I have completed well over half of my bucket list at this point and am now tackling many of the harder items on the list. As I prepare for the next leap, I thought it would be appropriate to look back on my journey thus far.
Early on in this process, I stumbled upon a trick that I think has made all the difference in my happiness. Instead of following the traditional pattern of traveling from point A to point B over an extended amount of time, I have been making a base on each continent and establishing that as my home for an extended period of time. The use of this hub and spoke model helps me avoid the travel overdose that many people experience with long term travel.
Once I outgrew those, I used Washington State and Seatac airport to complete items on a larger radius (Dog sledding in Alaska, Exploring Volcanoes in Hawaii, Going to Whistler).
After I had completed most of those items and the timing was right in my personal and professional life, I moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina so that I could travel around South America and do the related bucket list items there (Dance in Carnival, Visit Easter Island, Explore Machu Picchu). I used Buenos Aires as my base and spent six months living there without burning out from extended travel.
After BA, I moved to Los Angeles for work and to take advantage of LAX. I spent the last six months here and vastly increased the radius of my travel (Spending New Years in Paris, Sampling pastries in Montreal, Going to shows in New York, Experiencing a Rodeo in Nebraska, Flying a stunt plane over Hollywood, etc.)
In about a week, I will be leaving the United States and moving to Spain. With Barcelona as my base, I will start to do my European bucket list items.
From there I don’t really have it planned out but I will likely live somewhere in Asia to repeat the pattern. The bucket list must go on ;-p
I have learned a lot from my adventures so far and want to use this growth to continue the fun and share it with more people. I have no intention of maintaining this lifestyle for the rest of my life but I do know that I have to do it now. Otherwise, I will become too smart and too awake to live my dreams.
So has it been worth it?
Absolutely! But not for the reason I would have guessed. I live a life of freedom but simultaneously have responsibilities and a looming deadline (my entire bucket list deadline is May 25th 2017.) In this way I am really a lot like the “wage slave” that the movies like to juxtapose with the young traveler character.
So why not just dismantle these limitations?
:-) Well that wouldn’t be any fun. The reason I like this arbitrary deadline for my bucket list is that although it is a deadline, it is also a source of freedom. It frees me to make choices that I otherwise would not be able to make. It frees me to raise the priority of my life list over the priority of my professional life. For me, a person who cares a lot about their status, it is the silver bullet that I always secretly craved. I can still be adventures while being viewed as successful. That is not a message you would read in a fairy tale but it something that took experiencing the grittiness of real life to learn.
In this way, my own plan doesn’t fit into the mental model that I accidentally created for understanding the world. :-)
I am a rebel with a cause. A cause of reminding and constantly teaching myself that I can do more. Not more simply for the sake of more, but more for the sake of opening eyes. Even if it is only my eyes.
There are far too many times in life when logic overcomes emotion and creates factual deniability.
“No, I can’t go on vacation, I don’t have enough money to buy a plane ticket.”
“No, I can’t leave my job, I need the health insurance.”
“No, I can’t go on an adventure, I need to care for my family.”
These answers to invitations are not wrong. The logic behind them is bullet proof. If you literally can’t afford something, no airline is going to sell you a ticket. That is not what I am pointing out as the problem.
The problem is that while these statements are not wrong, they are also not always right. Just because a logical opportunity doesn’t exist, doesn’t necessarily mean the opportunity doesn’t exist. In some cases the opportunity just might not be visible.
I believe that everyone makes the best decisions they can given the resources they have. This is not limited to physical resources like money, I am also referring to mental resources and emotional resources. Excuses don’t deserve the bad rap they have, I think they are necessary to thrive in life. I don’t think there is a single instance in human history where someone chose not to do something without at least some reason for making that decision. Inherent in their choice was their perspective of the world and the given situation.
The variable in that situation (I say situation rather than choice because I want to emphasize that environment and context is important) is the potential for next time. Next time the choice does not need to be the same because next time the resources and context might be different. The opportunity might present itself differently or the decion maker may be coming from a different perspective. The world is not stagnant, people’s choices and therefore options, can and do evolve.
That was a bit of a rant there but I think it touches on the bigger point I have been trying to articulate on this blog. I don’t think I crystalized it this time but I do think I got closer.
Journey on, maybe the words I am looking for will become visible to me later.
Photo: That was taken somewhere in Alaska. I don’t remember all of the details but it was incredibly cold and I was worried that my eyes might freeze :-)