I should feel guilty about being a loser and staying inside on a sunny day like today, but I don’t.
I should want to go out and soak in this amazing world, feel gratitude for living here right now, but I don’t.
Instead, I’m 100% tired, dreading my Monday, and knowing that I’ve got to Make It All Happen for another five days. It’s the same feeling I’ve had just about every Sunday night since January, 2013.
Fact is, I’m two years and four months into “working overtime.” When I started this whole journey of Working More, it wasn’t with a dream of seeing the world. Hell, I didn’t even know if I could get enough scratch together to live abroad for a year. All I knew was, I needed to claw out of my unending financial desperation so I could finally do things others took for granted, like maybe get some takeout dinner and buy a $15 wine instead of $9.
But back then, I thought I’d be working so hard so long to get what I want that I’d have to move abroad just so I could pay down my debt. Somehow, I kept finding new gears. I kept working more, finding different clients, trying out different writing jobs.
I valued myself more, I charged more, I earned more, I paid down more.
When the first two weren’t getting me anywhere, I finally doubled down on the third.
Faking It Like a Pro
Somewhere along the way, I started thinking more about Anywhere But Here. What would living abroad mean? How could I do it? What model of nomadic life might be the right fit for me?
Next, I became a classic case of Fake It Till You Make It. In fact, I’ve developed a superhero power for my ability to, no matter what the conversation is about, mention in the first three minutes that I’m on the verge of “selling everything and travelling the world for five years.”
One could easily assume I’m just being a braggart and a jerk, but in reality, I’m still so much in disbelief that THIS is what I’m doing that I’m telling everyone in an attempt to make it more real for me. Sometimes it even works and I believe I’m that girl. I try to tell someone new every day or two.
It’s weird that I can undertake such a massive life-change while being completely unable to tell you when I actually decided to DO IT. The idea just kept evolving.
The more I learned about long-term travel, the more empowered I felt that I, too, could be a nomad. The more I learned about the stuff I owned and the unavoidable emotional pull it all has, the more I started to think minimalism and Owning Nothing might be the best crash-course of psychic healing I could ever get. The more I learned, the less I felt like it was a life for Other People.
Eventually, I decided I was brave enough to say I, Too, Will Travel Like Them. Eventually I thought I was exactly that kind of person, even though I spent my life thinking I wasn’t. So I told other people this was my audacious plan.
Then a funny thing occurred when I started to think about what it would take to do what I’d need to travel: I just started to make it happen.
It’s like I wrote for my friends on Facebook this past week:
“It’s real weird when you say, “Self, this is what I need. Now go get it,” and then, like, you DO. You go get it!
Sometimes life is all about making choices. Nobody said what comes after those choices is EASY.
The choice is the easiest part.
But you just gotta choose to pay that price. Then, poof. Sometimes magic happens.”
Every time I’ve gotten more specific about what I need to make happen in order to Leave On A Jet Plane, I’ve gotten exactly what I outlined. Is it just a matter of knowing what’s needed then pursuing it? It is some mystical law-of-attraction aka “The Secret” thing?
Meh, I don’t care, I don’t need to know. It’s kind of like writing. I don’t need to understand what different clauses and phrases are called — all I need to know is how to get it done.
And hey, I’m getting it done.
All The Drops Count
With 13 weeks left in Canada, it’s amazing how everything is coming together in the final weeks. Financially, organizationally — it’s all coming together better than I could’ve hoped. So much so that the prospect of leaving the country 100% debt-free is a growing likelihood rather than the faint hope I pegged it as just three months ago.
Leaving debt-free was never part of the dream. It wasn’t. I’d have scoffed if anyone suggested it could be done.
That was then. Now, I’m a believer.
And here’s the thing: If I hadn’t been antisocial and a workaholic, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in. I wouldn’t be leaving in October. I’d have more debt. I’d be less tired, but also unhappier, more worried.
Somehow, all the times I’ve worked longer and gotten takeout instead, every time I’ve turned down plans and rested after a six-day week, each time I spurned the great outdoors in favour of recharging mentally so I can write more — it all conspired to get me right here, right now.
I cannot tell you how important every single drop of water in that bucket is. I kid you not when I say it looks like it will literally come down to the week I leave that I pay my debts off in full.
It will be one of those written-by-the-cosmos storybook endings to about 12 years of struggle — but the last five years had me clawing my way out. It will all culminate with me handing in my housekeys on my 42nd birthday, and within a week, likely becoming debt-free as I leave to travel the world for five years. I couldn’t have written it better.
For many, this is true. But I have had depression and I know that is not a “choice.”
It’s like the poem “Invictus” says: I am the captain of my fate, I am the master of my soul.
There are days when I think I will regret not being Little Miss Outdoorsy more while I’ve been in Victoria, but then I realize that this place has been exactly what I needed it to be: The place where I fell in love with writing again, rediscovered photography, learned how to deal with my back, and where I finally fixed my finances.
Those were the goals I set for moving to Victoria, and I gave myself five years to accomplish them.
I will be leaving 3 years, 6 months, and 29 days after that clock started ticking, and with a “100% done” stamp on those four goals.
All I Did Was Choose, Then Keep Choosing
It’s nothing amazing, what I’ve accomplished or set out to do. All I did was make a choice and never stopped being aware that everything I was doing — all the extra work, all the long hours, all the tired days, all the weekends I opted out of — was a choice. It wasn’t punishment or suffering, it was opportunity to take what I wanted. I wasn’t allowed to whine about overwork, because A.) I made a choice and B.) the universe gave me the opportunities I needed in order to make that choice real.
Making a choice is the easiest thing you’ll ever do. The trick is never letting yourself forget that you CHOSE it, and always being willing to pay for it.
Don’t like your life? No one says it’ll be easy to change it. Other people might have it easier than you — God knows folks had it easier than me (and still more have it harder) — but either that holds you back or gets you angry so you move past it.
It’s all still just a choice.
Like me, staying inside today, sleeping until 10, cleaning my apartment, and just being still. You pick your battles and you go where the struggle takes you. That’s what choices are all about.
I’m travelling the world for five years, starting on October 5th. Follow along with my travel blog, The Full Nomad, as those plans come to life.