Life is journey, right? That's a pretty common saying, but how many of us really treat life as a journey, reminding ourselves of the now, the now that is constantly moving and leading us through our lives?
Travelling For Development
Most of the things we try to write about are based on our own experiences, and often we are hoping to answer our own questions as much as we try to answer a question that someone else has put to us. Travel throughout history has always been praised as something that encourages self development, but we were tackled by someone that said, a lot of travellers they meet seem lost. Seem as though they are running away from something.
Maybe that was a good observation, and I think we have also met people like that. However it's not just travellers that we've met that have a lack of direction, people in all sorts of positions in life have no idea what direction they are heading. So I didn't try too hard to answer his question directly, mainly because I didn't have the answer, I don't know who he had met and it's unfair for me to link travel with a lack of direction. There was a hint of envy though, and therefore I came to the conclusion that he focused on the negatives to persuade his mind that travel was not as fulfilling as the books or internet tell him.
Choosing A Life
Spending any amount of time on a screen, it’s easy to find a whole array of crazy people living in all sorts of imaginative ways. But look the opposite way, out from that screen, and focus on ‘normal life’ a different picture is often painted. For both of us, normal life used to seem like a much clearer concept, but now, normal feels really vague. Through travel we have witnessed so many ways in which people live, in turn inspiring us to think more creatively about how we want to be living. The choice seems to be wide open.
This concept is definitely formed through thinking positively about our choices in life, even if money and resources are limited. We believe this is a mindset and not based solely on circumstances.
I’m sure many people can argue that we are all bound to doing the same mundane shit as everyone else, but for the time being we don’t think like that. Whatever someone's situation is, there is a lot to be said on how we view our own circumstances, curiosity can open many doors for you, and is a big part of our happiness.
The Boogie Man
So what are we running away from? Or maybe a more positive angle that almost no one has asked us to date, is what are we running towards?
Are we thinking in some way, that poverty is the modern day boogie man? We've got to work hard, got to have money, got to be comfortable, otherwise poverty is going to get us. I’ll be an unsuccessful, down and out with nowhere to live and nothing to eat. We're not really thinking like that, but those are our instincts, and should be the only real pressures in our life. But as these pressures become more and more obsolete, it becomes increasingly more difficult to rationalise why everyone is working so hard. Most people living in first world economies are going far beyond having enough to eat and a roof over their heads. Whatever it is they are aspiring towards, it seems more complicated than just water, food and shelter. But as those basics are achieved so easily, there's almost no reason we should be dealing with any stress in our life.
Most of us that have any aspirations, are working towards some sort of goal. In the career it’s to be recognized by our superiors, move up the ladder and do something that’s going to be remembered. Or maybe it’s just to make as much money as possible, until we decide that enough is enough and spend the remainder of our lives fishing. Whatever it is, most people are driven by goals. We're surrounded by them, they are everywhere we look, but the least fulfilling, are the goals we don't set for ourselves.
Advertising is a horrible form a goal setting, save up, buy this and once we do, it will reward us with a slice of happiness. We all know that doesn’t really work. An even worse goal setter is pressure. Having to finish a project before a client gets angry, with the added fear that if we don’t it can result in losing the job.
Instead of allowing these type of goals to direct our lives, we want to instead pursue the goals that we set for ourselves. Right now our goal is to try and do something we enjoy, regardless of whether it works or not.
We have a small amount of money in the bank, a roof over our heads, for the time being at least, and food on the table. We’re not under any external pressure to succeed and don’t have any expectations of ourselves, so what is the worst that can happen? Although with choice, comes sacrifice, we don't have our own home or many belongings and we are bound by the rules set that come with living in someone else's house. However with a positive mindset it's very easy to adapt to any situation.
There are things we definitely didn’t enjoy about our previous ‘normal’ lives, lack of sleep was certainly one of them. When work rules time, it becomes something we have to live by, no matter what. However sleep in our eyes is far more important than work can ever be. A recent study has emphasized that lack of sleep in our day to day lives gives us a greater chance of developing Alzheimer's. Personally I feel that getting adequate sleep has a very positive effect on my mental state, I just feel happier when I sleep properly. Alzheimer's or not, that’s enough of a reason to pursue a life that involves a good amount of sleep, just because it makes me happy. It might mean I don’t have access to a lot of money to buy something I don’t need, but I can live with that.
We don't really know where we are running to be honest, it could be round in circles for all we know, but the important thing is we feel positive about it. We can't recommend enough giving something a go, whatever it is. It can only ever end up back at the starting blocks to give something else a try, except that next time, you'll hopefully have another set of skills to use.
Through travel we have met people that have pressures like crop failure and fear of having a lack of food to eat, those felt like real pressures to us. Yet those people didn't display the signs of stress that we are used to seeing. Maybe people display their feelings differently, maybe it's something I can't describe, or maybe I just can't really remember. But the point is we met, face to face and without them even really telling me anything at all, it made me think differently about my life. And if that's what long distance travel looks like from the armchair, that people are running away from something. I can only say that maybe we are, but for us, we have learnt some very important life lessons in the process, absorbing a wide variety of energy along the way.
The only way I can answer the question 'are we going to return to normal life?' Is by saying that normal changes so drastically depending on the point of view. Instead of returning to normal life, we want to seek a life that fulfills, and to us, that seems like the most rational and normal thing to pursue.