Acknowledging the good stuff
I’m not sure if it’s a cultural thing (I am British after all) or it’s a personality thing (I’ve been accused of preferring to merge with the wallpaper than make a fuss) but I was in two minds whether to write this post. But I decided to, one, because I think, despite my natural aversion, it’s positive to acknowledge achievements so that gratitude can grow. Two, it seemed worth highlighting that despite being fairly unexceptional, through adopting a location independent mindset I have been lucky enough to experience some incredible things. So it stands to reason that I might not be the only one these possibilities exist for. And three, you’re interested in travel, location independence, and earning a living on your own terms, right?
A milestone year
So what’s brought all this self-reflective guff on? Well, I’ve got a big birthday today! You know, the sort that comes with a disgruntled sigh. Still, I have some awesome plans to ease the pain and it’s not like I didn’t see it coming.
My mum always says that your 30s are the best years and as I struggled to sleep one night (night feeds and a whirring nocturnal brain not being the best combo) I started to reflect on what my 30s have brought. Until I stopped to take measure, I really hadn’t realised just how phenomenal they have been.
A brief history of personal highlights
Sledging through fir trees into a candlelit village in Norway, curious stingrays surrounding me in a lagoon in French Polynesia, white water rafting through a jungle valley in Bali, watching a magnificent firework competition above a huge waterfall, a meteor shower filling the sky over a pitch black mountain lake, sand boarding down a vast dune, holding our breath as moonlit deer tiptoed past our hot tub, floating through a river cave lit only by glow worms, shivering under the pink and green ribbon of the northern lights, marrying and then building a business with my best friend…
We’ve travelled round the world three times, driven across Canada, home exchanged through numerous countries; we’ve stayed in over-water bungalows, penthouse apartments, cottages, villas, big family homes and some incredible luxury and boutique hotels. I’ve written e-books and websites, we’ve created passive income and countless random work opportunities which we’d never have imagined would work! Disconcertedly we’ve found ourselves appearing in a few national press articles and more comfortably, a number of great books on location independence. With my lovely hubby I’ve been to Mayan temples and bustling markets, rooftop bars and rotating restaurants, concerts and and conferences and seen in the New Year with lanterns drifting on the island breeze. We’ve stumbled upon a city laser show and mountain side Blues festival, hiked through knee deep snow and lost a shoe in ankle-deep mud, swam in waterfalls and snorkelled tropical reefs, cycled through electric storms and outrun lightening strikes.
There have been plenty of experiences I never thought I’d be writing, such as managing a black run on a snowboard (the right way up!), finding untold delight in swimming with sharks (just little reef ones, but still, they have fins and teeth!) coming face to face with a skunk, telling a stranger I loved them at an ‘enlightenment’ conference, witnessing plumes of smoke as a volcano awakened and making the most important choice of our lives by spending Christmas 2004 in the Thai islands on the east coast.
Creating space versus accepting complacency
The point of all this is how improbable it all sounds now. But at the time, when you are going with the flow, these things simply find the space to happen, providing you put yourself in a place where new experiences can thrive. It’s more difficult to accomplish when the lure of security and comfort can weigh us down.
Of course it hasn’t all been sunsets and surfing. We’ve created a family of our own now but at least half of the decade was spent puzzling over fertility issues and hoping for something that seemed beyond our reach. We’ve had business ideas that took off then stagnated, and others which never got off the ground at all. I’ve worried often about money, although looking back, I’m not sure why when in the Technicolor or retrospect ‘enough’ was clearly plenty.
The challenge to excel
My challenge, as I embark on the next decade is to match the fulfillment of the last 10 years (there’s no way the best is behind me!)
But what about you?
Whether it’s progressing your career, growing your family, baking cupcakes or learning to flamenco dance, will you look back and feel you did this time in YOUR life justice?
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