I want to tell this story about when I was in my mid to late twenties. At the time I had been working as a manual therapist at Tyax and Last Frontier Heli-skiing for five years in northern BC. I would take a Heli from Vancouver and worked two weeks on two weeks off. But on the fifth year after the season finished my contract was up, and I had the itch for the new and unfamiliar. I felt like it was time for a change – a new job, a new challenge, and a new place to live.
So I did it. I gave back the keys to my apartment and I packed everything in my Subaru station wagon. Back then I had a theory that everything I owned had to fit in my car. If it couldn’t fit, I didn’t need it.
I did not know where I was going next. I did not know where I would sleep that night. I did not know where I was going to work or what town I would next call home. I didn’t want to rush to make plans out of the pure fear of the Unknown. Instead, the morning I set off I woke up with no idea where I would be sleeping that night. That morning I just saw as far as driving to my favourite cafe, where I would just sit for a while with a coffee and see what part of the country I felt pulled to next.
“You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L Doctorow
In that café I remember someone happened to ask me what I was up to that day.
“Well, I don’t know,” I remember I said. “That’s my car over there.” I pointed out the window. “It’s loaded with everything I need, but I don’t know where I’m going.”
It seemed a straightforward response to me. I was in transition and taking a moment to sit with my coffee and croissant and really try tune into where my intuition was pulling me next. But this guy seemed really confused. I remember him asking: “what do you mean, you don’t know where you’re going?”
Up until then I hadn’t considered it odd or weird that I hadn’t made my next plan yet.
I didn’t really realise that most people didn’t do that.
The thing is, I knew and trusted that wherever I decided to go, I would land someplace that was right for me. Yes, in the next few weeks I would have to sharpen my whiskers, I would have to find somewhere to live and figure out how I was going to get money coming in. I had to find food and shelter.
It’s not as easy as breakfast being served on a plate: relocating and starting a life somewhere new is hard work. But what scares people most about leaving the familiar to start a life somewhere else isn’t the hard work, but the fear of the unknown. It’s the fact they don’t know where they will sleep, how they will eat, whether there will be a community there that will welcome them. What they don’t know is this :these three things can always be found.
SHELTER, FOOD, COMMUNITY
It is important to put yourself in situations completely out of your comfort zone sometimes, where you are forced to rely completely your bravery, gut instinct and resourcefulness to get by. Moving to a new village, town, city or country, does that. It is equally important to have times in your life where you don’t rush to make a plan. Where you instead, are lead by your intuition. Where you sit with an open slate in front of you and moment by moment make footsteps based on what the intuition tells you. Even if it seems illogical. When we practice these qualities, we keep them acute. When we don’t, they lie dormant. It is no use to have a rusty sense of self belief, determination and resourcefulness when shit hits the fan in life, which it is sometimes bound to do.
SHELTER VS. HOME
When you do this you create a home in yourself. A big question people have is “but if I move, where will home be?” To this I say, there’s a big difference between ‘home’ and ‘shelter’. Shelter is where you physically live, and for some people their shelter and home is the same thing. But for us nomads, who don’t have a set plan, who move with the wind and move on when a place doesn’t serve us anymore, our home is in ourselves. In our body and our breath. In our unwavering commitment to follow the pull of our heart and meet challenges with curiosity and not fear.
People sometimes don’t follow through on following the road less travelled is because they don’t know what’s on the other side and they’re terrified. The simple fact is they don’t have the answers to shelter, food and community: where will the money come from? Where will I live? Will I have a community there? The insecurity and fear takes over and curiosity never gets to play a part.
But why do you need to know what it’s all going to look like?
But there are so many different ways to make money and you will always find community. There will always be people there to welcome you in. That’s what community is.
Say for some reason, any of these things don’t come, or it feels like a significant amount of struggle and, it’s not flowing. That doesn’t mean you should turn around and go back home. It just means to keep moving forward, listening to your gut, until you find your place.
Our journey as human beings is not…
about following a pre-ordained path, but about creating that path.
Life rarely makes anymore sense when things are done “in order.”
Life makes sense when we are centered in our hearts and
we let go of resisting how our own unique journey needs to unfold in its own beautifully unruly way.
WE GO WHERE THE WIND PULLS US
I ended up going to the Kootenays, by the way, where I lived for two years. Since then, I have pulled up stumps and moved my life many times, and currently live in El Salvador, Central America. I don’t know if I’ll be here forever, but it’s good for right now, and I’m comfortable with not knowing.
This nomad life, this life where we go where the wind pulls us and move on when a place does not serve us anymore, is not for everyone. But if you’re not happy where you are now the only solution is to change something. And change can only occur with the process of seek-and-search, one footstep after another, without a set plan. It can only happen when we learn to sit comfortably with uncertainty. When can take a leap of faith and trust, trust, trust.
If you want a change, if you want to set out on a truth seeking adventure and go where your gut pulls you, don’t let fear and insecurity win. Focus only one or two footsteps ahead and keep those whiskers sharpened. That’s all you need.