A few posts back, we mentioned doing an occasional Q&A with the NVR Guys post. Here's our first! We get a lot of questions about travel, but we get even more questions about having embarked on this life where we don't "wait until later" - but rather live NOW. Here's a question we just got...
Q: I love that you guys are travel fanatics, but I especially appreciate that you are focused on living deliberately and making your lifestyle sustainable. I enjoyed the post you did about Cat. I also need some motivation to switch things up. I am currently feeling a bit stuck but am scared to make a change. It couldn't have been easy for you. How did you motivate yourselves to leave your jobs and make a big life change?
Tip #1: Tell the voice in your head to shut up (unless, that is, it's telling you to chase your dreams).
I guess our lives were pretty typical in that we were both focused on upwardly mobile careers while, at the same time, trying to carve out time for personal pursuits/interests. In truth, we were often the proverbial "two ships passing in the night." Don't get me wrong; it's not that we weren't successful at living life that way. It's just that some things felt perpetually out of sync and difficult to balance.
A lot of thoughts were running through our heads. Like most people, we believed - on some level - that increasingly responsible jobs would lead to even higher levels of satisfaction. You know how it goes.... You have that mental dialogue that tends to repeat the societal beliefs that we're supposed to buy into. "I'll have more time when I get that next job..." Stuff like that. Well, we both got plenty of the "next jobs" and a commensurate level of satisfaction never seemed to surface. Go figure.
Tip #2: Take inventory of your life. What matters to you?
The good news is that through that entire phase, no matter how busy or overwhelmed, we regularly took time to check in on life - to really ponder how we were feeling about things. Taking the time to actually evaluate and think critically about the different dimensions of life prompted us to be brutally honest. Rather than deriving more and more satisfaction from our situations at the time, we were both beginning to realize that we were on predetermined, cookie-cutter paths that weren't working and, most importantly, weren't authentically fulfilling.
Also, it didn't hurt that we always found time to travel. We became experts at maximizing vacation time in order to break away, see the world and spend time together. Whether a camping trip over a long weekend or several weeks in Asia, these getaways did a lot to (ultimately) prompt the path we're on today. Travel has a pretty good reputation for inspiring you to think about life. Sounds simple, but it's true.
Tip #3: Refuse to settle for so-so.
So, prior to our life changes, there wasn't anything particularly atypical going on - certainly nothing that was an obvious lead-in to the life we currently live. In retrospect, we're glad that we were never totally on auto-pilot. We always questioned things and never wanted to be passive about life. No matter how pathetic and stepford-y we may have felt at any given time, we knew something better and more satisfying was ahead.
Our "won't-settle-for-mediocre" attitude culminated in the perfect sequence of events when we took off for a 2-week vacation to run the Paris Marathon and came back with a completely rejiggered agenda. You can read about the details on the About page and, in future posts, we'll get into more details about specific dimensions of our life renovation.
Do you want to travel more, get out of a slump, (or whatever)? Change starts with positive action, however small.
What tips do you have for people who want to get out of a rut or retool their lives? When have you said "hell no" to the status quo?