Browsed by
Author: E. Harrison

The 5 Best Ways to Learn to Play Guitar

The 5 Best Ways to Learn to Play Guitar

Has that dusty guitar been sitting in your attic for years? Or has it been standing in the corner of your living room as a tasteful decoration? Maybe hanging on your wall?

Or maybe you just heard Steve Vai for the first time. Or Jimi Hendrix. And you went out and bought a brand spankin’ new guitar. You couldn’t resist.

Regardless of how you got here, this much is clear – it’s time to learn to play guitar.

But how exactly do you get started?

Luckily there are a number of ways to learn a new instrument and some great options for all of you aspiring rock-and-rollers out there.

Below are the absolute best ways to learn the instrument and to begin your journey to become the next Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai, Tony Rice, Django Reinhardt, or Eric Clapton.

1. Take Private Lessons

solo-guitar-player

One of the most popular ways to learn any instrument is to take private lessons. Private lessons are a great option since they will allow you to have guidance every step of the way. You’ll get specialized attention and will be able to progress at your own pace.

If you’re someone who can’t be motivated to teach yourself, then the steadiness and structure of private lessons will likely be great for you.

One drawback however is that private lessons are also one of the more expensive ways to learn. If you can’t afford to spend money on lessons each week, then continue reading on for some cheaper alternatives.

2. Take a Class

Similar to private lessons, taking a full-fledged group class is another great possibility. Although not as common as private lessons, classes will be considerably cheaper since you will be sharing the cost with other students.

Many community colleges offer continuing education classes for beginning guitar players, as do some larger music lesson studios.

The drawback with group classes however is that you may not get as much individualized feedback and direction as you would in a private lesson.

3. Book Learning

learn-to-play-guitar

In private lessons or in a classroom setting, you’ll likely be using a guitar lesson book such as the Hal Leonard Guitar Method series. So why not cut out the middleman and simply purchase the book?

A guitar method book will take you step by step and give you a well-rounded education, teaching you how to read music notation and tablature, and how to play basic chords.

If you have the dedication and drive, using books and teaching yourself in this way may be just right for you. It’s also a cheap alternative to a more formal education.

4. Youtube

Another great (and cheap) way to learn to play guitar is by using Youtube. Youtube is one of the best modern luxuries we have for learning pretty much anything, including guitar. Simply search for “guitar lessons” on the site and a nearly endless string of results will appear.

For the visual learners out there, Youtube is great and will allow you to see exactly how various notes and techniques are played as your virtual instructor or instructors walk you through their lessons step by step.

5. Other Internet Resources

Although Youtube is one of the best websites for learning a new instrument, don’t forget that there’s a whole World Wide Web out there. A simple Google search will deliver an abundance of online guitar websites, each featuring articles and lessons that will help you learn the instrument.

Websites such as Ultimate-Guitar.com have lessons, articles, chord charts, and guitar tabs that will allow you to study the instrument and learn songs by your favorite artists – all without spending a dime.


It’s easy to see that there are plenty of options and methods for learning to play guitar, but remember that you don’t have to pick just one. By combining some of the methods above, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can learn to play guitar.

Take a private lesson and then go home and build on what you’ve learned by browsing guitar lessons on the internet. Learn a new technique in a guitar method book and then watch a Youtube video to get the full visual. The possibilities are endless.

Now you know how to get started. So stop reading, grab that guitar, and get to playing!

9 Great Quotes (and Lessons) About Failure

9 Great Quotes (and Lessons) About Failure

When the going gets tough, it’s tough to keep going. Whether we’re just going through our everyday lives or we’re trying to accomplish something specific, failure and adversity often arise to make us question ourselves and the path that we’re on.

Sometimes the best choice is to re-evaluate and change our path, but other times the best choice is to simply push forward through the BS and prove all the naysayers, haters, and non-believers wrong.

And for those times that we do fail or come up short, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Failure is not the great enemy that it is sometimes made out to be, but instead a tool and a necessity in life.

Here are 15 quotes about failure that are worth remembering when things get hard.

1. Bounce Back and Correct Course

true-measure-of-success-quote-stephen-richards

“The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.” – Stephen Richards

Failure is simply a fact of life, and the most successful people know and accept that it is something that is bound to happen. When we fail, it doesn’t mean that the game is over. It’s simply time to take a breather. Each time we fail, we simply need to accept it, correct course, and then continue on.

2. Set Your Goals High

James-Cameron-quote-set-goals-ridiculously-high-e1466558594769

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success” – James Cameron

Everyone has goals and everyone has failures, so why not add them into the plan? If you set an amazing goal and you only make it halfway to where you want to be, you’ll still have gone pretty far. If you accept that failure is inevitable, and plan for it, you’re bound to accomplish great things.

3. Find Out What Doesn’t Work

thomas-edison-quote-10000-ways-e1466559377521

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Although it’s hard to see it sometimes, every failure is a lesson, simply a sign that you’re on the right track. Nobody gets it right on the first try. See your failures as new information, use them as stepping stones, and then continue forward.

4. Nothing Is Permanent

Charlie-Chaplin-troubles-quote

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.” – Charlie Chaplin

Failures only really stop us from moving forward when we let them. There are very few things that humans can’t overcome. Although our minds like to play tricks on us and make us believe that whatever situation we’re in is bound to stick, it’s simply not true. We all have the ability to change, to grow, and to overcome obstacles.

5. Be Persistent

dale-carnegie-important-things-in-the-world-quote-1

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie

Sometimes the best course of action is to simply keep pushing forward, even when you’re not seeing the fruits of you labor. Results don’t always come immediately, but sometimes after a long time of pushing blindly forward. Sometimes what it takes is a mixture of persistence and faith.

6. Focus On The Positive

being-happy-imperfections-quote-e1466561919232

“Being happy doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It just means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections”  K.B. Indiana

Sometimes the best thing to do when facing problems is to simply look past them and get on with your day. Happiness comes by accepting the problems we have, continuing to walk forward after we stumble, and seeing the big picture.

7. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others

the-person-you-were-yesterday-quote

“The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” -Unknown

Unfortunately, many of us constantly compare ourselves to others. It’s pretty pointless since our minds are always very selective about who we compare ourselves to. No matter who you are, you have things worse than some people and you have things better than other people. The better thing to do is to just compare yourself to yourself.

8. Failure Can Lead To Better Opportunities

marilyn-monroe-things-fall-together-quote

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe

The truth is, we can’t always see what’s on the horizon in our lives, and usually, we don’t. When we’ve failed at something or when things haven’t gone our way, it doesn’t automatically mean that it’s a bad thing. When one door closes, another door opens.

9. Recognize That Failure And Success Are Not Opposites

michael-jordan-failure-quote

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

Failure teaches us more than inaction ever will. The most successful people don’t succeed because of brilliance, talent, or skill. They succeed because they have failed and learned from their failures. They succeed not in spite of their failure, but because of it.


What else do you like to keep in mind about failure in life? Anything you would like to add?

Let me know in the comments below.

The Best Ways to Learn a New Language

The Best Ways to Learn a New Language

latin-man-300x225I was really terrible at Spanish in high school. My grades were pretty bad throughout the year and I thought that I would never be able to learn a new language. I had nightmares about “conjugating” verbs. My teacher even suggested that I avoid taking Spanish classes once I got to college. I just barely made it out alive…

Luckily, things have changed a lot since then. I’ve gained a lot more motivation, a lot more interest in other cultures, and I’m starting have a pretty decent understanding of Spanish. I’ve also started learning the basics of German and French, and am genuinely enjoying it.

If you’re like me and were pretty clueless in high school, don’t worry!

There are a lot of great ways out there to either start learning a new language or to refresh your existing knowledge, and most of them are actually pretty enjoyable.

Make It Into A Game Using Duolingo

Japanese-geisha-1024x524

This is probably my favorite way to learn a new language and it’s also one of the most fun. Duolingo makes learning languages into a game and you “level up” as you learn more and more. The courses are broken up into manageable lessons in which you translate sentences, transcribe what you hear, and speak phrases into the microphone.

The ability to access Duolingo for free on iOS, Android, or on the web also makes it extremely easy to get started on. It’s a breeze to chip away at languages whenever you’re bored or have a few minutes of downtime.

Spice Up Your Commute With Pimsleur Audio Programs

car-in-commute-300x199Pimsleur audio programs have been around for quite a while and are a great way to learn a new language. In addition to software-based courses, some of the most popular offerings by the company are its audio programs. The audio programs come in a ton of different languages and are a great choice for people with long commutes. Why not be productive while sitting in traffic?

The audio courses guide you through spoken conversations while telling you how to respond and allowing you a chance to reply out loud. Because of that, it’s a great choice for anybody who actually needs to learn to speak a language, rather than just being able to read it or understand it.

Another great thing is that many local libraries have Pimsleur audio courses, so it’s pretty easy to just go grab one and get started for free.

Learn a New Language With Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone software is very similar to Duolingo but instead of relying on text to teach you new words it is a much more visual course. Rosetta Stone immerses you in your chosen language and teaches you through context and visual information. It’s very similar to the way children and infants learn to speak.

I’ve only experimented with Rosetta Stone during brief stints, but I actually like it a lot more than Duolingo. It can’t compete with the price of Duolingo however, as most of the courses cost around $200.

Watch Foreign Television

wild-television-set-1024x683

Of course, one common way to learn a new language  is to immerse yourself in it by watching TV shows or movies. It’s amazing what you can understand and what words you can figure out just by seeing the context of the words and watching body language.

If you want to make the most out of this you might want to start with subtitles in your own language at first, then start watching with the native subtitles, and then take the subtitles off completely.

Also, I’ve heard of people learning completely from this method, but in my opinion this is probably serves better as a supplement to a more structured language course.

After reading this article on Fluentu.com I’ve started watching the Spanish version of a show called Extr@ on Youtube.  If you search for it on Google you can also find live television streams from around the world, like the one for the Mexican Travel Channel.

Visit a New Place

hamburg-1024x678

You could also be really brave and go for TOTAL immersion. Simply visit a place where they speak the language you would like to learn, and go. Learn how to order food, ask for directions, and get to know the locals.

This method is definitely not easy, but many people pull this off. Many people travel through, or even move to new countries without the slightest knowledge of the language.

You can do a lot more than you may think with body language alone, but immersing yourself like this can really force you into understanding a new language in a pretty intense way.

You don’t necessarily have to leave the country to do this, though. You could also try going to a more diverse part of your own city and throwing yourself into a few conversations. If your city has a Chinatown or a section with a lot of Latino businesses, for example, maybe try taking a little mini-vacation and start practicing.

Take a Class

globe-classroom-1024x730

You can also go the more traditional route by taking a class on the language of your choosing. If you’re currently in college or high school, you have plenty of options to learn a new language. But if you’re out of school, there are still some options.

Many colleges offer continuing education courses devoted to learning the basics of a new language. You can probably find other basic language classes offered in your community as well, if you search for them. There are also plenty of online courses to choose from.

Join a Foreign Language Club or Group

France-eiffel-tower-e1465620777892-300x300

Another great way to learn a new language, or to practice one, is to join a foreign language group in your area. If you’re in college you can look for a club focused on the language you would like to learn.

Otherwise, you can try Google and look for foreign language groups in your city. There are also many Meetup groups that meet specifically to practice language skills and are great for getting some practical experience.


So those are some of my best ideas for learning a new language or two. Of course, I think the best way of all is to do more than one of the above. Personally, I still have a lot to learn, but I’m trying to add more of these methods into my life so that the languages I’m learning will become second nature to me.

What do you think? Did I miss anything?

If so, feel free to leave me a comment down below.

Small Instruments for Musicians Who Love to Travel

Small Instruments for Musicians Who Love to Travel

beach-musician-300x199Backpacking with a large instrument like a guitar, a keyboard, a bass guitar, a tuba, or heck, a cello, can be difficult. Although guitars are fairly portable, they can still be a bit too bulky for the constant traveler. Luckily, there are many small instruments that are perfectly travel-sized and ready for any journey. Not only that, many of them are also super cool in their own right.

I’m preparing to take some trips of my own over the next few months and although I’m pretty darn sentimental about my guitar, I’ve decided to leave it behind for now and track down a small instrument to call my new best friend.

This is a great list for guitar players who are looking to scale down, but it’s also worth a look for other musicians who are looking for a more portable option. A lot of skills transfer over between instruments, so don’t be afraid. Many instruments can be easier to learn than you may think.

Whether you’re brand new to music and looking to learn an instrument for the very first time, or you’re looking to travel light while doing some street performing, or you just want to jam with your many hostel-mates and Couchsurfing hosts, one of the below instruments may just be the perfect fit for you.

Ukulele

The King of Small Instruments

ukulele-small-instrument-1024x768

The ukulele is one of the smallest stringed instruments out there, and is great for traveling musicians who want to carry light. Many ukuleles are also available at great prices, many for under $50. On the other hand, if you’re a singer/songwriter who is accustomed to singing emotional ballads you might have some adjusting to do. It’s pretty difficult to make any song sound too sad when the ukulele is backing you up.

Mandolin

The Folk-Lovers Ukulele on Steroids

The mandolin is another small instrument that’s a great choice for travelers, especially if you’re into folk music. The instrument has one of the most unique sounds you’ve heard and works great as a solo instrument or as accompaniment for your voice. Compared to the ukulele, the mandolin has a lot of versatility and can create a much more diverse array of sounds.

Harmonica

The Classic Travelers Sidekick

man-with-harmonica-small-instruments-1024x681

If you don’t have any interest in singing while playing, then the harmonica is a great choice for you. It’s also probably the easiest small instrument to carry around. On the cheaper side you can get a harmonica for under $10, but if you’re looking for something that’s higher quality you’ll probably want to go with something like the Hohner Marine Band harmonica.  The only drawback is that you’ll need different harmonicas for different keys, which can become an issue if you want to do a lot of jamming with your hostel-mates or anyone you meet on the road.

Melodica

A Piano Lover’s Strange Mistress

The melodica is a little less well-known, but is a really cool sounding instrument that kind of sounds like a cross between a harmonica and an accordion. This also happens to be one of the best small instruments for piano players who want to keep playing while on the road. Believe me, it’s going to be a heck of a lot better than carrying a keyboard, or god forbid, a piano around.

Violin/Fiddle

For the Cultured Professional

violinist-small-instrument-1024x684

Depending on how you play it, you may either call this a violin or a fiddle, but regardless, there’s no denying that it can be one of the most beautiful sounding instruments in the world when in the hand of an expert. However it can also be one of the most terrible sounding if you’re not quite up to par. The learning curve for this instrument is a bit higher than many of the others on this list,  but if you’re up to the task, a violin (or fiddle) may be a great small instrument to carry around with you while you trot around the globe.

Backpacker Guitar

For Guitarists Resistant to Change

beach-musicians-small-instruments-1024x683

If you’re a guitarist and REALLY can’t stand to leave your guitar behind, you do have the option of getting a Martin backpacker guitar. They’re portable, lightweight, and a perfect way to get your guitar playing fix while on the road. Although truth be told, they are a little funny looking.


How have you guys dealt with carrying instruments while traveling? Any tips, methods, or interesting small instruments that you would like to share with the class?

Let me know in the comments below.

Rejection: The Clear Sign That You’re Not Being Lazy

Rejection: The Clear Sign That You’re Not Being Lazy

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Elbert Hubbard

Rejection hurts.

man-laying-in-grass-e1464469780886-300x204

Whether it’s in dating, work, social situations, or any other part of life, this much is clear: nobody likes getting rejected. It bruises the ego, it makes you feel unworthy, and it just sucks.

Yet… I’m starting to realize that getting rejected is an essential part of an interesting and active life. It definitely hasn’t been easy for me, but over time I’ve started to think about rejection as a very good thing.

When Do You Get Rejected?

brooding-man-1024x683

Think about it. There are only a few select situations in life where we face rejection. We get rejected when:

  1. We’re taking chances
  2. We’re trying new things
  3. We’re pushing past our comfort zones
  4. There is opportunity for a reward
  5. We’re facing our fears

Rejection Means We’re Trying to Achieve Something.

bicycle-on-bridge-1024x683

The possibility of a rejection only arises when there is a chance that we could fail. And where there’s a chance to fail, there’s also a chance at winning.

If you’re asking someone out on a date, they could reject you. But they could also say “Yes.”

If you’re asking your boss for a raise, they could reject you. Or they could also say “How much?”

Getting rejected means that we’re pushing ourselves forward, taking new chances, and trying new things. Because of that, when we get rejected, even if it’s BRUTAL, it’s just a sign that we’re on the right track.

How to Avoid Rejection Entirely

man-with-ferns-1024x679

But of course, if you really want to avoid rejection entirely… then all you have to do is this:

  1. Never take a chance
  2. Never try anything new
  3. Always stay inside of your comfort zone
  4. Be okay with getting fewer rewards in life
  5. Never face your fears

Sounds pretty boring, right?

Every time that you get rejected, something in your brain should click.

Try saying to yourself. “Oh, I got rejected! That must mean I’m pushing forward with my life, facing my fears, and taking chances! Good for me.”

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Rejection still hurts. Sometimes a lot.

But I truly think that we should start seeing rejection as an ally instead of any enemy. Rejection is simply a guidepost, a sign that we’re pushing ourselves forward, and attempting something.

jumping-man-300x200

It’s definitely an ongoing process, but here are some ways that we can try to come to terms with this new philosophy on rejection.

  1. Think of rejection as a good thing. It’s simply a sign that you’re on your own personal path of freedom, happiness, and success.
  2. Don’t take rejections personally. It’s not always about you, and even if it is, you’re not doing yourself any favors by dwelling on it.
  3. Appreciate and thank yourself for taking a chance, and pushing through fear and trying to expand yourself
  4. Learn what you can from it

Do you have any other thoughts on how to deal with getting rejected? Do you have any personal experiences that have driven this point home for you?

Let me know in the comments below!

5 Cool Works of Art and Media To Check Out

5 Cool Works of Art and Media To Check Out

Too much television, too many movies, too many video games, probably even excessive reading can be detrimental to your health and well-being.

But nevertheless, I love watching a great TV show. Movies are awesome. I’m a little addicted to self-help books. This year, for the first time in a while, I’ve started really getting into fiction too.

Not all creative works and media are created equally, however. A few have really stood out to me over the past few months, and I’ve found these rattling around in my brain long after I’ve completed them, and in some cases, I’ve ended up going in for seconds.

Here are a few of the movies, television shows, fiction and non-fiction books, music, media, and artistic creations that have influenced me in a spectacular way lately, and I highly suggest you check some of these out.

1. You’re the Worst (Television Show)

Youre-the-Worst-TV-Show

You’re the Worst is one of the most interesting television shows I’ve seen in a while, and is also one of the funniest. Although the show kicks off with a great premise, two horrible people who don’t do relationships hook up and kinda sorta start seeing each other, the show’s exceptional writing pushes the show into even greater unique, hilarious, and emotional places.

Laugh out loud moments, quirkiness, and realistic depictions of modern relationships, are fueled by clever writing and great characters. Some of the episodes in the second season, like LCD Soundsystem, are so unique and well-written that I just want to watch  them and study them over and over again, in hopes of becoming a better writer.

Unlike many current and recent shows, the writers know not only when to tear the characters apart, and induce conflict, but they also know when to bring the characters back together, and the show is all the better for it.

2. We Have Always Lived in the Castle (NOVEL)

we-have-always-lived-in-the-castle-shirley-jackson-novel-e1463961526696

If you don’t count Haruki Murakami novels, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is probably the strangest novel I’ve ever read. The story follows two strange sisters who live together in a small village, and the story develops slowly and precisely into an unsettling little tale. The protagonist, Merricat, is probably one of the most interesting narrators of all time. She begins like this:

“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had.”

I don’t want to give away too much, but the way the story develops over the course of the novel is pretty great and super strange. I highly suggest you check it out. I couldn’t put it down while reading and this is definitely on the top of my “re-read” list.

The author, Shirley Jackson, is a bit better known for her novel The Haunting of Hill House and her short story The Lottery, but to me, this one takes the cake.

3. Les Miserables (FILM/MUSICAL)

I know the film version of Les Miserables has been around for almost four years now, but I’ve only just now gotten around to watching it. I saw a stage version a long time ago, so I knew that when I finally watched the film I was going to need to be prepared for an emotional experience.

Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine and her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” particularly stood out as a heart-wrenching moment of the film, but so many different characters’ stories throughout the course of the film packed huge depressing punches.

On the lighter side however, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter’s rendition of “Master of the House” is absolutely hilarious.

The nearly three-hour long film punched me in the gut over and over again while making me question the human condition, sing along, and yes, also sorta kinda ball my eyes out…

But yet… I loved every second of it.

4. Singles (FILM)

“My dad left home when I was eight. You know what he said to me? Have fun, stay single. I was eight.” – Steve

This early 90s film by Cameron Crowe takes place in grunge-era Seattle and stars Kyra Sedgwick, Matt Dillon, Bridget Fonda, and Campbell Scott.

Singles is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a while and although it’s a bit older, it’s a nice look into relationships, single-ness, and becoming an adult. There are some really laugh-out-loud funny moments, and this is a film that everyone needs to see at least once.

I’ve already re-watched it a few times, and I’m sure I’ll continually be watching it over and over again for years to come.

5. Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway (NON-FICTION BOOK)

feel-the-fear-and-do-it-anyway-susan-jeffers-197x300

While the title alone is a great suggestion for living life, this self-help book delves even further into great suggestions for persevering and embracing the things that we’re afraid of.

The author, Susan Jeffers, goes into various methods for pushing through fear and inaction, changing how we think about things we’re afraid of and worry about, and simply living life more fully.

Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway makes a lot of great points and although many of Susan Jeffers’ ideas seem obvious after reading them, they are incredibly helpful. Many of her ideas and simple mindset tricks are not only smart, but easy to implement.

For example, she suggests that instead of living in hope (i.e. “Hoping things will work out” or “Hoping I won’t get fired”) to simply say to yourself “I’ll handle it.” when something goes wrong. I find myself thinking this often, and this tactic has made a great and immediate impact on my thinking throughout the day.

If you ever get stressed out, or find yourself living in fear and inaction, I highly suggest you check this one out.


I hope you’ve found this list helpful and if you haven’t checked some of these out before I hope that you will soon. Almost anything can be bad in excess but I’ve found that television, movies, and books can sometimes be incredibly helpful in improving our awareness of the world and to expand our thinking, while also getting a little entertainment value.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Do you have differing opinions on the above? Do you have any suggestions for what I should add to my watching/reading lists?

I would love to hear from you.

7 Unconventional Hotel Alternatives for Cheap Travel

7 Unconventional Hotel Alternatives for Cheap Travel

If you’re anything like me, you probably love to travel and discover new places.

woman-in-apple-orchard-300x187

BUT… your wallet doesn’t always have the same aspirations.

Luckily, over the past few years all kinds of new options have sprung up around the world for sidestepping expensive hotels and seeing new places on a budget.

Whether you’re a broke college student and HAVE no other options or you’re just looking to save a few bucks, here are some of the best cheap travel alternatives, both new and old, for seeing a little of the world while avoiding expensive hotels.

1. Airbnb and VRBO

cottage-1024x768

Airbnb is one of the best and most well-known hotel alternatives for people traveling on a budget. VRBO works the same way. Users can post a space that can be booked, while other users request to stay.

You can find all kinds of lodging spaces on these sites: entire mansions, tiki huts, yurts, an idle RV or camper, or simply an extra room in a house or apartment.

Travelers can easily sort through the available options while looking in their specific price range. Rooms can be found around the world, and prices can range anywhere from $10 a night to over $1000.

Of course it’s good to be a safe when staying with strangers in a strange locale, so both travelers and hosts leave ratings and reviews for each other.

2. Couchsurfing

Just like Airbnb, Couchsurfing lets you stay in homes of real live people. On Couchsurfing however, it’s free.

With Couchsurfing you browse through personal profiles of hosts, and then message them telling them about your trip, and requesting a place to stay. Typically all users have available is a couch, but if you’re lucky you may get a pull-out futon, or even a guest room.

The point of Couchsurfing seems to be more about facilitating a cultural exchange between travelers and locals. Travelers get a more “local-ized” experience, and hosts get to meet a cool traveler from another part of the world. It’s a win-win.

Just be sure to be a good guest. Respect your host’s property, belongings, and schedule. You may even consider cooking dinner for your host during your stay.

3. Hostels

Although this may be an obvious cheap travel choice for people living in Europe or other parts of the world, people in the U.S seem to know very little about hostels.

Hostels are similar to hotels but guests stay in dorm rooms and typically sleep on bunk beds. Many hostels also have private rooms, though.

The environment of a hostel is also very different than a hotel and is geared towards socializing, meeting other guests, and hanging out in common areas. Many hostels also lead guests out to events and activities around the area.

Basically if you can stand sleeping on a bunk bed and not having much privacy, you will have an instant social circle.

Hostels are much cheaper than hotels as well. In the U.S. most hostels seem to cost anywhere from around $15-$35 for a night.

Check out Hostels.com or Hostelworld, or Hostelbookers to find them.

4. Work Exchange: Workaway, Wwoofing, and HelpX

organic-farmer-1024x683

For those wanting to stay in a location for a longer period of time, such as a few weeks, or even a few months, work exchange is a great way to see another part of the world and stay for free.

Workaway, Wwoofing, and HelpX all have hosts that would love to have you come stay with them in exchange for a few hours of work every week.

Opportunities include organic farming, housekeeping at hostels and guesthouses, or even helping families out around the house.

Wwoofing is focused on work exchange for organic farms, but Workaway and HelpX both post all kinds of opportunities.

5. Camping

tent-in-wilderness-1024x683

Camping is a pretty common method for cheap travel, and has been around since the dawn of time (Although, the cavemen probably didn’t call it camping. They probably just called it, you know, living.) Luckily, it’s now easier than ever for campers and there are many websites that make finding a good camping spot a breeze.

Freecampsites.net allows users to browse through and post free and cheap camping areas, and is a great resource for for the budget-minded traveler.

Sites like Goodsamclub.com mostly has listings of paid campsites, but is also a great resource for both RVers and tent campers.

Also keep in mind that anyone can camp for free on U.S. National Forest land. Many National Forests offer paid primitive camping sites, but go just a few miles outside of these campgrounds and you’re welcome to camp for free.

6. Stay With People You Know (Or People THEY Know)

You don’t just have to stay alone or with strangers. If you have friends or relatives across the country many of them would probably love to have you visit with them for a few days. They may have a couch for you to sleep on, a space in the backyard for your tent, or even an entire guest room available.

But don’t stop there. You can also try reaching out to your Facebook friends. Tell your friends where you’re going and they just might be able to hook you up with someone they know that would love to host you for a day or two.

You never know until you ask.

7. Car Camping

car-camping-1024x683

This is probably my least favorite option for cheap travel, but it is also one of the easiest. If you’re especially lacking on funds and have no other options in the area you’re traveling through, car camping is always an option.

If you have a bigger vehicle like an SUV or a van you can probably make yourself a nice little sleeping spot in the back of your vehicle. Find a good spot and either crack open a window or load yourself down with blankets (depending on the season), and try your best to relax.

There are many public rest stops across the US, so they’re one of the best options for getting a good night’s sleep. Wal-Marts are also rampant and many are open 24 hours. Other 24 hour stores and businesses could be good options, too.

In addition to actual campsites, Freecampsites.net also lists many options for car camping.


So there you have it, several hotel alternatives that allow you to stay around the country (or world) with a minimal amount of money in your wallet. Personally there are some of these I prefer more than others, and I’m sure the same will be the case for you.

And of course all of these methods can be potentially dangerous, so be sure to travel safe and use common sense.

Stuck in the 9 to 5? Here Are 7 Methods for Leaving the Corporate Grind Behind

Stuck in the 9 to 5? Here Are 7 Methods for Leaving the Corporate Grind Behind

unconventional-work-desk-with-typewriter-300x200

Many people see the 9 to 5 “corporate lifestyle” as an inevitability (if you’re still in school) or a necessity (if you’re working already) but as I get older I’m constantly learning about new ways of living and looking for alternatives to the typical work week and corporate culture.

Many people work themselves to exhaustion for 40+ hours a week for 30 years, waiting for retirement to come, and only then do they allow themselves to go travel and do the things that they’ve always wanted to do. Much of this is just part of our culture, it’s just “how it is” and it’s what most of the people around us are doing.

But if you look a little deeper, you’ll see that there are people living in all sorts of ways and there are always other options and ways to live your life. Here are some ideas and methods I’ve discovered during my search:

1. FREELANCE: Be Your Own Boss By Working for Manyworking-at-home-with-dog-1024x683

One of the top alternatives to the 9 to 5 lifestyle is freelancing. It all depends on your own individual skill set, but as long as you can provide a service that people out there need, you’re set. Popular jobs include freelance writing, web design, coding, photography, and graphic design.

With freelancing however, not only do you have to have the skills, you also have to find the work. Finding clients sometimes takes more time and effort than actually doing the job itself.

But as long as you can find a way to keep the income steady, freelancing may be just what you’re looking for to create a more flexible schedule for yourself.

2. DIVIDE YOUR TIME: 6 Months On, 6 Months Off

There are many variations of this method, of course, but one way to escape the 9 to 5 tedium is to escape it, but only part of the year. This may work best with jobs like serving or bartending, but some people may be able to find more corporate-type jobs that will allow for this kind of flexibility.

With this method, you work hard for a certain amount of time (say 6 months), save up, and then live off the savings for a little while. Then the next year, you do it all over again. Some travelers do this. They work hard for 6 months out of the year, and then the next 6 months they’re traveling around Europe or Asia or some distant locale.

Depending on the jobs you’re able to acquire, where you live during your off time, and how frugal you can be, your mileage may vary.

3. ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Start Your Own Business

Starting your own business is another common way to escape the 9 to 5. There are more types of businesses out there than you think and a million ways to go depending on what you’re interested in. You may want to start a multi-million dollar company, a small dropshipping business, or you may just want to set up your own shop on ETSY.

Of course if the main reason you want to escape the 9 to 5 is because you’re working too many hours, you may be barking up the wrong tree. Being an entrepreneur can take up even more time than the 9 to 5, especially in the beginning. If, however, your main goal is simply to work for yourself and have a stronger self-sufficiency and more freedom, entrepreneurship may be just what you’re looking for.

4. HIPPIE STYLE: Join an Intentional Community or Eco-Village hippie-girl-on-beach-1024x684

If you’re more of a free-spirit, you may consider trying to find an “eco-village” or “intentional community” to join. This is when a group of people join together to run a communal space on an organic farm, or other location, share responsibilities and chores, and even grow their own food. Personally, some places I’ve heard of groups doing this is in the mountains of North Carolina, in Arizona, and in California.

Similarly, you can also find jobs working at organic farms, hostels, and other organizations in exchange for room and board.

Workaway, HelpX, and Wwoofing are just a few of the many ways you can find one of these opportunities.

5. MULTIPLE INCOME STREAMS: $500 + $500 + $500 + $500 Still Equals $2000, Right?

Some people would like to leave their 9 to 5 existence simply because of a severe lack of variety. One great thing to do is to develop multiple income streams. You don’t have to get your paycheck for the month all from one place. You can be a server twice a week, play in a band once a week, sell some crafts on ETSY every week, and top it all off with some freelance writing.

6. FRUGALITY: Want Less, Need Less, Work Less

One alternative to the 9 to 5 grind is to simply cut down on expenses and work part-time instead. Take a look at your expenses and your possessions, then determine what you really need and what really makes you happy. If it’s excessive, cut it out. In doing so, you may find that you can live very well just working part-time. Whether that’s bartending, running your own business, or working a part-time corporate job, you may find that you don’t need nearly as much as you think.

Personally, I don’t need a Ferrari, 5 different video game systems, and 7 different 52-inch TVs to be happy.

But then again, we’re all different.

7. EARN HERE, SPEND THERE: Work Remotely While Living Abroadpeople-working-in-coffee-shop

What’s amazing is that in this day and age, we can make money anywhere. If you’ve chosen option #1 and are doing the freelancing thing, why not take it a step further?

Working remotely over the Internet is a great option, depending on your skill set, and can truly enable to you to live a life of freedom, going where you want when you want, and making money while on the move.

This works particularly well if you earn your money in USD, or currency from another wealthy country. Many freelancers AKA “digital nomads” earn money in USD or GBP while living in in a more affordable country such as Thailand, India, or Mexico. Many of these locations around the world offer a life of luxury and all the modern conveniences you could want for a fraction of the cost of countries like the U.S.

Nomad List allows you to look for international cities based on their Internet functionality, safety, and affordability, and is just one of the ways you can find a location that will be a good fit for your remote freelancing lifestyle.

CONCLUSION

So there you have it, just a few of the methods to consider as an alternative to the 9 to 5. Of course there are more where that came from, so if you keep an open mind I think you’re sure to find out even more ways that could work perfectly for you.

Do you have any other ideas than what I’ve mentioned above? Are you already making use of some of these methods and have experiences you would like to tell me about?

If so, leave me a comment below.

I would love to hear from you.