So many people say to me “We’d love to be doing some of the stuff you do, but we can’t because….”
Many people think they can have everything they want and still keep everything they have. They want a new life, they want to experience new adventures or options, but yet they desperately cling to the things they have now & are unwilling to sacrifice anything to make a change. They think that they can just live as a long-term traveller, or minimalise, or live a more environmentally friendly life, or a more humanitarian/community-focused life, and just “add it on” to their existing habits and way they live now. It doesn’t normally work that way.
If you want your life to change, big or small; you have to be prepared to change it. It sounds obvious, but let me break it down into some day-to-day practicalities.
If you want to do long-term travel, you need to be able to get out of the comfort zone of your own home, your own hometown, your regular contact with your friend/family circle and your regular routine. Traveling does not come with an “I need to sleep in my own bed” option. Nor an “I can’t use public toilets” option. Nor an “I am only willing to talk English” option (depending on country). Nor a million others.
If you really want to connect with people, the way people live, see some of the most spectacular sights, marvel at the incredible energy in a place and stumble into beautiful local festivals and events; then you need to leave your car behind, keep far away from impersonal hotels, change your focus from how many places and “things” you can fit into your schedule. Moving towards just enjoying each moment, using public transport (and all the hiccups that brings), getting lost, interact with people or nature or both.
If you want to be in a relationship and are constantly traveling, then you probably need to let go of the need to be in sexy/fancy clothes, because they probably don’t fit the “cull” to make it into your luggage. Similarly, if you want to be in a relationship with a long-term traveler and there is an appeal of the difference of the adventure of that lifestyle; then you need to also accept that they probably aren’t carrying sexy/fancy clothing, or piles of makeup, or even that it is a priority. On some days, you may even have to just be thankful that they have had a shower and cleaned their teeth!
If you want to live in flow and feel how amazing it is to just embrace the great things that are presented to you, you need to forego the need to eat the same foods you do now, at the specific preferred times you do now, your current sleep/exercise routine, your current climate, and most importantly, your desire to be in control, think you know what you are doing for the next week, and to sticking to your “plan”.
If you want to stop working super-long hours to pay off all your possessions, then you need to forego a fair chunk of your possessions. It is THAT simple.
If you want to live a simpler life, then you need to give up all the ties, good and bad, that complicate it.
If you want to help the environment, then you need to give up a world of perceived “conveniences” and embrace how easily you can live with a small environmental footprint.
If you want to be in touch with nature, then you need to give up the conveniences and possibly income potential, of living in a big city.
It sounds obvious when you see it in writing, but when I talk to people, the reality of this really hasn’t hit them. And that, in fact, may be good for some. Because if it did, they may be too scared to start taking some steps. For some people, a slow evolutionary change is how things work. But for others, they just want wholesale change. And for that to happen, you have to do a wholesale “throw your hands in the air” and be willing to embrace it. Even if only for short time-frames or doses.
If you want something different, you need to do something different. You need to BE something different. You need to be willing to cut ties with everything you had and everything you are and were. Leave a vacuum, leave a void and launch yourself into the abyss, prepared to free-float (or free-fall) until the new fills the space and carries you away with it. Then connect and bring back in those elements from the past that serve and enhance your new future.
Don’t panic, that doesn’t mean you necessarily WILL have to completely cut ties with the present or past; it just means you need to be willing to. Because your willingness shows your readiness for change. And you MAY have to. But if you do, it will happen at the right time and in the right timing. And some things can, and do, reconnect back.
Yes, it can have some scariness or trauma attached. But I think it actually isn’t as bad as we think it will be. Looking back, there were DEFINITELY moments when I thought “OMG what have I done!” (ok, that was the polite version of what I actually said to myself). There were moments of a churning stomach and loss as I put pen to paper to sign things away; to handover cherished possessions; and to say goodbye to loved ones. No doubt. But looking back, most of it was nowhere NEAR the trauma and stress I had put myself through, during the rest of my life, trying to juggle an over-committed life of working/running businesses, owning and maintaining properties, dealing with the sagas of people ripping me off, and trying to raise a child on my own. And it was SUCH a short time-frame of a couple of years, compared to the 30 adult years previously. And even better, once I took the first steps, then next ones just started falling into place easily.
You can’t get what you want until you start asking for it. Not a tentative asking, but a full-scale committed, convincing desire for change. You aren’t fooling anyone, or the Universe, or yourself, when you ask for something to change but are unwilling to walk away from anything which is in conflict to that change. So how about it..
What DO you want?
How does that actually look in real life?
Which parts of your life don’t co-exist with that well?
Are you WILLING to give those parts up?!
So that you can SIMPLY LIVE your desired life?