My wife and I were talking about ourselves and other world travelers regarding the highs and lows of circling the globe.
We love the freedom, fulfillment and fun of circling the globe. Estimating, I believe that 80%-90% of the time I feel:
- fun coursing through my veins
being a full time digital nomad. Do you know the feeling of going on vacation? How about the first day of traveling to your vacation destination? By and large, this is what my life and my wife's life feels like. But 10%-20% of the time I may feel a bit down for the comfort, convenience, friends and family I released to be able to live this life. I have also faced some incredibly deep, pulsating fears quite unpleasant to hug to live this life….otherwise, I'd not be living my dream!
I visited a close friend last Saturday. We had a blast. But the 5 hours flew by as if 5 minutes elapsed. We had not seen each other in 2 years. I may possibly see him once more before likely heading out West after the new year. I felt joy on being able to spend time with him but sadness in knowing we will likely not see each other for a long time.
Loneliness, discomfort, language barriers, cultural barriers, schedule disruptions and yes, facing deep, powerful fears all feel rough for world travelers like myself. Most love their lives but pay the price of nudging in to uncomfortable emotions.
Before snap-judging anyone living their dreams as being:
- the object of your envy
- a jerk or braggart
consider the rest of their story. Imagine what the individual gave up to live their dreams. Picture the deep fears, the struggles and suffering dream-livers faced to largely free themselves of chains keeping humanity captive, easily controlled and seamlessly manipulated. I am no different than any person but decided to face some of my deepest fears and to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Anyone who chose not to follow their dreams decided to avoid their deepest fears and to stay well within their comfort zone. Life is evidence of your intimately person choices. Your experience mirrors your mind.
Remember the smiling traveler who posts a photo in some far off locale who appears happy the moment you observe their photo but secretly feels a bit like an outsider, or out of sorts. I have felt these emotions many times since being a globetrotter. If we are being honest with ourselves, most of you would likely feel like a fish out of water if you spent 6 weeks living in a hut without electricity or plumbing in a remote, Costa Rica jungle. I felt quite free for much of the experience but faced some intense fears, too.
Most folks deemed I enjoyed the most amazing experience and a few called me lucky but as deep fears and a “dark night of the soul” type evening as I wriggled in agony likely did not enter their minds, nor did using an outhouse or having bullet ants in the kitchen and poison dart frogs on the deck enter their consciousness.
Most people simply never ponder or just flat out ignore the rest of the story I share because the ego makes excuses or romanticizes scenarios to keep comfy, cozy and firmly ensconced within the ring of fear.
Never assume based on a split second scan of a Facebook photo. You have no idea how that person feels for 16 waking hours each day. Never assume that someone who seems happy most of the time IS happy all of the time; most face their deepest, darkest fears and spend a little bit of time light years outside of their comfort zone.
Always remember the rest of the story to understand what it takes to live your dreams or to exercise compassion for those who hide an experience of sadness with a few shining, picture perfect social media photos.