17 Sep Lessons From My Passport: What Two Years Of Traveling Location Independent Has Taught Me
Today is the two year anniversary of the start of my grand adventure of living as a citizen of the world. Writing this on a moonlit night on a roof, mere meters from the Great Pyramids of Egypt, I can tell you, I am truly living my dream!
I can’t believe it’s already been two years and to think, it almost didn’t happen.
I’ll never forget September 16th – the eve of my departure.
That day was spent at a local beer fest with my partner and our best friends. I was avoiding the inevitable of my leaving the many friends whom I love and treasure as my family. I was leaving my partner of almost seven years and I was leaving our beloved cats. I was leaving all the familiar things I”d come to know and love in my Canadian life.
So I got HAMMERED – and I mean really hammered! Only my ‘sister-in-law’ and I knew the real reason I was letting myself go so hard on the night before a cross-country drive….I was afraid.
Many people reading this would naturally suspect that I was the afraid of the unknown, or of all the risks I would face in this big life change.
No – “Unknown” and “Risks” are old friends of this adventurous rebel. No, what I feared most was letting go. I was letting go of all I loved and I just knew that the life I’d known with these people of my heart would all be over.
Deep down I knew this. And for the most part, I was right.
Oh sure, there were plans made on my part for the relationship to continue, but in my heart I knew he wouldn’t. And he didn’t.
I also knew that my leaving would mean I would forever change and that my closest friendships were at risk of ending too. And some did.
Few in my life knew that for the two years prior, I had been fighting an awful, painful internal battle. Abandonment has been a deep-seated childhood fear so to think of doing that to others, well, it was a horrible thought! It took me a long time, and with lots of love and light from very dear and gifted friends, that I was able to steel myself for what was to come.
I had a deep, soul-burning desire to live my authentic light. And I couldn’t stand the thought of staying and losing my very soul to a life of conformity.
It seems that this is an internal battle many, many people face in different ways.
For some, it’s choosing to say No to a life predetermined by their parent’s good intentions. For others, it’s choosing to say No to a relationship that was never the right fit. Still, for others it’s saying No to living the way society expects versus living authentic to themselves.
After all the years of teaching others to jump off cliffs of adventure, here was my very own cliff to jump from. I was teaching others to seize their best lives, and yet, I had been stuffing mine in exchange for the safety of this circle of people I had created for myself. What a fraud and a total chicken-shit I’d been!
I mean, even leaving, I had a chicken-shit plan of going back.
I had set the stage that if my partner really and truly wanted me back in a way that we could both shine, then I would go back. This was my own version of tricking my head and heart to leap knowing that I was leaving a door open.
But he didn’t open that door and I didn’t go back. Broken, I forged ahead.
Geckos And Gallivanters
From Georgetown, Canada to Giza, Egypt…from fear of letting go to fear of missing out…this has been a journey of the heart, for sure.
Arriving in Costa Rica ungrounded, lost, and broken, I was immediately wrapped in all her magic. The National Geographic has written that Costa Ricans are the happiest people in the world. I suggest that they are because of the country’s strong lifeforce energy. It is of no surprise then that the Universe plopped me here to learn my many powerful lessons.
In this yoga jungle resort set up on the hill above a fun, hippie beach town, I met so many interesting people. And many, like I, were volunteering in exchange for room and board.
These fellow travelers seemed lovely but guarded? Distant yet with light? I was confused. I realized that they had learned to guard themselves to deep friendships because of the inevitable (and frequent) goodbyes. They taught me how to be open and with light in my heart, yet be guarded as well. A most valuable lesson. And I had many of them I had to watch leave just to make the lesson sink in. Do you see how magical the Universe was in placing me here?
It was here too, that I learned how to just let all the silly details of life go. Life in the jungle, even in a resort, will humble you. Flying hissing cockroaches the size of baseballs, giant bats buzzing overhead on their night hunts, giant poisonous frogs found lounging in your shower, kamikaze geckos that seem to enjoy dive-bombing your bunk from the ceiling, or the occasional cockroach or herd of fire ants that invade one’s kitchen…all of these will change your perspective on what is acceptable. I learned to let it all go…let go of convention and embrace the life…’pura vida’’ they called it there. It’s what the Italians call ‘the sweet life’ and the Egyptians call ‘the life.’
It’s a state of being that focuses on things in life that really matter. It’s focusing on love, community, family, nature, and joy. And it’s all done by letting go of all the useless and wasted energy that one can easily get caught up in the rat race in a ‘normal’ life.
Learning to ‘let go’ of things, situations and sometimes even people was a BIG lesson for me and one I’m still learning. Still…more lessons were to come.
Sometimes It’s Just Time To Grow Onward
Travel forever changes you and it changes your place in the lives you’ve left behind.
There were many friends I kept in touch with along my journey, some who had always been my closest of friends, others were friends but had not yet had the time to blossom to that depth, and others still were ones I’d forged online from places far flung across the globe.
It was tough for me though, when I would connect back home with them to hear about the good times that were being had without me; family birthdays, weddings, and just things that one normally shares with their best friends – I was missing it all.
And, worse still, I felt ‘guilty’ at first about sharing what I was experiencing..the sights I saw, the foods I’d tasted, the waters I’d swam in, the people I’d met, the cultures, and more. It felt like I was showboating rather than sharing.
I also felt guilty to share how much my heart ached for their connection. I didn’t want them to worry and honestly, I didn’t’ want them to start talking me out of my life. So fragile was I during those first six months, a couple of encouraging words to hang it up and, I’m ashamed to admit it, I might seriously have hung up my passport.
I’m so thankful no one did that though.
If I had returned, I would have missed out on so many lovely, lovely souls I’ve met along the way whom I’ve adopted as my now ‘world family.’ And I would not have been there to have been a light of influence for the ones I was always supposed to meet. We all have our parts to play. I am thankful for my part in all the lives I’ve been privileged to witness in this time and space.
But there were some casualties along the way.
Some friends grew and expanded, as I was doing, but in different directions. It’s been awesome to see their lives be enriched in so many ways and even though we aren’t in touch like we were, I am still one of their biggest cheerleaders from afar. It’s not that we don’t love each other, but we have simply grown onward.
That’s the thing about growing, sometimes you have to leave people behind physically, and sometimes emotionally so that they can pursue their own growth and you pursue yours.
It all goes back to letting go.
Like A Page From Sesame Street
“One of these is not like the others”
I also recognize through others’ eyes, how different I am than I once was. A visit back to Indiana to see family and friends really illuminated how much I had changed. Well-meaning loved ones would offer previously favourite activities to go do…go shopping, go to a movie, to this place or that place. These were very lovely to consider but I’d changed and didn’t find joy in them anymore. I would just rather walk and talk, go visit with simple people, and be out in nature.
I had changed dramatically.
Today, I find my energy is taxed so much more easily in and around modern trappings so I prefer to be in areas that are authentic, genuine, and simple. Even here in Egypt, there are modern muses of shopping, movies, and more so I’m mindful of how much time I need to devote to protecting my light before going out to them. Give me a moonlit desert night on a roof facing the pyramids, any day of the week!
Stuff Is Just Stuff
When your luggage is your home, you appreciate most what matters to carry with you.
Living location independent is a way of life that is not for everyone, but for me it has been a dream realized. To be able to call the world my home, truly has been a real joy and heart-opener. No longer, do you look at the lens of the movements in the world, singularly from one national voice, but from a place in your soul that truly recognizes that everywhere, you now have family there. Suddenly, every headline has new meaning, new attachment to it. My neighborhood is a lot bigger.
Living from your suitcase also redefines what it is that is important to have in your life. You no longer look at shopping for things in the same way. You become very protective of the space you have. Will it fit in my suitcase? How much does it weight? What can I take out to put this in for?
And this lesson of being protective of this space, transcends into being more mindful of the space I have in my heart, mind and energy. I’ve learned to be very protective here too. Do I need to think about this? How do I let this go from my mind, my heart, my energy?
Focused Attention Brings Purposed Invention
What we dwell on with energy and emotion, we create more of.
When I started out on this adventure, it was with the intent to follow the giggles of my heart. But what happened was, I did so while I worked through losses and hurts and deepened my awareness of self and my intended path with practised visualization.
I found that the more that I became a student of life in this time and space, the more I was able to see come to be in my life. The more I practiced “as if” – acting as if things were already happening or were in being – the more that they came to be. As my mentor and teacher, Mike Dooley, has taught me and millions of others…”thoughts become things.” I’ve learned this very well in my travels.
Living In Joy As A State Of Being Is A Choice
When we choose joy over worry, joy over angst, then we choose the light of our soul.
I have met many a soul on my travels and a constant thread among the many conversations I’ve had with them is from where do I find my joy. “I don’t find it,” I tell them. “I choose Joy.” If one has to ‘find’ joy -then they will be waiting a very very long time, which I’ve found explains why many aren’t living in joy yet.
If there is one lesson above them all that I’ve learned to such a practiced state of automatic operation, it is being in the state of joy.
Now don’t get me wrong – there are crazy things that can happen in our lives that may take us out of joy. A world catastrophe, a broken heart, a loss of a loved one, a bad day with work, and so on. But, we get to choose each time what we do with it. Is it always easy? Oh, heck no! Nothing ever good is!
I’ve learned that by choosing to live in a state of joy, I can apply powerful positive emotions and thoughts to the things I most want to see happen in my life, rather than give manifesting energy to that which I absolutely do not want to see more of.
By living in this state as best I can, I have found great success in creating the life I want to live for myself and moreover, in creating the difference I want to see for those I love, and this world overall.
And like that, because I visualized what I wanted in my life – not using crazy details of the Who, What or Where I wanted, but rather focusing on the HOW I wanted to feel with them in my life, here I am in Egypt, with all I’ve ever dreamed of and more! An abundant life in all areas of my life!
Looking back on from where I came from two years ago – broken and lost, I realize that I would have missed all of this had I stayed in that life, sheltering my light and not looking within for the answers, giving rise to all of my light and giving powerful positive joy to the results I wanted to see for me.
Like that old Rascal Flats’ song, “I thank God for all the broken roads that led me straight to you.”