There were a decent amount of events and universal signs that lead me to make the decision to try a minimalistic and nomadic lifestyle; some big, some small…some hidden and some blindingly obvious. From what I know (because I’m always on the look-out for more cosmic encouragement) there were three major signs that the life I was leading was not what I wanted.
Sign #1: I couldn’t control my emotions when looking at travel photos.
My entire pinterest feed turned into an online rolodex of the world. I would spend any moment of spare time looking through photos of possible trips and my mouth would water. I couldn’t control my emotions and would be stuck between extreme sadness and fighting the urge to run to the nearest plane.
I felt a physical ache in my chest when I saw pictures of Iceland a few months after I returned from my trip. And Ireland? I couldn’t even look at photos of beautiful, green, sprawling Ireland without being reduced to tears. My body was physically reacting to being away from the places I fell in love with while simultaneously trying to override my dwindling sense of reason to get to the new ones I was discovering. I spent so much time learning about the cultures, geography, and history of the countries I traveled that I cared about them like I cared about the characters from Grey’s Anatomy- too much.
It all sounded so naive, but I felt so strongly that I belonged “out there” instead of slowly drowning in societal responsibility “here.”
Sign #2: I was unhappy in my career.
I started, and am currently ending, my teaching career with the same feelings; distaste and indifference. I never wanted to be a teacher, but I let others talk me into it because it was the “logical” choice. I worked for the same school for 3 years and somewhere in the middle I was content enough with my paychecks and time off to travel that I was able to ignore the growing feelings of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion.
Soon though, I found myself spending more and more time researching work abroad and tracking plane tickets. After my first international trip, I became obsessed with planning my adventures one after another. I realized that traveling as a “vacation” wasn’t good enough and it soon turned into a priority in my life. After all, I had never felt happier than when I was traveling.
Well, the day before spring break (also the day before my trip to the UK) I was informed that I was not being rehired and my world changed in an instant. Even though I wanted nothing more than freedom from the career I could barely tolerate, the feeling of stability from a paycheck and a life I had built for myself was pulled out from under me.
Fortunately, I was able to recover quickly with the support of my friends and family. It was a bittersweet moment because I was being torn away from my co-workers and students, but without it I wouldn’t have been able to take steps towards a happier life and happier me.
Sign #3: I had nothing holding me back.
I’ve had a lot of conversations with friends and acquaintances about traveling. They typically go like this:
“So what are your next travel plans?”
“Well, I’m trying to travel longer. I think I’m going to spend some time in Norway, Poland, Austria, etc.”
“Oh, that’s so cool! I would love to travel like that.”
“You should! I can give you the details and you can join on a leg if you’d like.”
“Oh, I wish! I can’t do much because of my job/bills/children/pets/spouse. I have too much going on here, I wouldn’t be able to be gone that long.”
I understand that some responsibilites weigh heavier in other people’s lives than they do mine. But after hearing all of these reasons for not traveling, I realized I really had nothing holding me back. I lost my job, so there was no need to worry about time off. I then moved back home to save money on monthly bills. I have no children and I haven’t been in a relationship in years. The final touch? I had zero plans to change any of this.
Currently, I have 3 more months left in a short term teaching position I started in September. I’ve done a lot of research, and I’ve made a plan.
I started my minimalistic living by purging 11 trash bags of “stuff” when I moved back home. Not even trash, just objects and materials that I had kept over the years. After getting rid of them, I then went through what was left with a fine tooth comb and started selling all my left-over things on eBay. I also have an outline for supplementing my income taking care of my finances for the next year. I feel good about my choices and what I’m doing to make my dream a reality.
And if this all sounds too easy, just know that it took me a good 3 months to commit to the idea of even trying to live differently. But I’ll tell you the most influential thought I’ve had throughout this entire process..
“I’ve been given the perfect opportunity to do what I really want, and I would feel like an utter moron if I didn’t act upon it.”
So if any of these signs seem familiar to you..if you have an obsession with maps and google flights. If you find yourself feeling “flighty,” like at any moment you could pack a bag and leave. Maybe you should act upon it. Maybe you should at least give it a second thought 🙂
Do you share any of the same feelings? Not sure if something is telling you to travel more? Want some encouragement or maybe a second opinion on your choice to travel more? Comment below!