Travel seems like the universal dream; something that nearly everyone wants more of. We regularly get a lot of questions about our travel adventures. Beyond questions about where we’ve been and where we’re going, people always seem to be even more curious about the details of how we constructed our current reality. We call it a “no vacation required” lifestyle because we strive to live deliberately every day. For us that means a life where we can explore the world, work virtually and give back along the way. One of our primary goals is to inspire people to build there own version of a no vacation required life. Along the way, we’re in turn inspired by people who want to break the mold.
We’ve written about our friend, Cat, before, but it’s a good time to revisit her story. A while back, we chatted with Cat over coffee because she had learned – from a mutual friend – that we had made some major life changes. She’d heard that it had all started when we’d decided to take several months off from life-as-we-knew-it in order to visit Africa and to do some volunteering and exploring in South America.
Figure out what’s really important to you.
As it turns out, Cat has been longing to do something similar to what we did. Ten years into a career, she has had the time to sort out her values in the process of figuring out what really matters to her. She knows one thing for sure, she wants to break away from her routine in order to lean into her desire to do something altruistic. More specifically, she wants to volunteer for several months in South America to gain a new perspective and to do something that contributes to a better world. Sounds familiar.
Talking to Cat, we learned a lot about her primary concerns. Here are the biggies: For starters, she is terrified to walk away – even if only for a few months – from her promising career. She has the “what will I come home to” jitters. Also, she has no idea where to begin from a planning perspective. Add to that the fact that she is surrounded by people who are telling her that she is crazy – people who are saying that only early twenty-somethings (and life-long slackers) do that sort of thing. In addition to letting her know that she’s hanging around with the wrong people, we had a lot to share.
People will say you are nuts. Find new people.
To be honest, we went through much the same process. 80% of people suggested we were out of our minds for not wanting to subscribe to the notion of a cookie-cutter life. We connect with a lot of people who share Cat’s dilemma. People who want to do things a bit differently, but who don’t know quite where to start. Does this sound at all like you?
First off, a dose of armchair psychology. Don’t let anyone tell you how to define your goals or your success. If you want to do something off the beaten path, you may not find a lot of people who stand up and clap. Cat, who is in her early thirties, is a manager with a software company. As you’d expect, her circle includes similarly employed people and a family with high expectations. You can imagine how it went when, one day at happy hour, she said “I’m thinking I want to hit the road for about a year to do some volunteering in South America. What do you all think?!” She laughs about it now but says that the silence she encountered was brutal.
Thus the coffee date with us, her new de-facto cheerleaders. She needed to surround herself with people who would provide support.
Make a plan and find inspiration.
The point is pretty obvious. Live your own life. Be brave (but not irresponsible). Lean into a bit of uncertainty, and you might just be blown away by how things end up. Some friends/family might be jealous, angry and judgmental. They’ll get over it.
Don’t let the details overwhelm you. Take a first step towards figuring out what you want out of life. What do you have a passion for? What do you envision for your future? This can be a tough process, so connect with people who can provide the inspiration that you need.
What’s your version of a “no vacation required” life? Do you need some cheerleaders to help get you there?