As Tom and I begin to gear up for full time travel again, we’ve been really considering our “why”.
Why do we travel?
We’ve had plenty of time to consider this question. From March 2020 to March 2021 we didn’t travel. Aside from a couple brief camping trips we stayed home, and in that quiet home time we did some real soul-searching. We got to know ourselves on a much deeper level than ever before.
What we discovered is that travel served as a gateway to true personal freedom in our lives.
Before we began traveling I was in the typical 9 to 5 hustle, living for my time off, and trying to conform to cultural expectations of “success”. I dreamed of travel, of beautiful beaches, long plane rides, and foreign cultures.
When we made the decision to sell everything and begin traveling it was exciting, it was bucking the system, but those reasons were only the most superficial layer of the “why”.
On a deeper level it was about personal freedom, about choosing our time over money and status. It was about leaning into what brought us actual joy.
Over our years of travel we leaned more and more into freedom. Living in a micro-RV for years teaches you how little you really need, and then we downsized even further from that when we spent 6 months backpacking Southeast Asia with carry-on size bags.
We’ve come to realize that joy doesn’t come from belongings, or even from the commonly accepted idea of “stability”. Joy comes from being present and making the most of this moment of your life. Yes this moment, right now. You can’t always control what this moment brings you, but you can always control how you respond to it.
Travel teaches you to live in the moment, it teaches you to both make a plan, AND be willing to ditch the plan completely. It’s thanks to the lessons of travel that Tom and I were able to truly enjoy our year home. We cooked meals from scratch, walked 5 miles a day (and got to know the local wildlife), and appreciated quiet moments in front of the fireplace.
Over the course of the last 5 years (3 of which were spent traveling) we have downsized and simplified our life so that we can, on a whim, decide to ride our bicycles down the Pacific coast for 3 weeks, or easily put our belongings in storage while we travel from Mexico to Spain to Greece (our plan for the upcoming year).
We’ve learned that following our bliss, taking life moment by moment, and trusting that things will work themselves out is a powerful formula for joy and fulfillment. To worry is to suffer twice, so we prepare the best we can, and then we take things as they come.
The longer we travel the more we release the need to control outcomes, the better we get at going with the flow of life, even if that flow includes a year quarantined.
2020 showed us how adaptable we’ve really become thanks to travel. Our lives (like so many) were thrown off-plan by the pandemic, but in the spirit of taking things moment by moment we settled into what was happening, and rode the wave of change to where we are now (about to set off on a 500 mile bicycle journey)!
That’s the beauty of travel, it teaches you the importance and power of NOW, whatever now may look like. It shows you who you really are: a free, sovereign being.
If you’re considering a life of travel I suspect that your freedom is calling you. The path to that freedom can be bumpy, but it is well worth the ride.
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