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The best things in life are free

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In a fast-paced growing society of consumerism, have you ever stopped to think that the not everything has a price tag? In fact, some of the best things in life are intangible, because they’re not ‘things’ – but experiences.

It’s normal to forget this, because we’re wired to collect ‘the good life’ list… big house, nice car, new furniture, brand name gear and designer clothes. Scientists call it the Paradox of Possessions.

The paradox of possessions is that we assume that the happiness we get from buying something will last as long as the thing itself. It seems intuitive that investing in something we can see, hear, and touch on a permanent basis delivers the best value… Except it doesn’t. Researchers have found that experiences—as fleeting as they may be—deliver more lasting happiness than things.

In summary, Life goes deep beyond tangible goods! Gratitude, curiosity, exploration, laughter and love wrapped up in these moments and memories (with good friends to share the journey)… These are where we find a deeper and richer life beyond the surface. …And the best part is, it’s easy to get started… All you need is an open heart and mind to seeing the value in these everyday opportunities.

Here’s a list of examples to get you thinking:

Take a day at the beach to relax and soak in some sun and waves.

Create a reading challenge. Find books (or audiobooks) that will expand your thinking and curiosity.

Try morning meditation. If you love it, make it a daily habit.

Run a marathon. Goals+exercise are rewarding!

Be naughty, go skinny dipping with friends!?

Learn something new. A language perhaps, or an instrument?

Go camping and stargazing.

Start a journal of thoughts and ideas, or a blog.

Jump out early and catch a sunrise. So peaceful!

Volunteer for a local non-profit that warms your heart.

Compliment strangers daily. It’s simple but beautiful!

Learn something relaxing. Knitting, origami etc.

Karaoke night? Grab some friends and some tunes. Belt your heart out!

Create and grow a herb garden. Live fresh!

Gather some friends and run a games night.

Call a friend or family member, tell them you care ❤️

The best things in life are free

how to fly over antarctica

How to fly over Antarctica at stunning close range

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At Squirrel HQ we’re always on the lookout for new and exciting things to add to the bucket list. So when we discovered that this Australian tour group is offering flights over Antarctica – we got really excited.

Anyone who is nuts about flying and stunning scenery, this is one to add to your 2017 bucket list…

how to fly over antarcticaHow to fly over Antarctica

AntarcticaFlights have partnered with Qantas to charter a Boeing 747 jet over each summer season. The twelve hour day flight journey begins from either Melbourne or Sydney depending on the date you select.

This beautiful antarctic tour allows you to hover over the ice capital of the world, without a jacket, scarf or even a passport. One of our Squirrellers who’s tried it first hand has given the 5/5 nuts (star) recommendation to anyone wanting a unique experience.

Our top tip is to bring an empty camera SD card and a zoom lens! Get ready to take jaw-dropping pics for your instagram…

Want to go? We’ve got it ready as a featured Bucket List in the Squirrel app:squirrel app bucket list

More than just looking out a window…

No matter what seat you book, you’ll experience the spectacular views combined with food, drinks and entertainment. Onboard you’ll be able to meet and talk with antarctic expeditioners and experience live crosses to research stations on the ground.

During your flight you will be served with two main Qantas meals, snacks, and a full service bar for drinks. You can also put your feet up and watch some antarctica documentaries on your entertainment screen. On departure everyone will receive a Explorer Kit, marking the flight journey with maps and statistics to share with others and reflect on.

squirrel app bucket list antarctica flight qantas

Watch the video

Here’s what blew us away…

Have you travelled on this flight? Comment below or jump in the conversation on our Facebook

Got something cool you want to share? We shout out to anything that’s bucket list worthy in the world, so just squeak up to our team! gonuts@bluesquirrel.com.au

Q&A with our development team

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“Testing 1, 2 , oh damn I crashed it again.”

Building an app is never a straight path… So much can go right and wrong – all in the same working day. Over the last 3 months we’ve been working hard at our Squirrel app with help from our friends at Hall & Co Digital.

Through the development season we’ve learnt so much across the large scope of designing, construction, managing and implementing an app to the Apple store. Working as an intentional tight-knit team we were able to move fast and be nimble to the ever-changing MVP. We found that using a good agile workflow and combined with regular communication between leaders kept us on track.

I sat down with Michael Hall (our project manager and founder of Hall & Co Digital) and asked him a few questions about the journey of the last few months…



questionMichael, what were your first thoughts after we approached you with the idea to build Squirrel. Had you ever developed an app before at this scale, and in such a small time frame?

My first thought? ‘This sounds like an exciting idea and something we could do!’. Regarding scale, we always build with the concept of scale but generally only action scaling when things start to get stressed so planning from the start to support a large number of users is not something we had done before. Thankfully there are so many resources available now that are easily accessible and affordable to use for scaling. Gone are the days of spending months planning hardware purchases and configurations. Startups have never had it easier.

The timeframe was always going to be a challenge but the best thing any developer can do is be honest up front about timeframes and workload so the management team doesn’t have unrealistic expectations. We don’t always get it right but we tried to be as realistic as possible and in the end, from our point of view we achieved much more than we expected.

 

hall and co digital squirrel app


questionHow did your team adapt throughout the process. How did you manage the change and increasing workload?

I think any decent developer has the ability to continually learn on the job and thats what we always try to do. I would say it would be hard to keep a job if you didn’t. As usual we managed the workload with an unhealthy amount of energy drinks and coffee! ha but seriously, in any project the only way to get through it is to break it down into manageable chunks. We started at the top; looking at a large feature set but once we broke these down into sprints and had the overall system design in place it was just a matter of chipping away at it consistently.

 

questionWhat were the most challenging aspects of building Squirrel?

Time, it has to be time. Given enough budget (time/money/resource) we can build nearly anything but trying to deliver so many features in a small timeframe was really challenging. I suppose the other challenging part was working through parts of the app and realising we needed extra services like a ‘read only web app’ site for sharing content and an admin tool all required before launch, we had to react quickly and put together tools the business could use to effectively manage content.

 

the-wall


questionDeveloping an app is a crazy process with many steps to take. What’s your advice taken from this project to give to other entrepreneurs out there about to go on this journey? What would you want them to know before they start?

  • Don’t be afraid of new technology, hug it and just start very small and simple. It is way too easy to get overwhelmed at the choice of tech available and your ideas list but start simple and iterate. The worst case is you might fail but so what? you will regret not trying more than trying, failing and learning from it.
  • Be really really super amazingly Agile. Agile Development suits startups for a reason, you will get a better product if you build usable software, release early and release often, market validate the product and keep in mind users will give honest feedback get your app in front of unbiased eyes.
  • Whatever platform you pick read the terms and play by the rules, this applies primarily to Apple, nothing worse then finishing a build to realise Apple will never accept it!

 

the-office-3

Thank-you to Michael, Joel, Nhi and the team for working tirelessly and around the clock to bring Squirrel to life. Your brought our bucket list to life!

Have you tried Squirrel yet? Download the app here and start turning YOUR bucket lists into reality! Want to be in the know for future updates and releases? Sign up for our Squirrel email list to get updates on all thats happening here at HQ!