The Don’t Try This At Home Approach To Thinking Up Brilliant Ideas

Good morning sunshine

“Alright, time to get up,” Dan rolled over and whispered into my ear, “We’ve got things to do.”


He gave me a little pinch (alarming and agitating me at the same time – not a smart move in the morning) and then whipped the covers off his shoulders, allowing the cold air circulating the van to awaken his senses.

I could hear the rain pitter-pattering on the tin roof arched above me and the wind of Newcastle howling through the seals of the doors behind. Although we lay upon only one inch of cushioning on the van floor, I was enjoying some serious comfort, rolled up in my favourite velvet soft throw and giant duvet.


I wasn’t going anywhere.

Waking up is definitely one of my incredibly weak points. I’ve always been an avid sleeper and bed lover, although I’m not quite sure where I get it from. Even in my terrible two’s I was more interested in sleeping than doing things that would excite the normal two year old. Although my parents weren’t complaining.


So on this particular morning, we’d woken up in a supermarket car park – not where you’d assume we’d be sleeping on a wild road trip but it’s not at all uncommon for us to do this. However, it was dark and cold and pretty much the epitome of gloom, so I stayed in bed while Dan jumped into the drivers seat and rolled us down to the office.

5 minutes around the corner and we’d arrived…

…At McDonald’s.

Office of the day

It was already 11am but it was Sunday, so we didn’t feel too bad about it. Everyone loves a lazy Sunday, right?

Dan swung the door open, grabbed his lap-top and ventured onwards to his idea of heaven – a land of free WiFi, electricity and surprisingly tasty coffee (for fast food standards) – with a joyous spring in his step.

I love that. That eagerness to go out and spend a whole day sitting in a shitty fast food chain doing something he is so passionate about. A job he loves. Even if it is a Sunday.

What normal person in a routine conventional job would willingly spring up out of bed on Sunday to get to work? I don’t think it happens often.

I absolutely love my job too. Being able to do anything I want to create my own success is beyond liberating. And I also wake up excited to ‘go to work’, wherever in the world it may be that day.

2014-06-14 10.47.27

I often find myself waking up with new ideas in mind and going to sleep excited for the next day, thinking about all of the steps we can take to help the business grow.

And I believe that it’s these particular times when the magic tends to happen.

Or at least that’s my excuse anyway.

So I continued laying cosy in bed for that little bit longer, listening to the rain fall above and allowing ideas to flow through my mind.

Half an hour went by and I was now feeling fresh and awake, so I brushed my teeth, messaged my sister in Australia and then grabbed my bag for a productive day (well, for a lazy Sunday kinda day anyway).


11:30am hit and I was hungry.

Dan, the cheeky bugger, had snapped up the last muffin and gobbled it all to himself before I even arrived, leaving me to choose from the calorie packed lunch menu.

So breakfast ended up being a chicken mayo snack burger and a coffee.

I’m so healthy.

Then I got to work – editing photo’s, writing posts, updating social media, emailing, drawing and uploading videos. Before I knew it, 5 hours had gone by in a flash. But it’s like that every day.

Some days I actually wish for a few more hours jammed in somewhere just to get all the things done that I’m excited about. Hence why both Dan and I usually don’t sleep until way past midnight – because we’ve got so many things to communicate but not enough time to put them into action. We’ll get there though!


4pm – Dan buys lunch.

He comes back with the brand new Swiss burger, a large fries and a Coke for himself and a measly salad in his hand for me.


“Umm, what are ya trying to say?”



Over the past 4 months it has proven quite difficult to eat a clean, balanced diet in the UK which is why we’ve recently been talking about doing a proper good detox after living off comfort food for some time.

So there I was, picking at my crappy $6 salad while Dan devoured his beefy, bacony, cheesy deluxe burger – the sauce squelching out every bite. Each bite of mine just tasted like a dirty sock, so I got picky and ditched it.

Expenditure awareness

Shortly before interviewing Agness from eTramping about her low cost travel lifestyle, we decided to start setting ourselves a daily budget – £25 per day for the two of us, equating to about $25 each.

For two travellers in the UK, this can prove quite difficult, seeming as England is one of the most expensive countries in the world.

So far, so good though – except for fuel tank fill up days – they suck.

I believe this strategy is working well for us, one, because we’ve made the public promise of helping others travel more – which essentially means we’ve gotta do it for you to believe it – and two, because we’ve been using a free expense tracking app called AndroMoney.

This app helped us to travel for one month in England and Wales on only $850 each (which included eating out all the time) as we were able to see where we were splurging and then able to cut back in that area – which was usually beer. Well, it is on the bucket list to try every beer in the world!


So because of the budget, I didn’t buy anything else to eat. Sounds bad, I know but because I was so focused on getting fun tasks done, I actually didn’t even feel hungry. And I believe that most of the time when we say we’re hungry, it’s usually out of boredom, not hunger.

So maybe I’ll lose some of the pounds I’ve stacked on during these past few months just by working on things I love?

Don’t try this at home

Another 6 hours went past – just like that.

By now we’d been typing, reading and tapping away for almost 11 hours. And all I’d consumed in this time was a snack burger and a coffee.

I was beginning to turn into a girl possessed – hypnotised by a screen glowing in my face. The more time I went without food, the more time I wanted to spend working.


Weird right? Usually when we don’t eat, we tend to lose focus, get agitated and then drop everything to run away for a while. But this time no. I was zoning deeper and deeper into my screen.

The clock ticked 10:30pm and I snapped. All of a sudden I realised that I’d pretty much just spent 11 hours sitting in the corner of McDonald’s without getting up for any food or drink.
But I did get things done.

Looking up for the first time in what might have been two hours, I discovered that we were now sitting in the ‘closed’ section of the restaurant where the lights had been dimmed and chairs stacked to block anyone else from entering.

So instead of getting up, taking a little walk around and ordering something substantial, my delirious mind led me to stumble directly up to the counter and order yet another coffee. Don’t ask me what on earth I was thinking. I have no idea. But it did get us out of there, else we might have accidentally stayed all night.

With the first few drops of coffee down the hatch, we finally (imagining McDonald’s staff rolling their eyes right now) packed up our gear and left, setting off on a one hour journey to the border of Scotland. Yes, at 11 o’clock at night. We’re kind of weird like that.

So we get halfway into Northumberland National Park only to find that the fuel tank was running on empty – something we should have but didn’t check before venturing off into the middle of nowhere. No we didn’t want to be the victims of another midnight break-down in the mountains thankyouverymuch so we stopped in the in the midst of a small village of perhaps 15 houses.

And that was where we slept.

Actually, that was where Dan slept. Me? Well, after the coffee made its way to my blood stream, that was it – I was wide-eyed like an owl on no-doze until about 5am. But that’s where my ‘don’t try this at home’ approach to thinking up brilliant ideas comes into the picture.

For the five hours I spent tossing and turning in bed, jealous of the fact that Dan had long ago dozed off, I think I came up with about ten of the most brilliant ideas I’ve had yet.

All sorts of varied pictures came to mind, from working on the creative design of our blog to establishing more of a brand to writing unique stories, to mapping out future projects. And I was super excited because I had such clear visions for all these things that I could almost touch them.

I felt so inspired that I literally wanted to get up out of bed and start writing everything down that began flowing seamlessly through my head. It didn’t even cross my mind that I was running on absolute empty – no food, no sleep, little fluid and having worked all day – because my ‘work’ was bringing me so much happiness.

However, I didn’t end up jotting down the going-ons inside my head because we live in a van and I couldn’t see in the dark. Major bummer.

Now, I have this real clear direction in mind that I’ve been searching for, over quite some time. And I’m really looking forward to working on these ideas to turn them into a reality – because success only comes from doing, and doing it passionately.

And so I can’t help but say it – running purely on coffee and very little substantial food for a day fuelled my brain and kicked it right into the direction I was looking for. It was very unhealthy of me, which is why I call it my ‘don’t try this at home approach’ and it’s definitely not something I’ll make a habit out of but it did help me (weirdly enough).


Which is why I’m so excited to get detoxing! I’m super pumped now to start eating clean and green and cut out all the stodgy foods that make us tired and lazy.

Dan has even suggested we do a fast. However, can you imagine the things my brain might start doing after eating nothing? I may never sleep! And sleeping and eating are two of my favourite things!


Nonetheless, we feel that a detox could definitely make a positive impact on our productivity, creativity and all round efforts to grow the business and we can’t wait to share the results with you.

So before you get all rebellious on me and attempt my terribly unhealthy ‘don’t try this at home’ approach to thinking up brilliant ideas, wait up. You can get the same results out of doing the polar opposite. Eat clean, exercise, stay hydrated and you’ll feel 100% better with the added bonus of staying productive and focused.

Until next time!

PS.  This post and its headline were both thought up in my 5 hour coffee influenced brainstorming session.


Do you tend to sacrifice your health for your job? And have you ever had one of those surprising moments of clarity, where everything just starts to make sense? I want to know! Write about it below!

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