Society places so much emphasis on permanence. Have a consistent daily routine. Pick one career, one home, one partner to keep forever, they said.
But traveling full time taught me the one life lesson that nothing else can: impermanence. How to be comfortable with the idea that nothing is permanent. Everything changes all the time, so there’s no such thing as routine. For many people that sounds like their biggest nightmare, but it’s actually the key to their freedom.
This concept seems so simple when I’m on the road. But then I come out of the travel space for a second and see so many people fighting change daily. I see them holding onto things (relationships, careers, homes), whether they like it or not. And it is robbing them of their joy.
Traveling full-time has taught me how to truly embrace change and be comfortable with all of life’s unknowns. Rather than trying to find a constant in life, I became the constant. This helped me develop the intuition to know when something is no longer working for me, the wisdom to know what might work instead, and the guts to go for it.
Keep reading to learn more about impermanence, and how getting comfortable with change will lead to a happier life.
Appreciate the sunset because it’s pretty, not because it’s any more or less beautiful than the sunset on a different day or in a different place. Appreciate people for who they are in the moment but recognize that even the same people in the same place are going to be different at different times. Appreciate every moment for what it is because it truly will never be the same again. And that’s wonderful, it’s not something to mourn.
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People come and go. Places change over time. A job, city, or friend could serve you for a long time and be a great teacher, but maybe over time you’re not growing there anymore and that’s ok! You can always get a new job, or move somewhere new. If your partner or friends don’t make you better, you can hang out with someone else. There are 8 billion people on this planet, turn to the next in line. Or enjoy some time alone. I promise you it’s far less lonely to be alone than surrounded by people who don’t make you feel good.
Pay attention to how things make you feel. Remove things that don’t make you feel good and always continue gravitating towards people, jobs, hobbies, and things that bring positivity to your life.
If you have a conversation with me in real life you’ll always hear me talking about my different lives. My past life in Chicago, my past life in Colorado, and my past life in Europe. My next life in Australia and my next life in Bali.
Moving is a really simple process in theory. All you need to do is pick an area you’re drawn to, find a place to live, maybe a new job, call some people to switch your address, then pack up and go. We complicate it with emotions but what emotion do you need other than knowing you’re not happy where you are? Isn’t it better to go somewhere where you might be happy than stay somewhere where you know that you are unhappy?
If you’re thinking about making a change and don’t know where to start, start by looking at your life right now. Think about what it is that you do and don’t like about it. Think of a situation that would allow you to keep the parts you like, and change the parts you don’t.
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You really can’t appreciate the highs in life without the lows. That’s what makes them worth living. The lows can be our greatest teachers if we look at them as an opportunity to rebuild. A place where we can choose to shed the old layers of ourselves that are holding us back and blossom into something beautiful.
The lows in life used to terrify me and I would avoid them at all costs until I realized how much better life was if you learned how to dance in the rain rather than avoid the rain entirely.
Researchers at Berkeley ultimately found that people who aimed to be uncomfortable were more engaged in their present activities, felt more motivated to keep doing them, and believed they made more progress toward their goals compared to those who weren’t seeking out this kind of vulnerability.
Remaining comfortable with the uncomfortable also helps you keep a level head in situations that could spark panic or other intense emotions, which can affect the outcome of a given situation.
In conclusion, traveling full-time teaches you how to be comfortable with change and the idea of impermanence, which leads to a happier life overall.
Related Post: 12 Life Lessons I Learned From Traveling Solo
Click here to read more blog posts about life as a full-time solo traveler. If you want to make traveling more of a priority this year, watch my free webinar that will teach you how you too can travel full-time. And lastly, connect with us on Instagram! We’d love to get to know you! Happy traveling!