I remember sitting in a bustling touristy courtyard in the middle of a western state with my computer in front of me trying to use the wifi before everyone pulled out their phones to mindlessly scroll through Facebook. I was a tad stressed to finish an article before the days end, and it was the only wifi spot for miles, so I hunkered down to finish before I was interrupted by an older man.
I could feel his judgement before he even leaned in to say, “how can you be on your computer with all this beautiful scenery around you! You should put your computer away!”.
I stared at him for a moment, and laughed in response to ease the tension of his accusation towards my choice of activity. I replied, “I’m actually working, a girl has to pay the bills somehow”.
He scoffed in response and sauntered off. I looked at Fern for reassurance about what just happened. I thought about how that man probably worked his whole life so he could enjoy his little vacation here. While I am working along with my lifestyle, rather than saving up for only a small vacation.
Society says we have to constantly be achieving something. We see friends with big hot-shot jobs, seemingly solid relationships, and feel the eyes of judgement when we achieve anything less than that. Truth is though, we all feel judged. We all think people do not understand us, and to a point that is true. Yet, there are thousands of people who seek the same lifestyle you do, you just perhaps have not found them in the mainstream of life.
We each choose our own lifestyle. Where many find that life pushes them around, some of us choose to think differently. I know I was raised in privilege, and I have had many opportunities to travel that others have not. I have had life push me around with medical problems, and for awhile I let it dictate my life.
I let the endless doctor appointments choose my path, and in turn it actually did push me to be a freelance writer. I otherwise might of joined the mainstream flow and been lost to the turbulent tides of a life chosen for me.
Instead, the season of pain drove me to desire more for my life. If I can walk, then I will walk. If I can write, then I will write. If I can travel, then I will travel. I am thankful for every breath I take, because I know how difficult things can get. On good days, I thrive, but I know a bad day is not far off. I know I am privileged to have a partner who can make up for my lack when things are bad, and that I no longer have to weather the storm on my own.
People think you have to have a lot of money for the travel lifestyle, but honestly, you just have to be okay with being poor. I’ve eaten a can of beans out of the back of my van, been stressed about not being paid on time by a client in accordance with my student loans, and I have humbled myself to ask for help to be in the same corner of the world as Fern.
We all make sacrifices to make the lifestyle we choose possible. Life sometimes throws challenges in the way, but those who can weather the storm know what it is like on the other side. We know that our dreams take sacrifices. Sacrifices that hurt deeply, and ones that push us to the next level in our aspirations. We make those choices for ourselves, and it takes patience to not let the judgement of others bother us.
Constantly being afraid of what others think about our choices can be exhausting. Some may not understand why you choose a certain path, but at the end of the day, it is you who are living your life. When the man walked up to me exclaiming his dissatisfaction for being on my computer, I realized he perhaps did not understand the lifestyle I was living.
I have worked in visitor centers, cafes, courtyards, rest stops, restaurants, and wandered around buildings with my computer in hand in attempts to get a signal. Where the wifi is, is where my employment is. For me, that works in accordance with my heart. Even if at times it can be incredibly stressful, just like any job.
I am about ready to make major leaps with my writing, but it comes with uncertainty. I could fail, yet, that is the risk I take. Many people feel stagnant when their fear overrides their capacity to progress. The best way to overcome fear, is to leap. To leap with aspiration on your mind, and confidence in your heart.
This season in New Zealand is opening up opportunity, and forcing a shift in life to make important decisions about what the next couple of years may look like for us. It could cripple us with fear, because the pressure of what we are supposed to be doing and what we want to do weighs very different. I am not afraid to make the hard decisions, and I know that each decision weighs with sacrifice.
Yet, this is the lifestyle I choose. This is who I am. While the world may watch with a critical eye, I still choose to share my story. When we share, it takes away the power of the critic, and it opens us up to new opportunity to reach the communities that we belong in. Communities that understand the lifestyle we choose.
Wherever you are in life, be bold, be strong, and be courageous. This world needs your skills and your passions. There will always be critics in life, so love big, work hard, and live your life.
Love and Light,
Photo: Taken by Fern in Great Smokys Mountain National Park