The Art of Breaking Free
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary.
Posted by Ryan Neal
The Art of Breaking Free
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal

As of today, and for the next 3 weeks, I am officially unavailable. No e-mail (I will check it randomly for emergencies since I will be overseas and won't have a phone), no twitter, no facebook.

Last month I asked for guest post submissions. Those will be posted for the next 3 Thursdays. I've also scheduled 3 more of my own articles for the next 3 Mondays.

This is NOT a digital sabbatical. I will have my computer with me. I will have my Kindle because I enjoy reading. I'm still going to go on Skype to call my Parents. :)

This is what we'll call Breaking The Pad: Experiencing Creativity By Fucking Up The Routine.

Why am I doing this?

After reading Chapter 9 (Relaxation) in Transcend I realized I need to break free from commitments, if only for a short while. My upcoming Roller Coaster Tour, while fun, will be very stressful. Lots of driving, lots of video taking, lots of logistics.
"Taking breaks from your routine works wonders when it comes to stress management." - Excerpt from Chapter 9 of Transcend.
In general, my level of stress is very low. I have enough money to do whatever I want, I have awesome friends, I put quality food into my body, this blog is thriving, and I'm almost always in a good mood. I actually like to say I live the most stress free life in the world. But I still have a routine and commitments.

It got me wondering. What would happen if I stepped away from the routine and the commitments for a short while?

Then I saw this video from Stefan Sagmeister called The Power of Time Off. Every 7 years he shuts down his design company and takes 1 year off to explore his creativity and anything else he desires.

I was a little bit envious when I first watched that video. "Wow, that is so cool. What a bad ass!"

Then I remembered: "Wait! I can do that! I have Ridiculously Extraordinary Freedom!"

When an opportunity came up to spend 3 weeks with old friends I had to take it. This wasn't an easy decision as I had a few other options. If you'll recall my Making Decisions article, this is the decision that I ultimately decided on (although I was much more vague in that article).

Does this mean I'm not working?

Yes and No. Much like Stefan, I'm going to do a lot of creative stuff.  A lot of writing and reading and singing and playing guitar and exploring and talking and not talking. The difference is I'll be on a 3 week rock tour of the UK with my friends The Swellers. (Note: I won't be playing with them, I'll just be hanging out on tour.) If you've been here since the early days you've probably already read my article about What It's Like To Tour With A Rock Band. That article also featured The Swellers when I toured with them for 3 weeks around the US in 2008.

We'll be hitting England, Scotland, and Ireland! I've never been to the UK so this will be a great time to explore and spend time with some of the most creative people I know.

Interestingly enough, it has been exactly 6 months since I arrived back on US soil. I almost can't believe I've been in the country that long.

Where am I headed?

  • 03.28 - Austin > Chicago > London
  • 03.29 - Oxford
  • 03.30 - Liverpool
  • 04.01 - Cork
  • 04.02 - Dublin
  • 04.03 - Belfast
  • 04.05 - Glasgow
  • 04.06 - Edinburgh
  • 04.07 - Newcastle
  • 04.08 - Manchester
  • 04.09 - Birmingham
  • 04.10 - Norwich
  • 04.12 - London
  • 04.13 - Bournemouth
  • 04.14 - Plymouth
  • 04.15 - Falmouth
  • 04.16 - Cardiff
  • 04.17 - Nottingham
  • 04.18 - London > Chicago
After we get into Chicago I'll head to Michigan, where I'll work on getting things finalized for when Roller Coaster Tour begins on May 21. :)

Meet Ups In The UK?

Probably not. Like I said, I won't be checking e-mail or twitter. And I won't be on my own schedule. If you want to come to a punk rock show then feel free. I'll be the tall guy hanging out somewhere. :)

Comment Moderation

I was unsure what to do about this, but I'm going to turn off comments on my articles and leave comments open for the guest articles that will appear for the next 3 Thursdays. I won't personally respond to any comments for 3 weeks.

It Won't Even Look Like I'm Gone

I'll be using Twuffer to schedule out my Tweets of articles and hopefully Facebook feed integration will work. :)

Thanks for being awesome. If you need to get in touch please wait until I'm back in the US, unless you're interested in sponsoring ;)


Of note: I decided to stop the one day per month Mind Control Method: Goal Setting For Smart People sale. It was a fun experiment, but too much work coordinating one day per month. So now Mind Control Method is available forever! To pick it up just click here.