It has now been eight months since we started our family travel journey and I can honestly report that it is going better than we expected. Sure, there are moments when we all drive each other crazy, but I am unbelievably grateful for the freedom we have while traveling. Not to mention the priceless experiences we are having together. Many people thought we were crazy for selling our home, our belongings, and living this nomad life as we build our business. To be honest, I have learned more about myself, my family, the way I view the world, and what happiness means to me over these eight months than I had over the first 40ish years of life. I am not a big yoga person, however I love the spiritual beliefs that embody the practice. Our travel experiences have helped me find inner peace, zen, or what I like to call my “namaste.”
Before we left Austin, we had put up a lot of walls because we were afraid of the unknown. At the time, what we were doing made sense, but life can be messy and things can change quickly. When I was laid off and Bryan had a full hip replacement two years ago, we found ourselves in uncharted territory, realizing we were only focusing on what we had been programmed to focus on; work, practices, meetings, paying a mortgage, etc. We stepped out of our comfort zone, “our bubble”, let our guards down and took a chance to try something different. This is not an easy thing to do because like most people in the world, we were afraid to look at the bigger picture or what really matters in life. It is easier to keep your head down, just plug away at the day to day, over and over again.
Traveling has helped open all of our eyes while encouraging us to be more accepting, less judgmental, and it has pushed us to step out of our comfort zones daily. This is especially true with our kids, while they miss home it is amazing to see how much they have grown. They have made friends all over the world, in some cases they do not even speak the same language. They also have conquered a lot of the fears they had about traveling the world. Some of these fears were trying new foods, being away from friends, missing their “stuff”, exploring new places, learning about other people, other cultures, and the history of the world.
On our adventures we have been learning so much about the history and culture of other people. We have noticed a common theme, human nature has not changed much over the centuries. This was pointed out to us at one the first castles we visited, the Tower of London, by a great tour guide Billy the Beefeater. “You see these castle walls around us here? They were built to keep people out…maybe Mr. Trump should ask how that worked out.” His point was human nature has not changed much and history has a funny way of repeating itself. Obviously, we are more advanced in a technological sense, but we still worry about rivalries, mass migrations, shootings, bullying, feeling rejected, being labeled, being liked, or being alone. The majority of the people in the world are still building walls around themselves and their families to defend and protect their wealth, name, and home. It was the same reason they built castles back in the day. The sole purpose of a castle was defense, to build walls that would protect their families. That is why there are so many castles throughout Europe. Some are just ruins on the side of the road, others converted into hotels, and more famous ones refurbished for thousands of visitors to explore daily. Maybe that is why we all have a fascination with castles today. Instead of building stone walls we have other means in this modern world to protect ourselves, friends, and family.
Even in a world where people are all living longer, have better healthcare, and are connected to more people through social media we still feel unfulfilled. Life is not perfect and we will always experience disappointment, heartaches, loss, and pain. If we focus only on external distractions we might miss out on new opportunities in our lives. Especially, when our lives are filled with loneliness and doubt we tend to build more walls around ourselves which makes it more difficult to let your guard down. If we revel in the dark we will miss new experiences in life, become more judgmental, less accepting of ourselves and others. We all have an opinion on what is wrong in the world, it is frustrating to observe conditions that are taking place while standing back and watching them unfold. All the while, what we need to start improving the world is within ourselves. Self acceptance is not easy and it is something I work on daily. However, one thing I learned through life changing events of our own is that if you do not take risks you might not discover who you really are. There will always be difficult times in life, you have to remember that these are tiny blips on our journey. If you are willing to embrace them you will learn more about yourself, family, friends, and others in this world.
We are all still building castles to protect ourselves, maybe changing the world starts with how we look at ourselves and seek refuge in the very things we want to protect. Being more accepting of ourselves, appreciative of the beauty in this world, grateful for friends and family will lead us to a more fulfilling life, for these are the things that really matter. Of course, we will still have challenges, but if we do not step out of our comfort zone while letting our guards down we may not achieve the greatness we deserve. So, take a chance, take a risk, do not be afraid to change jobs, travel, love yourself and others because we are never alone. We are all on this journey together, remember, it is important to step out from behind your wall and enjoy this beautiful ride called life.