As a long-term vagabond I’m often asked if ‘travel’ is the most important thing in the world to me. Whilst I understand how people may come to this seemingly logical conclusion, considering I don’t seem to be able to keep still in one spot for longer than a month, I am often left wondering why others don’t see what I see. Why do they not realize that this kind of life is not about travel per say? The decision to reshape my life and make it location independent is, and always has been, all about freedom.
Freedom is, above all else, my most precious possession.
To be completely honest, it may be a little presumptuous to assume everyone understands the true ideal behind living such a blissfully unrestricted life. After all…it took me long enough to reach that conclusion!
It was around the beginning of 2004 when I finally realized the cause behind my recent bout of unhappiness. Everyone in my life was telling me I had all the reasons in the world to be happy: I’d just turned 30, was in a highly paid job in the fashion industry and had just taken possession of a gorgeous inner-city apartment in Sydney, Australia. By all intents and purposes…I was on the ‘right’ track. But right for whom? Who on earth decided that this was the way we were all meant to live? Whilst my friends coveted my designer wardrobe and my parents were proud as punch I’d made a long-term investment; all I felt was that I was losing control of my life…inch by inch. I do understand that some people may look at their heavily mortgaged four walls and see security and long-term stability, yet all I saw was virtual handcuffs.
I felt claustrophobic, frustrated and not a little depressed to tell you the truth. It wasn’t until one totally unremarkable day that the famed light bulb was tuned on. I was staring at the photocopying machine watching endless copies of a document emerge from the out-tray. As the hypnotic sound and motion of the pages entranced me, I remember smirking and thinking ‘This may just be the personification of the rest of my life. Every day the same, every year identical; everything predictable and safe’. It was then that I saw my situation for what it was and I could finally verbalize what and why I had been feeling so unfulfilled. I didn’t want safe and predictable, I didn’t care about pretty clothes or accumulated assets; all I wanted was freedom. The only thing I wanted was control of my life.
Travel turned out to be my most fervent desire yet I do see this as a by-product of enjoying personal freedom. Making the decision to chase my dream of long-term travel was not the difficult part for me; coming to the realization that this is what I desired most was by far much harder. From beginning to end this process took two years of my life, yet of course this is neither regret nor a statement of self-admonition. It was a necessary process I had to go through in order to build up the courage to leave all my securities behind and to reshape my mindset.
If you happen to share my passion for travel and my fervent desire to be free of modern societal constraints, you may be wondering how on earth you could ever afford to take the plunge yourself.
Well, after nearly a decade of aimless wanderings, I’m here to ask you just one question…
How can you afford not to?
Written by Laura Pattara