Sometimes three weeks can change everything. Most of you may know, I packed up my life (or more accurately, donated my life and packed what little was left), left my apartment and car behind and hit the road with my son mid-August. My decision to spend a year traveling, networking and meeting new people has been officially underway for a few weeks and it’s already brought about some valuable lessons.
But before I get to those, a brief recap of what I’ve been up to and how things are going. After leaving my house August 13th, little man and I headed to upstate NY (where I’m from) and we spent 2 weeks catching up with family, and going on vacation to the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Good times had by all. Next up was a brief stop in Utah for a wedding, and then finally out to San Diego on September 4th.
The trip had a few minor setbacks from the get-go. Right before I left NY to head to Utah, one of our carryon bags was stolen. Then, on the flight from SLC to San Diego, one of the zippers broke on our suitcase and we lost a bunch of stuff out of our bag that needed to be replaced. To make matters worse, our first week here, I ended up with shingles and Dominic with chicken pox (I still haven’t told my mom, oops). Good news is, we’re both 100% feeling better and the things we lost were easily replaced.
On the positive side of things, we’ve been having tons of fun! And I’ve been able to stay caught up on work at night and during the few days a week I have help with little man. We’ve managed to hit Disneyland, Universal Studios and Legoland twice. Sea World is on the agenda for this weekend. And I’ve even had a chance to have some adult fun kayaking the La Jolla sea caves (absolutely beautiful and so fun!) and taking a San Diego Harbor cruise when I had some friends out for my birthday. Overall, I certainly can’t complain! (Especially when palm trees are staring me in the face).
The Elephant in the Room – How Are You Doing This!?
It dawned on me that most people have absolutely no idea what I do for a living and how the hell I’m taking the adventure I’m taking. Although it’s really none of anyone’s business, I’m happy to share what I’ve done because maybe it will inspire someone else to realize their dreams are possible or give someone a business idea that will also set them free.
I assure you, I didn’t win the lottery, inherit money from a rich uncle, bank a bunch of cash from a baby daddy or anything else. I did this the old fashioned way – I worked for it. And still do, day in and day out. I work with clients and non profits from around the world on Marketing their businesses and helping them with Media campaigns. I do this from my computer, anywhere there’s wifi. I still work almost 7 days a week, I’m just lucky enough to have a fairly flexible schedule (most of the time).
When most people are sleeping, I’m working. When most people can enjoy a day at Disneyland without the distractions of their phone, I’m often at Disneyland taking a client all or responding to an email. A very fair trade for all the perks (in my opinion), but not without it’s drawbacks. To sum it up, I do what other people won’t do, in order to have what other people don’t have. Life is full of compromises and this is mine.
Living the dream really IS everything it’s cracked up to be (minus lugging all my belongings around like a vagrant, everywhere we go). But, just like anything else, the adventure and excitement eventually wears off and you’re left with life lessons. Here are mine so far –
- Location is important. If you’re not happy with where you’re at (literally or figuratively), change it. This could mean your job, your geographical location, etc. I know I’m certainly more happy when surrounded by sunshine and palm trees.
- Regardless of where you are, it always comes down to who you’re with. Friends, family and people are so important to your overall happiness. This is one challenge of traveling. I do make friends easily, but meeting new people takes time. Being able to stay in touch with friends and family on the phone and by scheduling visits helps tremendously. Never take the people in your life for granted, they’re usually the most important part.
- Your experience is what you make it. Odds are, no matter where you are, there is beautiful scenery and adventure right around the corner…but you must choose to pursue it. Life is full of adventure and beauty, but you have to get up off your couch to experience it.
- Setbacks are temporary, roll with the punches. I could have easily got dragged down by my luggage issues and getting sick on vacation, but I kept going. Giving up should never be an option. Keep on keepin’ on.
- I’ve learned to be more frugal. This might seem contrary to most of my posts, since we’ve been out doing so much, but I’ve actually been following a strict budget to make sure I don’t get caught in a strange location with a crisis and no one familiar around to help me. Traveling has been an unlikely lesson in frugality.
- Spending money on experiences is better than spending money on material things. I like to have nice things as much as the next person, but I’ve found that material things come and go (and can always be replaced). The experiences and memories you make will always be with you. Stop putting experiences off until tomorrow, the only time you have is today.
- Problems follow you, and so do feelings. I already knew this from previous moves and experiences and this isn’t why I left to begin with. But the past week has been a reminder that emotions follow you no matter where you go. Best to face things head on, so you can move on.
- Some friends disappear as quickly as you do. Pretty self explanatory. Being long distance from my family and friends has never been an issue for me, since I’ve done it most of my life. But there will always be some friends who lose touch with you as soon as you leave town. It sucks every time, but it’s life.
- Some people legitimately aren’t happy for you, and only want to share in your misery. There are three types of friends in this world; “friends” who are only there when you’re doing well and want a ride on the bandwagon, true friends who are always there no matter what stage of life you’re in, and “friends” who only want to be there when things are bad, to revel in your misery. I’ve had quite a few experiences with the latter as of late and it’s absolutely eye opening. Some people just can’t find it in them to be happy for you when things are going well; an unfortunate side effect of success I suppose.
- I’ve figured out what I really want when I do settle down and choose a place to live permanently. From big things right down to little detailed things, such as the type of pillows I want on my bed. Experiencing many different things has given me perspective on what I want and don’t want.
- When you finally do get what you want, some people will not be happy for you. And worse, some of them will accuse you of bragging or being snobby. To hell with that, I’ve worked my ass off to get here and I’m not apologizing for a single minute of it! Can’t please everyone and I won’t even try.
- Material stuff means jack shit. This is worth reiterating. Nice stuff is…well, nice. But memories, experiences, relationships and the feeling you get from giving back lasts a lifetime.
- Who you surround yourself with determines your mindset, success and happiness. Life is too damn short to deal with naysayers and nitpickers. If someone isn’t happy for you, odds are they aren’t happy for themselves either. I’ve found incredible freedom and happiness the past couple years by eliminating negative people from my life. Surrounding myself with people who are happier and more successful than me seems like a clearly better choice.
- Leaving the material stuff behind and kicking excuses to the curb is LIBERATING as hell. Why the hell haven’t I always lived my life like this? To sum it up, if you want to do something, do it now!
Overall, I’d rate our experience thus far as 75% positive (mishaps aside). Sure, there have been a few mishaps and a few moments of loneliness, but that comes with the territory. The benefits of the trip are far outweighing the negatives thus far. This whole experience has made me very contemplative; Do I want to continue doing what I’m doing with the people I’m doing it with? Or do I want to do something different? The jury’s still out on those two questions, but I’ll continue to seek out the answers. Thus, I’ve saved the 3 biggest lessons (thus far) for last.
The 3 Biggest Lessons of All –
- The Comfort Zone is not your friend. When you find yourself getting comfortable, change something. I lived in that place for far too long. “Life exists outside your comfort zone”.
- False friendships and naysayers may get you down, but only temporarily. True friends and relationships can span great distances, life changes and lengths of time. For every naysayer who has accused me of “losing my mind”, “bragging”, or “trying to one up people” with my adventure (really, that would be extreme), there are 5 others who have been immensely supportive and truly amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to have friends visit me from other states, call to check on me and even send me little gifts as a reminder of our friendship. Good people exist, you just need to find them. And once you find them, you’ll have hem for a lifetime.
- Nothing is promised except change. Things change, that’s a constant. What you have today, you may not have tomorrow. I’ve learned this the hard way MULTIPLE times. Enjoy what you have while you have it, and stop putting things off. One of the reasons I’ve decided to fully enjoy my travel adventures while I can, is because I’m well aware that the opportunity could be swept away in an instant. I don’t know where we’ll be a year from now (or realistically, even two months from now). But right now I’m in sunny California, with some fun trips on the horizon and I intend to enjoy every minute of it, because these luxuries are not promised tomorrow and I’m not going to take them for granted.
I’m immensely grateful for my family, friends, clients and supporters every single day. I know exactly how lucky I am to be doing what I’m doing, and to have a perfect little man by my side to enjoy the adventure. I haven’t forgotten how I got where I am, nor those who have had my back.
Next up on the agenda; San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, LA and the Mexican Riviera! Then we head back east for some fun in NYC and New Orleans. Here’s to more new beginnings – Onward and upward!
“Everything you want is on the other side of Fear!”
PS. A few BIG announcements coming soon!
PPS. Would anyone be interested in seeing video updates, along with these blog posts?