QUIT, PACK, OPEN

When I started writing my weekly headspace pieces I had no idea how awesome this weekly release of my thoughts would be. I did know and have proved to myself how hard it is to keep up with your blog even if it is once a week. I see why people do this as an actual career in itself because it’s a lot of work and you truly have to carve out the time for it. I wanted my weekly headspace to be a concrete way for me to write more, even if it wasn’t particularly well designed or crafted pieces. These are my thoughts plain and simple. In this process I have realized that I have A LOT of thoughts in one week. I mean, like, A LOT. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what thoughts to synthesize and what thoughts to dismiss. I talk to hundreds of people on a weekly basis because my business is all about talking to people and connecting with them. It doesn’t matter if it’s people who have known me since childhood or high school or friends that I have connected to through common interests  like fitness and traveling via social media, almost everyone asks me the same question, “Australia? WOW! How is it living there?”

I had my friend and  fellow coach ask me a while ago,  “What is your biggest takeaway  from all your adventures? What have you learned about yourself, other cultures, and the world?”  I realized that I think about this almost every day for one reason or another. I have lived it and I am living it. I have watched my mind expand and my heart break and connected to people from all over the world for about 3 years now. But no one has lived it all with me. Luckily, I have many companions, especially Jackie, who have experienced a huge chunk of it and the bond we share because of it is truly something special.  Through my blog I try to convey what traveling has done for me but I love to pause and reflect for new followers and because I am not sure if I have ever answered that question explicitly, my biggest takeaway from all of my adventures. I am feeling quite nostalgic as my 26th birthday approaches at the beginning of June and  I keep thinking about how different my life was last June. I had high expectations for twenty five but my expectations have been blown out of the water. Because I believed that the best was yet to come… the best came and is still coming.

My biggest takeaway from all of my adventures living abroad in two radically different countries and returning back home to America in between, has been that the world is an absolutely captivating and magical place, if you allow it to be. Being open minded is the key to happiness, success, relationships and quite honestly, life.  I truly believe that for the most part people are their own worst enemies and let their fears hold them back from the life they deserve.

Despite the fact that I was living in a third world country, backpacking through many South East Asian  third world countries, prancing around the fancy beach clubs in Bali, eating traditional meals with locals, paying more for my brunch then I did for my hostel, hiking active volcanoes at sunrise, making friends from every country you could imagine and experiencing something new almost every single day I finally realized how similar we all are. I worry this sounds cliche but that has truly been my personal experience.  Human beings are so similar it is actually quite scary. It’s such a mind blowing experiencing because not only do you see how similar you are but you are forced to perceive the world in a totally new and unique manner.

Despite having similar cores, we do have so many differences in our life experiences, family upbringing, cultures, educations, work experience, travel experience, views on politics, religion, dating, happiness and success. Nothing is more thrilling to me than chatting with friends from Germany, Holland, Vietnam, Indonesia, Italy, England, Wales, France, Canada, you name it,  and learning things you never could find in a  history book or experience in a college lecture hall. Traveling has forced me to be okay with not being in control(which if you know me was a VERY hard lesson for me to learn.) Traveling has forced me to see how taking risks is worth the reward. Traveling has forced me to savor the moments as they pass because you may only have a few nights with these new friends who you feel like you’ve known a lifetime. Traveling has made me realize that you don’t need a lot of money to travel you need a lot of GUTS. You need a lot of resilience. You need the willingness to get out of your OWN way and take some risks. You have to be willing to go to countries you know nothing about. You have to be willing to sleep on overnight buses for 17 hours in Vietnam. You have to be willing to play charades and to point to random food and pray you don’t get food poisoning, or take it like a champ when you do. You have to be open minded in your approach to your traveling or you could circle the whole globe and not change a thing.

I truly don’t believe everyone should quit their job and travel the world. I honestly do believe it is the single best decision I have ever made. Quit.. Pack… Open..Not only did I  find a way to make my career work in two new countries I gained the confidence to follow ANYTHING that tugs on my heart strings. Traveling wasn’t an option for me, it was a calling and a voice that needed to be answered. Wanderlust is not going to Disney World twice a year and on a cruise every five. Wanderlust is sincerely wanting to experience a new culture, a new way of life and a willingness to learn that everything you have ever thought could very well be wrong. Traveling forced me to get in touch with my truest self and make some huge sacrifices along the way. It is a whole different level of commitment when you decide to live abroad and become a permanent adventurer. You no longer are someone who leaves and comes back with cool stories to tell your friends and family. You are someone who leaves. You are someone who has to miss important weddings and special occasions. You have to construct dysfunctional holiday celebrations that show what the true spirit of those holidays actually mean.  You are someone who decides that the desire to see the world is stronger than any other guiding factor.

This is a terrifying inner voice to listen to. But when you do, it shows you why being open minded is so important. I know that all people have their opinions about other people’s life choices and many times people like to judge a path that is different from their own or the norm. I think that the 21st century has developed a whole generation of dreamers, doers, seekers and people who very well might quit their job and travel the world. That scares the HELL out of close minded people. It always has and it always will. But traveling teaches you to focus on the good. You don’t look back and dwell on the moments you missed your ferry, were hungover puking on your ferry, nearly died in traffic in Bangkok, got hit on by men, ladyboys, women, or anything with two legs. You look back and remember the people, the laughs, the views, the kick ass food and booze and experience that you simply can’t just look at photos of you have to EXPERIENCE yourself. I think that is the most special part of traveling. Even in today’s world of Instagram, blogs, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, any other social media site that people use to document their every move on a trip; pictures, videos, words, and blog articles can NEVER replace experiencing it for yourself. It never has and it never will. Every traveler holds those stories in their memory, some to share and some to keep, but no two people will see the same world twice.

You learn more about yourself traveling than any other life experience. You form bonds with your traveling companions that can’t be put into words. You are forced to coexist with people you have never imagined you be in the same room with let alone getting naked in front of and sharing a wall socket for your chargers. When you are traveling you  see humanity in such raw form, the good, the bad and the ugly. So when I try to reflect on my biggest take away from my adventures I have to say that it is so complex but actually pretty simple; being open minded is the key to life. It can be applied to every situation across the boards and it is a lesson I continually use in my classroom, my business, my friendships, my relationship and my life. You can see a big and beautiful world or you can see a world full of pain and darkness. That is totally up to you.

Good and evil have existed since the beginning of time and will continue to exist. Traveling has reminded me to be open to the magic that this universe has to offer. Not just when you feel like it. Not just for a week or a stage in life. Be open to what the world has to offer you and see the magic in everyday life. Don’t ever stop seeing life as an adventure and that mindset will manifest your reality.  Leaving home does not mean that I never look back, I look back all the time. But my eyes have changed, my mind has expanded, my heart has opened.  I take life as it comes and I take people for what they are. I control myself (this is without a pitcher of sangria in my blood) because I know that’s the only thing I can control. I EMBRACE uncertainty because instead of holding myself back or being afraid of it, I am learning to celebrate the fact that I have no clue what’s next. None of us do. The more authentically you open your mind and your heart to the world around you the more the world around you opens. Allow the world to be the magical and captivating place that it is. Get out of your own way. I’m not saying everyone should quit their job to travel the world but DAMN, I am glad that I did. 

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