“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Aristotle
It’s a phrase I’ve heard countless times in the last few years. I’ve always struggled not to take this phrase to heart in the negative way it’s spoken. “You’ve changed!”, like it’s such a bad thing.
Recently I’ve been reflecting on this a lot and now I wonder have I changed, or am I just more myself? Have I just shed the skin that I was uncomfortable living in for so long, and now I’m truly being the person I want to be?
Being forced to come back to the UK so William can receive medical treatment has forced us to face some uncomfortable realities. I’ve been made to confront our decisions both past and future head on.
Lincoln has been our home for our whole lives. We love this beautiful, historic, tiny little city that we once called home. But being back here has reaffirmed that it doesn’t feel like home anymore. It feels homely, yet stifling – like we’re trapped in a cage. Familiar, yet incredibly boring. It once felt comforting to walk the same steps we’d always walked. Now it feels cumbersome and emotionally draining. We know that we cannot be stuck in one place right now, maybe we’ll settle again someday, but right now we need to be wandering to keep our hearts alive.
This comes with it’s own new problems that we have had to face. We sold our home to travel and all of our stuff too. With no jobs or income we’ve been living on our savings ever since. The reality is we don’t have an infinite pot of money, the budget dwindles faster than you think and soon this pot will run out.
Now we’ve had a taste of the nomadic lifestyle we know that we don’t want it to end right now. It is our dream to continue to explore the world. But everyone knows you have to hustle to make your dreams come true.
William and I are dreamers, doers, triers – pretty often we fail, but we’ll always try again. We’re using this unexpected break in our travels to come up with a source of income. We’re not interested in making a fortune, just enough to live the life we want.
When we sold all of our stuff last year we did put some stuff into storage. Now we’re back we’ve been slowly dragging it all out and selling even more. The reality is we stored too much, we now feel we can live with even less.
Travel forces you to prioritise what you actually need, it made us realise we actually need very little. Our time with the residents of the New Delhi slum we visited weighs heavy on my heart every single day. I look at what we have, what we buy, what we think we need and I think of them and how they live such happy lives with so very little. It forces me back to reality pretty quickly.
Although saying all of this the girls remain our absolute priority. The long travel days were particularly brutal. They coped amazingly, but I’m not sure how long we could continue traipsing them around long haul at such a fast pace. We long to travel slower. Our priority isn’t ‘seeing it all’ but rather ‘feeling fulfilled by the bits we do see’.
Climate change and living a more sustainable lifestyle is also a huge priority for us. We want to ensure we’re doing our utmost to protect this planet so our girls can have a future. Flying so often makes me feel sick with guilt, our carbon footprint when travelling was huge, I talked in more detail about the dark side of travel in this post.
The girls also enjoy their toys. Their imaginations are incredible, they spend hours immersed in small world play and I feel a little guilty that travel didn’t allow as much time for this as we wanted. As well as giving them the time and space needed for their creativity and our unschooling life, being out in nature all the time. This all has to factor into our future decision making.
Travel has changed me in so very many ways.
I am passionate about spreading the word on the plastic pollution we saw, the swathes of rainforest in Borneo that have been destroyed for palm oil production, and the wonderful people we met who lead difficult lives because of the inherent racism and exploitation of us here in the west. Sometimes this passion upsets people, it triggers people and I’m called out for being a ‘snowflake’. Never mind, I’ll keep shouting about it because it’s bloody important.
I used to be the girl who spent hours straightening my hair, putting on expensive make up, wearing the latest clothes. Did all of those things make me happy? No, I thought they did, but in reality it was a lot of stuff that masked over my problems. I wear second hand comfy clothes now, I only wear make up on special occasions (don’t want to scare people), and I cut all of my hair off so I don’t have to waste time styling it.
I worry everyday about our choices. You can feel so alone when you’re going against the grain. Society is telling you to raise your kids a certain way, buy a house, save for the future, settle down, make sensible choices, buy all the stuff – and you’re doing the opposite. I have days where I feel totally isolated, fighting for a space to live the life we want. Social media helps, through our page I’ve made some wonderful friends who think and feel the same as we do, they make me feel less alone.
I’m over the feelings of bitterness that being forced to come back to the UK brought, and I’m busy plotting and scheming our future. This brings with it new feelings of excitement and apprehension.
We have a new vision now. One that embodies the life we want to create for our family. A life filled with joy and wonder. A nomadic life where we are free to adventure, explore and spend our days together. A way to earn money to sustain this lifestyle whilst we’re on the move. And most importantly a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle that has as little impact on the planet as possible.
This new period we’re in is both exciting and absolutely terrifying. We have so many dreams and schemes that we want to make a reality. Who knows if it’s possible? We just have to have faith in the universe and ourselves that we can make our dreams come true.
As for the naysayers. Yes, I’ve changed and I’m surprisingly OK with it. Life is all about evolution after all, shedding your old skin, stepping into the new and owning who you are.
Stay tuned on the blog as I can’t wait to share our next adventure with you, it’s pretty awesome if we can pull it off!