Life is what you make it. You can live in excuses and regrets, or you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Happy weekend everyone! So I’ve been doing a bit of reflection on my life choices, and how I got to where I am today – which is extremely happy to wake up every morning and go do my thing. This is a result of a conversation I recently had with a good friend of mine. She’s working in a job she doesn’t like, wakes up every morning feeling stressed and miserable, but doesn’t want to leave because she’s saving for a house and is worried she may have to take a pay cut to do what she really wants to do.
When it comes to my mindset, I think differently to a lot of people I know, in terms of happiness versus everything else. Wherever I am in the world, whatever I’m doing, my happiness takes priority and the rest always comes second. If I suddenly wake up no longer enjoying my job, my hobby or where I’m living, I make a change. Money is money to me. Yes we need it to survive in the world, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t buy happiness. When I switched careers from the charity sector to online publishing, I took a huge pay cut. But I knew I was going to wake up everyday loving what I did and feeling good about myself and my life. Yes I had to cut back on things here and there and it would take me longer to save up for trips, but to live each day, happy versus miserable, is worth it one hundred times over.
Turning to my friend, I asked her a few simple questions. Why do you want a house? And what’s more important to you? Being miserable for the next few years and having enough money for a down payment on a property, or living everyday, happy, enjoying life, and having it take you a bit longer to get into the property market?
Her answer to my first question came as no surprise. She wanted a house because she was in her mid 30s and that’s what people of her age did. They settled down and bought property of their own. I’ve never been one to follow the structured path created by society, and I often feel angry towards society, when people feel the pressure to do so. I’m one hundred percent all about breaking the mould, making your own rules and living life to your own timeframe.
Two years ago, I made the best decisions of my life. I said goodbye to my 9-5 desk job, ended my rental lease, sold everything I owned – my car, household furniture, kitchenware that would have served me well for years to come, and bought a one way ticket to Canada. I was embarking on my lifelong dream of travel and little did I realise, that my desire of seeing the world, to break from societal tradition, would in fact, turn into self discovery of who I am, the realisation of what truly feeds my soul, and open my life up to experiencing happiness on a level I didn’t even know existed.
From a young age I always felt that I was meant to be somewhere else. Off discovering the treasures of the world. I could say my curiosity of the wider world started with my parents – my mum from Germany and my dad from Mauritius. I was fascinated with what life was like where they grew up.
When I announced my plans to travel, everyone around me thought I was crazy. “You’re going to travel?… But what about your career?… You’ve got a good job, you may not find another… You should buy some property first, have something secure for your future…”
It occurred to me in that moment that almost everyone I knew had the same perception on how life should be lived. Now that might work for some, but I’ve never been one to fit into the mould of – get an education, settle in a career, buy property, get married and have children. I mean, how do I even know that Australia is where I want to “settle down” if I don’t see what else is out there? Maybe I’ll discover that Switzerland or Italy is where I feel more at home.
After hearing their comments, I couldn’t help but wonder. Why do we feel the need to follow a structured path that’s been embedded into society? And this goes for all aspects of life. Like the other day for example. Someone made a comment on one of my Instagram posts, saying that my photo wasn’t very travel related. Just because I do a lot of travel, and most of my pictures are just that, doesn’t mean I have to solely have a travel Instagram account. I realised then, that people will always try and put you into a box of some sort, to veer you in a certain direction, because that’s what has been the societal norm for so long.
And you know what I say to all that? F**k it! It’s more than ok to break the mould, which is exactly what I’ve done and will continue to do. At the end of the day, it’s my life and nobody but me should have ownership over it. And I certainly don’t want to wake up in twenty years time full of regrets because I did what I thought I was supposed to do, opposed to what I actually wanted to do.
With 27 countries down and many more to go, every day is a new adventure. For me, long term travel has enabled me to grown as a person, become independent, confident and self sufficient. I have learnt to dream big, never be afraid to fail, to grow and challenge myself, and to keep growing and to keep challenging myself. To embrace life’s up’s and downs, the heartache and the rewards, and to know that no matter what, I can achieve anything I set out to do. The only person who could ever hold me back, is me, and I believe in myself too much to let that happen.
I’m no longer afraid to take the road less traveled and neither should anyone else. So to my friend, and to you, whatever it is you want to do, whether it’s career focused, travel focused, or maybe you’ve just celebrated your 40th birthday and want to attend a dance class down the street. I say do it! Follow your heart and let it take you to incredible places. Because as long as you’re happy, then that’s what life is truly all about!