It was a political coup in a hot, equatorial country, and we flew from our cozy, normal lives in Seattle right into the heart of it.
That’s how this new lifestyle began back on October 1, 2010, and it has been a series of adventures and lessons ever since. We’ve grown in ways we never imagined we could (or even needed to). The internal journey has been as rich as the external one, and today we’re celebrating our 3-year travel anniversary by sharing some of those lessons with you.
(Stay tuned to the end of this article because we’ve got something else for you, too!)
It’s Never the Right Time (so do it anyway)
It’s easy to put off doing the things you want until you lose 20 pounds, pay off your credit cards, or declutter your house. We neglected our dreams in big and small ways for years waiting for the right moment.
What we’ve learned from traveling the world is that we’re never 100% ready for the things we want to do, but because we’re constantly moving we have to do them anyway or forever miss the opportunity.
We don’t have the luxury of being in one place for a long time, so we can’t lull ourselves into thinking it will happen later when we have everything sorted. So we try the weird food, take the uphill path, ask a dumb question, and speak like toddlers in unfamiliar languages.
We dive in despite our lack of readiness, imperfect and unsure, and learn along the way.
There is no hold button for life. You either decide to do something or you let it pass you by.
Waiting for perfection means waiting forever. And you don’t have that much time.
Regrets Are Usually for What You Don’t Do
I regret not sledding down the hill in Antarctica. I regret not going to my friend Karen’s 50th birthday party. I regret not going rock climbing in Thailand.
See the similarities? I don’t regret anything I’ve actually done, even the things that didn’t turn out as expected.
What I regret are the things I was too chicken to try, because now the moment has passed. I won’t get the chance to do most of those things again.
What was I so afraid of?
A regret over something you’ve done leads to insights into how you can do better the next time or adapt your situation. It’s an active way of processing a feeling.
But a regret about something not done is a wallowing pit of despair with no way out. There is usually no action you can take to repair non-action in the first place.
At least with the mistake you get a good story out of it.
Aim for more stories and less regret.
Head Games Are for Small Minds
What we’ve learned from being together 24/7 as we live, work, and travel, is that head games reduce the strength and ability of our relationship to do big things. If you can’t say what you want, call your partner out on a problem, or be vulnerable about your needs, then you’re not going to get far.
In fact, you might self-destruct your relationship over something really stupid.
Games are for kids, and to do grown-up things in this world, you have to act like one.
- Say what you really want.
- Learn to take critical feedback.
- Raise your standards for your own behavior and that of the people you allow into your life.
- Trust yourself and your partner.
- Always assume the best intentions of your mate unless proven otherwise.
When everyone is playing their A game, you’ll be living a bigger and better life than you ever imagined.
Stop being a player and you’ll get to play more.
You Don’t Have to Know Every Answer
When we set off to walk 100 km in Mongolia with a non-English speaking guide, we had a lot of questions. It was natural, given that we don’t live there or speak the language. But we quickly realized that just because it was our first time didn’t mean it was the first time.
There’s almost nothing in this world you can do that hasn’t been done before, and you don’t have to make up a brand-new set of rules each time. You can rely on the experience and expertise of other people to guide you. And when you don’t have that, being in the midst of the situation will force you to learn exactly what you need to do when you need to know it.
By doing this, you get to do more in life because you don’t have time to learn everything before you start.
- We relied on a lot of advice from locals to make our way overland from Thailand to Portugal
- We didn’t know anything about publishing when we wrote our first book, and now we have 3.
- We didn’t know how we were going to produce a weekly podcast when we didn’t have a regular studio, but we’ve been broadcasting for over 6 months now from ‘studios’ we create from wherever we happen to be.
It’s a relief to give up the idea that you have to reinvent the wheel every time or know it all before you start, and doing so will allow you to do a lot more in your life.
You don’t have to know it all to do it all.
Most People Are Good and Want the Same Things You Do
People are different in dozens of ways all over the world. They eat exotic foods, wear unusual clothes, and speak different languages. But at the heart of things, they are very much like you and me.
- They want their families to be safe and healthy.
- They want to enjoy time with the people they love.
- They want to be proud of where they live.
- They want to leave the world a better place for the next generation.
Headlines may make it seem like the rest of the world is out to get you or that anyone who is different from you is up to no good, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We’ve done a completely unscientific study while living among people ‘not like us’ and estimate that 4% of the world’s population are jerks. These are the people who look for loopholes to get what they want, steal, lie, and cheat.
It’s 4% all over the world, including your hometown and the furthest remote village on the other side of the world.
You know what that means?
96% of the world deserves your trust, kindness, and understanding.
Our adventures have been 96% wonderful. And when we do run into the 4% of bad, we remind ourselves that it wouldn’t have been able to happen if we weren’t living this dream. You don’t run the 4% chance to get your backpack stolen on a train to Budapest if you’re not actually on a train to Budapest.
If you reject people unlike you because of the 4% chance they’ll do you wrong, you’ll miss out on the 96% chance they’ll add something interesting and possibly amazing to your life.
It’s hard to believe we’ve been living this dream for 3 years now. Our adventure will continue for the foreseeable future, and we’re looking forward to Istanbul, Tangier, and plenty of other amazing adventures ahead. Stay tuned as we share what we learn about ourselves, our relationship, and the world around us.
Because we’re just getting started.
To celebrate our 3-year travel anniversary, the electronic versions of our books are just $3 each through October 1 on Amazon. If you want to save money for a big goal, get rid of the junk holding you back, or learn to accept yourself and say what you really want to the people in your life, you can do it for less than the price of a fancy coffee anywhere in the world. Click any of the links above to buy a book for yourself or for a friend…but do it by October 1!