We all know that feeling, the feeling of being stuck.
Stuck in a job, in a city, in a relationship, in a lease, etc. No matter the exact situation, the feeling is always the same, the creeping in of complete despair, the realization that you are entirely unhappy and you don’t know how to get out. You think to yourself:
“I don’t have the tools to make a change.”
“Stable is good, why am I questioning it?”
“I don’t have enough money.”
“I can’t leave my loved ones.”
Believe me, I know these thoughts well.
I posted a poll on Instagram this week and asked who was game for car life, I got a varied array of answers of course but the one that stuck out was a dear friend who replied, “I wish I could be doing what you’re doing, but I’m stuck in retail.” And I started thinking, yeah, I get it, I get it big time. I was so beyond stuck in a job that I loathed. I was overworked. I came home crying on a weekly basis. My eyes were consistently bloodshot. And the kicker, I stopped hiking, climbing, adventuring. All my energy went into my job. Into the stable life I thought I was supposed to have. I was stuck too.
Now, a handful of months later, I am unstuck. But how did that happen? Let me take you through it. Excuse by excuse.
I Don’t Have the Tools to Make Change.
This is such a common excuse for me, the self-doubt, the I’m not good-enough or equip enough to do what I truly want. Well ya’ll, that’s just bullshit. It’s easy to undermine yourself by convincing yourself that you’re not prepared enough to do what you want, that you need more time. But when you stop and think about it I guarantee you, you’re more ready than you believe.
I wanted to travel the world in my car, solo. Okay, so I’d never done that before. I didn’t know how to read a map, but I could learn (or save a ton of google map routes on my phone in case I lost Wifi). So, I’d never driven cross-country, I had driven my car around the block a hundred-million times, I knew how to operate a vehicle. And what’s more:
I’d traveled to Europe Solo for 3 months
I became an independent at 18 and was in charge of budgeting and my own finances
I had savings from my job (the one perk)
I had support from the people in my life
I had a vehicle that could make the trip
I knew how to live as a minimalist
I had solo hiked my way all over Washington State
I could go on, the more you think about the TOOLS YOU DO HAVE, the more you realize, the ones you are lacking don’t matter, they will come, or they were never necessary.
Stable is Good, Why Am I Questioning It?
This is a hard excuse to overcome. Since I can remember I was told verbally, and by everything I witnessed, I was meant to settle down, find a steady job, fall in love and have some babies, all before the age of 30, oh and don’t forget the home with the white picket fence. Okay, I get that may seem hyperbolic, but it’s honestly not, it’s what I believed represented success, happiness even.
It wasn’t until I was on my way to the white picket fence, that I realized, that wasn’t my story, that wouldn’t breed happiness for me. Interestingly enough, as my then-partner and I looked at fancy apartments to lease together, he asked me if it’s what I really wanted. And the answer, as badly as it hurt, was no. I wanted to travel. I wanted freedom. And I have so much gratitude for his willingness to support me.
So, in a matter of months I threw out all the stable and “successful” parts of my life. I quit my salaried job, I moved out of my apartment, I let go of my relationship, I sold a ton of my stuff and I loaded up my car with the things that really brought me happiness, my hiking boots, my cozy sleeping bag, my favorite books and art supplies, tons of food, and myself. I was setting out for the rockiest, least stable road I could find, but boy was that wild road full of true happiness.
I Don’t Have the Money
Admittedly, this one is harder. I have some savings, and I have the extreme benefit of not being in any debt (I made it through college on scholarships and grants). And this folks, is extreme privilege. I am well aware.
On the flip side, I lowered my expenses to the bare minimum before I left, living with two dudes and two cats in a basement apartment, never going out to eat, selling my belongings for cash and working 45+ hours a week. Now, that’s not possible for everyone, I get that.
But I think there is a common misconception that travel is CRAZY EXPENSIVE, and there’s no way to make money on the road.
Let me tell you, travel…not crazy expensive. I spend less than I did living in that basement apartment with two dudes and two cats. There are so many ways to cut corners and make budgets. Just check out Pinterest and you’ll find them all. I am also a huge believer in sharing with ya’ll so I will be posting a budgeting guide soon as well.
Moreover, you can totally make money remotely. I am sitting in a Starbucks, soaking up free Wifi, without purchasing a damn thing working to bring money in. Writing, editing, blogging and creating is only one of the many categorical ways to bring in money on the road. Google search remote jobs and I promise you’ll find ones that match your skill set!
I Can’t Leave My Loved Ones
Right now, a little over a month in, this is the hardest one. I miss my mamma desperately. I met a Mom and her daughter traveling through the Grand Canyon yesterday and nearly cried.
But here’s the thing. More often than not, your loved ones want you to be happy. The people in my life who truly get me, who love me for exactly who I am, even if they don’t understand it all the time, those people supported me in this trek. BIG TIME! And I am filled with gratitude for them.
The people who love you deeply, don’t want to see you stuck and unhappy. Know that and trust it.
And for those moments when you’re walking around one of the wonders of the world and your eyes brim with tears because your miss your mom, remember this, FaceTime exists. Find ways to connect with the people you love from a far, ask them to visit you, and if they can’t give them a call when you miss them.
Most importantly remember, you are the most important person in your life, and you have to live for yourself, if you don’t you’ll regret it. You’re loved ones will either immediately understand that, or eventually come around.
It’s TIME! Unstick Yourself!
I know it doesn't happen overnight, I know there are real obstacles, as well as fake excuses to overcome, but you are so worth figuring all that out. Feeling stuck in your life, waking up each day knowing, this is so not what you want… longing for adventure, for self-love, for true happiness? Know that you deserve to live a life that fulfills you.
Even if that life is off the beaten path, even if it’s a little harder to get there, even if everyone else doesn’t understand, if you’re called to it, chances are it’s right. So follow the call, use this guide to wiggle out from underneath all the self-doubt, all the expectations, all the obstacles and cultivate the life you long for.
Because sweet reader, you are more powerful than you ever imagined. Just give yourself a chance to discover that power!