Hi, we’re Stephen & Jane! Welcome to My Five Acres.
What is My Five Acres?
We’re here for you. We want to help you step out of your comfort zone, experience life more fully, and write your own story. Why? So you can live your life.
It may look like My Five Acres is a blog about mindful travel. And it is. But we’re more than that.
We’re really about mindful journeys.
Your mindful journey might involve a worldwide adventure, but it could just as easily be a deep exploration into your own heart. At the best of times, it’s both, at the same time.
These are the kind of journeys that release you from your comfort zone and can ultimately change your life.
After all, as Jack Kerouac wisely wrote in The Dharma Bums:
“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.”
We strongly believe that your life is yours and you can do anything you want. We also know that the world makes it very hard to achieve this kind of independence.
What Drives Us?
Our ultimate goal is to help you (and people like you) to become yourself more fully, more confidently, and more courageously. We want to:
- Help you break free from the expectations society places on you
- Inspire you to discover your own adventure and change your life
- Make your journeys more fulfilling and more meaningful
How Do We Help You?
From our own experience, we know that travel and yoga can both be powerful tools to help you on your journey.
1. Our Mindful Travel Guides help you explore the world more deeply.
Based on our personal travel experiences, our guides help you discover transformative outdoor adventures, eco-friendly activities, spiritual sanctuaries, and profound cultural experiences.
2. Our Adventure Yoga Trainings help you explore your heart more deeply.
Yoga has played a huge part in helping us find and live our journey. It is designed to reveal your inner strength, courage, and patience — to help experience the journey of life more deeply.
Whether on the yoga mat or out in the world, these mindful journeys will challenge you, surprise you, inspire you, and, we hope, bring you closer to your own heart.
Why Did We Call It ‘My Five Acres’?
There’s a finite amount of land on Earth. If you divide it equally between all people alive today, we’d each get about 5 acres to satisfy all our needs: food, water, shelter, iPhones… It sounds like a lot, until you discover that a typical Western lifestyle uses the equivalent of 15–25 acres!
The name My Five Acres is a reminder to tread lightly, wherever you go.
The Journey That Brought Us Here
In 2013, we sold our amazing house in LA, our two cars, and all of our stuff and set out on a journey that changed our lives completely.
For almost two years, we travelled the world by bicycle, cycling through 22 countries in Europe and Asia. As we travelled, Stephen taught yoga in dozens of studios from Rome to Jakarta and all stops in between.
We pedalled more than 16,000 km, met hundreds of incredible people, and learned so much about the world — and about ourselves — along the way.
What was the biggest lesson we learned?
It was a lesson about who we truly are and what we really want from life.
We learned that we could never go back to a “normal” life.
We no longer wanted the things society had taught us to want. We didn’t want a huge monthly mortgage payment, office jobs that sapped our will to live, and a house full of stuff we didn’t need.
We wanted more.
Instead of shrinking into the box created for us by society, we uncovered the opportunity to expand—our minds, our hearts, and our lives—every single day.
So we embarked on a new, scary journey, to help as many people as we could to experience the true transformational power of our two favourites things: travel and yoga.
We’ve been full-time nomads for more than five years now and though it’s not always easy we finally feel happy, engaged, and excited about life!
We want to help you achieve the same sense of excitement about your own life, wherever your journey may take you.
What Should you do Next?
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Or just keep reading if you want to know even more about us…
Our last 20 years in three minutes or less.
On our first weekend mini-break back in 1994, just a few months after we started dating, we went camping on the astonishingly beautiful Saltspring Island in British Columbia. That campsite, at Ruckle Point Provincial Park, is still the most beautiful we’ve ever seen!
In 1997, Stephen crashed Jane’s car. We took the insurance money and took off from Vancouver for a backpacking trip around Europe. During that trip, we saw way too many churches, slept in the world’s worst hostels, and argued all the time.
Our relationship couldn’t handle the stress of travel and — on a Greek Island over Christmas — we broke up.
Alone, out of money, and miserable, we were tempted to just go home.
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal.” – Paulo Coelho
Instead, we moved to London separately, got jobs, fought a lot, and finally figured our shit out…
Over New Year’s in 2000, right after we were sure the Millennium Bug wasn’t going to end the world, we got married.
We worked in London for almost 10 years. Stephen’s job was to babysit manage rock bands. Meanwhile, Jane was playing in her own 60s-inspired rock band, The Lollies, and working full-time as an internet jack-of-all-trades, designing, writing, and producing content.
When we could find the time, we travelled, eventually visiting every country in Western Europe.
After getting sick of London’s pubs and the terminally dull weather, we took an eye-opening 6-month trip through Morocco, Egypt, and the Middle East. Our travels in Syria are still some of the most amazing we’ve done.
Eventually, we moved to LA, just because it’s always sunny there. In LA, Jane accidentally got sucked into the Hellmouth of corporate America while Stephen discovered his calling as a yoga teacher.
Seven years later, the US had chewed us up and spit us out (in other words, our visa expired). That’s when we decided it would be a smart idea to cycle around the world. And it was.
Those 2 years in 22 countries and 16,000 km of pedalling were awesome, breath-taking, mind-altering, holy-smoking, staggering, shocking and utterly life-changing.
As you might expect, we learned a metric fuckton of stuff, from the terminally practical to the absolutely whimsical.
7 things you might already know about us.
- We are both Canadian.
- We’re both British.
- We’re vegan (about 98% of the time).
- Stephen loves coffee. And beer.
- Jane loves chocolate — the darker the better.
- We rode our bicycles around the world (almost).
- We’re passionate about minimizing our impact on the planet.
And 17 things you probably don’t.
- Stephen is a politics junkie. He probably knows more about the politicians in your country than you do.
- We’ve met most of our idols — and have usually been disappointed.
- Jane cries during almost every movie and TV show. Commercials sometimes too.
- We climbed the fence at Glastonbury in 1998. Mud city. But Blur was worth it.
- Stephen was arrested once in London. Jane had to pick him up from the police station at 4am.
- Jane hates almost all music from the 70s. Hates it.
- Stephen loves Miley Cyrus. Jane does not.
- With our friend Kris (under pseudonyms) we started an awesome zine called Slampiece.
- Jane can’t go inside a pet store. It’s too sad.
- The first record Stephen owned was the Muppet Movie Soundtrack. He won it at church.
- Once we didn’t pay for our train ticket and had to run through Liverpool Street station to escape the guards.
- Jane’s favourite book is A Room with a View.
- Jane has seen Clueless at least 20 times.
- The first concert Jane went to was Platinum Blonde, a Canadian 80s hair band.
- Stephen’s was Crowded House with Richard Thompson.
- Jane once played bass on stage with Neil Finn.
- We watch Elf every Christmas. Smiling’s our favourite!
OK, that’s the whole shebang. If you made it this far, you’re probably looking for something awesome from your life. Yay you! We’re here to back you up every step of the way.