“What the hell am I doing with my life?”
This thought repeated throughout my head for most of 2016. I was stuck in a mental rut and I wasn’t sure about what to do next with my life. I didn’t know if it was time to settle down into “adulthood” (buy a home and all of that fun stuff) or to travel the world while I’m still young. At one point a few years earlier it felt like I had everything figured out. Around 2016 I came to terms with the fact that I was pretty lost.
Keep on reading if you’ve ever felt this way…
“The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.” — Ellen Glascow
I was mentally drained from tearing my brain between the following two options that everyone goes through in their 20s at some point:
- The “smart-responsible-adult” option. Buy a house to feel as though I had achieved something in my adult life. This requires working a steady full-time job while you settle into a comfortable routine.
- The “young-and-free-YOLO” option. Do something out of the ordinary while I’m still young enough to do so without the responsibilities of a family with a mortgage and all of that fun stuff. This involves traveling the world and stuff like that.
Clearly due to the fact that I now live in Canada instead of a small town in Australia, I decided to move across the world.
I want to show you that you that travel can help you out of your mental rut and get you back to living your best life…
Having a set in stone plan blocks the mental clutter in your brain.
My brain is forever going a hundred miles an hour. I need to be mentally stimulated at all times and I often find it hard to relax when I have nothing to think about or to plan. It’s during these times that my mind jumps between “what-ifs” and I struggle to even attempt to be a pleasant person. I knew that my mindset needed a major de-clutter but I had never found anything that I enjoyed to help the process.
Having a solid plan (of moving to Canada) helped to ignite the passion in my brain that I needed.
The normal autopilot setting of unrealistic thoughts and making up scenarios was gone. I was full of excitement and anticipation for the move that I hardly had time to think of anything else.
They say distraction is the key and for me this was true. I spent my days organizing, making lists, packing and visiting friends to say my goodbyes.
For others being forever busy sounds horrible (even my partner would pick on my list making). But for me, this was exact distraction that I needed. I was a much more cheerful person to be around those last couple of months before leaving Australia. I knew that I had something to look forward to.
Travel helps you let go of the things that are weighing you down.
Having to pack your entire life into one terrifyingly small suitcase is a real eye opener.
How much stuff do you really need?
I quickly realized the difference between the many wants and needs in my life.
Major realizations for me included:
- I own way too much useless stuff that didn’t even come close to entering my suitcase. If I still had the mass amounts of money that I had wasted on material objects I no longer use I would be filthy rich. I also would probably be a lot more well-travelled too, but let’s not talk about that one!
- Holding grudges is a waste of time and energy. Should I still hate Sally for the argument that we had five years ago. The chances of me seeing those I dislike for petty reasons again are slim. The negative energy created by loathing people was weighing me down.
Gives you new social interactions.
Despite being an outgoing person, I get uncomfortable meeting new people. I’ve always found myself settling in to the safety net of my family and friends that I’ve known forever.
Moving to a new country in which I didn’t know a single soul has forced my fear of new social interactions out of me. There has been many times in the past year, when my partner has had to force me to go places and meet new people. We would argue over the ridiculous reasons that I came up with in my head about why I shouldn’t go:
- “I have friends at home; I don’t need to make new ones.”
- “You should go without me. They’re your friends, not mine.”
I hate to admit that he was right, but he was. After every single one of these feared social interactions, I would explain how much fun I had.
“I told you so,” he would say to me with a smirk on his face. We would laugh over why I was stressing so much.
Traveling the world helps you step outside of your comfort zone and realize what you’re capable of.
“Just do it. You’re on vacation.” — every friend to another who is trying to weasel their way out of an adventure activity.
The fact that you won’t be in this particular destination forever acts as major persuasion tool. I mean, how many people can say that they went skydiving after work one Tuesday?
I doubt that there are many out there. We are all more inclined to do different and exciting things while travelling.
For example, my parents recently travelled from Australia to visit my partner and I in Canada.
They are definitely not the fittest of sorts and perhaps assumed our trip to The Rocky Mountains would not be very physically demanding. Looking at their to-do list for the trip, completing a two-hour vertical hike up Lake Louise probably wasn’t on it. I had completed this climb last year and I was aware of how difficult it was. I left them in the dark about the difficulty of the hike because truthfully, I doubted their ability to do it.
I felt like a proud mother to my own parents when I saw them reaching the top. After the hike Dad expressed to me how glad he was that he had pushed himself. He said that despite the physical challenge that the hike presented, the view was well worth it. It was a great feeling helping them to achieve something that more often than not, they would have passed up on.
Are you stuck in a rut too?! Do you want to be living the same day, drowning in your sorrows for the next ten years?
I encourage you to get out and see the world. Don’t waste your time sitting around and pondering on life’s continual list of “what-if?” scenarios. Changing your surroundings can work wonders in changing your mindset.
Book that trip so that you have a plan set in stone and something to look forward too! Let me know what your plan is or if you just need some motivation to book that flight.