Notes on abandoning fear and letting go

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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.

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5 comments on “Notes on abandoning fear and letting go”

  1. Love your style! There is something liberating about leaving it all behind. Letting go of costly possessions. I guess living freely without any of that weight, i.e. car, bills, payments etc., that we “think” we need. And as for dreams…just like you said “Live it today.” 🙂

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    1. Thank you for your comment! I’m glad to be rid of those typical obligations, for now. I wonder if they are completely unavoidable, and the answer is probably not. But it is nice to travel for a few months or even a gap year without worrying about those kind of things that drain so much of our time and energy and contribute to stress. I think by traveling long-term, you learn to minimize the activities and actions that contribute to stress and unhappiness and replace them with more fun, liberating experiences, making you more happy overall! Just some thoughts!

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  2. We left ouf comfy life in the the burbs and moved our little family to the ‘wilderness’ of Costa Rica over 2 years ago. Since then, we’ve moved to Belize to live on the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.

    Our “Letting Go” of all the stuff that used to define us was the most liberating thing we could have done. We had no guarantees and certainly there were, and still are, lots of people that think we are crazy, but we have been open to the positive changes that has happened in our minds and hearts and will never look back with regret.

    We didn’t realize that having so much stuff was actually more about ego than anything else.

    Congrats on your adventures!

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    1. Thank you for sharing a bit about your letting go and unleashing into the world. I especially like your comment that having so much stuff was more about ego than anything else. How true it is!

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