That’s really encouraged me to simplify my own life, to try and take things less seriously than I used to, because I see the uncomplicated joy of someone in Rwanda or Honduras or Peru, and how grateful they are for just a little bit of assistance. But I’ve also seen how powerful those people are and how, if you give them just a little, they will make something truly great out of it.
I also read that you downsized from your spacious, comfortable bachelor pad to a boat. Do you still live on the boat?
I still have the boat. It’s in Los Angeles where TOMS is based. I commute there once a month and spend about 10 days there in total, so I live on the boat when I’m there. But there are times when I just can’t see anyone–LA gets a little hectic at times–so my wife and I recently moved to Austin, Texas, which is where I’m from, and that’s where we plan on raising a family. We live on a lake now and we love it. Whether we’re out with the dogs or water skiing on the lake, that connection with nature is a big part of who I am. I also get that connection when I travel, of course.
What would you like to hand on to your children, when you have them?
I’d like to expose them really early on to how blessed we are as Americans, and to show them that that’s not the case for everyone and it’s our responsibility to help others. We do live in a global village and what’s good for children in Ethiopia eventually makes our economy and lives more stable as well. The other thing is to continue to try to live as simply as possible. That may get more difficult when you have a family and you have all these other pulls on your time, and then of course time becomes your most valuable resource. But that’s why it’s so important to really try to keep your material possessions and your commitments minimal. Like I said, that’s what I’ve learned from the cultures we work with. I believe they have given me just as much, if not more, than TOMS has given them. I’ve been able to have these incredible life experiences that have really had an impact on me. It’s a real exchange.