A friend in the States asked me on Skype the other day if I’m really as happy as I appear in my Facebook photos, and the short answer is yes, absolutely. I’m meeting interesting, fun, kind & generous people, seeing beautiful places, and learning new things every day. It reminds me of when I sold most of my possessions the first time, 8 years ago, and moved across the country to California with just what fit in my little Toyota. I have that same feeling of freedom, of being in the flow, following my dreams & fulfilling my life’s purpose. How to get here? I think the main way involves letting go. You let go of lots of things, pay off your debts, spend money only on necessities so you can save, then take a leap. And then you keep letting go.
It’s not that everything always goes smoothly. That’s not how life works. When you travel & are out of your routines & comfort zones, frustrating things are bound to happen, but a lot of being happy and in the flow is how you deal with them. For example, banking in other countries can be challenging, as can tech issues. If you expect everything to work the same around the world as it does at home you’re in for a rude awakening.
Every night I’m sleeping in a bed not my own & kind of miss my own pillow, and each day when I go to shower and dress I have to root around through a travel bag, then wear the same outfits I’ve worn again and again. Minor things, but when you’re doing them every day for months, packing up and moving over & over, it can take its toll. But the trade offs are huge. And so you go with the flow, live in the moment, don’t get caught up in the hassles that arise, take the attitude that maybe that long line you’re waiting in happened so you could meet that really interesting woman from Bangkok & have a chat. Maybe all of the strange pillows are to help make you more adaptable instead of keeping you from sleeping. In fact, I’ve slept better on this trip than I have in a couple of years! That may be, of course, that I’m exhausted from all of the sightseeing & moving around, but there’s more to it than that – the knot of anxiety I felt almost every morning has melted away, the stresses of travel are mitigated by the feeling of peace I’ve gained from finally letting go once again & following my dreams.
Yesterday I met a woman who told me that several years ago her husband was working so hard, he feared he’d have a heart attack. So they sold their house and all of their things except for a few special pieces of handmade furniture, which they stored at his father’s, then took their young children and spent a couple of years delivering a boat, sailing across oceans. Now they’re living in a shed, building a small home in beautiful Tasmania, and their children are grown and off on their own adventures. And do they have regrets, miss any of their “stuff”? Not on your life!