Welcome back to my blog, you lovely (& patient) humans.
While I have not been traveling lately, I have found myself struggling to write. I feel like I am lacking in creativity and struggle to keep things inspiring. Fear not, I am redeeming myself, ha. I really want to talk about what it is like living an alternative lifestyle. It seems like such a popular thing right now, which is freaking amazing and great. However, I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about what alternative lifestyles truly are and also, that they are not for everyone (and that is okay). I wanted to shed some light on my experience at having an “alternative lifestyle” and how it works for me.
To give a little synopsis of what my not-so-normal life has looked like, the idea of doing things that fit well with my soul instead of just going with the norm has always been something of value to me. Travel has always been my favorite thing. I guess you’d call it a hobby. In college I was always the one friend down for spontaneous cross country road trips, regardless of how long the drive would be. More honestly, I would be the one influencing the trip. In 2017, I took my first international trip. I volunteered in Nepal. I went alone and it was one of the (heck, maybe the best) experiences of my life. I ended up staying longer than planned and cried like a baby as the flight back home began. After returning to the states, I had a complete paradigm shift (I joke and call this my quarter-life crisis; the early stages). The idea of finishing my master’s degree that I was working on slowly faded and it wasn’t a priority anymore. I started discovering things about myself that I had never really taken time for before.
During this time, I would randomly take trips across the country, alone (or with my amazing pup). California was my favorite place to drive to, I had close friends I loved visiting. However, visiting Yellowstone and driving through Utah were soul touching adventures. Despite everyone telling me that I was running away from my problems (I know you guys meant well, but I had to learn for myself), I eventually took a huge jump and moved to Cali on impulse. It was nothing like visiting, I did not enjoy it in the way I though I would, but I got a job and made it work for a bit…..Before I took another leap and jumped on a plane to Thailand with only a backpack, solely because I found a cheap round-trip flight out of LA. I ended up staying longer than planned (shocker). I even ended up visiting other countries on this trip. I went to Singapore for a few days (wasn’t my favorite experience, ended up in Sydney, Australia for Halloween, and I got two days in Hawaii on my way back to LA. I discovered a lot about myself on that trip, a lot that I did not love. I soon ended up moving from California back to my “home” state. I was still a student during this entire time, working “remotely”. This helped me out finically, but I was not getting ANY work completed.
I moved back, anticipating to work for a year and save as much money as possible, while also finishing my master’s degree remotely. My plan was that I was going to travel full-time as soon as I finished my degree and saved up some decent money. However, by now I should have known that things for me never go as planned, and that’s okay. I ended up miserable at a full-time job and moved, once again, and dropped down to a part-time job and started to dabble in freelance work. It was hard getting started and finding what resources worked for me, but it worked out. I started arranging my schedule so I could take road trips every few weeks. The trips were always to the most random places. I would have a few ideas in mind and flip a coin to decide where I was going. I did a poor attempt at turning my SUV into a “camper”. I had the idea that I would save money by doing some stealthy camping instead of staying in hotels. It was fun for a bit. I eventually quit trying to finish my master’s degree all together, which was shockingly had such a positive impact on my mental health.
I soon came to the conclusion that I was not going to keep working a job I did not love for money that I was wasting on experiences I did not love. I, again, found a super cheap ticket to Europe one day and bought it. Two weeks later I quit my job. Timing worked out perfectly, because around that time I also found my current freelancing gig that has been so consistent and helped me a lot. I started this blog and just went with what was happening. I backpacked through Europe and had no plan what-so-ever. I mean that truly, no plan. It turned out to be one of the most reflective, soul touching trips. I did not book my first hostel until I was on my flight to Paris. I planned none of my days, which meant I didn’t get to see some things that you had to plan for (but, I’ll be back if it’s meant to be experienced). I bought a bus ticket to London. I ended up staying there longer than planned, it wasn’t a place I thought I would like, but I ended up falling in love with the city. I took a train to Cambridge and saw one of my good friends. I took another bus to Amsterdam, where I got lucky and got to visit the Anne Frank house (such an emotional experience). I wanted to stay longer, but I got sick and was ready to be back in the states. When I got back I realized that I wasn’t doing anything that made me happy, unless I was traveling. I felt stuck, just traveling, but never really doing anything with those experiences besides finding myself with more information, but still lost.
I took a few weeks to properly set up my SUV to live and travel out of ……and that is exactly what I did. It was so hard at first. I was paranoid when I would sleep, unless if it was an actual campground. I eventually got the hang of it though and took my dog along for the journey. After the first week-ish of sleeping in the car and showering at gyms, it started to get fun. I quit worrying about if people thought I was weird and reminded myself that I thought it was epic. I could be wherever I wanted to be and that was truly freeing for me. I felt so motivated in life and loved every second of it. I learned how to validate myself and emotions….. AND I was having fun with what I was doing. I would laugh when I would do something wrong, because it was silly and funny. I wouldn’t get mad in traffic, I just used it as a chill time. It was such a huge paradigm shift for me.
It feels like all of these trips were so long ago, but they weren’t. In all reality, it has been a short time, almost 3 years. Recently, I somehow found myself getting pulled back to where this whole shift began. I decided to stay for a bit and didn’t try to run from the pull I felt. I am currently working a part-time job, while also still doing free-lance work. That works for me…..and there are several other things that I am working on here that are special to me and it just feels right. My experience may sound chaotic and messy, but it feels exactly how it should be. The time I have spent reflecting on it all, shows me how all my odd experiences have led me to this current reality. I don’t know where my life will go next, I don’t see myself staying put in one spot for a long time, but I also know that anything can happen and I just have to go with it.
The point of me sharing all this is; if you’re worried about taking a jump and doing a big, not-so-traditional, lifestyle change, just do it. You’re going to be okay. There is a reason you feel so pulled to do some things (like changing jobs, moving, traveling, going back to school, quitting school, whatever life area it is for you) and if you do it on impulse IT IS STILL OKAY, maybe it’s because a part of you knows if you overthink it too much, you won’t do it. Don’t think too much about it. For some people, planning is better and that’s still okay. Either way you chose just do the thing. You’re going to be okay and things are going to work out exactly how they are supposed to be. Don’t let the unspoken norms of society dim the dreams you have.