Ever wish that your life was simple, your tasks streamlined, your schedule open, or your mind clear? Yeah, me too. When Tsh Oxenreider’s book, Notes from a Blue Bike, came to my attention I couldn’t wait to read it. As the author of the blog ‘the art of simple’ I knew she would have wisdom to share on subjects I struggle with. She won bonus points for the subtitle of the book which read, ‘The art of living intentionally in a chaotic world’. Intentional is my theme word for this year and I want more than anything to live simple. My world, however, can get chaotic, quick!
After living overseas with her family in Turkey, Tsh’s return to the US was startling. Her life in Turkey included milk delivered to her door, full days with friends without planning it or checking the time, and walking to the local store when she needed one more ingredient for dinner. Now, back in the US, she couldn’t believe how hectic people’s lives were and the expectations that were immediately placed on her to jump back in, enroll her kids in extracurriculars, and schedule every moment of her day.
Having just returned myself from some time in the Dominican Republic, I immediately related. I went seven days without my cell phone and I never even missed it! I didn’t once wish I could text, tweet, e-mail, or even blog about my time – I was fully present! So how is it that landing in the Miami airport saw me pulling out my iphone, powering it up, and tackling 300 e-mails before I landed back in my home city of Tampa? How could I keep that fully alive feeling in my busy Tampa life?
What if we took back the control? What if we dictated our own expectations and allotted our own time? What if we stopped letting everyone else tell us what we need on our plate?
I loved reading as Tsh asked these questions and contrasted the simplicity of life overseas with the chaos of our American lives. Personally, I would have enjoyed it if she spent more time on was ‘how to’ of living more intentionally simplistic. While she did address that towards the end of the book it was the section I was hungriest for and I thought it got the least attention. I was hoping for more of a guide to simple living and this book was geared more towards why we should want to simplify and stories about her own experiences.
Notes from a Blue Bike was termed ‘part memoir, part travelogue, and part practical guide’. This is a perfect description. I loved her talk about travel and how intentionally she planned for taking her family (or sometimes just her husband) to explore new lands. I share this love of travel and I always appreciate those who don’t make time or money an excuse.
Tsh’s practical, honest approach to tackling life is refreshing and inspiring. If you’re asking yourself if it’s possible to slow down and truly live, this is a great book to add to your summer reading list. I will warn you though, Tsh may just stir the urge in you to live overseas – she sure did for me!