Notes on abandoning fear and letting go

I have been traveling full-time since January 23rd, which puts me a little over 2 months on the road. I’ve had almost ALL amazing experiences. Rarely there is a day where I wish I back in my old life, working the same old job that held little value for me. It’s safe to say that I’m utterly addicted to the lifestyle.

People have begun to ask me, with much curiosity, peppered with a bit of jealousy, “How do you do it?” Well, here’s a very honest run-down. I hope you’re listening, all you would-be Round The World Travelers. Here are some values and courses of action to consider:

1. FEAR: This is the biggest one, in my mind at least. Fear is the force that holds us back the most from accomplishing what our hearts truly desire. Fear will cripple you with feelings of “What if?” Fear doesn’t encourage, it thwarts, steals, belittles, beguiles.  Instead of having a self-defeating attitude, develop a positive, proactive mindset. Do you do what you want everyday? Really what you want? Do you WANT to commute to your office job, work the 9-5 plus overtime for the man, appease your boss? Imagine a world where you’re utterly free of that. Is that enticing to you? Are you afraid to leave behind the comfort of your “old life?” It’s very probable.

Fear will get you lost

2. COMFORT: It’s comfortable to live a life in the status quo, a life that follows the traditional trajectory. Graduate, find a job, maintain a relationship, possibly get married, have children. That’s a “comfortable” life path that people tend to follow. Why? Because we’re told to? For the most part, yes. For some people that works, and there is nothing wrong with that. But what about the people that hate their jobs? Feel unfulfilled? Dream of choking their bosses, airheaded co-workers, skipping off into the sunset for adventure? Stop holding yourself back. If you are UNCOMFORTABLE  in your current situation, resolve to find comfort in the unfamiliar. More often than not, novelty is the cure to a boring existence. Imagine leaving behind the “comforts of home,” the ones that are boring you to death. Sit an contemplate what would make you happy and pursue it.

An imagined happy place

3. RESEARCH: Get addicted to doing research, even if it’s a complete “Lottery Scenario.” Where would I be right now if I won the lottery? Picture yourself on an unspoiled stretch of beach somewhere? Living in a lean-two in the Philippines? Riding the metro in Paris? Where is your “Happy Place?” Start researching what it’s really like to GO there. How much would it cost? Where would I stay if  I could? Sometimes just a bit of poking around will be enough to fuel your dreams into action.

4. PRIORITY: You might be asking yourself how on Earth am I going to be able to travel when I have my rent to pay for, a car to care for, my Starbucks addiction to feed? Truthfully, it IS too expensive to travel around the world when you’re trying to maintain your same lifestyle back home. Sorry to tell you, but if you want those life enriching experiences of the road, you NEED to get rid of the pricier elements of your “old life.” Not saying that you have to ditch all of your Earthly possessions, but you’ll certainly have to prioritize what you’ll need to succeed.

For instance:

I moved out of my apartment in Philadelphia, saving me $400/month on rent, plus an extra $100/mo. on bills. I left my car in the care of my friend, so that I might avoid the awful gas prices ($4.65/gal? No thanks!). That’s nearly $600/mo. saved, halfway to a plane ticket to Thailand for one month without those expenses.

You might be asking yourself, but I can’t live without my IKEA couch and my loft apartment! Then you’re certainly reading the wrong article.

Goodbye humble abode, hello open road

5. ACTION: In a phrase: Take the leap. This has a lot more to do with letting go of FEAR, but also takes a combination of bravery and literally putting one foot in front of the other. If you’re a procrastinator, this will be difficult for you. Putting things off is not the traveler’s style. We’re the get up and go type. Don’t dream a better life for tomorrow: live it today.

Photo Essay: One day in Portland

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Photo of the Day: The Quickening

Sydney Botanic Gardens

This shot was just featured as Photo of the Day on WhyGo Travel. Check it out here: http://photos.whygo.com/2012/03/royal-botanic-gardens-sydney-australia.html

When the streets come alive

It’s a good sign when you end up having a Sunday afternoon that involves a leisurely stroll, a small nap under a tree, a slight breeze and a nearby street performer to coax you into ultimate relaxation mode.

Enjoy this video I captured of Charlie Cox, a long-time street performer at Hancock Park in Los Angeles near the Natural History Museum and The La Brea Tar Pits. If you’re lucky enough to catch him, make sure to ask him about his time performing, his days in the service and be sure to exchange kind words with him.

When missing your flight has its perks

Stupidly, I missed my flight to Portland this morning. I scolded myself for a few hours before giving up and heading back to the apartment in Chicago. Instead of staying mad at myself for the rest of the day, I decided to seize it! What better to cure a flight-missing than a nice Sunday Brunch in Chicago?

I’m staying in Logan Square in Chicago’s north side. I’m only about 15 minutes from the Blue Line (that will quickly take me to O’Hare International for whenever I get the urge to jump on a plane). After punishing myself by lugging my huge 65 litre backpack and laptop back 2 miles to the apartment, some cheering up was in order.

This is what my ideal Sunday brunch looks like:

Carne asada y carnitas tacos, platanos y cebollitas - YUM!

Hey, maybe I should miss my flight to Portland more often. In any case, I was a little bummed out about not going anywhere today as I planned. But it turns out, I DID go somewhere- To Mexico! (Or so the sign at El Cid said):

South of the border

Yes, missing my flight this morning did suck. But it did give me a day to explore a new favorite restaurant, have a delicious brunch with my friend, and appreciate home for one more day.

Photo by author

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If you want to visit El Cid (and you should!) it’s located at 2645 N. Kedzie Ave. in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Sit outside, you won’t regret it!