Hello. My name is Jody. You might remember me from now-deleted threads such as “I’m selling everything I own and moving to a beach.”
Well, I did it. It took me 4 months, but I got myself down to the point where I could live from a suitcase and a laptop, maintaining my web business and making new clients (and friends) as I lived in a straw hut and a tropical paradise.
My initial reason for going out there was to do something big and important with my life, as I felt I’d been living in a box for the majority of my life. I hadn’t contributed much to the world, and my presence on Earth hadn’t really mattered.
So, I was going to live at one of those “volunteer vacation” destinations, help build schools and colleges and clinics and things that would really help improve peoples’ lives.
I’ll spare you the 11 weeks of frustration and drama that I created, but will simply say “it didn’t quite work out.” :)
One morning I woke up, and the little voice said “it’s time to go.”
And so I did. I re-focused my energy and created a new purpose: spend 2 months traveling from Nicaragua to Colombia, to eventually meet with my father in Bogota on December 18th.
Through the windows of buses, taxis and shuttles, I witnessed more beautiful places than I’d seen in my entire life previously. In sweet little hotel rooms, I found a zen space where I felt for the first time that my life had a balance of work, play, socializing, and seeing the beauty of the world.
Eventually reaching my goal, I met my dad in Colombia and we hung out at fancy 5-star resorts – a far cry from the straw huts I had come to love in Nicaragua.
After a few weeks, he went back to Canada, and today I sit before you in the city of Bogota, Colombia: a very clean and lovely city populated by way-too-many people with way-too-much traffic, far removed from the beaches and heat and humidity I had loved so much during my journey.
(If you’re interested in seeing some of the places I visited, you can check out my YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/xd00d5 – specifically the “Mr. Freedom” ones.)
Throughout my life, I’ve met many people who left their homes in search of the promised land, only to find that life was the same wherever they went and the people they met were the same wherever they went, because they themselves had stayed the same wherever they went. That wasn’t gonna happen to me, no way! I’m a conscious individual and I create my life intentionally.
Though, based on the results of the last week, where I’ve found myself being rather addicted to my computer, my business, taking care of clients and chatting on Facebook, I wonder how much of my life has truly changed in the last … oh, 171 days.
Despite having traveled through 4 countries successfully (doing 3 of them solo), I’m still finding myself being held back by fear and financial uncertainty. On an intellectual level, I know I’m incredibly-priviledged to have a Canadian passport — heck, to simply be a white male — and if I did end up somehow losing everything, I would still have the opportunity to somehow get on a plane and limp back to Canada with my tail between my legs.
Maybe my actual problem is that I feel I can’t really lose, no matter what I do. It’s almost as if my first-world opportunities are a curse. Where other people on Earth have to live in garbage dumps to survive each day, I have 50 open doors to choose from and know I must eventually make a choice. In the worst-case scenario, I can find an embassy where my basic needs will be taken care of.
(You may notice I haven’t mentioned “death” as a worst-case scenario … for if that happens, I won’t have to worry about choice any more.)
Yesterday, I learned there are 4 basic methods of self-motivation:
1) Standing at the edge of a cliff, where I see I can have everything I desire in the happy blue waters below, if I can only find the courage to jump.
2) Creating external motivators, telling someone I regard highly that “I’m going to do this thing” and not allow myself to experience the shame of failure.
3) Embracing my ego and getting all the gratification I could ever desire through my actions and personal wealth, while still doing good in the world.
4) Being truly accountable to who I am as a person, to what my unique gifts are, living in tune with those gifts, and sharing them with the world.
You might be sitting there thinking “well clearly, I want #4” – though most likely you (and 95% of your fellow human beings) fall into #1.
Personally, I also want #4, and just might be in a position to allow myself to experience it, having continually found new things to let go of (and new things to allow) along every step of my journey.
While I was describing my unique gifts to my friend yesterday, I found myself getting emotional, and I knew I was speaking from my heart.
I help people feel better about themselves. I help them learn about themselves and the world, and I help them see things in a different way.
And dammit … I make people laugh.
It’s possible that my gifts are being wasted in my current occupation as a web developer … but hey, it’s been my means of making this wondrous, adventurous life of mine possible. I’ve seen fantastic things, met fantastic people and had fantastic experiences that I was previously only able to fantasize of in “my old life” as a reclusive nerd.
And while I may find that recluse slowly taking hold again, given my addictive behavior over the last week, I won’t attempt to beat him away or tell him he’s bad or wrong. No, he’s every bit as part of me as the adventurous character named Mr. Freedom that I invented. I suspect the answer to “where do I go from here?” involves a balance of both sides, not just one or the other.
If I were truly able to embrace 100% of myself, and live in harmony with all aspects of myself (even the dark ones I might resist), I’m sure I’d be like that guy in Limitless who experienced his first day of truly “knowing what I had to do.”
Or … maybe I could just pop a magic pill and connect my neurons that way.
Does anybody have any spare NZT kicking around?
Wonderful post! I have read some of your previous posts on here and was particularly interested because I had been planning on going to Nicaragua. I have been here for 2 days now. I’m living with a host family and I love the country so far. :)
Now back to you. If you feel a little directionless, do you still wish you could have accomplished your primary goal? I think that just because one opportunity didn’t work out (even if it did take 11 weeks!) it is not time to give up.
You may want to understand that self-improvement is a process meant to be enjoyed just as much as reaching the goals. Sometimes we set insane goals that can never be reached. But all the time and effort you put into using your gifts and trying new things is just as important as the goals themselves. You may realize this already, but you will never be a finished product. You will be growing and changing for the rest of your life. Incorporating this into your mindset may help you to deal with setbacks and embrace new opportunities. I know it has for me. I hope you have found my input useful. Best of luck to you!
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