On occasion we meet people who say, “I could never live the life a world traveler—on the road all the time, not having a permanent home, missing out on families and holiday celebrations…” Sometimes it’s hard to read their faces, and I have tired of justifying our lifestyle.
One Perfect Way to Live?
I believe that every manner of living has tradeoffs. There is no one perfect way to live that doesn’t challenge you in one way or another. Having children is rewarding, but it’s not paradise-on-earth. While pursuing the career of your choice brings great fulfillment, there are other sides to life too. Building community is both grounding and gratifying, and so is meeting ourselves in continuously new situations where we must think on our feet.
Billy and I happen to enjoy vagabonding around the world, getting involved with the local populations, seeing the world firsthand from various different perspectives. In turn, our own personal views have widened and brightened. This is not to say that there aren’t times where we must “buck up” and meet the imperfections of life. It would be naïve to think that it would be any other way.
I Should Never Have Been a World Traveler
For being a world traveler, I have particularly unhelpful personal failings. For instance, I get motion sickness on buses, trains, planes, boats, and cars. Believe it or not, I can become seasick while bodysurfing if the waves are too forceful!
But because my desire to see the world is greater than my need to give in to this annoying physical dilemma, I take my Dramamine or modify my behavior when required. I don’t allow the illness to rule my life entirely.
On top of this—and this is acutely embarrassing—I am directionally challenged. I get my rights and lefts mixed up continuously and could get lost in a paper bag. It is not until I become somewhat familiar with a location that I can navigate a town by myself. After too many turns, I am hopelessly discombobulated and must surrender to my situation. This has been a long standing life condition, yet I still manage to get the groceries at local indigenous markets and to find my way home.
It’s Hard to Have Everything at Once
I was speaking with a friend the other morning about how completely satisfying my life is on the one hand, yet I have these “holes” on the other. I told her my life is like a chunk of Swiss cheese: sweet, solid, and satisfying but not without its spaces.
I’m ok with that.
The holes give my life character and contrast and these are the places where I seek out family and friendships to fill in those hollows. My loved ones have the homes and the festivities based on calendar events like Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. Many of them have pets, children, grandchildren, and gardens. And I love all of it.
When I visit, I dive in doing household projects like painting bathrooms, shaping plants, and cooking meals for a dozen people. On these occasions my hosts love my enthusiasm and I love being able to contribute and join in with abandon.
Always an Adaptation
I like my life.
I wouldn’t say that even with my Swiss cheese approach that I am profoundly missing or craving anything that I don’t have. It’s been an exchange of one thing for another, and I have adapted to my decisions.
I would imagine that the choices you have made for your own life expression have suited you as well. There’s a trick to finding just the right balance to living the life you love.
Decisions to have “this” rather than “that” can cause a melancholy—but only if we let it. The distinctions of our life expression as compared to someone else’s are what make sharing exciting and friendships bloom.
It would be boring if we were all the same, and I thank the heavens that we are not.
By Billy and Akaisha Kaderli. Billy and Akaisha are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.