I’m an author, podcaster, and traveller from a beautiful island in British Columbia, Canada. Growing up here meant growing up in nature’s playground. No matter which direction you look, there is always at least one element of the landscape that you can turn into an adventure. It took years for me to appreciate how special this place is. It took even longer for me to push past my fears of doing things imperfectly, and finally start exploring and enjoying more of it. This has become a guiding theme in my life: rewriting stories and changing my patterns, so I can start living in a way that feels right (and even joyful!) for me. It has also become the main theme in my work.
What started as a blog that I wrote for eight years has turned into two books: ADVENTURES IN OPTING OUT (2020) and THE YEAR OF LESS (WSJ bestseller, 2018). While my first book looked at one experiment I did in 2014/15, ADVENTURES IN OPTING OUT outlines the mindset and process I have embraced, which you can turn to every time you decide to change paths and hike your own hike in life. First unconsciously, and now consciously, this is what has helped me with every one of my “opt-outs”: from quitting drinking and creating a non-traditional career, to living a nomadic lifestyle and choosing to not have kids.
These aren’t experiments with pass/fail grades. They are adventures in opting out. Opting out from the family stories, cultural surroundings, and messages that have told us who we should be and how we should live our lives. Opting out from the stories we’ve told ourselves about what we think will make us happy yet it somehow never does. It’s not easy to change those stories, or to step off the path you’ve been walking along and take a different one. There are a lot of challenges that come with it. But choosing to opt out is a brave decision, and one that allows you to live an intentional life according to your own values.
While this might start off as a solo journey for you, it doesn’t end there. From what I’ve experienced and seen in others, the more you step into who you really are, the more open, compassionate, and generous you can become—and everyone benefits from that. Travel has certainly added a depth to this for me. Since a nomadic lifestyle doesn’t come with many opportunities to volunteer my time, I currently donate 5% of my income to climate change, mental health/therapy, and youth literacy initiatives around the world.
Right now: I’m staying with family during this pandemic pause, spending a lot of time cuddling with our two dogs, reading books and riding my new-to-me used bike. I am also following my curiosity and taking the first few steps down the next path I *think* I want to take. And finally, I am actively working with a therapist and prioritizing my healing in a way I never have before. I may not be able to travel right now, but I can do this. Wherever you are, I hope you are taking good care of yourself, friend. xx
Professional Bio for Interviews
Cait Flanders is the author of Wall Street Journal bestseller, THE YEAR OF LESS. Described by Vogue as “a fascinating look into a living experiment that we can all learn from,” it has been translated into 10 languages, and sold more than 190,000 copies.
Her new book, ADVENTURES IN OPTING OUT, is a field guide to opting out of expectations, changing paths, and leading a more intentional life. Powell’s Books says it, “offers a sturdy and flexible framework to navigate whatever path you are currently on.”
Cait’s story has been shared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Oprah.com, Treehugger, Forbes, and more. She always has an adventure in the calendar, and believes in leaving every place better than she found it. She is from Victoria, BC, Canada.
Note: The photographs above were taken by my friend Breanna Carey of Evergreen & Bound Films. If you need one to go along with an interview, you can right click to view image + save and credit her when/where possible.