This is for all of those who are in the “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing with my life” club. I’m right there with you. I know I want to travel, climb mountains, be sustainable, grow my own food, meet new people, help others, hear stories, share my story, be physically active, take photos, take videos, feel creative freedom…and the list goes on. This is my story, and this is what I’m creating a life full of.
I don’t know what your story is, or what you want to create but here’s what I have to say about it: IT’S OKAY TO CHANGE YOUR MIND.
I say this so strongly because it’s hammered down on those of us finding our way in life to “pick something and stick with it.”
I’m not going to pick something and stick with it. There are some people in life who at the age of 6 know they want to be a doctor and then become a doctor by the age of 27. That’s awesome! I’m genuinely happy for anyone who knows early on what their life calling is, or has such a clear sense of vision. I am not one of those people. I’ve always been a little unsure of how exactly to tackle the life of my dreams or even what the life of my dreams looks like. Everyday I’m figuring it out more and more. It’s the most beautiful process.
For me to figure out what exactly it is that I want, I HAVE to change my mind. I have to relish in the process, dig into myself, get to know myself better, and unravel my thought process. And I don’t owe an explanation to the world about each decision either. Within all of this super intense growth, is lots of change! I think that we should stop making people feel flaky or bad for changing their mind – and we should do the opposite.
This process should be celebrated. We should throw parties around changing our minds. It’s such a beautiful time of self growth and self discovery, why not?
To dig into this a little deeper, I’m going to share with you my personal story. It involved some super intense change I had going on this past September. I was traveling around the west coast by myself for a month in my camper SUV (if you want to know how to do this go here).
Prior to this trip I was: living at home, working at REI, attempting to save money, feeling really disconnected with myself. I had lost my direction. I had moved home a year prior from sunny Colorado to begin saving money to travel full time but I was feeling super blah and unsure of where exactly this world would take me or why I would be doing that. At this time I had told myself and the people around me that my next plan was to stay with REI for a long time, and move up the ladder. This company is the most astounding company I had ever worked for and so that really did feel like a great goal for a while.
However, this trip ignited a fire under me. It made me realize that working in retail, even if the company is amazing, won’t serve me the lifestyle I want to live. Plus, I wanted to build a non-profit at the core of it all and I wanted to dig into those feelings even more.
[Introduce change of life plans for umpteenth million time here.]
In my journal, I wrote the following passages:
“What do I love?
- Human connections
- Being active
- Learning new things
- Being outside
- Being creative
- Helping people
I want to grow daily. I want to learn more about myself daily. I want to be creative and have the time to take on creative outlets. I want to help people – this world is not in balance and I have a desire plus the ability to help others not in my position. What can I do?
Do I stay in Iowa?
No, I can’t stay in Iowa. I need to be near the mountains or at least an ocean. I feel most connected with myself outdoors in those areas.
Do I continue working at REI and eventually move up that ladder?
Unfortunately, I don’t think I could see myself working for someone else forever. I have to eventually venture out on my own and create a lifestyle around doing the things I love every single day….Great…here you go again. Changing plans. You never have any focus. You’re so flaky and floaty. You tell people this is what you want and you can never follow through. You’ll never achieve anything if you don’t follow through.
FUCK THIS STORY.
Those thoughts are not me. Everyday, I am going through something new. I’m talking to someone new. I’m experiencing something new. To go into these with an open mind, is healthy! It’s so so healthy to change my mind often. This is the process of refining myself to be exactly who I want to be – to live in a way that is deliberate and caters to my highest sense of being.
If I never change my mind, I’m settling for mediocre.”
And the journal entry goes on. I was debating between college, moving to the west coast, working at REI, and traveling the world full time. I went back to the decision of traveling full time. I’m becoming location independent slowly but surely and truly creating the life I want to be living. I’m digging deep into myself to know my thoughts better, to myself better.
If I know myself to the core, I will be able to know others. If I know others, I will be able to exercise empathy from a genuine place. Having genuine empathy for those around me is the type of shit that changes the world.
So take it from me, someone who is figuring out what it means to navigate this world in a meaningful way, that it’s okay to change your mind on the regular. In fact, every time you do change your mind, it’s reason to throw a party because you should celebrate getting to know the realest version of you.
It’s one of the most beautiful things out there!
This topic is huge on my mind and I said I would be an open book on this blog. I think about, write about, and talk about self-love regularly. I follow the people who talk about it, I read the books about it, I find the articles and websites….I love this stuff. Despite all of that, I have honestly been pretty unsure and nervous of how to talk about it on my blog, with YOU all. It’s a touchy one. A vulnerable spot. Nonetheless, I’m here and I’m ready to discuss it.
I have my own battles with myself, regularly. The doubts, the anxieties, the questions, all of that….it happens. Social anxiety? Oh it’s the worst cause it’s so common. I would never show any part of this to the public eye… in fact I hide it quite well, unless you’re a close friend. I’m real good at making it look like I have it all together. (Haha jokes on the world.) I have my good days. I have my bad days. I have my meh days. Since I’ve been wrestling this topic for so long, I’ve been trying to figure out WHAT self-love is.
How do we attain it?
How do we know when we have it?
Do people with self-love live a certain way? Or have a secret password?
There’s no award or gold-medal in self love out there. (Heck maybe I should create this.)
On New Years, my best friend Julia and I spent our evening in my basement discussing this very topic, creating vision/gratitude boards and eating bacon. (It was a new years for the books.) This is notable because there was a point during the evening where I’m exasperated at my own inability to love myself and wishing I could have the dang thing (self-love.) I couldn’t understand or even wrap my head around where some of my doubts and fears came from. Why can’t they just go away???? At that moment I ask Julia, “But how do we go about this? How do we just get the self-love?” And Julia (whom is seriously the most loving and inspirational human I know) says, “Before any choice, ask yourself ‘Is this aligning me closer or further to my highest sense of self?'”
And now to be honest, I kind of forgot about that conversation until recently. Lately, on my own finding, it has been lamented in my head how extremely important every single decision is. This is how I came to intellectually and emotionally understand Julia’s words.I had heard what she said, but I never experienced it.
Finally, I was experiencing her words for myself, and that’s when it all came full circle.
It’s been hitting me square in the face.
My self-love is awarded through my words towards others, my thoughts to myself, and my daily actions. It’s even more that I don’t shame myself for the actions I do take or have taken in the past. The mistakes will happen. The negative thought will arise and I will dwell. I will say the wrong thing. I am totally human, in all ways so duh, I’m gonna mess up.
Here’s the important things to remember:
- Staying present with where you are. Even with your thoughts.
- In that presence, realize every moment is a choice. Your thoughts, your words, your actions. All choices.
- Once the choice is made, it’s in the past. I can’t figure out how to say this in a non-cliche way but: Don’t dwell on the past. Even better, don’t shame yourself for past choices.
It’s this rotating situation. For the longest time, I considered self-love an action. (And it is, kind of but it’s deeper than that.)
I make an action or speak words that are out of alignment with who I am, and then I dwell (think) about those actions and those words for a period of time, and then make another action or speak more words out of alignment with who I am, because I’m so far away from the present at that current moment because of that past action…and the cycle continues. And it’s HARD to break. I get it.
I run the risk of sounding cliche right now, but this is what self-love comes down too: lots of minuscule choices. Constantly asking myself “Is this in alignment with my highest self?” And if it’s not, I’ll be able to feel it. I’ll feel the guilt coming. The shame. That pit of the stomach feeling. And if it is in alignment, it will feel like joy, happiness, and contentment.
So there it is. Self-love is an everyday practice. An every moment practice, in fact. There’s no gold medal.There’s no test. We all have it within ourselves, we simply have to choose it. Every single day!
There’s a lot that goes into this topic and I’m looking forward to diving into it in the future.This is only touching the surface of a broaaaad journey. I’ll be discussing my daily battles and victories with honoring myself, honoring others, dealing with my past shame, forgiving myself, addressing motivation versus discipline, among many other topics.
If you’d like to share any of your own personal thoughts on this topic or have questions for me, please comment below or shoot me an email! My inbox is always open.
With all the love,
This past September I traveled the west coast for an month by myself. (Mostly) this trip is what has been an inspiration for the rest of my travels and what I get the most questions about. Question no more!
6,000 miles, 28 days, 12 states and $1600 dollars.
I will dive into exact topics from this trip in other posts – but this particular post will be about my mode of daily travel.
I simply turned my SUV, a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer, into a lil baby camper. And it worked great! I was a safe warm ball of bliss every single night. This should work for any size SUV you have – except you might need to take the seats out vs putting them down like mine.
Step 1: Make note of the materials you’ll need before you go to the hardware store and follow step 2 before you go:
- some bins
- an electric saw
- a friend (or in my case, my dad who is also my friend)
- measuring tape
- a level
Step 2: Measure out your bins, the area of your car, and how tall you want your bed to be. I used some of my own bins and they were too big. I went to the dollar store and bought 4 $10 bins that worked perfectly. Take these measurements with you to the hardware store. For nails, we used long nails ( I could not tell you technical terms) and we used approximately 50 of them. Buy 75 for good measure.
Pictured here are my personal bins that didn’t work. The dollar store bins worked great.
Step 3: Saw up all the things. You’ve got your measurements. Your plywood. Your 2 x 4’s. Your long nails. Your electric saw. From here, you will want to measure out and cut your plywood to fit in your car. There are other designs on the web – this is the one I went with to make it easiest.
Here is the plywood after it was cut down to fit in my car.
From here, it’s time to decide how tall you want your bed to be so your bins can fit comfortably underneath. My dad and I decided to make three rows of 2×4’s underneath the plywood. This meant we needed three different measurements to make sure my bed was level – this is also where the level comes in. Play around with these measurements and then cut the 2×4’s as needed. We also screwed two 2×4’s together to make sure it was sturdy enough.
Unfortunately it got dark when we did this, but you can see from the side and the back once we nailed in our feet to the bed. We also created a 2×4 brace at the back of the bed (back of the car) along the bottom of the back 2×4’s, this isn’t pictured. This was done for added stability but I wouldn’t say it’s necessary.
Step 4: Your basic design is created! Congrats! From here, you and your friend (or dad) should test out the sturdiness of your car-bed. Then, the fun part. Adding cushion, blankets and lights.
Yay! We both are able to lay on it! I used 2 pieces of egg crate foam padding for the base. You could staple carpet, throw on an actual mattress, use sleeping pads, tons of clothing….However you add to this comfort is up to you. An egg crate worked fine for me. From there, I added some sheets, a sleeping bag and two base blankets because I am ALL ABOUT the comfort. I wanted a big cozy bed.
I also added in some twinkle lights I bought from Ace Hardware at this time. To attach these, I used some mini nails and nailed them right into the soft part of the ceiling in my car. I’ve seen others on the web use the sticky photo hangers if you want something that won’t damage your car or if you don’t have a soft part. To plug them in, I bought a converter for my cigarette lighter that could plug in anything. This was useful throughout the entire trip.
A note: My car is able to charge things without it being on. I’m aware that other cars don’t do this. If this is the case, and twinkle lights are a must, might I suggest battery powered lights like the ones ENO sells. This is also a little bit safer and you won’t have to be conscious of how long they are on for, so your battery doesn’t die.
Step 5: Curtains! This is an important step. You will want to be sure that you can be hidden from the outside world if you are ever camping somewhere semi-public. Safety is important. My mom helped me with this task. (My parents are total saints and I am so grateful. S/O to them on so many levels, ya’ll will hear about how amazing they are as time goes on.) We used an old sheet. We cut it to fit the window size and then every night I used these little push pins in the soft part of the ceiling to hold them in. It took me about 10 minutes every night and every morning to prepare my curtains. It would have taken longer if I was more unorganized in my daily routines and they were a little bit of a hassle.
This photo quality isn’t fabulous but here’s a lil insight into my nightly cocoon – once it was set up I loved the coziness of the sheets and loved how homey it felt.
Step 6: Putting all the things inside! Feel free to organize your things however you would like. I was extremely particular about organizing everything so it had a home. You will want to think about these things: What will I need most often? What items will I be needing together? How accessible for safety reasons will I need particular items?
In this way, each tub was dedicated to it’s own type of item and then I had 3 smaller backpacks. One for books, one for shoes and one for miscellaneous items. I also had a folder for important papers and documents. I brought a suitcase that was packed like I would normally be traveling for any other trip. I brought all of my normal camping gear – tent, sleeping pad, stove, food, etc. I’ll go over these things in another post. I had a bag for all cosmetics. This was crucial so I wouldn’t have to build a bag everytime. Flipflops were in there as well
Step 7: Profusely thank whoever helped you build this beautiful little home of yours!! And give them a beer if it fits the situation! For me, this is a huge thanks to mom and dad. 🙂
I will go into more detail about my daily routine, the importance of a daily routine, housekeeping and organization on the road in my next post. Look out for that next Friday.
Thank you genuinely for reading this post, my love extends to all of you.
Stay beautiful. Stay inspired. Let me know if you have any questions!
It’s rather hilarious how long it took me to get to this exact spot, writing these words. I came up with EVERY excuse to not. I have a few days off from all of my day-to-day work and I’ve committed that time to creating this blog, meditating, running and yoga. I bought this domain name a week ago and it’s taken me a whole week to finally sit down and JUST WRITE the dang thing. It sounded a lot like this:
“I need a better logo.”
“I need to cook these beets in the fridge or they will go bad.”
“I should do another guided meditation.”
“Ugh, I am so craving french toast. I need to make that or I won’t think clearly.”
“I should learn some more about online marketing.”
Anyways – now that I’m here – let me tell you what’s going on with this here blog. First off, thank you for arriving and reading! It’s a pleasure for me to share my life with others and I’m truly honored that you are taking the time out of your busy life to read this. This blog is going to be dedicated to my own self discovery with the hopes that I can inspire you to also dig deep into your self discovery.
I’m currently living in Des Moines, Iowa. You’ll hear more about my broad life story as time goes on, but for now I think it’s only important you have an idea where I am located this big ol’ world.
Here are some things I’m doing:
- I am saving money to start traveling the world full time starting in September.
- I am training for my first 50k that is on September 2nd.
- I am on an internal journey towards radical self acceptance and self love.
I’ll be writing about my thoughts, experiences and training process pertaining to these goals and topics. I’ll be sharing the resources I use to achieve these things as well as tips, tricks and hints to improve my own efficiency that I’ve discovered or created along the way.
I don’t want this blog to be purely me talking to you. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments, questions, noted a typo, conversation topics, cool tips, a hilarious story (this is very needed), needing a pick me up, to be told you’re loved or any other thing you’d like to chat about! I’m all ears.
My love extends genuinely to all of you,