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Adventures in Opting Out: A Field Guide to Leading an Intentional Life

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  278 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Opt out of expectations and live a more intentional life with this refreshing guide from the national bestselling author of The Year of Less.

We all follow our own path in life. At least, that's what we're told. In reality, many of us either do what is expected of us, or follow the invisible but well-worn paths that lead to what is culturally acceptable. For some, those pat
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published September 15th 2020 by Little, Brown Spark
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Miranda Reads

Just published my October Book Vlog and whew! It was a lot of reading but so worth it!
The Written Review

No two paths are the same, just as no two people are the same.
Cait Flanders has taken a path less traveled by - she had a traditional job and direction in life...but she just felt increasingly out of place.

So, she began to wonder...what happens if she opts out?

If she doesn't work a 9 to 5, if she doesn't invest in a home and if she doesn't live her life according to society
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Adventures in Opting Out is such a refreshing and timely guide for finding one’s own path in life. I don’t know about you all, but I am spending more time than ever on screens and somehow less time feeling purposeful.

Cait Flanders has a plan for that. Adventures in Opting Out is all about the path less traveled and finding the life you want. The book is divided into guidance along that path and also includes hiking analogies because the author is a prolific hiker. This book inspired me to make
Aug 31, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Cait is a hiker and a blogger who has "opted out" of society's expectations and carved out her own life, on her own terms. This book is her "field guide to leading an intentional life."
But for something claiming to be intentional, this book doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. Instead of inspiring it's all so.....banal....and bland.
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was SO looking forward to reading this book because I loved Flanders' previous book, Year of Less. This one was disappointing. The premise sounded great - "opt out" of the expected paths and find your own way/adventures. She writes the book with "opting out" being an analogy to hiking. But, like many reviews said (and I didn't want to believe) it was VERY repetitive and used the same few examples over and over and over. And most of the examples were pretty vague, so it didn't have much impact. ...more
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My honest to god gut reaction while reading this was: Cait...girl...please tell me something I don't know.

I appreciate the message that Adventures in Opting Out is trying to deliver. I fully ascribe to the belief that we should live our own lives fearlessly the way we want, not how other people want us to live them. Make messes, go on big or little adventures, find your niche com
Caitlin Amick
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Please no more self help books based on a hiking analogy.
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was so looking forward to Cait’s second book but it feels bland, repetitive, and overly simplistic. It’s actually painful to write this because I so enjoyed her first book and also her Instagram posts.
I read and enjoyed the author's first book. This one didn't hit home with me quite as much. There are some good bits about opting out from "regular" life and following the life path that suits you best. Flanders tried to parallel opting out with hiking terminology and it sometimes works, but at other times just feel a little gimmicky. From reading the book, I know the author was trying to make the information here more generalized rather than sharing more of her own story but I think this book w ...more
Julie Wittman
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Flanders uses an extended metaphor to compare making different life choices to the elements of a hike. I really liked her first book, which felt personal, compelling and left me ruminating for quite a while. Sorry to say that this one feels distant, bland and highly repetitive. She works very hard to break down the hiking metaphor into infinitesimal pieces to keep the theme going. I know she was trying to come up with a “guide” that would ostensibly help anyone on any life journey that goes agai ...more
Oct 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
I was a longtime reader of Cait’s blog, and loved her work. It was a grounded voice that resonated with me, and was a refreshing change from the rest of the Canadian personal finance blogosphere.

I read her first book and didn’t enjoy it - perhaps it was better for readers who were new to her as an author, but it was more or less a reprint of her blog.

When this book came out, I gave it a try. She’s written how this book feels a lot different than her last one.

This book fell flat for me pretty muc
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Meh. I didn’t like the first book so don’t know why I thought this would be any different. It’s not that it was a bad book - I just didn’t get the content I was hoping for.
Oct 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Dang. I really did like The Year of Less and I like Cait's voice, but I just did not feel a connection with Adventures in Opting out. Small sections of the book landed solidly, but overall I didn't feel like it had much value for me. Too bad.
Erin Nigh
I really like the message of this book, listening to your gut, managing the pushback you might get from opting out, keeping important people in your life even if they might not understand… I think the tone and writing style just didn’t work for me. All of the analogies were cute but didn’t always make sense, and it veered more into self-help and giving directions rather than telling the story of how she spent a year traveling from place to place. I think these days I prefer my “self-help” more i ...more
Emma Ward
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had low expectations after reading the other reviews, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book! Cait’s wide network of friends/bloggers allows her to share experiences and anecdotes that have something for everyone. I found myself particularly drawn to her story about her friend Nicole. Her personal experiences, while still central, take a backseat to the overarching plot of the novel, which allows the reader to become the focus. While reading this book, I spent a good deal of time looking ...more
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book had me with this....

"We all follow our own path in life. At least, that's what we're told. In reality, many of us either do what is expected of us, or take the invisible, but well-worn paths that lead to what is culturally acceptable. For some, those paths are fine-even great. But they leave several of us feeling disconnected from ourselves and what we really want to do. When that discomfort finally outweighs the fear of trying something new, we're ready to opt out."

Loved this book. G
Sep 27, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is hard to categorize its part self help, part memoir part travelogue. The author focuses on the idea of it being okay to "opt out", choose to live some aspect of your life in a way that's different than others expectations, if it doesn't hurt you or other people. She talks some about her own opt out of having a permanent residence and deciding to travel around Europe for a time but also interviews others who have had their own opt out. She uses a hiking analagy throughout.

I overall l
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
I’m disappointed to write this review, as a great fan of Cait’s blogging, social media, and first book. I feel this book missed the mark. I was looking forward to reading about the experiences of other people and their opt-outs as advertised but I felt she barely scratched the surface either any of them. She indicated in the book that she didn’t think she could finish writing the book due to personal challenges, but hunkered down and did, and it’s shows. The only lesson I really took away was th ...more
Kayla Hollatz
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was really excited to dig into this book after loving Cait's first book, The Year of Less. The tagline says it's a field guide and that's exactly how it feels when you're reading. While none of the advice is groundbreaking per se, it does give helpful reminders and encouragement from a friend who feels like a fellow trailblazer. I especially connected with the section titled The Viewpoint and the Seventh Sense chapter. It was nice to read other people's stories in opting out rather than just t ...more
Jessica Webber
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
I’m a big fan of Cait Flanders, but this felt like it fell short. There is good content, but the story isn’t captivating. 2.5 stars.
Kelly Faysash
I'm very conflicted in this review as I love Cait Flanders and really enjoyed her debut The Year of Less. This follow up somewhat missed the mark for me. I kept waiting for her to dive into her life abroad but it was so piecemeal that I never felt I was getting into a flow. The book is organized into elements of a hike which is personally where I feel this book is flawed as there is. lot of style of substance. Nothing is bad in here--it just feels like a lot of very basic advice when I would hav ...more
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A while back, I did a year-long project called "A Simple Year." Cait Flanders was one of the facilitators, and I have followed her work since then. Her recent book, "Adventures in Opting Out: A Field Guide to Leading an Intentional Life," draws on hiking metaphors to reveal truths she has learned from years of opting out of debt, consumerism, drugs, drinking, and some societal expectations. In 2019 she opted out from her "normal life" to spend a year trying to live traveling and working abroad a ...more
mindful.librarian ☀️
I adored Year of Less and preordered the audio of this one because I was so excited. But. I get what she was trying to do with the hiking analogy format but it didn’t work at ALL for me. I so wanted this to be a memoir and not a how-to guide - she even admitted at the end that all of this big stuff had happened to her during the time period in which the book is set but didn’t discuss it in the book because it didn’t fit the format. I wish an editor had realized how much powerful it could have be ...more
Denise Weber
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you need inspiration or support during a time in your life when you want to change your path, this might give you that helping hand. As someone who plans every trip, every adventure and wants to know what I’ll do along the way, this book helped me see the joy of giving a new path a try without having to know all the answers before I start. Cait says, “You can’t know what’s going to happen or how you’re going to feel about it until you start going down the new path. Instead, you have to work p ...more
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved Cait’s first book and I love this one as well, though they are very different. This one is for all those who are drawn to the path less travelled. Follow along as Cait shares some of the paths and experiences she intentionally chose to leave behind, and what she was able to find as a result. A timely reminder that we only get one chance at life and the book provides a guide of sorts for how to navigate leaving the “norm” behind and finding your own way. Highly recommend!
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. It doesn't feel like a self help book, but it really makes you feel good about making choices that are right for you even if they aren't mainstream or they seem daunting. The writing feels like a friend chatting and it's relatable.
Nothing too profound here, but made me think that I can still opt out on a smaller scale ( given my age) and realized that my ex had opted out a long time ago & I did not realize it! ...more
Amanda Sandlin
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It's full of nuance and real stories, not platitudes or sweeping "advice" like so many other books in this category. This is one where, if you go through it too quickly, you could miss the real magic. Cait is a joy to read; it's like catching up with an old friend. And I loved reading her travel reflections and stories throughout!
Rachel Jacobs
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I devoured her first book "The Year of Less" and very much enjoyed the feeling that it was more like sitting down with a friend over coffee and having a conversation. Adventures in Opting Out very much has the same feel. Your friend has returned and has all sorts of information that she wants to share with you about her travels and to give a fresh perspective on how to possibly look at life.
I very much enjoyed Cait's book and more to the point I love her style of writing.
Jill Reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
HeatherAnne Norbury
Thank you to NetGalley for getting to read this book early. I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

I read Cait Flanders's first book, The Year of Less, three times... well, read it twice and listened to it once. It certainly is the book that planted the seed of minimalism into my brain. I'm FAR from a minimalist in my home yet... I have YEARS of stuff to get rid of first - not only my own stuff but multiple family members' stuff that got foisted upon me from their estates. I co
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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

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Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
45 likes · 18 comments
“No two paths are the same, just as no two people are the same.” 1 likes
“There is a cost to staying on one path, especially if it doesn’t feel like the one you should be on. But there is also a cost to walking away and venturing into the unknown. The real question that was embedded in each one of my concerns was, What price am I willing to pay?” 1 likes
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