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How can you fit travel into your lifestyle?
You know you want to experience it more, but you’re just not sure whether you want to sell everything and travel nomadically, live in another country, or keep the home comforts and take short trips.
It can be a struggle to work it out.
The conflict comes due to a lack of clarity on your priorities, or a lack of desire to make huge sacrifices in one aspect of your life.
“How can you have your cake and eat it too?”
I believe you can have both without making too many drastic sacrifices. If you are clear on your values and give yourself permission to live the expression of those values.
Feeling afraid what others might think, feeling scared to make huge lifestyle changes, or worried that it may seem you are giving in or selling out can get in the way of you creating the balance.
You have the power to change your life at any given moment. That’s why we have freedom of choice.
No matter how your life looks now, you can change it, no matter anyone else’s opinion.
You are here to live your life which has a unique set of values attached to it and purpose for your soul’s journey.
Evaluating your values
Our values are our unique blueprint to happiness and fulfillment. Each person’s value systems are different which is why judgment and comparison is a futile task.
We are all truly on a unique path for different purposes, driven by our unique value blueprint.
It’s why someone who had a desire to travel may feel it a challenge to create because they cannot stop buying beautiful furniture and paintings for their home. They’ve been told this is materialistic and to put their money into memories instead. But, those paintings and furnishings bring them an intense amount of joy.
Why should they give them up?
They shouldn’t because aesthetic pleasure is a value of theirs. They’ll just feel resentful and bitter if they try to replace that value with the adventure they thirst for through travel. It’s just their blueprint.
Once they recognize it they can own it and find ways to make both values be happy.
One of the most powerful tasks in my 30 days to Money Mindfulness Program is where we evaluate our values. I didn’t realize how powerful this task was until my participants commented on how figuring this out was a total game changer for them.
Because of the program, I have a much deeper understanding of how values help shape your life consciously and unconsciously, in good ways and bad!
Value awareness helps me to make decisions, to change my life path at any given moment, and to consistently create a life I’m happy with.
I have millions of examples to share with you of this, but for today I want to focus on how it has played out with our current life choices and how my values have dramatically shifted.
Start with the discontent
I only noticed the shift because of the discontent I was feeling.
I can almost guarantee that any kind of discontent you feel is a result of you living out of alignment with your values.
When I feel this discontent now I get straight to the business of change.
- Why am I feeling this way?
- Why is this bothering me so much?
- How is it out of sync with my values?
- Could my values be shifting and what to?
- How is this showing up in my discontent and life circumstances?
- If they are what changes could I make to feel better?
But wait, the values blueprint can change.
Who we are today is vastly different to who we were a year ago, a month ago, hell, even five minutes ago.
Thank goodness, we can change.
We don’t like to preach to you one way to travel. We want to show you how you can travel more and create better memories no matter what your travel style.
Do whatever floats your boat, we’ll just help hand you some oars and a compass.
I’ve been chatting with a couple of people on interviews lately about this concept: Long-term travelers who suddenly one day realized it was not what they wanted any more. They longed for something different but felt afraid to change it. Like they were selling out on their dream and, for those of us who help others achieve that dream by way of blogs, selling out on our readers.
I’m sharing this post with you in relation to the title – how to make travel fit your lifestyle of choice – because following your values in the way I outline through my example will demonstrate how you can make travel fit any lifestyle of your choice.
So, stay with me.
Let me first share the dramatic changes we’ve made in the space of just a few short weeks for our America Unplugged road trip.
The Values Unbalanced
I was discontent. I won’t say unhappy as, despite the discontent, I was still having a wonderful time.
As I mentioned to Bret Love recently at TBEX, I don’t have unhappy days, just unhappy moments within a day. One part of my life might be off but it doesn’t affect my whole.
But, I like to create a life where all the parts feel balanced.
And those parts are my values.
My highest value has always been freedom (understandable given the life I’ve created).
Travel has always given me that freedom. But recently I’ve noticed the travel has severely impacted other aspects of my life.
After thinking about this, I realized the travel is no longer responsible for my freedom.
I’ve managed to create a life I love even without the travel. I have the freedom to live and work wherever I please and I can define (for the most part) how every aspect of my day plays out.
I don’t need travel for freedom anymore.
So how important is travel to me now and why?
Does this mean travel is over for me?
Do I even care about it now? Yes. But for different reasons.
Why is travel important?
Travel gives me adventure and discovery but the adventure and discovery I can easily get living a normal life just like I can from freedom now.
So that’s not enough to keep me sacrificing for travel.
So, then what out of my top values does it align with to keep me wanting to make it a huge part of my lifestyle?
Growth, contribution, and connection. It also helps me connect to Mother Earth, diverse cultures, to my loved ones, and to different people.
Nothing helps me grow like my travel experiences do. A fire is lit inside of me when I experience new parts of life or cultures and it helps me grow in some form spiritually, physically or emotionally.
That, in turn, helps me contribute – to become a better person for society and to also gather content and stories to share on this blog.
Because I LOVE helping people to create lives they love and to travel more. It still is something I can talk about all day long. And have had four radio and phone interviews this past week doing that!
I don’t want the travel to end but I do want it to change.
The travel lifestyle we were living was severely impacting two very important values of mine.
Both were further down my list of values, but after having this experience of discontent with our travel lifestyle, I realized how hugely important they are to me and they’ve rocketed up to sit alongside freedom as my top priorities.
Despite writing my post on how to supersize your health on a US road trip (which I still believe is possible, if you travel in the right way) my health started to take a downturn.
I put on weight, was tired and felt sluggish.
We struggled in Memphis to find healthy food. It was so meat-heavy, which my body just does not like. (I’ve since made the decision to return to being vegetarian – three weeks now and loving it!)
And Gatlinburg was just disastrous for finding healthy food. It was truly the PITS.
This would not have been a problem if we were traveling in a different style – staying in Airbnb’s or an RV with our own kitchen.
We were hotel hopping and relying on eating out. In Nashville, we had a lot of healthy options so it was not a problem.
Many years ago, this would not have bothered me, but now I understand how valuable they are to give me a sense of stability, wellness, and emotional wellbeing.
I can’t have the travel take that away from me multiple days in a row. That’s a clear sign that Health is a very important value to me.
I must travel slower and be better equipped.
We take probiotics every day to help strengthen our gut, the girls included. I truly believe that without them my health would have been a lot worse off.
The probiotics keep me much stronger.
Based on my body’s reactions I know I had gluten a couple of times on the trip. As soon as that happened, I double dosed on the probiotics and some turmeric tablets I take. I recovered very quickly whereas on previous occasions I came down sick for days.
I love that I can use probiotics to help improve my health instead of reach for painkillers or synthetic remedies.
With the constant change travel brings, probiotics are a must to keep the gut stable and happy. The girls handle things so much better too physically because of them.
When I was a teacher, I’d have no problem having a sick day and I would not have had one problem with traveling every day like we had been – out from sunrise to beyond sundown exploring.
Doing nothing but travel was once my very happy specialty.
I like working. Because it’s not working to earn money and do a job I was hired for. It’s working to contribute with a foundation of creativity and freedom attached.
I love creating on our blog and other channels and sharing to help improve people’s lives. Not being able to do this frustrates and overwhelms me, which totally affects my experience of everything.
We got hardly any work done at all in the past month. While we had fantastic travel experiences – which is kinda necessary for us to write about – we had no down time in between to catch up on work.
The work piled up and up and all these wonderful story ideas I had were buried amongst the pile. I can’t connect to the soul of those stories anymore and so my contribution is diminished.
In my 30 Days to Money Mindfulness program, I teach the participants to make decisions in life that align with their values.
I can’t tell you how much I hated knowing how much money we were spending on things that did not matter to me and did not bring me any value at all.
My value of security felt threatened.
It was very revealing to me how self-indulgent I felt. It felt so icky and disgusting. Eating out three times a day – no value or purpose whatsoever. It was a terrible use of money and terrible for my health.
Hell no. I do not want to travel like that.
For short term trips, it’s fine. That’s why you go on vacation right? To indulge a little and to not have to worry about the everyday tasks. But when it becomes an everyday thing, it’s no fun.
Feeling frustrated and unhappy about the health and contribution was causing me to not have the enriching travel experience I’m used to. We still had wonderful times but I knew it could be much better.
Another very important thing that caused me to immediately make the switch was very unsettled behavior from the girls. Now that’s not a value related thing – well it is as it has to do with love, which everyone has as a value.
Savannah was acting out in a way I’ve never seen before and it really concerned me. I knew it was vital for us to make a change for her. I’ve not seen our travels negatively impact the girl’s before but this time I wasn’t so sure.
It could have just been an age thing, but my gut told me it wasn’t. It was up to me, as her guide, to make a change to see if it made a difference.
The travel changes we’ve made to America Unplugged
I knew travel was still an important part of my life but the way in which we were doing it was causing too many imbalances. My mind started pondering solutions.
We were road tripping without a mobile home.
Everything we owned was in the car. We were checking in and out of hotels and Airbnb’s.
The apartment rentals gave us more control over our food but researching the best Airbnb (or hotel) at the best price was so time-consuming.
It’s just not an option for us to travel long term in this way. A mobile home is the only answer.
You have more storage, you can pull up wherever you like, so research time is less, you’re more connected to nature, better to find other kids and families to play with, and it’s much cheaper.
Plus, the East Coast of the USA is compact and full of experiences.
It’s vastly different to Australia where you’d drive for six hours with only a tumbleweed here and there in between. Most experiences were nature ones so you really had quite a lot of down time and relaxing outdoor activities.
We know that once we move from the East Coast over to the West via the middle and mountain states it will become more like that so an RV will make better sense. We don’t envision that happening for another year.
After our Tennessee road trip, we intended to come back to Raleigh for a couple of weeks to regather. After discovering an Airbnb would cost us about $3,000 I put the brakes on.
Whoa. I don’t want to pay this amount just to play home. I could rent an apartment for a third of that per month.
Boom. There’s the solution.
Rent an apartment in Raleigh, North Carolina and use that as a base to come in and out of on short trips discovering the East Coast.
It gives us more stability, more time to satisfy my health and contribution values, and is so much better from an economic standpoint.
And from the mouths of my babes,
“I don’t want to stop traveling, but I want my own house as well.”
We found an apartment and furnished it very quickly.
We Facebook lived about it yesterday:
So now we are back living in our favorite area in Raleigh!
We’re very happy. The girls are ecstatic. They have their own room – they feel very settled but are both still very keen to keep traveling. The change in Savannah is huge – my sweet loving girl is back, for most of the time!
I’m seriously enjoying playing house, decorating and furnishing our place (something I’ve NEVER cared about before) swimming in the pool with the girls, playing with friends, catching up on work, and lying on the couch at night watching Netflix with a glass of wine!!
To be honest, we’ve always liked the expat (living like a local) travel experience the best!
We’ve used our values to help travel fit into the best lifestyle for us.
Yes. We found the way to have the cake and eat it too. Because isn’t that why you bake a cake?
How to make travel fit your lifestyle of choice
Work out your values
You can determine them based upon what inspires you, motivates you, lights you on fire on the inside. The things you can’t stop thinking and dreaming about and how those things make you feel. It’s all about the feelings.
Know your discontent.
What is it connected to? This usually is life trying to shine a light on what is important to you and what you are not willing to sacrifice? What you are not willing to sacrifice is a high value.
How can you create a travel lifestyle that balances the values?
Take our example above of the person who has aesthetic pleasure and adventure as a value. Maybe more local travel is best for them. Small adventures close to home out in the gorgeous nature where they spend less on travel.
That way they can furnish their home in a way that brings them joy. It doesn’t mean overindulge. I find once you know your values and you work to create a lifestyle around that, you find the balance.
That person might save up for one big travel adventure a year where they explore art galleries in Europe, stay in a French Chateau or Irish Castle, or rent a luxury apartment with friends
Start small and let it evolve
Don’t try and balance it all at once.
Start small and just let life guide you.
I got to the point of us now having a base in Raleigh simply by feeling the discontent, asking the right questions to understand what was happening, and by letting one simple Airbnb search trigger the idea for a better solution.
Once that made sense everything lined up to support me.
Because I was very clear on why I was doing it and how it was going to help me live a better more fulfilled life. It was a flowing path to a happier inside and a happier life!
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How do you fit travel into your lifestyles in a way that aligns with your values? Share in the comments!