It creeps up on me, a slow moving death.
I don’t even realise it’s there until I feel crushed, suffocated, and like I’m living in a black void where nothing makes sense.
My friend and spiritual mentor Belinda said recently, that if you don’t live your life on purpose it feels like you are slowly dying.
I like to say, it’s like drinking through a straw with holes in it.
It hit me recently as we were driving across the sand dunes of Moreton Island.
Our host, Greg pulled over on the side of the sandy track so we could admire the ocean views while he shared how the black boys (a plant that stands up straight like a tree) germinate.
That feeling washed over me – awe, completeness, experiencing the fullness of life.
This is my purpose. This is all I was born to do.
Followed by, but how can it be that simple and that good?
I wrote in my journal,
“I can’t handle normal life. I feel disconnected, frustrated, overwhelmed, busy, bored, ungrateful. I only recognised this difference when we hit Moreton Bay – an instant relief and return to myself. Relaxed, carefree, excited, so grateful, and in awe – fascinated by the miracles of black boys germinating – a reminder that life is a complete miracle and I’m a part of it.
Intense curiosity, excitement, the thrill of being alive, living completely in the moment and completely expressing myself – joy, unencumbered beauty.
Connected to everyone and everything. Strangers become people with incredible stories to hear and learn from.
I’m with my children, watching them express themselves with joy. I’m not missing their moments. I’m not missing their growth. I’m not blinking and they’re teenagers and I’m left wondering how that happened.
Society still wants to put me in a box and make me fear the damage I’ll cause if I turn from its expectations and smash down the walls to build my own.
I’m not running. It’s just who I am – a spirit that longs to the be free and live in connection with life.”
Turning your back on your purpose
Travel is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I’ve lost sight of that since we’ve stopped our road trip and let Busy take control with Frantic as its marching soldiers.
Putting my focus on the wrong things in denial of the right.
We take short getaways now and each time we do, I feel that sense of peace wash over me. Like drinking an ice cold Sprite in a glass bottle on the streets of Bangkok in April, “ahhh, that’s better.”
After 18 months on our Australia road trip, I was exhausted and tired of trying to manage the work with the travel and the kids. I thought stopping the travels would be the answer.
And just like when we stopped our travels in 2007, I slowly began to die.
My life back then fell apart to the point of losing everything. It’s not been as drastic, but it’s been a slow disconnecting death. So slow that I didn’t notice it creeping amongst the joy of living in beautiful Burleigh and having a bit of stability and structure.
So slow that it diverted my focus to things that don’t matter for the path I was born to walk. I’ve listened too much to outside voices telling me what I SHOULD do!
Because I haven’t believed that I could be worthy enough to have a life purpose that involves travelling and sharing it.
So I kept looking elsewhere for the answer.
That’s what we do when we lack confidence and fret about the future impact of our decisions. We don’t trust ourselves to know when all the answers lie within us.
We don’t give ourselves permission to live our true passions. This article by Mark Manson on passion and purpose articulates it in a way I can only dream of.
“His passion already found him. He’s just ignoring it. He just refuses to believe it’s viable. The problem is acceptance“
What’s really driving the boat?
It wasn’t so scary to live your passion and purpose as a child. We enjoyed doing it without questioning it.
Somehow in the process of growing up, we leave the fun and passion behind in our toybox. They become secondary to work and responsibility. Never are we told they can be the same.
We stop giving ourselves permission to play and see what comes because of it. We choose fear and striving instead.
My fear – of how can I continue to make a living sharing travel – began to drive the boat. Fears always mask something else.
It was hiding my inability to give myself permission to have this life. To just let it flow with ease instead of letting guilt cause endless worry.
Like survivors of airplane crashes who can’t understand why they were spared and others weren’t, I felt it was unfair and I was unworthy.
How can I have been chosen to live a life that involves travelling full-time?
Now that’s out into the light, it seems so silly. While to me nomadic travel combined with travel blogging is the ultimate dream, to many others, it’s an ultimate nightmare.
Most people want to travel for the short-term adventure, for the joy it brings before it becomes normal and so very draining. They’d rather have a home, a garden to tend to and family and friends to be around instead of constantly moving and waving goodbye to those you love.
Most people want to share only with their friends and family and keep it in the memory. They don’t felt the burning desire to make it their life’s work.
So, I need to get over that. I’m not chosen or special, I just have a particular path to walk and this is it.
Getting back to the true purpose
My purpose is to be the expression of joy and wonder. To share the stories of the planet and help others have a great travel experience – whatever that looks like for them.
It’s not to solve problems, but suggest solutions and possibilities.
To create awesome travel inspired content all the time.
When I tune into that picture of me doing that – my cells burst out of their skin and dance. There’s an expansion and a knowing that This. Is. It.
When I go the other way – to solve people’s problems, and so end up wearing them – I shrink. I feel small and insecure, filled with failure and disconnection and carrying the weight of the world. It’s caused me to slowly die.
Maybe the worthwhile work I put out in the world is by simply living the travel purpose and sharing all the tips and stories I can to help you.
My friend Belinda, released an amazing podcast this week, “Why your purpose isn’t to save the world.”
It speaks exactly to my experience these past six months, and funny enough what I came to understand a few weeks ago because of the work I do with Belinda in her School of the Modern Mystic.
It led me to the realisation that my purpose is simply to travel and express the joy and awe of it. When I reconnected to that I felt such a sense of relief. The pressure I was putting on myself to save the world was gone.
I’m so glad I’m now giving myself permission to accept and live my true purpose.
I know this because when I evaluate my life as to what flows easily and how we are being supported, the evidence shows we are most supported when we write about travel.
Don’t fear the shadows
It was one of my top 14 ways to improve your life in this recent post. When you’re consumed with fear, doubt, guilt and darkness, it’s life asking you to return to your true path. It’s asking you to pause and ask the right questions so you can figure it out.
The reason so many people suffer when the travel stops is because you’re going through a big change and life is asking you to go with it and recreate yourself.
Once you do the darkness lifts and you can shine your light even brighter.
Future plans and the death of guilt
We’re planning our road trip of the US for next year. We love our Burleigh home, but this gypsy heart has to move on.
I have no more guilty feelings. No more fear that it won’t work. No more doubt over as to whether this is the “right” thing to do. No more agonising worry over how it will affect my children.
As another friend said to me the other day,
“Your children chose you because of the path you can offer them. Trust that they know what they are doing.”
These past school holidays, Kalyra started surfing lessons. Not only does she look like a world champion surfer, she stood up on her first try and has taken to it extremely well. She’s hooked on the freedom of it.
I saw a glimpse of a future where she needs the constant travel and exploration to express her inner grom. Perhaps this calling to travel more and often is for her.
I saw a change in her through these lessons – an understanding of possibilities.
When we stopped our road trip she wasn’t interested in travel anymore. She wanted to be in school with her friends. She’s now telling us she’s bored of school and wants to travel again. (But, only if we have a motor home and she can sleep on the top bunk.)
Little Savannah hates being away from us – she always has. School doesn’t float her boat and she talks often about wanting to get back in the caravan again and go to a new house.
Both our girls have names that mean wild and free.
It’s in our blood. It’s our destiny.
Return to your toy box and set your passion free again.
Accept our purpose does lie in the simplicity (and fun) of it. Give yourself the permission to live the expression of it every day, even if it’s in a small five-minute way, and watch how it grows into a more meaningful lifestyle.
Let’s make a pact to never close the lid on the joy again.