Destination Simple is very short self help book, aiming to introduce the reader to ‘everyday rituals for a slower life’. The cover shows a blue sky with trees and little clouds, and the back has a pair of hands holding a warm terracotta mug of something steamy. It posits the usual platitudes: life is too busy, everyone is stressed, we take on too much, etc etc.
McAlary’s answer to modern mayhem is to introduce a series of rituals (NOT ‘to dos’) and rhythms (NOT ‘routines’) into one’s life.
The rituals are ‘single tasking’, ‘unplugging’, ’emptying your mind’, ‘three things’, and ‘gratitude’. She also proposes a ‘morning rhythm’ and an ‘evening rhythm’.
There are some little exercises throughout, where you are urged to practice ‘noticing’ and ’tilting’.
If your life is in total, burned-out chaos and you have no idea where to start to straighten things out, then this is the book for you. It is very very simple and short and tries to be practical. I can see that for some people who have never stopped to think about the benefits of daily gratitude, picking out your new day’s clothes in the evening, or trying not to spend hours at a time on social media, then this book might be helpful.
But it is not for someone who is looking for deeper analysis of the slow life movement and how to obtain or maintain it. The advice was far to generic and simplistic.
McAlary seems like an interesting character. She’s an Aussie who escaped from Sydney to the Blue Mountains and discovered the benefits of slower living. I gather she has a website ‘slowyourhome.com’, which perhaps I should have looked at instead of reading this book. Because this book was incredibly basic. McAlary is trying to coin new terms – like ’tilting’ instead of ‘leaning in and leaning out’ – and it just didn’t work for me. Perhaps in 2017, when this book was published, the concepts within were more novel. But in 2022, this felt stale and overly familiar.
If you are serious about wanting to slow down and change your life for the better, I would skip this one and go straight to Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism.
2 gratitude journals out of 5.