In childhood, I experienced frugal, full-time travel. It was the greatest gift and I never really wanted to return home (even though we did).
I'm now traveling nomadically, witnessing how mindfulness can change us along the way (while tracking down plant-based and GF/celiac food).
Highly imperfect, very curious and sharing endlessly, I hope this helps others feel support in venturing as mindfully and simply as they desire, too. XO
40+ Years Ago
In the 70s, when I was 7, my parents had the courage to toss our family on the road for a year. Frugally.
Family and friends were adamant that it was a crazy thing to do. They were certain we'd be deprived of life's necessities (work, school, friends, television).
My parents planned thoroughly. They figured out how to exchange what they had for what they wanted.
They saved, had a small sabbatical stipend, and knew they would work odd jobs on the road (a teacher in a grain mill, a nurse as a waitress—we thought it was the coolest thing, seeing our parents in such different roles).
Our possessions were stored in the basement of our home, behind a locked door. The rest of the house was rented out.
A 16-foot travel trailer was hooked up to the big red station wagon. Gas prices were high, near 50 cents a gallon.
It was the best classroom ever. We saw every historical site possible.
We made diverse friendships that could not exist in our hometown—yet, as a child, I had no idea this was even happening. What a delight to realize this in adulthood.
We also learned that the giant box in the living room need not be so giant.
It was the wisest decision my parents ever made. I remain forever grateful to have been briefly educated (at such an early age) about the "world out there" firsthand. I wanted much more of it. And for human growth, I can see that I needed much more of it.
The humorous scandal upon our return: the married couple who rented our house turned out to not be married after all, the grass wasn't mowed while we were away, and we found long strings of beads dangling between the kitchen and the dining room. Thank goodness we were able to overcome such things!
Over the years, my parents also tossed us into the wilderness for weeks at a time, and eventually overseas to be with family. Our little eyeballs met endless history, stunning wildlife, and vital diversity. And then, there was more.
It was a bit humorous, though, that my travel gear and plans often felt chaotic. After extensive planning and packing, I'd arrive at a destination and continue to spend endless time sorting through my things, only to feel lost and unprepared for what was ahead.
Thank Goodness for Immigrant Grandparents
Thank goodness, through witnessing my immigrant grandparents' basic necessities and self-sufficient ways, I felt the desire to live simply, too. I wanted to be free of so much.
So I kept downsizing my home life over the years, eventually whittling my possessions to 3 bags. This is how I learned to carefully seek travel gear and resources that truly fit my needs. This is when I began to feel truly free and ready for just about anything.
Cautious childhood habits (working, budgeting, saving) taught me that those with a small income could ultimately do anything. And that later, when one has a larger income, it's actually meaningful to choose to live beneath one's means.
Acquiring lots of things just never brought lasting fulfillment. Whereas focusing on loving growth and daily adventures—in even the littlest of things—have brought so much meaning to life.
I spent my youth caretaking children and the elderly, working as a camp counselor, and in boutique retail.
I spent my young adulthood producing (and traveling to) national events in the tech world.
I later volunteered in television, film, radio, and in community journalism.
I witnessed emotional and physical struggles in these environments, just as clearly as what we witness in our personal environments. But, as one might imagine, nobody discussed them, and people visibly suffered.
This, along with my own experiences, motivated me to train as a Certified Trauma Specialist, Certified Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocacy-Based Crisis Counselor, Certified Peer Counselor, Mind-Body Medicine Professional, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction/MBSR Teacher, Personal Wellness Facilitator and Health Coach, plus earn a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition.
This training made it possible for me to volunteer with mental health practitioners and assist clients experiencing crisis, as well as volunteer with medical doctors and assist patients in need of making critical dietary and lifestyle changes.
These experiences remind me how rare it is to find someone who isn't in need of such support at some point in their lives. For everyone has their story, everyone has their trauma, and nothing is perfect...no matter where we're located.
I'm still in awe that when I take mindful action in a challenging moment, the calm it brings allows me to handle the next moment with more ease. And when I forget to do this? It's my reminder to practice. (I'm reminded to practice a lot.) XO