Posts Tagged ‘freedom’
Lately I’ve started thinking I must have too much time on my hands. Although I know that’s just not true I kind of hope it is. Why else would I be thinking about so many things that are just too difficult to answer? I mean really – what is the meaning of life and more importantly; where oh where is the fountain of youth?!
Perhaps the problem isn’t too much time, I sometimes feel I’m running out of time. As each year passes it seems I have less time to do the things I really want to do, achieve the lifestyle I want and fit all the people that are important to me into that equation.
Not so long ago I made what most people saw as drastic changes. I went from having a well-paid job, high community profile and being located close enough to family and friends to spend time with them whenever I wanted; to becoming a ‘homeless’ backpacker on the move without a care in the world. My biggest decisions were where to go next and how long to stay.
I miss that life and can’t explain the freedom to you if you haven’t experienced it. Most people tell me they believe it must be a scary existence with so much uncertainty, those who’ve done it know it’s exactly the opposite. I met so many interesting people and experienced something new every day.
That was the life I’d dreamed of but now I find myself doing what I promised myself I wouldn’t do. While I was out there seeing glaciers in Alaska, doing yoga at an ashram in India and learning Thai cooking on an island in Thailand, I told myself that I wouldn’t get caught up again in the lifestyle that comes with earning a living.
I was sure I could work, earn some cash to fund the next trip and keep going that way until I found the place I wanted to settle in. Somehow the reality is far from that as I find that if I’m working I need a place to live then I need to keep working to fund that. It seems I’m being dragged kicking and screaming back into the world of 9-5 (at least) and limited travel time.
In truth I haven’t sold my dreams out just modified them so they’ll continue to be funded! I’m now living in a place that enables shorter more frequent trips so I’m really working to fund those but as each day goes by and I get (a little) older, I find myself thinking I must get a move on and do MORE of the things I want to do before time steals those opportunities away. Yes, I’ll be signing up for Tango lessons soon…
Today I found myself looking at everyone around me on the train home and wondering how many of them were doing things they really wanted to do and how many of them were just ‘existing.’ A sad thought but enough to inspire me again to keep taking my worklife less seriously than many people around me think I should, continue doing whatever seems interesting and fun and most of all, keep walking to the beat of my own drum whether it’s playing rock n roll, blues, jazz or pop – I like a bit of variety!
Growing up in suburban Perth (Western Australia) was great but I always knew I was a gypsy at heart. In my teens I was thrilled when one of my Aunts, probably inspired by my long dark hair and hoop earrings; decided I looked like a gypsy and that there must be some in our family tree.
Needless to say, that’s never been proved and my idea of gypsies was a romanticised movie version – gorgeous dark haired people who danced & sang their way across the world. The idea of such freedom, going wherever you want, whenever you want, without a care, seemed an ideal existence.
Ideal however, is not often aligned with reality so it was probably no surprise to anyone that I didn’t grow up, leave home and roam the world without a care. My reality became an almost predictable cycle of getting a job, getting married, having a child, getting divorced, starting over and trying to work out what I’d like to do “when I grow up.”
I knew I wanted to roam the world and dreamed of seeing all the places I’d ever heard of, seen in a movie or read about. That’s a lot of places – I read a lot and love the movies.
Although it was hard to imagine how I’d able to live that life, I kept telling myself someday I would. In the meantime, I needed to make a living, raise my son and create the lifestyle I wanted for us.
My career choices reflected the battle between my creative and practical self with roles as different as being a makeup artist to co-ordinating business improvement projects whereas my personal life always included dancing, singing and performing in amateur theatre. No, my son does none of those – he’s into basketball and skateboarding.
For many years our lives consisted of mad dashes between work, school, rehearsals, sporting matches and anything else we decided to fit in until suddenly, my son was grown up, working and about to leave home. When I said I needed time to get used to the idea of not seeing him every day, he laughed and said I should be thinking of doing the things I said I’d do when he grew up.
Did I mention that my son is not just good at sport but also smart?
Once again I found myself starting over. This time, knowing my child was independent, I could choose to live my dream. It’s true the hardest part of any decision is the making of it. Once I’d decided, everything fell into place as if it was always meant to be.
That’s how I became an International Woman of Mystery and set off to see the world.
Over 18 months I saw as much as I could of each place I visited including New Zealand, North America, Mexico, Sweden, India, UK and Europe. My ideal gypsy life was now my reality and I could choose every day, to do whatever I felt like.
Such freedom is amazing and makes it almost impossible to fit back into what everyone at home sees as a normal life. Before I left, most people I know talked about my trip or holiday as if it had a finite time but I knew in my heart it was just the beginning and it would be a long time before I’d want to settle anywhere.
From my perspective, it wasn’t a holiday, it was a lifestyle change. I no longer feel I need to fit anyone’s ideal except my own and that’s freedom in itself. I do believe the only limitations I have are the ones I set myself as I’m the one who makes the choice to do the things I want to do or just think about them.
My choice for now? I’m going to base myself in the UK so I can travel more frequently before deciding where I might like to settle……for a while.