Life can provide us with an opportunity to spend a few months or even years roaming the world and living where we choose. The biggest step is identifying the opportunity and taking the leap to actually do it. I met a lady in a café last week, while I was visiting Chicago, whom had just began embarking on a mobile lifestyle – meaning she was spending a few months living in different cities in the USA and working remotely. She called it building a mobile empire and her next stop was Bali. After I told her that last year I also lived in numerous cities/countries, her question was how did I know where to go next and when it was time to leave?
I previously wrote a blog on how to intuitively plan your next trip which focuses on how to choose what to do and where to go once you have picked a destination. In this case let’s assume you have the money and time to travel whether you are working remotely or living off savings. My guidelines to living in numerous places for short periods of time are:
1. Focus on one step at a time
You don’t need to plan your whole year or trip at once. Use your guidance and intuition to work out where you need to go next. What country or city is calling you to go there? Maybe you heard 3 friends in the past week talk about this place. Maybe everyone you recently met has been there. Maybe you want to go somewhere warm and based on your budget this is the closet warm place. Just focus on where you want to start, the rest will be revealed.
Last January while living in Vancouver, Canada I knew I had to go to Mexico. I wanted to go somewhere warm with a beach, so I took my computer and worked from Tulum for 2 weeks. A few months later I knew I had to go to Maui so I went there for a month. A few months after Maui I knew I had to go to Italy , followed by London, San Francisco, LA and Sydney. In the beginning of the year all I had planned was London to do a triathlon and my annual visit to Australia. The other places revealed themselves just before I went and each place was a significant step to get me to where I had to go next.
2. Move on when you need to
Sometimes we move on from places because we feel ready to, other times we have to leave due to visa, work, health or financial reasons. Either way our time at that place had to end at that moment. The sooner you accept that the better especially if you felt it was out of your control to leave. As much as it can feel heartbreaking to leave beautiful places behind, growth is always been achieved and usually there is something even more amazing in store for you once you leave that you couldn’t of imagined at the time.
Last year, I fell in love with Mexico, then Hawaii then Italy, and each place I left touched my heart. Every destination no matter low long or short I stayed, made me a stronger and happier person and I learnt a lot from my time in each place. I also strongly believe if you like a place that much you will be back. I mean I was back in Mexico again this year (and Australia which is another story in itself). I’ve also been to Thailand, India and Egypt numerous times due to my love for those countries.
There is no such thing as a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel somewhere – unless you place that limitation on yourself.
3. Practice trust and surrender
Even though it sounds like a dream to many to just travel where you want when you want it can be overwhelming and confusing. Even nomads need to feel a sense of being based somewhere and having a community of people to connect with. Once you have established it’s time to leave and are still unsure where to go next the best thing to do is trust the next step will be revealed and surrender to this trust. Sometimes you may have to go to a few other places first until you find where you feel at home. Either way the more you push, get frustrated and want to control your future the further away your answer is.
When I knew it was time to leave Vancouver after 3.5 years, I spent the next few months exploring other places and surrendering that my new home would be revealed, which it soon did.
Enjoy the journey, don’t just focus on the destination.
4. Be prepared to feel unsettled
Living in places for short periods of time means you don’t have your own bed or most of your things with you. As liberating and minimalistic as travel really is, there can be times of frustration when you have to re-buy stuff you have in storage or live with out things that seemed essential to you at home. Instead of stressing over material things and comforts, focus on what you are learning from your new experience, what life and people skills are you picking up that you will have forever? How are you growing from your experience and how does this experience contribute to your life purpose?
10 months after leaving Vancouver, I finally bought a bed again and could get my stuff out of storage. The slightly unsettled journey before then was full of growth, fulfilling dreams and forming amazing connections, which was worth any bit of frustration or discomfort along the way.