Almost 2 years ago I walked out of my corporate office for the last time ready to set out on the adventure of my life. I would be spending the better part of those 2 years traipsing through jungles, trekking across mountains, climbing ancient pyramids, diving the depths of the sea, meeting some of the best people I’ll ever know, falling in love with a variety of Latin cultures, busing my way across continents, and doing much much more. It still brings feelings of disbelief when I sit back and reflect on my travels.
I arrived home in December to take a brief break and get organized to set out for Asia, the region I was originally most excited to immerse myself in. Since arriving back in Texas, I’ve been having an internal struggle between the comfort of home and the challenge of adventure, between the familiarity of friends and family and the invigoration of new people and personalities, between the free spirit of travel and the desire to find someone to settle down with, and between coming home with a good amount of money still in the bank or utterly broke (hopefully not literally). I’ve gone back and forth on what I want, where I’m going, and what life will hold for me next. Finally I’ve reached at least a short term decision.
Lifestyle Design as a Lifestyle
When I really sit back and think about some of the reasons that I set off to travel in the first place, surprisingly it wasn’t all about the exploration and adventure of seeing the world. It was also about living life in a way that I wanted to, not in a way that is expected or dictated by society. It was about balancing the need to pay the bills with the need to live life and really experience it. It was about challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone and make every day count. But of course it was also about travel.
For weeks now I’ve felt like a yo-yo trying to sort through my options and decide what to do next or where to go, when a moment of possible clarity hit me. Why am I forcing myself to choose between home and the adventure of travel? I’ve met plenty of travelers that do both. Many organize their lives in a way that even makes it easy to do both. Plenty of teachers work 10 months a year so they have 2 months to gallivant to faraway lands. Plenty of couples found the passion for travel in their significant others and make it a part of their adventure in life. Plenty of couples and solo travelers alike have built careers independent of their location, working from computers in hostels, tablets on beaches, and laptops in hammocks (my first pick for an office).
So here’s what I’m going to do….
So my answer is I’m going to do both……or at least try to. I don’t want the last 2 years to just become this amazing experience I tell people about from time to time as I go about my normal American life. I want the amazing experience to continue and to remain a part of my life. So with that in mind, I’m going to design my life in a way that allows me the comforts of home and the possibility of settling down with someone while still integrating my love of travel and adventure.
The first part of that design is finding a way to earn a living while still allowing for freedom and flexibility. I’ve spent the last few weeks researching a career in real estate. On the surface it doesn’t seem like a career that would hold the flexibility for travel. Initially it even seemed like Realtors work around the clock 7 days a week. What I’m finding as I delve in further is that the schedule isn’t necessarily normal but it can be and that not only are vacations possible but as an independent Realtor I can set when I work and how.
Testing a New Road
I just signed an agreement with Keller Williams Realty in Dallas as an independent contractor. I plan to be a Realtor for 9 months out of each year with the other 3 available for my travels and other interests. That probably sounds like an ambitious goal and I could find that it’s not possible. I may find that I have to adjust my expectations but if experience shows anything it says that when I set my mind to something I usually find a way to accomplish it.
So between now and the end of August I’ll be in my testing phase where I’ll learn if my new and grand plan of lifestyle design is possible, at least in the realm of a real estate professional. If all goes well, I plan to take off for Asia for a couple of months in the slower real estate season after school starts. If things don’t go so well….I’ll actually still be taking off for Asia and then probably onto the Middle East as the long term traveler I’ve been. Either way I’ll continue my travels, it’s just a matter of how and when.
Feedback and Support
So many of you out there have been an irreplaceable source of support and encouragement for me over the past couple of years and I’ve appreciated it more than you’ll ever know. It seemed like any time I started to doubt my choices (which rarely happened) someone was there with encouragement just when I needed it. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you have enjoyed following my journey and checking out my photos. Don’t worry, I may be planning to ease back into the ‘real world’ a bit but I won’t stop sharing travel photos and stories. I have thousands you haven’t seen yet!
So what do you think??? Do you think I’m crazy? Has anyone out there found there perfect balance? I’d love to hear your opinions and advice on my plans.