There’s been a trend lately with the rise of modern day, permanent nomads. They’re adventurers who sell everything they own to live a life of permanent travel. I’ve met a few of them and I’m very impressed by their lifestyle choice. I commend them for living their lives the way they do and following their dream. But for me, being virtually homeless is not what I’m after.
I love to travel, and one of my goals is to book at least one trip somewhere near or far every month. Part of being away for a while, is the experience of coming home with new memories, stories, and pictures. Where “home” is varies, as I’ve moved many times in my life. At age twenty-six I left Europe behind and moved across the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life in Canada. In some way you could say that makes me a permanent nomad as well. The difference is that most of my airfare is not one-way, but a return ticket to a familiar place I call home, even if that place changes significantly from time to time.
Returning home after every trip makes it even more important for me to bring the happiness I feel when traveling, back home with me. If I can live the life of my dreams when traveling, why shouldn’t that be possible at home? I owed it to myself to set that goal, and work towards getting there. First it felt uncertain, but I committed to at least try. I now believe with all my heart it is possible to live the life of your dreams.
The first step for me to experience the freedom I felt when travelling was to bring some of the traveling mindset home: being free in terms of money, time and location. When I travel I always bring enough cash to buy whatever I want, albeit within reason as defined by my budget. I don’t have to go to work and can walk and explore anywhere, anytime I want to. And free airfare was the cherry on my travel cake as it allows me to go anywhere I want.
The way to bring those three pillars of freedom home is to implement the same principles. That turned out to be easier said than done, mainly due to jobs, and other commitments at home. I wanted to get rid of those limitations. My focus however was not on removing limitations, but on committing to excellence and becoming successful at whatever it is I decide to do. I started living the lifestyle I would live if money weren’t a concern anymore.
That experience wasn’t like winning the lottery. Deciding what I really wanted wasn’t an easy challenge. Even though I wasn’t happy, I felt more or less comfortable in my corporate job, and enjoyed spending time downtown; drinking expensive coffees and watching the people walk by. I still like doing those same things. But was my corporate job the thing I loved enough to keep doing it, or was I using the benefits like people watching, and obviously the paycheque, as an excuse to not go for what I really wanted? What if I had a million, or ten million, what would I do? A lot of options crossed my mind. Maybe pay off the house, go travel, get a new car? I’m not talking about blowing it all on one big shopping spree, but I would definitely do a thing or two for me and the people around me that I wouldn’t have been able to do before.
My mind was caught up in those future dreams, leaving me with no answer on what I really wanted to do today. Here’s a spin to the question: imagine you win the lottery, you buy the eight-thousand-square-foot mansion, upgrade the car and do all the travelling you’ve always wanted to do. You just returned home from your latest adventure. You sit in your mansion, enjoying the view of whatever it is you like (it would be ocean view for me). Now imagine what would you do next, on any given normal day?
Nothing really matters if you’re not happy. You can be super-successful, but if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing and feeling unhappy as a result, you’re doing something wrong. One of the things I’ve learned from Dr. John Demartini is that there’s always a balance between good and bad. It’s the yin and yang of life keeping things in place. While I fully agree with the idea of a balanced life, I refuse to settle for anything less than living the life of my dreams. What would I be doing so that I’m in a constant state of joy? It’s a combination of the good and bad. The bad gives a contrast to appreciate the good more, and give an even stronger focus on what it is I truly desire. But no matter what that is, I can’t call myself successful if I’m not happy at the same time.
Curious to read more? Get yourself (or someone you know could use a little Happiness) a copy of my latest book. The Freedom Project: Happiness shares how travel is an appetizer of true freedom. In this book Wilko van de Kamp reveals how he:
- climbed the corporate ladder and built a successful career.
- despite his “success”, felt empty and unhappy inside: a corporate cubicle job did not bring happiness.
- quit his job to start his own business, only to see it go to zero and (almost) hit bankruptcy.
- discovered happiness wasn’t about being an employee or an entrepreneur: unhappiness exists on both sides of that often debated fence.
- reconnected with his passion, and escaped the claws of unhappiness and depression.
- now lives a life of freedom in terms of money, time and location.