I love to learn new things, acquire new skills and educate myself. Unfortunately sometimes I don’t get around to it, I can’t seem to find time in my busy schedule to learn more about the things I truly enjoy and love.
And then, when it’s time for a new trip, learning seems to be a piece of cake. Whether a day trip to a metropolitan city, a hike around the country or a trip to the sea, you always learn something. Be it a few words in a foreign language, habits and customs or literally learning facts about a country and its history.
And it doesn’t even feel like learning because you don’t have to study. I remember how I used to try to cram endless amounts of facts revolving around different topics for school and for university into my head. As soon as my exams were over, everything was erased immediately. However, the things I learn while traveling I never seem to forget.
They are connected to experiences, adventures and in essence to my identity. Not only does my mind learn and my horizon widen, I seem to alter and change with every experience I make, every person I meet along the way and every country I visit.
There is no substitute for experience. When you’re traveling, you are exposed to so many different things – you can read about a place or a historical event but nothing compares to actually being there, following the footsteps of history. You come to a deep understanding that can’t be achieved in any other way.
Most of my blogposts veer around the topic of finding bliss. That violent urge of discovering what makes me tick and what sets my soul on fire. Buried deep in my soul I know what that is. I know that I will never ever be able to settle for the life that society expects us to lead. Imagining my life 10 or 15 years from now, I can’t picture living any other lifestyle than the one I am currently following.
You might ask – how does she want to do it? Don’t you ever deliberate settling down, creating a family and building a house? Currently, the sheer thought of building a house 15 years from now gives me shivers. Literally chaining myself to one place is unimaginable for me right now. And having children? Hell yeah. But that doesn’t mean you have to quit this lifestyle of dedicating a life to travel. The most impressive example for this is Adam Baker. After his first child was born, he discovered he felt the way that I do when I think of building a house. So he asked himself “what is freedom?”. What does freedom mean to every single one of us? Posing this question changed his life. Up until then, life decisions circled around questions about upgrading items in his life – the TV, an apartment, clothes and the like. Suddenly he and his wife found themselves trapped in a life they just unintentionally fell into. But were they happy? They decided they weren’t. They realised that they were living their lives according to a default script that they hadn’t chosen themselves. So they left. They sold everything and traveled the world with their child. If they can, I can do it as well.
Adam’s story is the most inspiring story I have heard in a long time. I don’t want to live a life purely for the sake of working, coming home late at night and counting the days until the next weekend or the next big trip. Just as author Nigel Marsh believes, I am not looking for a job that I hate to buy things that I don’t need to impress people that I don’t like. For me, experiences count more than items. I want to spend my money on experiences that feed my soul. In my case, that is traveling.
But what Adam and I are trying to tell you is not that you should sell all your crap and leave your home if this is not what you are craving. We are rather asking you to constantly remind yourself that you only have this one life and should better make the best of it. The worst thing we can do is settle with the second best option. If you know your passion, follow it. What would you do if money wasn’t an obstacle? If you can answer this question, do not ignore your passion. Get out there and follow it. You need to define what freedom looks like for you. And even if you don’t completely quit your current lifestyle, constantly urge for more.
Instead of mindlessly spending money on crap that you don’t need, invest it in your passion. Free yourself from the idea that acquiring things makes you happy. For me, knowing that there are tons of things I haven’t used in years makes me sick. I’d rather only own a backpack or a suitcase of belongings that I cherish and need instead of piling up hordes of crap around me. Why should we identify ourselves with physical things? In my opinion, the exact opposite is true. Happiness is a state of being, not of having. Starting today, imagine what your life could like if you started collecting experiences and not things.
My solemn pledge is not to wake up to an alarm clock but to a life and a job I truly love, doing work that I actually care about. Thank you Adam Baker.
This is not an entirely travel or wanderlust related post as the end of the year always encourages me to reflect on all that’s happened in the last 365 days. As for me, many of those days and endless thoughts and daydreams were and always are defined by a violent urge to explore the world. As the quote above says, it really is what sets my soul on fire. That’s why I have the solemn pledge to dedicate my existence to travel.
This year has been especially eventful in many ways and there is one lesson that is connected to everything that I encountered this year: stay calm and everything will figure itself out. 2015 taught me this lesson very early on with me getting robbed in Athens. Instead of freaking out and wishing to go home, I gathered my thoughts and decided to enjoy my time in Greece even more. I was determined not to give other people the freedom of pulling the strings of my happiness.
Sitting here on the last day of 2015, I can connect the dots even further. Especially right now, staying calm is what I need to do. I should have learned by now that the best things in life come super unexpected, just as my most recent trip to Japan. Who would have thought that after trips around Wales, loving life in rural Canada and roaming Southeast Asia I would get another opportunity to travel this year? I did and I am so grateful for fate fueling my life continuously.
Right now, at the edge of 2015 and with 2016 in sight, I find myself in a phase that seems all-consuming, confusing, exciting and nerve-racking. Being a recent Masters graduate, I am about to leap off into a phase of my life that seems to determine my existence. From time to time, this utterly terrifies me. But just as I did with my travels, I am just going to center myself, take a deep breath and believe in whatever comes along will set my soul on fire. And I will not settle before I find it. Happy 2016!
Well, I can’t deny it anymore. I am a soon-to-graduate master’s student in Global Communications Management. Our graduation ball is over and the dissertation madness has already kicked in. More and more people approach me with the same question all over again: “So, what are you going to do once you graduate?”. I answer with a shrug, mostly replying that the world is my oyster and I would go anywhere. Sounds like the perfect situation, ha? It is, but it is also pretty terrifying. Going anywhere means being on your own. Sure, you will meet new people and explore new places but that is not always easy. Settling in to a new culture, trying to make friends outside your work and making an often very foreign place your home.
As scared as I am and as much as I might be peeing my pants, that is what I am longing for. I have often asked myself whether I should just go home and take some time off before the next adventure. A little recharging from all the stress and building up the courage to leave again. Yet another time of organising a life in a place where I’ve most probably never been, another set of goodbyes, spending the last days at home with nervousness and then finally taking off again.
Or, why not stay put where I am right now? I am pretty sure there are loads of opportunities just waiting around the corner. Could be a safe and easy option! To be honest, the sheer thought of that makes me itchy. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to settle down somewhere. When will this life of exhaustion combined with a constant urge to move and explore diminish? I RELISH this life but it often makes your life challenging. YAY, you moved to a new place and you can’t wait to explore. And then everyday life kicks in. All you want is to put your feet up and watch a movie. Which is okay! But when you make that decision to sacrifice a lot of things to move abroad you feel you have to make that worthwhile. So you constantly feel restless in your home caused by the oh-so-popular fear of missing out.
But, in the end I just feel blissful. I am lucky and blessed having the privilege to live this life.
I know everything will turn out even better than I could have ever imagined. My past adventures have taught me that these kinds of times are often the perfect opportunities to find something better, something that wouldn’t have ever crossed my path otherwise. It’s humbling to know how big the world is and how many opportunities could be waiting out there. None of it is out of your reach though, after all, the world is a tangible place and those who are brave enough can explore it to its most secluded corners.