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Hello everybody, welcome to episode 146 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino and I’m very happy to have you all here with me today. We’ve got a question on hand today that comes from a woman who is feeling a little restless about an uninteresting life. Her desires to do something about it via travel have been blocked for a while, however. She’s now on the cusp of a big change, but it still has its challenges. Surely I’m butchering her words, though. Let’s hear it from her and help her out as best as possible…

QUESTION: “I've had a serious case of wanderlust since my teenage years. I am 28 now and I'm ready to do something about it. My lease on my apartment ends in December. My plan is to move in with family to save money for a few months and be gone by April so I can explore a different part of the country for a little while – 3-6 months at least.

Moving in with family temporarily and, of course, long-term travel means leaving my state government job (great benefits, PTO, etc.) I feel like my main struggle is planning the actual trip. I know I can get to all the place I want eventually but I don't know where to start.

I have all these ideas and desires and dreams swirling around in my head but I don't know how to make them a reality. A lot of my issue is fear and lack of confidence. I know nothing about long-term travel or how to prepare for it. My follow-through rate for my dreams is pathetic and I'm sick of feeling disappointed and unsatisfied with this conventional, basic life. I want an adventure! Do I just take the leap of faith and let the chips fall where they will?”


Listen to Greg narrate this post in Episode 146 of the podcast Optimal Living Advice.


Travel and Adventure

You’ve got the travel bug – I’m no stranger to that myself! I’d say that more and more people are getting this itch, too. Surely there’s a lot of emphasis on the idea of adventure and the value of travel these days and it’s only becoming more accessible with discounted travel options and more jobs able to be performed from home (or on the road in this case).

Look, there’s no clear cut way to do something like this. All bets are really off if you’re single and without children, too. Whether it’s a big trip or a big move, people have many different stories and many different experiences and will tell you many different things.

Theoretically the safest way to go about something like this is to at least make sure it’s been planned for financially and to have some sort of exit strategy in case of an emergency, but God knows people have made plenty of choices like this on a whim and turned out just fine.

Dissatisfaction With Your Current Life

However, in spite of you saying that planning the actual trip is your main struggle, I’m inclined to disagree with that.

So I’m going to give you my answer based on what I think you’re really battling with here, and that is the dissatisfaction with your current life that you mentioned.

I think you’re kidding yourself if you think a big vacation or even a big move is going to solve the unrest you feel about a life that you’ve described as conventional and basic, because the underlying problem in that feeling is you, not the place you live in.

Hear me out: Perhaps for a time you’ll feel better. And I’m certainly not going to discredit how much of our identities are made up of the decisions we make and experiences we have. In that way, maybe taking this adventure and proving to yourself that you can follow through on your dream will go a very long way for instilling a sense of contentment.

How Much Do You Value Adventure?

Realistically, I think that would be good for you. If adventure is something you value and it’s something you’ve not acted on it, it’s pull will only get stronger and seem as though it’s growing in importance each day.

But what comes after the adventure? Once the trip is over or you’ve decided to settle into a new spot and your life starts to feel mundane again?

I’d be very cautious of assuming that a new place is going to be what helps you stay satisfied in life (even if you were to move, let alone take a big trip and return to this after a period).

Confidence and Happiness

Needless to say, this directly correlates with the feelings of fear and low confidence you’ve been having. Like your lack of happiness with your current life and location, the root is that you do not trust enough in yourself to get through things – you feel as though you are not enough as you are. Mind you, this is nothing to be ashamed of.

There are many reasons that we start to feel this way and as we cover in many episodes, these feelings are to be honored and explored rather than judged. But at the moment, it is most likely the cause of your desire to escape or adventure rather than the effect of not yet escaping or adventuring, if that makes sense.

Wanting to Travel: Emotional Planning

So I think that in order to properly plan for this trip emotionally, you’re going to want to work first on appreciating the things that you have now (you should also explore the roots of your fears and lack of confidence, too).

Pay particular attention that in your life which you feel is uninspiring or unacceptable.

Until December, take inventory about your job, about your location, and about yourself. What’s not good enough?

It’s all right to have your preferences; I’m not trying to strong arm you into loving every single thing. It’s a nice thing to shoot for over time, but quite a big jump to make right now.

But to start, what isn’t working for you, why isn’t it working and what steps have you taken to make it better or view it differently?

Making the Most of Your Circumstances

Any big change is best made by first making the most of your circumstances before it. This way, you’re able to get a better idea of what you like and don’t like, you take responsibility, you see things differently, and you can progress with fewer regrets.

I’ll be curious to see how you’re feeling once December rolls around if you concentrate on this until then.

Should you decide to move forward with your plans at that point, you’ll have another opportunity living with your family to find gratitude in the very normal parts of life. Maybe you’ll find that the steady presence of certain familiarities is what actually makes them extraordinary after all. Or maybe you’ll decide that you’d still like to try something new, but without the same chip on your shoulder.

Ultimately, finding true satisfaction will first be about embracing that which you have rather than stockpiling your life with new things; whether they’re objects, people, indefinite cross country trips or anything in between.

Travel and Finding Yourself

And at the end of the day, a 3-6 month trip is not a lifetime decision and doesn’t have to lead to one.

Upon returning, you can rebuild the parts of your life that, in your upcoming period of reflection, you still find are not of interest to you after giving them a fairer shot. If after this time, you truly feel your work and/or location do not help you live purposefully, then you change them up.

It’s not as if there’s no rebounding or no time to start fresh after taking an extended vacation to find yourself at 28 years old. This is especially true for you, as it seems you have a family who will be supportive should certain changes take longer to make than you’d expect.

That would be at least one benefit of sticking close by, hmm?

To the woman who sent this question in, thank you thank you. While I hope you’re able to make a plan that works for you, more importantly, I hope you’re able to make that plan and make this change from a place of mental clarity. If you’re not feeling sold come December and still have some confusion, you know where to find me. And in case any of you fine listeners don’t know, you can email me at advice@oldpodcast.com, advice@oldpodcast.com. That’s where I can be found if you want to submit a question of your own and receive help, or simply comment on the show in one way or another. Don’t be shy, we love hearing from everyone. That’ll do it for now though, friends. Thank you for being here, thank you for supporting the show, and I’ll be back with you again soon. Can’t wait. See ya later everyone.

Listen to Greg narrate this post in Episode 146 of the podcast Optimal Living Advice.

mm

Greg Audino

Greg Audino is a Rhode Island-born certified life coach, actor, and graduate of Goucher College. He is the host of the mental health podcast Optimal Living Advice and narrates dating, marriage, and parenting content over at Optimal Relationships Daily.
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