Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of someone else’s thinking. –Steve Jobs
UPDATE: READ THIS POST TO SEE WHERE WE ARE IN OUR JOURNEY. IT MIGHT JUST SURPRISE YOU.
It’s taken my husband and I years to get to this point.
My husband grew up moving every few years…he lived in places like Alaska and Iceland. I grew up with my head in the clouds…reading anything about foreign lands and new places that I could get my hands on. I would spend my summers going through the Best Western hotel guide (remember when those were thick paper catalogs?) I’d check travel guides out at the library. I’d find any map I could and highlight dream road trip routes on it.
I didn’t see it then.
My husband and I moved from Montana to Minnesota when we were 19. And we figured we’d rent an apartment for a few years, start to prepare ourselves for the “settling down” life, and buy a house. 5 years went by. And instead of buying a house, we put our priorites everywhere else. We moved to another city nearby, stayed there for a few months, then took an opportunity to move to Iowa. We looked at houses there…got pregnant with our first son…everything was in line to settle down. Finally. But we got the itch. And the stars aligned allowing us to move. So we moved to Minnesota. Got an apartment. And talked about settling down.
And guess what.
We moved again. And as we started looking at houses in our new town, determined that this was the time to settle (we were in our 30s by now, after all.) And we got that itch. The ability to settle down wasn’t something we had. So we moved. Halfway across the country to Washington. We love Washington. Heart and soul, the Evergreen State drew us in. So it made sense to settle there. But.
We didn’t. We moved again. And again. And again.
It took us until we lived in Wisconsin, a few months ago, to see what was staring us in the face the entire time.
A facebook memory post popped up, of a blog I used to keep for family, and in that blog was something I had totally forgot about. Me writing about how we wanted more…how we wanted to be on the road. All the time. How we dreamed of exploring and meeting new people and being minimalist.
And the post was from 5 years ago.
This dream of being nomads was something we had talked about for years. And then when we were packing for our most recent move (this last weekend), my husband came across a letter he had written to me, mentioning how his dream was to travel the country with me, living on the road. That was 13 years ago.
How had this dream been living in us this long? How had we never fully acknowledged it?
We were already embracing our nomadic soul. That long ago written letter confirmed what we knew all along.
We were weird.
What you seek is seeking you -Rumi
And that’s ok.
We are finally at peace with who we are. We’re the ones who can’t settle, at least not now. We’re the ones who haven’t chosen the same path a lot of people have. Neither way is bad. We just know who we are now.
If you’re trying to find your path in life, if you’re feeling like you should settle, if you are told by society or the people around you to put roots down but you just can’t…that’s ok.
Here’s some thoughts:
1) You have to live with your own decision.
Does the thought of settling down in one place give you a “rock in the gut” feeling? It might be time to examine the reasons why. Because you have to live with what you decide, and if what you are doing doesn’t bring you joy, then it may be time to reevaluate.
2) You can always figure out the next step down the road. Literally.
You don’t have to have all the answers for tomorrow, today. Maybe your family and you want to do this for 6 months. Or a year. Maybe you don’t know how long it will be. But if you have the dream to do it, it’s worth embracing.
The worst that can happen after diving into the research is you decide not to do it. If you’ve done your research, if you know that you can survive and thrive living a nomadic life, than isn’t it worth testing the waters?
3) Find a compromise.
If you know that you have a nomadic heart, but don’t want to live on the road full time, look at other options. Maybe you are qualified for a job that you get to travel. Perhaps your company needs people to move to other markets. Not everyone wants to travel. But if you do, go for it!
4) Be ok with who you are.
A lot of people will tell you to settle down. From day one, society tells us to buy the house, stay in one place, and that is the proper way to live a responsible life. In my opinion though, if you are providing for yourself and your family, working to improve your life, making sure you, your spouse, and kiddos are generally happy, and making decisions after considering ALL factors, that is responsible.
5) Acknowledge your dream.
This is the one that took us the longest. As we searched for what we were meant for in life, what we were meant for was standing there all along. Staring us in the face.
We ignored it though, thinking that it was irresponsible. Ridiculous. Unacceptable.
Now though, we acknowledge our dreams. We embrace them. We understand that while not everyone is going to understand why we want what we want, we are the ones who have to live with it. Not everyone else. This is our dream…and we embrace it. It makes us who we are.
Embracing your nomadic soul can take on many forms. It’s up to you to figure out what you want. But chances are, if you clicked on this post by choice, you already have that spark of desire.
The next step is to figure out how you’re going to follow it. And that looks different for each and every individual. Our journey is different from others, and I think that that is what makes the full time rv life, nomadic life, world traveller life, etc so amazing. We all have our stories.
We’re just starting out on ours, but the first step to forging your own path in life is embracing who you were made to be.
UPDATED TO ADD: WE TOOK OUR OWN ADVICE AND DECIDED THAT INSTEAD OF FULL TIME RV LIFE, WE WOULD INSTEAD WORK ON FINDING A COMPROMISE. KEEP FOLLOWING OUR BLOG FOR GREAT TRAVEL TIPS, EVEN THOUGH WE WON’T BE ON THE ROAD FULL TIME! THE FACT THAT WE CHANGED OUR PATH DOESN’T CHANGE A THING ABOUT HOW I FEEL ABOUT OUR NOMADIC SOULS, WE JUST DECIDED TO CHANGE HOW WE APPROACH IT!
We lived in Washington state, on the western side of the Sound, for a year. We fell in love in an instant, and those 12 months have changed our lives forever. When we talked about sharing our travel experiences, we knew that when it came to Washington, there was no way we could choose only 5 places for the entire state…not when the eastern side is such a contrast to the western side, and not when the vibrant urban feel of Seattle is so opposite the jawdropping natural beauty of the coastline.
As a result of that realization, our Washington lists will be split into different areas. And because we spent that year living on the Kitsap Peninsula, just a stone’s throw from the Olympic Peninsula, here is our list for our Top 5 places to go if you’re visiting the Olympic Peninsula.
1) Second Beach, Olympic National Park
Second Beach is breathtaking all on it’s own. But to get there, you have to take a short 4 mile round trip hike through easily some of the most magical scenery possible. When we hiked the trail with our then 5 year old, there were giant trees overturned with their roots showing. Moss and ferns everywhere you looked. And as you near the beach, you hear the ocean long before you see it.
And once you get to Second Beach? Brace yourself. The moment that we stood on that beach is etched in my brain permanently. When you visit Second Beach, be on the look out for Ochre Starfish, Sea Anenomes, Mussels, and even Hairy Hermit Crabs. If you have a budding naturalist, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Second Beach.
The hike to the beach does have a few tricky spots, but a good pair of hiking shoes will do the trick. Watch for the “magic tree” (we called it that)…a old, hollow tree that has all sorts of wonderful treasures that people have put in there.
2) Port Townsend
If you have a military nut in your house, Port Townsend is the place to go. Home to historic Fort Worden, our little guy adored snooping around the old bunkers, watching the reenactors, and exploring the grounds.
If you’re more into sea glass and ocean creatures, definitely check out Glass Beach. Sometimes we’d find tons of sea glass, sometimes we didn’t. Beyond sea glass though, this beach is full of amazing ocean life…chitons, limpits, tons of different sea weeds. And any boat nerds will love watching Ro-Ro ships pass by.
Port Townsend’s downtown and marina is awesome. Make sure to take some time to walk through the historic, quaint downtown!
3) Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park
If you made us pick our favorite beach on the Olympic Peninsula, I don’t think we could. Ruby Beach is definitely at the top. The hike to get to Ruby Beach is longer than the hike to Second Beach, and is 6 miles roundtrip. Just like Second Beach though, the hike is part of the beauty and experience. Coming over that final section and seeing the expanse of the Pacific Ocean before you is life changing.
We stayed at Ruby Beach for a good portion of our day…we just couldn’t make ourselves leave. The sea stacks are incredibly breathtaking, and seeing them as the sun begins to set really tops off the experience. There is a vast array of ocean life just like at Second Beach. Both beaches are amazing…and it’d be impossible for me to suggest one over the other.
4) Cape Flattery
Cape Flattery was our last big day trip before we moved from Washington. You know how they say to save the best for last? We did. The hike to the North-westernmost point of the Lower 48 is a beautiful hike in itself.
Despite the fact that I typically hold fast to the idea that the journey is better than the destination, this is my one exception. The hike is amazing, but the view of Cape Flattery is mesmerizing. As we stood there, at the edge of the continental US, we watched gray whales play in the water surrounding the lighthouse island. We watched waves crash into sea caves. And those tall evergreens against the moody skies were breathtaking.
I did this hike 33 weeks pregnant, and while it was definitely challenging, it was worth it. Our 6 year old handled it like a pro, and he still talks about it to this day. (Granted, he talks about the guys he met that were doing aerial photography.) One tip: wear good hiking shoes, and keep those little ones on the boardwalk!
5) Port Angeles
Port Angeles was Explorer Cub’s favorite town on the Olympic Peninsula. He loved all the ship traffic, and always looked forward to seeing the ships coming through and the Coast Guard boats.
We loved Port Angeles because of it’s proximity to Elwha River. As environmentalists, we felt strongly about the Elwha Dam removal project, and to be able to see the Elwha River and the mouth of the river restoring itself back to the way it had been was a huge part of concreting what we felt was right.
Standing at the mouth of the Elwha was a highlight of our time in Washington. Explorer Cub played in a driftwood hut on the beach with a friend he had just made, while we relaxed on those rocky shores, watching Bald Eagles and multitudes of sea birds fly and roost.
So there you have it!!!! Our top 5 places to visit on the Olympic National Park. This list is nowhere near everything we loved…there were even a few places we really wanted to see that we just didn’t get to. (Being pregnant with Tiny Timber definitely altered some plans.)
Have you been to the Olympic Peninsula? What would you add to the list?
Over the years, we have dabbled in minimalism. One month, we’ll be all in, get rid of things we know we don’t need, and then just as quickly as we purge, we bring more in. It’s been a cycle of inconsistency at best, and one that we have been desperate to break.
Because deep down, we want minimalism. We need minimalism.
Our boys reflect the effects of our consumerism…when we buy excess, they want more. When their toy bins are full, they don’t touch a single toy and play with a box instead. And in seeing that, we began to really look at ourselves. What did we want in life? How where we going to get there?
And while I will dive into those questions in a future post, today I want to share with you the reasons why we choose minimalism. Partly as a way to inspire anyone else on this path, and partly as a way to hold ourselves accountable. We’re human, and we’re prone to wanting things just as much as the next person, but we’re making a conscious decision to make different choices than what a large part of society deems as “normal.”
Now, for the record, this isn’t in any way a post chastising those who don’t choose a minimalist lifestyle. Each and every person must make the lifestyle choices that fit them. These are just the honest opinions of our family of 4.
1) Clutter stresses us out.
We didn’t even realize how much stress clutter causes until we did the final purge of our belongings. And as we sat there, in our mostly minimal living room (I have a thing for house plants and bohemian wall art), we realized that open spaces and natural elements bring us immense joy. When we removed all the stuff, we were able to enjoy what we did have. There wasn’t undue stress over cleaning what we didn’t even use and organizing things that didn’t deserve a space in our home.
2) Our son has Asperger’s.
Now, I’m not a psychologist or even close to an expert on matters of the mind, but our son’s Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorder had a huge role in our decision to minimalize our home. When his room was filled with stuff, his wall plastered with posters and pictures, and his daily life overwhelmed by things laying around, a simple request to ask him to pick something up always ended up in a meltdown.
And I get it. As his mom, I would look around and feel overwhelmed. I can only imagine how it would feel for someone who was even more aware of his surroundings. Simplifying everything around us is proving to be beneficial…our days are calmer, our surroundings are therapeutic. There is a balance between too little and too much for him, and we are finding that perfect area for him.
3) We have big goals to live in a little space.
We want to be full time RVing in a few years. And that’s a huge goal. It would be even more of a goal if we felt the need to keep a lot of things in our brick and stick home. But every single purchase we make, we think about how it will be used on the road. Every single item in our home has to either be well loved or extremely purposeful.
4) Our spending was out of control.
We learned the hard way. Instead of going to college, we went to the school of hard knocks, racking up a somewhat embarrassing amount of debt. Then we figured out a way to handle it responsibly. Yay! Right? Nope.
Because as soon as we figured it out, we bought a new car. And got a few new credit cards. Meaning we didn’t learn anything. Now, we are focused. We have a goal. And we are relentless in going after it. We realize that in life we do have needs, and as a family, we can’t just say we aren’t buying ANYTHING, but we’re much more aware of what we buy, where our money goes, and what our goals are.
5) It’s just easier.
Case in point: Just this last weekend, my husband’s work wanted us to move 3 hours away ASAP. We had planned on moving at the end of February, but when they gave him the opportunity to move sooner, we didn’t want to pass it up. We found an apartment, and just got the word that the apartment is ours. And we move in this weekend. Yep. 1 week before Christmas, with only 4 days to pack and clean up our current abode, we’re moving.
And I’m not worried. In fact, aside from the essentials that we need over the next few days, the house is all packed. It took me a day and a half, while homeschooling, running our etsy businesses, taking care of a sick kid, and a fiery toddler. And I’m not sharing this to be all like “Look how wonderful I am.” Because I’m totally not. But the gift of minimalism is that life is simplified. It gives me the opportunity to do what matters.
Instead of digging through the kitchen drawer looking for something, I have one each of only the things I need…and that has simplified my life in so many ways.
Minimalism isn’t for everyone. I know some people can’t and some people just don’t want to. Our life has been positively affected by minimalism, and it’s something I feel very passionate about. Over time, I look forward to sharing more on our journey, how totally non-minimalist we were once, and how we’re hoping to be even more dedicated as time goes on.
Thank you for stopping by!