Three years ago today I began the adventure I call LifePart2. During that time I have resided in three different countries and traveled in more than a dozen others. I have been transported on everything from private airplanes to ox carts and I have slept in accommodation ranging from hard wooden floors in Buddhist monasteries to suites in five-star hotels. I have dined on filet mignon in the world’s finest steak houses and eaten stir fried insects from street stalls. I have SCUBA dived in two oceans, swung from tree tops on two continents and trekked remote trails in places that I used to not even know existed. I have also had the privilege of witnessing glorious sunrises on the Caribbean Sea and toasting sunsets in the Himalayan Mountains and too many other things to mention here. It has been a lot of things but it certainly hasn’t been boring.
Several years ago when I first told people of my plans to retire early, sell everything and travel the world there were of course naysayers. The thought of living a life that was rich in adventure but low on material possessions was the opposite of what most people I knew, myself included, had been doing. Some people said that I would get bored and miss my comforts and conveniences. Others said that I would miss the routine of life, the security that it offered and my “stuff”. I couldn’t be certain that they weren’t right but I knew that I had a unique opportunity and my adventurous spirit would make me regret not knowing.
There is something that happens when you start living your life for experience instead of security and accumulation. This little planet that we live on starts to feel bigger and more diverse than before. You realize firsthand that exotic places you have only read about are indeed real and you begin to see your fellow humans as people like yourself; not as someone to be suspicious of or fear. You begin to appreciate some of the things from your home country that you used to take for granted and conversely wonder why other things you used to blindly accept are so screwed up. You begin to see bigotry and narrow-mindedness for the maladies that they are. You become more mindful, more appreciative of small pleasures and more alive. I have learned that experience is more important than comfort, that price and value have little correlation and that fear is often the biggest impediment to fulfillment.
Obviously, this lifestyle isn’t for everyone but for me choosing this path has been one of the best decisions of my life. Not everything that has happened in the last three years has been good – my father died a year and a half ago and I had, what I thought was, a promising marriage, breakup – to name just a few. These things were painful but they brought home the point that nothing is permanent and time spent fretting about the inevitably of loss, and regrets about what might have been, are a waste of life. The past is gone and holding our happiness hostage to an uncertain future robs of the precious now. The best we can do is live life as richly as possible, not cowering in a darkened room somewhere hiding from pain.
Over the past three years, I have challenged myself more than ever before, but I have also expanded my mind and my universe. I am under no illusions that any of these things makes me superior to anyone else but I know that they have made me a better me. The trick is to keep building on that. I am aware I have only scratched the surface of what there is out here available to me and I crave to keep exploring and discovering. I am grateful for the life I have built but I am also grateful to those that have, whether they intended to or not, brought me to this point. I am also grateful the people that read my stories, my pieces and my rantings. I hope that I demonstrate that it is okay to have an unconventional life and not to fear the unknowns. I also hope, as an anniversary present to me, if you enjoy what I am doing that you will help spread the word!
Also, the beginning of my fourth year also finds me with Sarah; a fellow adventurer, confidante and co-instigator. She makes a wonderful situation even better and I am looking forward to our continuing adventures together. We are currently beginning to explore other locations to adventure to and many are under consideration. I will soon share what is under consideration and the thought processes that are driving them. One thing is sure, the adventure is continuing and it has been far better than I ever imagined. Thank you!