At the moment of writing this post, I have been on the road for 45 days. The challenge so far is getting a head for my writing schedule to compensate for the days I don’t have wifi access or don’t work ;-). So far, we have experienced different situations. We have laughed, been astonished, were sad and sometimes felt all these feelings in the same day! I have only spent a little bit more than a regular vacation away from home and can already see the trip changing me. Here are a few life lessons I am learning at the moment.
You don’t need to do everything
At the beginning of our trip, we were craving adventure. We started our trip on a big roll rushing from one place to another almost as if we were being chased. I remember, we were so excited to discover the world and experience everything. Without surprise, after three scant days, we were burning out. I remember I had the same feeling when I did my first trail run. When I heard the start gun, I was running my life for the first 2km. Then, I started to lose my breath and realized I couldn’t run like this for another 7km. This is when I slowed down, without stopping, to get a rhythm that suited my body. This is exactly what we did when we stayed at Wainwright (****link to on the road #3).
This is when I realized that we don’t need to do everything. We don’t need to see everything there is to see. We are not tourists, we are not on vacation, our trip doesn’t end after 3 days. Therefore, we don’t need to do or see all the tourist attractions. We realized that we were more satisfied with our days when we did less things and enjoyed them more. Therefore, we decided to cut down on activities and sightseeing, to stay at each place longer and better enjoy where we were. Ideally, staying 3-4 days at each destination is the perfect situation. Recently, we stayed 4 days at the same campground near Tofino, BC. We spent 1 full day (from 7am to 7pm) and the next morning exploring Tofino and its beaches. The rest of the time, we hung-out at our campground that was in the wilderness with access to the ocean.
I realize that it’s the same thing with “real life”. I don’t need to do everything to be satisfied. By doing less activities and less work, I will be in a better position to enjoy my home and my life as a whole. It will cost less and I will be happier. In fact, I’ll be less stressed and will truly appreciate what I have in front of me.
The best days don’t cost much
While traveling, most of our budget goes towards food and gasoline. These are basic necessities we can’t avoid. We don’t spend much in activities as most of what we enjoy is pretty much free. A day at the beach, hiking a mountain, cycling around a city, playing together, walking around and enjoying the landscape.
At home, we often have the reflex of spending money to do activities. In fact, we could do the exact same thing and drop our activity budget to solely sports for kids. I feel that our children are happier living the nomad life as they rediscover what it is to be children. They play with a driftwood, we make fires at night, they hunt down crabs and try to reach the mountain top before us. They don’t complain of having nothing to do anymore nor are they bored. There are too many things to do outside to be bored!
Everywhere could be called home
When I left my house, I left a 3,600 square foot comfortable environment to live in less than 200 sq. ft. I can tell you upfront it sucks when it rains, but besides this, I don’t think I need much space anymore. We have learned to share space and to live outside.
We have also learned to call Freefall (our RV), home, no matter where it is. Home doesn’t have to be a 2 storey house on a large suburban lot. Home is simply a feeling of where you feel happy now. My home is now my family, not a piece of land or a house. My home is the planet and I will feel home everywhere now.
Most dangers and our feelings about security are illusions
I realize that we think that we are in full security when we are at home. We think that Mexico is dangerous, that nothing could happen within our neighborhood. I guess this is how the French saw Paris. I guess this is how New Yorkers felt about working in the World Trade Center. We live in a known place and the fact we recognize our neighborhood makes us feel safe. However, nothing is further from the truth. Cancer and other illnesses don’t target specific cities, car accidents happen all the time, everywhere in the world.
I might even be more secure in my RV as I know that something could happen. We look around a lot more and I take good care to make sure we are as safe as possible at all times. I never do this at home. But most importantly, I now see fear as only illusions in my head more than everything else. These barriers are powerful and don’t only affect travelers. We fear many things in life that will not likely to happen. We have been raised to go to school and to get good grades to have a good job. It’s not a bad thing and I tell my children the same things…, but now, I also tell them that they can do pretty much anything they want in life. Effort is important in what you do, getting the grades and a good job are optional. In fact, I now see that a good job is the one that will make you happy, not the one that will fund your pension plan. And I do understand the fear of not having money when I retire is powerful. But it is definitely more in my mind than anything else.
Live a life that has you come Alive
Finally, I’d like to finish with this life lesson. I’m currently reading a book about what you want to do in life. At the beginning of the book, the author makes an analogy between a person’s life and a museum. Imagine that there is a museum about your life. The museum would represent your life as it is. It would not represent what you dreamt of doing, but what you did with your life. Therefore, if you have spent your life at working and spending little time with the people you love or doing things you like, you would have a museum full of pictures, videos, audios and artwork about someone working hard. This got me thinking about what I want in my museum. So far, I think I would be happy if my museum would look like the last 45 days! I now need to find a way to make it happen!