365 days spent in 53 cities in 12 countries over 4 continents. Woah.
Today marks one year of full-time travel. On March 24th, 2015, we boarded a plane with carry on suitcases and a tiny dog, and haven’t looked back since. Some days are absolute magic, filled with such clarity and presence of mind to know we made the right decision. Other days, I’m so frustrated because I miscalculated the time zone differences for a work call or I can’t find the flight I wanted that existed yesterday, or Jer is driving somewhere and I’m trying to navigate but Lilly’s in my face, I don’t know German traffic laws, and god, I’m so hungry.
But, here’s the thing (SPOILER ALERT!!!): the good days overwhelmingly outweigh the bad. And I find myself in a state of continual learning. The places I’ve seen and the people I’ve met are life-changing, and I say that with all seriousness, now matter how cheesy it may sound. Over this year, I’ve evolved and grown and honed in on exactly what it is I want out of my life.
In an effort to be concise (I could talk forever about what this lifestyle means to me), I’ve jotted down a few things this year taught me:
The universe WILL take care of you. Your body is made of the same materials that compose the moon and stars and planets and galaxies. You are a living, breathing realization of the most enduring aspects of the universe. Stardust is running wild through your veins. Just as parents are fiercely protective of their children, the universe is fiercely protective of hers. So, go on, go ahead and jump.
There is no umbrella “dream life.” Like my friend Alaina says, what works for me will not always work for you, and vice versa. That you identify your own unique dream life and work to bring it to fruition is more important than modeling your life after someone else’s, no matter how shiny and perfect it seems on the surface. (I wrote this entire post about it.)
You don’t have to be an expert to create. You don’t have to be Ansel Adams to put your photos online. You don’t have to be the next Fitzgerald for your words to matter. You matter just because you’re you. Humans are hard wired to create, so whatever it is, go on with your bad self.
Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. This is my personal mantra, I will live and die by this idea. So technically, it isn’t something I learned this year, but this year did serve to underline just how vital this concept is me. I don’t expect anyone else to care about my personal happiness as much as I do, so I make it my #1 priority.
Bucket lists are a waste of time. All they do is make you feel like you aren’t accomplished enough. Like I really need more of that. I no longer make bucket lists, instead I prefer to focus on what I think really matters: whether I’m actively participating in the creation of my own happiness.
No one has it all figured out. I know a lot of people from all over the place, and guess what. Not a single one of them has all their shit together. I certainly don’t! If we had all the answers, we wouldn’t need to live life at all, we could just skip straight to the end. How boring.
I was a travel snob. I took being an American and traveling under a very powerful passport for granted. Others around the world are itching to come to the US, to see places that were on my doorstep. I had the idea that if a place didn’t net a passport stamp, it was second rate. But that’s just not the case! Even though I’ve spent the majority of my life in America, I haven’t scratched the surface of things I want to see. (After this Euro adventure, we’re going to sort out this travel travesty.)
I’m happy you guys have been along for every day of this journey I can’t wait to see what year #2 brings!