It happens from time to time that I see some of those posts on Facebook or similar of people claiming that they will be nomadic forever, wanting to hit the road until the end of their life and beyond if possible. That’s generally totally fine and especially for those who only recently got this freedom of moving around just as they want after having been “enslaved” for a long while in a standard job this ambition is totally understandable.
But like everything in life which has a beginning, it also will have an end, inevitably. When you meet an amazing new person in your life and get together with that very person you also believe and hope that this will last forever (especially this feeling). We all know that it doesn’t. Our world exists because its antipodes are balancing it out.
It’s 2019 and most of our jobs that we are having in this world are not location independent, for better or for worse. Some will never be, although some eager aspirants of the location independent lifestyle might want to contradict here and claim that everything will be possible remote one day. Heaven knows what the future will bring but for now it is what it is: 2019.
Our world exists because its antipodes are balancing out.
Building in our context means pretty much everything that you can build up: a circle of friends, a long-lasting relationship, a career, a family, a flashy 52” flat screen TV on your room wall, ……many many things. With our sedentary lifestyle that we are having since a bunch of thousand years, in combination with the technological and social progress, has led to many people having a lifestyle where they mostly “build”.
Exploring, on the other hand, is discovering the world, diving into a new environment for a while, being the passenger, the stranger, the exotic person. Getting in touch with people that you would have never met, widening your horizon, learning about ideas and worldviews that would have never entered your life otherwise. Making you a more humble and respectful person in best case. Something more than a standard 2 weeks holiday, just to name it.
Here is where you come into the game
Both terms are by no means reserved to a location independent lifestyle; rather are they part of each and everyone’s life. When being young we are doing this naturally. Nature is telling us to build so that we understand how to use the different materials, what the elements mean to us, what we can create out of it. Also, nature tells us to explore in order to understand this world and to get along in it when we are becoming grown-up and our parents will no longer have us under their wing. Our inner instinct is programed this way.
Now, when looking at this kind of building, as it is supposed to be in socially accepted ways nowadays (school, career, family, etc.), it gets many people being stuck and limited in one way or another. Especially in our materialized consumerism world it’s very easy to overly accumulate stuff and belongings, who knows if they are all really improving our lives. Truth is that the more you own and subsequently have to take care of those, the more these things actually own you, not the other way around. Don’t get me wrong, a certain level of material that we can call ours is needed to have a comfortable life, in fact is needed to survive.
Exploring and building are not exclusively part of a location independent lifestyle but are part of all of our lives.
When now looking at the species of location independent people, a kind of lifestyle which is predestined (or at least offers the option) for ever ongoing exploring, an opposite effect could come up. If you are long enough on the run, changing locations and environments just as you change your socks, chances are another country or place on your list won’t make you happy anymore, you are not so much getting engaged with people anymore, you might even experience yourself becoming socially inept.
The big art is to keep the natural balance. To understand ourselves when it is time for which part.
When you build up too much you will find yourself feeling bored. You feel stuck. All the things you build up and often then manifest also in a material form make you feel weary and undynamic, take your time, and by trying to build more you won’t get this happiness anymore that you once got out of it.
When you explore too much you will find yourself anxious. According to the three layer model of comfort zone, learning zone and panic zone, you can get into this very panic zone where you can’t make proper decisions from a strong position and a clear mind anymore. When too many options are roaming around in your mind and you don’t even dare starting to put them in an order you can hardly will ever see a clear picture of what you really want. When traveling and moving around too much, diving from one place to the next without ever really getting engaged properly and no place feels like home anymore.
Too much building = feeling bored and empty
Too much exploring = feeling anxious and restless
Symbiosis, challenges, listening to your gut feelings
It is more than recommendable to have a time of peregrination in life. Best of all right after school in young years when you have all the energy of your life and you are still open and eager to understand the opportunities and challenges of the world and to learn how to deal with them. This will foster our own independence a lot as there are many comfort zone challenges happening in a very short period of time.
What you should have in mind is that at some point you should also create something out of all the raw material that you’ve found while exploring. It’s nice to have a bunch of stories and languages together but in the end of life you most probably also want to have something in your hands.
If you have a chance to go exploring the world on your own after finishing school don’t doubt a moment to do so. This decision will significantly change your path of life.
It is admittedly not always possible to switch from one state to the other one. When you were building a lot you might find yourself in a situation with a lot of responsibilities that you cannot just jump out of. You might be filled with fears of needing to give something up that you once spent a lot of energy and probably also money on. You simply got used to things in a way that you are lacking of imagination that it can also work in another way.
And vice versa, it can struck you hard when after long time exploring to get used to a life again as you might know it from earlier times. Daily routines, having people that you meet again, repetitive events, cleaning windows and your bathroom and even watering plants…
The good thing about a location independent lifestyle is that when being done in a sustainable way that you can integrate both parts to the degree that they live up to your needs. You wish to travel, see something new and to press the refresh button? You can do it!
Tired of moving around and reluctant to make a decision where to go next and packing your bag for it for the 15th time this month? You are free to go to your base to regenerate.
To my understanding, finding this balance between building and exploring is for me what makes a location independent lifestyle a powerful tool.