A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
– Lao Tzu
My Journey actually began a long time ago. I’m not going to sit here and tell you some sob story about how my whole life has sucked. It really didn’t. My parents were wonderful. I grew up camping, canoeing, hiking and exploring the outdoors. I was loved. I was blessed with opportunities to succeed. I started a family. I eventually owned a small business and I achieved a number of things to be proud of.
However, as the years went by I started to feel like I had stopped growing as a person. Seriously (just ask my exes)….I have a lot of room to grow. I felt as though I had drifted away from my travel and adventure roots. As we grow up and real life begins it’s easy to lose your way. Working to pay for the houses, cars, tv’s, iPhones, endless “stuff” and family obligations can take up most of your time and energy. Carving out time to pursue your passions gets pushed further down on the priority list with each passing year.
I guess growing up I developed some preconceived notion of what it meant to be successful and happy in life. The people I perceived to be the most successful were working hard and didn’t take a lot of time off work. Do this and your efforts will be rewarded with a paid off house, a nice car, a secure retirement and the time to pursue your passions. Looking back I realize that some of those same people where never able to pursue those passions for one reason or another. Not easy to hike a mountain or backpack Europe at 65 years old with a bad hip and a pension that just got cut in half. I realize now there are no guarantees. That said, I’m not saying we all should just throw caution to the wind, quit your job and travel around drinking White Claws yelling YOLO.
I could probably point to a plethora of reasons for the notion of success I developed. Media portrayal of the perfect life to a rampant culture of consumerism come to mind. Point is I got sucked into a vision of a perfect life and all the “stuff” that goes with it. In the end I didn’t own my stuff, my stuff owned me.
I was always pursuing the next goal or milestone. Always saying when I made “X” amount of money, owned “X” or finished “X” I would have enough and could pursue the wanderlust that was always raging inside me. Well live and learn….It turned out to be a never ending cycle and I wasn’t truly “present” for most of it. Always stuck in my head thinking about the next goal. I missed out on a lot of personal growth, love, experiences and memories because of this cognitive clusterfuck in my head.
One particular memory stands out in my head about this. Years ago I was working on the never ending remodel (one of many over the years) at the house I was in at the time. I had been working for days finishing trim in the basement. One day, my young daughter was asked where I worked. She replied “My Dad works in the basement.” At the time it was funny but many years later I have come to realize that I was always somewhere else, physically or mentally for one reason or another.
Fast forward a bit….years actually. In late 2018 things really began to weigh on me. A combination of life events and the fact that I was just spinning my wheels brought everything to a head for me. I decided I absolutely needed to change something. There was no more I have to work harder solutions. I tried that over and over. I needed a change and it all boiled down to….I was spending too much time doing the things I didn’t want to do and not enough time doing the things I did.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Unknown
Now that I had a firm grip on this concept and I wasn’t insane anymore, I wasn’t really sure where to begin. What should I change. I knew I wanted more travel and adventure in my life but what could I do to achieve that. To say I was also terrified of the decisions I would have to make is a gross understatement. But I knew that to start living simply and make time to travel, that sacrifices would have to be made. I’ll cover what living simply means to me in a future post. Well it wasn’t a week later that life would present an opportunity. Life often has a way of showing you a different path if you can get your head out of your ass long enough to notice.
In a totally random event I ended up buying a gold claim in California. Yep, you read that right. A guy from NY bought a gold claim in CA. You can read about that story in the menu above under Gold Claim. It’s fairly entertaining if I do say so myself. What happened when I visited the claim would change me forever. The freedom, excitement and peace I felt in those mountains could never be put back in the box. That experience would shape my life subtlety at first and then drastically over the next year. It not only released that raging wanderlust in me but a mindset was born to value time, experiences and personal growth over financial security and material objects….Except my Jeep I still like cool shit for that.
Honestly, it hasn’t been an easy transition. I still struggle with the sacrifices I’ve had to make. I’m still uncomfortable with some financial aspects of this lifestyle. I have to remind myself to be present multiple times every day. That said, I’m slowly adopting a lifestyle where my main goal is to live simply and explore more. The journey so far has been worth it and its just beginning.
Please feel free to comment below with thoughts, questions or similar experiences. No spam trying to sell me something please. Don’t clog up my comments with that bullshit. Don’t be that guy.