How We Found More to Life
The Road to More
We just returned from our first international adventure since living on the road full time. In fact, though not the first time either of us traveled internationally, it was the first time Jon and I traveled internationally together. Together with our friends from Dan and Lindsay (Follow Your Detour) and Pete and Jordan we planned a Canadian summer road trip that we dubbed “The Road to More”.
In February, at Heath and Alyssa Padgett’s RV Entrepreneur Summit, we all realized that we had one thing in common. We all felt that life on the road had brought us so much “more” despite living with “less”. More friends, more freedom, more beauty, more opportunity, more kindness–we found so much more of all of these things when we moved our lives on the road.
Furthermore, we realized that we would have never met had it not been for the road bring us together. So, we planned this trip as a way to celebrate our friendship and all the “more” in our new lives.
Surrounded by vivid aquamarine glacial lakes, icefields, mountains, and waterfalls of the Canadian Rockies, Jon and I had a chance to reflect on the nearly 2 years we have spent living full-time on the road. The past 2 years have been better than we could have imagined or planned. We are so incredibly grateful for all that we have seen and experienced. The best part is we know there’s more!
But how did we find our more? What exactly is all this more? What do we mean by “more” friends, freedom, beauty, etc.?
Pour a cup of coffee, we’d love to fill you in. Everyone’s “more” may be different, but we bet you you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement here and there…
There Has to Be More to Life
Is there more to life? Is there more to life than going to work every day, paying bills, and living for the weekends? These questions began to ping-pong back and forth in our minds as we hit our 30s.
The first time the fact that life moves along–ready or not, started to sink in back at 25. It was the first time it seemed possible that we would actually get “old”. Even so, no real sense of urgency sunk in yet.
My mom used to say, “I blinked, and I was 40”. I smiled and nodded never understanding what she meant–until I turned 30. For both Jon and I, 30 signaled it was time to “get serious” about what we wanted out of life. In our 30s, we should set ourselves up to enjoy our 40s and 50s, ensuring those two decades would be our best years yet. So, we began to evaluate.
We chased and landed high paying jobs and home ownership in our late 20s and very early 30s, yet we wondered, “Is this all there is to life? Is the path we’ve turned onto going to lead us to where we want to go?”
Why Did We Wonder If There Was More to Life?
On a deeper level, we wondered because it’s part of the human condition. We all want to make the most of the one life we have been given, and we want to know how best to do so.
Besides that, we all have dreams. But, somewhere along the line, between childhood and adulthood, things go from crystal clear to downright muddy.
As a child you know what brings you joy, you know what you want to spend your time doing. But sometimes, as a teen and young adult, you lose your way as you try to reshape your “childish” dreams and interests, twisting, pulling, and bending them, until they’re unrecognizable, but conform nicely to the “adult” expectations of society. (This is a good time to point out that Jon and I are blessed with incredibly supportive parents, who did not push us in any direction or another. Besides, as a teenager, you’re certain you know more than they do! So, a lot of this conforming is due to societal pressure at large, as well as internal pressure from oneself.)
These unrecognizable dreams end up looking like going to college to get a degree, because it’s “responsible”. They look like having an interest in art, but pursuing advertising because that’s the prudent choice since there’s “no money” in art. They look like buying a large house in the suburbs because it’s “the next step”.
What Did We Do About All This Wondering?
Our first step was to ask ourselves questions.
What do we dream of? Financial independence, creating, early retirement, and above all travel.
Do we wake up every morning excited for the day? No, we did not. (To be fair, with all my jobs I’ve been blessed to have had a few years at each where I really did wake up looking forward to work. The end of that period, always marked the time to move on.)
Does what we are doing make financial sense? No. The city we lived in was very expensive and had a very poor job market. The standard of living we would have liked in that city required even heftier salaries and working even more. We were doing just fine, but we weren’t wiping out debt, and we weren’t on a fast track to more income.
Are we on track to early retirement? No. In fact, we both knew that even if we retired at a traditional age, it wasn’t a guarantee that we would suddenly be able to afford to travel the world. If we couldn’t now, doing the same thing for the next 30 years wasn’t going to make it possible then.
Are we on track to travel? Ha. We could hardly line up the same week of vacation. We’d been on a plane together just once in 8 years. Weekend trips were also out of the question because of geography. We would be better off living in a more centrally located city and state…
Are we exploring creative pursuits? No. Outside of work, time was a bit of a factor. At work, creativity wasn’t consistently part of either of our jobs.
Do we get the “Sunday Blues”? Yes, the end of the weekend was always a very sad thing.
Do we dread Mondays? Yes. Mondays were “the worst”.
Do we crave something more? Yes. We weren’t living the life we had always dreamed of.
Do we believe there is something more? Yes! We could be spending our life doing the things we imagined.
It seems it’s quite normal to stop and ask yourself what it is you are doing with the life you have been given. In Part 2, we’ll share what we thought our little evaluation turned up, what options we came up with, and what exactly all that “more” we found looks like. What did you dream of as a kid? What dreams did you add on as an adult? (“Early retirement” seems to be a dream that comes about as an adult...) Let us know in the comments.