Have you ever had a moment of total clarity? A moment in life when all the sudden everything makes sense and you know what you’re suppose to do?
I had one of those moments a few months ago, when I decided in a spur of the moment that I would give up my 6-figure salary job and go live in a campervan. I didn’t even own a campervan at the time. But I just knew, with 100% certainty, that it’s what I’m supposed to be doing right now!
It was a magical moment. I’ve never before in my life had that kind of clarity and faith.
But let’s back up a little bit.
I guess I am what you would call a bit of a late bloomer! I wouldn’t say that my childhood or teenage years were horrible, but somehow I often feel like I didn’t really start to live until my mid-twenties. It was only then that I started to understand who I am and how to be comfortable with that.
If I would draw a happiness curve of my life, the years from when I was 25-32 would look a lot like a hockey stick – things just kept getting better every year! I found myself, my place in the world, and maybe most importantly, my tribe.
So here we are then, early in 2017. I’m about to turn 33 and life is great. Well, at least on paper. I have a job I enjoy (and that pays well), hobbies I love, amazing friends, an exciting lifestyle… I’m happy with who I am. In many ways, life is better than I ever thought it could be.
Everything is great! If only it weren’t for that little voice in my head that kept asking “what’s next?”
And the main problem wasn’t that I didn’t have an answer but that everyone else seemed to. Everyone else around me seemed to be on this clear path in life. I’m 33 so you won’t be surprised to hear that most of my friends are getting married, buying houses, having kids and doing all that other traditional ‘grown-up’ stuff. And the few that aren’t, are super career focused.
I felt like somewhere along the way I had taken a wrong turn – or maybe just a different one – and now found myself a little lost in the woods. The beautiful kind of woods, not the scary ones, but lost nevertheless.
I don’t really want to do the whole marriage and kids thing, at least not yet, but I didn’t really want the big-shot career either.
So, I spend a few months wondering around the woods, admiring the beautiful trees, thinking it’s actually quite nice here. But the thought of just staying put didn’t feel right either. While it’s nice right now, I don’t think I’ll love being lost in the woods for the rest of my life.
I explored a few different ideas, thought about going on a holiday (but I didn’t really want to leave New Zealand), maybe making a career change (but I kind of do like the work I do), change my hair (but I like having long blond hair), moving house (but I had already moved twice in the last 6 months)…
Nothing felt right!
Until that magical moment when it all fell into place. It wasn’t a slow process. The idea was suddenly just there and almost just as quickly it turned from an idea into a plan.
I’m gonna sell everything I don’t absolutely need, give up my flat, buy a campervan, walk away from my very promising (and well-paying) career and live in my van! I’m gonna cruise around New Zealand, surf, kitesurf, read, write and just live the life for a while.
Some people might think that’s crazy. Some people might say that the time for doing crazy things like this is in your 20s, not when you’re 33. But I don’t really care what people think because I know, beyond any doubts, that this is the right thing for me to do right now!
I’ve never had that kind of clarity about anything in my life and it is the most amazing feeling!
Why do I know this is the right thing for me? Because somewhere along the way I have figured out my personal values – and realised they are a bit different to most other people’s.
If my top values were about having a stable relationship, starting a family or about having a successful career, lots of money or being able to afford that dream house/holiday/car, then yes, walking away from a promising career and stable life in your early 30s would probably be a bit crazy.
But my top personal values are about freedom, adventure, learning and creativity. Or in other words; having TIME!
I want time to explore all these ideas I have in my head, time to actually learn how to surf properly, time to read and write. I want time to explore new places and learn new things. Time to figure out what life is about if you don’t want to make starting a family or having a successful career your top priority. I want time to do nothing and just be and think.
I want to find out what it’s like when you step outside the box, when you don’t follow the traditional path in life. I want a life done differently!
And that’s how I know I’m doing the right thing. Because it aligns with my values and my idea of a happy life.
So I bought a campervan, name her Josie, told my Boss I’m leaving (he’s a total legend and agreed to let me work 10 hours a week remotely!!) sold most of my stuff and packed up the rest and on the 1st of December 2017 I will officially start this exciting new chapter in my life that I’m calling Life Done Differently.
I’m writing about my experience and life in general on my blog so if you’re interested in reading more about my #Vanlife experiment check out www.lifedonedifferently.com
Or follow me on Instagram for photos of my adventures and beautiful New Zealand.