favorite memories of the whole trip!
Download the City Bike app to see where you can pick up and drop off bikes or check out these apps that help you find walking tours of cities all over the world.
Airbnb and vacation rentals aren’t perfect – nothing is. But from an environmental impact standpoint, they’re a jillion times better than hotels. Think of all those empty hotel rooms being heated and cooled, those hallways with the lights on all night, and the constant washing of sheets and towels, often after one use.
Besides, you get more for your tourism dollar in a vacation rental, it’s easier to stay in a ‘real’ neighborhood, and you often have a kitchen so you can make a few meals in-house and save $$$. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s $40 towards your first booking!
And if you’re thinking, “That sure seems like an annoying hassle, Sarah,” I get it!
You know what I hate more than the hassle of packing this extra stuff? I hate carrying my delicious restaurant leftovers in my hands for an hour because the Styrofoam clamshell they gave me isn’t watertight, so if I put it in my bag it’ll leak pasta all over.
I don’t like drinking coffee out of little paper cups that burn my hand and don’t keep my coffee warm. I hate eating takeout with a tiny plastic fork that breaks when I use it on a piece of apple.
So, yes, bringing these things is better for the environment but, selfishly, they’re better for me. They keep my coffee warm longer. They let me put my leftovers in my bag and forget about them. They make my picnic nicer and my trip to the picturesque street market more enjoyable.
9. Forget about that dang 3 ounce rule!
Three ounces of shampoo and conditioner is not going to get you through your two week trip. Shampoo and conditioner bars create less waste, last much longer than their liquid counterparts, and don’t count towards that three-once rule. More space in your one-gallon ziplock for other awesome, liquid things!
What’d you get up to this week, friends? Unsurprisingly, I stayed inside for 99% of it – Minneapolis is NOT screwing around with these temperatures. I’m working through Bank Boost alongside my students and as part of my Earning Spree took on tonnnnns of work. Which is exciting! And means I’m working all the time!
When Jen’s email pings into my inbox, my first reaction is to lean back and squint. I’ve asked Jen for feedback on the course she just took and I’m expecting/hoping for a few kind words, some constructive criticism, and maybe some hard numbers if she’s willing to share them. Some numbers in the low four figures. That’s what I was expecting. Instead, Jen told me that my course had given her the courage to negotiate a €12,000 raise. That’s almost $14,000 for us Yanks! Whaaaaaaaat?! And while I am, of course, happy that Bank Boost nudged Jen to negotiate for a bigger salary, the truth is this: Jen got what she wanted because she asked for it. There are a million blog posts bouncing around the internet that tell us how to reach goals, manifest our dreams, and change our habits. (I know this because I write a lot of those blog posts.) Many of these blog posts walk us through the art of getting clear on what we want, breaking our goals into teeny, tiny steps, and working towards what we want on a consistent basis. And these are all important parts of getting what we want. But. None of that means anything if we’re not willing to ask for it. Let's say you want to get into an amazing party. Breaking goals into little pieces is walking up the sidewalk, asking for what you want is knocking on the door. Click To Tweet
I returned last night from two weeks in Costa Rica – week one was hosting a retreat for Fit & Fly Girl, week two was poking around San Jose and its surrounds with my friend Meredith.
Here’s my totally unsolicited San Jose itinerary + tips for you!
Use Uber rather than deal with taxis. You won’t get ripped off or have to haggle prices and you can ‘share’ your ride with people at home if anyone’s nervous about your safety. (At home I prefer Lyft, but it’s not really available in San Jose.)
Stay in the city rather than the suburbs! San Jose super walkable and easy to get around. We stayed right in the heart of downtown, but Barrio Amon is beautiful, walkable, and a bit quieter. If I could do it again, I’d stay here!
If you’re up for it, rent a car so you can take day trips out of the city. You’ll have to get insurance (your American car insurance won’t cover you here), but even with full coverage, it shouldn’t be more than $30 a day. We loved having the freedom to go where ever we wanted.
Attempt the Tres Cruses hike. It’s sort of terrifyingly steep, but even if you just do the first half, you’ll get some amazing views and exercise.
Visit the Toucan Rescue Ranch. Their Sloths & Coffee tour is $60 per person but ABSOLUTELY WORTH EVERY PENNY. You’ll see your fill of sloths and toucans, as well as an ocelot, an oncilla (the world’s smallest jungle cat!!), and an animal I can only call ‘a tree otter.’ Also, the ranch is a rehabilitation center not a zoo, so you can rest easy knowing that your money is supporting a great cause.
Head to volcano Irazu, 1.5 hours outside San Jose. Take a million photos of the lake inside the crater and all the clouds you’re above. Bring a picnic or stop at one of the restaurants on the way up. On your way back to San Jose, stop in Cartago and see the basilica and the Santiago Apóstol Parish Ruins – an unfinished church that’s now a public park.
Drive southwest and check out the beaches of Jaco. We liked Playa Mantas and Playa Blanca (which are technically connected to each other at low tide.) On your way to Jaco, stop at Crocodile Bridge to see 15 giant, wild crocodiles sunning themselves in the river below this overpass. After a day at the beach, check out the sunset from El Miro – the ruins of an old restaurant, now covered in graffiti – a great place to watch the sunset.
In San Jose proper, we loved all the street art, the amazing bakeries, the corner fruit vendors, and the wild parrots that (noisily) congregated in the parks. The National Theater is gooooorgeous and if it wasn’t their off-season, we’d totally have sprung for tickets to a show. We stumbled onto Cementerio de Obreros and loved exploring it.
This is SUCH a great idea if you need design input on your home without the traditional interior designer price tag!
The last curious man: My wife came home one day, and she said, “Look. There’s a really nice woman at the newspaper. Her son is a writer. She wanted you to take a look at his work,” which seemed…adorable, right? A mother’s ambition for a son. I took this manuscript out of its yellow envelope, not expecting much. I started to read. It was about a young cook, working at a pretty average steak-and-frites place on lower Park Avenue. I called this guy up on the phone. He answered it in his kitchen. I said, “I’d like to publish this work of yours in The New Yorker. I hope that’s okay.” That was the beginning of Anthony Bourdain being published. I don’t know if there’s any way to put this other than to say he invented himself as a writer, as a public personality. It was all there.
A family in six acts. My mother-in-law throws a party. There are grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, and the next generation of cousins, a phalanx: eager voices and strange, improvised games. I drink a whiskey in the back garden. The adults discuss every Californian’s favorite topic: the route they took to drive there. It’s all novelty to me, the continuity of grown-up cousins and young cousins. The day grows cool. We cannot find my younger son. I usually know just where he is: attached to me. There is panic. He’s discovered, in his aunt’s bed, content and watching cartoons, wholly at home among his people.
Hope you had a lovely week! I’m excited to get back to my routine and write some great things for you!
I believe that everyone and everything is interesting. You too? Let’s be friends!
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