How to travel happier, lighter and longer (in just 5 minutes)

Whether you’re a lifelong traveler, city break connoisseur, wannabe digital nomad, or a 2 week round the pooler, the art of minimalism can help you travel with more purpose, for a happier, more fulfilled experience.

What’s it all about?

We’ve always been taught that material possessions bring happiness and fulfillment. Brands scream out for our attention in the supermarket, we see and hear adverts all day long and we can pay for anything with our fingerprint.

The point is, it's pretty easy to find things to spend our money on, and our obsession with buying stuff means that we can eventually live in overly-cluttered environments which can begin to cause us stress that we’re totally unaware of.

And what does minimalism have to do with this?

The minimal mindset challenges this, helping us to clear space for a more purposeful and content life, which just so happens to be the sort of life that many are in search of when traveling…

Joshua Becker's The More of Less.

Joshua Becker's The More of Less.

…And that's where things get interesting. American Author Joshua Becker’s The More of Less looks into why we don't need so much stuff and makes the point that the life we wish to lead might be hiding under all of our belongings.

Now, we’re not asking you to throw away everything you own, but the idea of having less stuff is something that those of us with a touch of wanderlust are used to, so if there's a way of traveling happier and for longer, then it's definitely worth hearing about.

Here are our 3 top tips for travelers from The More of Less, a guide to traveling the world with a minimalist mindset, helping you move from border to border happier, lighter and for longer.

1. Put what you love first

Minimalism doesn't mean that you meditate all day, or that your house should look like something out of a Scandinavian design magazine. It’s about focusing on what you value, and removing the things that distract from this.

Think about what you love to do first and prepare for that... just don't get carried away.

Think about what you love to do first and prepare for that... just don't get carried away.

For example, If you’re a fitness-loving traveler, this might mean you always take your workout gear, no matter where you go. Focus on your love of fitness but don't let your love for something allow you to overpack for it. If you’re packing a protein supplement and four pairs of running trainers, there's a chance that you might be getting a bit carried away. The key takeaway here is that whatever you love, you should ensure you’ve got the essentials to do this while traveling. We can promise that by combining these two things, you’ll be a pretty happy bunny.

2. Set travel goals

Minimalism is about being happy, not restricting yourself to a strict number of possessions. Let's say your traveling goal for 2017 is to hike the Inca Trail. The minimalist approach is to think about how you can comfortably fit everything into your backpack and travel as light as possible.

Living as light as possible won’t necessarily help your life at home, or even when you’re traveling elsewhere, but it is perfect to help you achieve your dream of Macchu Picchu in the most comfortable and least exhausting way possible.

Pack with your goals in mind for a more comfortable trip (and spend less time re-packing your bag!)

Pack with your goals in mind for a more comfortable trip (and spend less time re-packing your bag!)

In short: by having a traveling goal, you can identify the essentials for each trip, helping you to apply a suitably minimal means of approaching things.

3. Be more aware of consumer culture

This one is a travel no-brainer… the more aware of consumer culture you are, the less you will spend on things that are unnecessary to your trip.

If you spend too much, you will be traveling for less time, and your time traveling could end up being a little more stressful if you’re constantly worrying about Euros, Baht or Yen.

It's easy to get sucked in by lovely adverts. Be aware of how unnecessary purchases might affect your travels.

It's easy to get sucked in by lovely adverts. Be aware of how unnecessary purchases might affect your travels.

Start by identifying the basic things you need to travel–such as security, maybe companionship, money and so on–and work out from there, being mindful to filter out the noise of consumerism that can hold us back. Of course, you have to enjoy yourself and get the most of your experience. This isn't about being tight, more aware of the fact that we don't always need everything we think we do.

To recap, Minimalism is about removing the things that hold you back from living the life you wish, which when applied to your travels makes for a happier, more fulfilled experience.

The reality is that we don't always think about how what we buy is going to make us happy. By focusing in on these things while you prepare to travel, we’re confident you will be set for your best trip yet.

If you practice owning less, you could be living more. It’s that simple. For more practical life insights, be sure to check out Joshua Becker’s The More of Less. We’ve just mentioned three little points from the book - there are many, many more enriching tips waiting to be discovered.

 

gomo learning - trial workflow 2.0

gomo learning is a Software as a Service (SaaS) tool, which means that marketing activity is 50% lead generation and 50% nurturing those leads onto and through a trial. I project managed the creation and implementation of a new trial workflow, as the original wasn't really having the impact it should. A good trial workflow isn't intrusive, gives users everything they need to get the most from the tool and gently keeps them in conversation with the tool.

The project

  1. liaising with senior gomo staff to gather requirements 
  2. analysing the existing workflow to work out which touch points were and weren't working
  3. Proposing new, refreshed trial with 6 touch points over the 21 day trial (and one to follow when trial projects are to be deleted)
  4. Crafting the content for 7 trial emails
  5. Creating a loose template and working with graphics to provide a thorough brief
  6. Providing a developer with the completed graphics to add some custom functionality outside of what our tool (Hubspot) was capable of.
  7. Implementing the new workflow.

The result

  1. Culturally, the workflow has helped the sales and marketing team work together. Now that the foundations are provided, we are now both working to add in 'how to' guides, analyse the effectiveness of each email and respond to user emails, when previously the trial workflow was a little bit forgotten about.
  2. A consistent 50% open rate of 'welcome' email + 15% clickthrough from email to tool (previously, I had found that there was no way of getting from the welcome email to the trial, which seemed a bit silly)
  3. The soft approach of 'simply reply to this email with any questions' throughout has given the team loads of great feedback and the opportunity for them to converse with trialists without cold calling.
  4. Increased trial conversion rate from 0.2% - 2.93% after three months.

LTG - Keyword research and implementation

I'm not entirely sure why, but SEO has never really been high priority for any of the LTG companies. I think that comes from a bad and expensive experience with an agency years ago, but it always struck me as a real weakness and area that held masses of potential in such a niche industry.

I took it upon myself to take on all SEO 'stuff' in a bid to try and improve things across each company. I had no experience with SEO or keyword research, so there was a lot of swatting up and learning on the job, but it's been great for my progression and understanding but also for my position within the team - I now bring another specialism to the table to use across projects to improve the overall performance of the team. 

What I'm working on

  • A redesigned gomo learning feature tour, based on keywords and split over 6 pages and not just one
  • A new LEO website structure based on favourable keywords
  • A more informed content strategy for gomo + LEO

I don't have any real results yet, but I'm confident things are moving in the right direction. It's definitely more of a cultural victory than anything else. Each website has pretty bad search visibility at the moment, but I'm looking forward to the day when each business will see real benefit from the foundations I'm currently laying.

gomo learning - E-learning Industry campaign

I project managed a campaign with an industry website, providing content (submitted under the name of gomo's MD) over 8 weeks leading towards a webinar focused around integrating devices into an organisation. It was good to get away from the corporate blog and use a very sizable platform to get the gomo message across.

The results

  • 660 webinar sign ups
  • just over 300 webinar attendees
  • backlinks to various parts of the gomo site
  • ongoing referral traffic and an inclusion in E-learning Industry's 'top tools' list, which is an informal but valued industry analysis. 

gomo learning - Devlearn 2015 targeted offer campaign

From a marketing perspective, the e-learning industry can be a bit dull. Organisation's need e-learning developing, they head to a few websites, send out a tender, go through a round of presentations and choose a company to partner with. It means a lot of marketing can be focused on stuff like case studies and credentials, which can get a little boring.

This campaign is a little different, though. I pitched an event exclusive offer for Software as a Service (SaaS) e-learning tool gomo learning, which has allowed me to get a little bit more creative. I strategised the campaign, implemented the various elements and managed the whole process. The aim of the project was to speed up the revenue return of event attendance, as it can sometimes take a year or so from meeting a lead for them to spend any money. The campaign was made up of...

  • Google Adwords - focused around various, very specific event terms, we're able to get a really low cost per click and be sure that the right people know about the offer.
  • Sponsored Tweets - focused around the event hashtag and followers of the event account, we again can hone in on the guys we want to target, letting them know about the offer and directing them to a page where they can find out how to take advantage of it.
  • PR - taking advantage of a couple of industry contacts, I've got a PR onto a major e-learning news website for the region the event is taking place (US) + another one on a training newswire service, going out to event attendees.
  • Print collateral - A card (pictured above) is given to anyone who visits the exhibition stand, that way we can be sure that only those who actually attended the event can take advantage of the offer.

ll of the 'noise' was very targeted, ensuring the right people pick the message up and giving them a reason to visit the stand beyond an event gimmick - it's a cold, hard cost saving. 

The campaign was moderately successful with 3 subscriptions ($1494) coming in the 2 week window we allocated for people to take advantage. We usually make no money back from an event until at least three months after an event, so it was definitely a victory which I hope can be refined for future events.

gomo learning - day to day marketing and management

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Aside from some of the more campaign-led stuff I do at LTG, I am responsible for all aspects of gomo learning's marketing. This brings a few things together...

Content marketing, SEO and keyword research, Wordpress maintenance, webinar promotion, Hubspot + Salesforce management, creating event materials, award submissions, social media and anything else that might need doing!

I bring in around 100 leads a month through content marketing, webinar promotion and social media and I'm always looking out for new avenues for to explore. I run the gomo learning blog, which is pitched at e-learning designers, teams and managers, with the aim of increasing webinar and trial sign ups through offering valuable content. Thorough keyword research has allowed me to target a load of nice and favourable keywords, with the long term aim improving and increasing search visibility and leads from organic traffic.

LEO - solving the leadership crisis campaign

Working with the Sales Director and Strategy team of LEO Learning, I was tasked with creating all content and securing webinar sign ups for a campaign promoting a business proposition around leadership. It was a little bit of a challenging campaign because there was very little budget available for webinar promotion as the campaign was set to end with a breakfast round table for HR Directors at a fancy place in London. I used the following methods to secure sign ups...

  • Email to current database
  • Paid tweets
  • Social Media
  • Homepage banner
  • Content marketing

     

The promotion was successful, securing a 101 sign ups in 3 weeks, filling our potential GoToWebinar seats, with 55% attending the webinar.

 

Webinar attendee rates are pretty difficult to guarantee, so I was keen to engage with sign ups on the run up to the webinar. The pieces of content shown above not only acted to drive new people onto the webinar but were drip fed to attendees as the weeks went by.

I'm currently working with the Sales Team and a content specialist on a White Paper, which will be a disruptive piece of industry commentary aimed at Director level. The plan is to hand this over to the sales team who will work their magic in order to secure senior sign ups to the breakfast round table, which is taking place in October 2015.

It's a little too early to tell the ROI of the overall campaign, although I am confident that the work done to generate initial leads and interest in the proposition puts the sales team in a great position to carry this forward.

UK Cabinet Office - Internal communications Mailchimp Campaign

As an offshoot of some technical infrastructure work for the UK Government undertaken by LEO Learning, the Cabinet Office needed a new way of emailing 450,000 Civil Servants every week. Since August 2014, I've been working directly with a Senior Communications Officer at the Cabinet Office to get their messages out using Mailchimp. 

This job is half Mailchimp use - building emails, segmenting lists, generating reports, analysing data - and half consultative, as the Cabinet Office aren't always sure of what they want or are trying to achieve. As a marketer with a good understanding of Mailchimp, it's my job to listen in to what they want to do and work (within the confines of Mailchimp) to make it happen.

I've worked to gain and maintain a great relationship with the Cabinet Office that helps me manage my workload accordingly but also gives them time to get the approval needed to send emails at this scale. This project has brought on my communication, time and client management skills massively. Learning when to ask why and when to say yes and (more importantly) no has not only helped them improve their mailings (A/B testing, efficient list segmentation, understanding Mailchimp's capabilities) but has stopped them from asking too much and calling me at all hours of the day, which was very common at the start of this project.

This is an ongoing and forever changing project as the work I have done for them opens up possibilities the Cabinet Office had not previously thought about. The Cabinet Office are now using these emails as a means of securing event signs ups and see much more importance in these kind of internal comms than previous, when it was a weekly email for weekly emails sake.