Traveller Tools for Peace of Mind

What do you want to do with your one precious life? I decided long ago I wanted to be a world traveller and I made deliberate choices – creating a PortfolioLife© within my LifesPlan© guided by Ikigai. I admit, I have been very very lucky in life.

Portfolio life is a term coined by the business guru Charles Handy in his book The Age of Unreason in 1989. Mr Handy explained the concept as “a portfolio of activities – some we do for money, some for interest, some for pleasure, some for a cause… the different bits fit together to form a balanced whole greater than the parts”. Handy’s theory is that you should generate and balance 5 types of “work” in your life:

    1. secure, regular income, e.g., retainers or part-time employment
    2. irregular fee work , e.g., writing or speaking engagements
    3. interest work, i.e., developing new ideas and talents
    4. pleasure work , e.g., family, sports, shopping, traveling
    5. cause work – social issues and active citizenship – making a difference.

Professor Charles Handy explained his Portfolio Life concept: ‘What I am trying to do is evolve a lifestyle for myself. I looked into my concerns and activities, and one thing I did was to resign my full-time, tenured professorship. I created what I call ‘a portfolio life’, setting aside 100 days a year for making money, 100 days for writing, 50 days for what I consider good works, and 100 days for spending time with my wife.”

This can become a finely-tuned tool for managing income generation and investment of time.

I have my own theory about that too. I call it a Lifespan Plan – LifesPlan© and I think we all can/should grow through 5 life phases where our time and energy are most used:

  1. Childhood and youth – when we are young and we are learning as much as we can.
  2. Young adulthood – when we are very busy building a career, a family, a community
  3. Advanced middle age – when we have expertise and are earning a lot of money
  4. Elder age – when we can and must share our expertise as a volunteer
  5. Resting age – when we finally settle in one place to grow things for the future

I find myself in Elder age and I am deeply committed to volunteering my knowledge and skills in Higher Education and learning systems wherever they are needed. I am also thinking about the many places I might like to settle to raise lavender and goats in my Resting age. This is a tool for reconciling how I interface with the world and ageism and dreams for the future.

Without knowing it, then, I have always ascribed to Ikigai.
Ikigai is a Japanese term used to explain the Japanese secret to a long and happy life where millions of people have ikigai (pronounced Ick-ee-guy)— a reason to jump out of bed each morning. It looks like this.


My passion is travel with endless learning, and I realize it is Ikigai that brought me to writing, photography, blogging and non-stop adventure as an education futurist and passionate elder. This tool helps me say no to things I don’t really want to do and yes to great opportunities.

When I am now faced with a decision, I check to see that what I choose fits exactly with my LifeSplan and my PortfolioLife and my Ikigai for peace of mind!!