Boring indoor workouts because you are old? No, I don't think so!

So I was watching TV and an infomercial came on for a workout video. The woman selling it said something like "As a woman approaching age 50 I wanted a workout that was low-impact, that doesn't pound on my joints."

And she goes on to explain how this indoor TV workout was low-impact and could help her get into shape. It was this boring-looking workout where you stand in one place in your living room and sort of flail your limbs around -- not even dancing -- but sort of like dancing without the grace and breath work. Basically soft-land aerobics for Baby Boomers.

Ug. This makes me sad and a little mad that people think because you are "older" you have to do a boring workout to save your joints. That you have to workout inside. That you have to work out while watching a screen -- something most Americans already do hours of every day.

Hello. It is never interesting to workout inside to a DVD unless you have a CONSTANT, EVER-CHANGING stream of workout DVDs. Which is expensive, wasteful, and is basically the business model of a large fitness company that shall go unnamed for the time being. Also, don't you want to leave your living room once in a while?

There's a simple workout that gets you outside, that is low impact, and that dramatically increases your mobility, cardio fitness, balance, and strength. It's ideal for men and women who don't want the pounding on their joints that comes with many exercise activities. What's more, it's fun for all ages.

This workout helps you:

  • Get your vitamin D
  • Experience nature
  • Save your joints

It's called riding a bike. But not an old-fashioned bicycle. A new bicycle designed to be easy on the joints, pain-free, and made for joy cycling: A Cruzbike.

On Cruzbike: I sell very few products (I'm a minimalist after all) but Cruzbikes are one of those things set to change the world.  It take these things to change the world:

  • Imagination
  • Creativity
  • Partnership
  • Gratitude
  • Confidence

Especially if you want to change the world while feeling joyful and whole. And Cruzbike as a company has applied all of the above and more. 

Remember this today: With gratitude, you can create beyond what you can imagine.

Cruzbike's Kickstarter Campaign raising over $100,000 in 48 hours was beyond what I imagined. And we are still raising money to change the world through pain-free cycling. I went for a bike ride yesterday on my Cruzbike T50 (production model) and it was such a pleasure to ride. Never before has exercise been so fun and so helpful in terms of meeting my many other goals. I explored our new town, got my vitamin D/sunshine dose, rode to a coffee shop and got some work done, and visited a nail salon. Oh, and I got a workout in that burned calories and made my muscles lean and strong. Each time I ride I feel stronger and healthier. I make better choices about how I treat my body including what I eat.

It's not every day something comes along that can so clearly help you be #simplyhealthy. It's so important to discover what is essential for you to be healthy and feel whole and content. For me, finding a low-impact, fun, easy, healthy workout that doubles as a way to run errands, sunbathe, and explore new places? Amazing. It's like checking off my whole to-do list with one bike.

You're invited to check out the Cruzbike T50 Kickstarter campaign here. Go ahead and join the #Cruzbiketribe. We'd love to have you!

Textures and Details

Detail on a Jordanian kafiya. One benefit of simple living is the space it allows me to appreciate and create instances of detail, texture, and beauty moment-to-moment. I've been collecting close-ups in the form of photographs lately. Here are a few of them.

A doodle of mine.

Some will say that art, or creation, thrives in a state of chaos. Envision the stereotype of the studio piled high with canvasses filled and empty, paint brushes, scattered fruit. See the cliche of the writer behind her desk, hidden from view by books, pages, and files stacked high.

The edge of the moon viewed through a telescope on July 28, 2015.

I find that controlled chaos, or what I prefer to think of as curated or chosen chaos, is helpful for making connections that wouldn't be made otherwise, like how crashing into into someone at a packed party might help you meet a friend you would've otherwise never met.

I like chosen chaos for a certain stage in the creative process, the time when you are well into a project, deep in the jungle of it.

Detail on a pillowcase embroidered by a Palestinian artisan.

But, and here's how minimalism helps my creativity bloom, I like to start with a blank slate. My mind needs calm, an empty room, metaphorically and sometimes literally, to gain the deep serenity from which ideas arise.

If you never allow yourself the time to clean, clear, declutter, forgive, and take out the trash, traffic backs up, and with it the exhaust fumes of writer's block, burnout, procrastination, and distraction.

As scary as a blank canvas or empty page can be, you do need it to create something new.

One of my writing projects became the Simple Living Toolkit, which aims to help people reap a more joyful life by embracing minimalism. You can check it out here. Announcement

Most of my posts about simple living are now part of the Simple Living Toolkit email series which you can get by signing up at The free email series kicks off with the 10-Day Decluttering Challenge, which is what is sounds like: an email a day for 10 days, each with one simple task to help you declutter for more joy. After that, you'll get a weekly email advice article from me to help you maintain your joyful minimalist lifestyle.

This new website will help me better serve those of you interested exclusively in minimalism, which has sometimes been a topic here. I list some great free resources on the site, and my books and courses on minimalist living will be available for purchase there as well.

Packing Lust will continue to be a place where I blog on travel, packing lists, minimalism, the writing life, and my personal/family life. However, most of my writing about simple living and minimalism is part of the free email series over at

Questions? Put 'em in the comments and I'll answer them there too.

Cheap Travel and Skipping the Souvenir Trap

Souvenirs Two travel tips for you today:

Save by Planning Ahead

According to a Wall Street Journal article published October 23, 2014, the best day of the week to buy a plane ticket is now Sunday, when prices tend to be lower. According to the Airlines Reporting Corp, you'll find the lowest price for a domestic ticket 57 days before departure, while you'll want to purchase your ticket for an international flight 171 days before departure for the best price.  Those are specific numbers. You win by being an above-average planner and counting back from your intended trip dates to get your ticket on the cheapest day.

 Avoid Schlepping Extra Stuff

I love this tip from one of my international traveler friends. She suggests taking pictures of souvenirs instead of buying them. Next time you're shopping abroad, pause before you hand over your cash. Take a picture instead. I snapped the top photo in a crazy flea market in Hollywood, California.  This photo reminds me of the visit and takes up less space in my home than if I'd brought home one of those carafes, kettles, or bowling pins.

If you buy souvenirs as gifts, instead have someone take a nice photo of you standing in front of a landmark and give that away instead.

For more simple living tips, visit