A while ago I watched an episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix that featured Francis Mallmann, and within the first couple minutes I instantly connected to him and his words resonated so strongly with me. In the opening he states:
“…All those things made me dream, you know, that there was a very free world somewhere. So my big draw in life since very young was freedom, freedom in only believing in myself and not letting myself being, you know, sort of led by anybody. I wanted to be my own, I wanted to do whatever I wanted. […] You don’t grow on a secure path; all of us should conquer something in life and it needs a lot of work and it needs a lot of risk. In order to grow and improve you need to be there, a bit at the edge of uncertainty.”
That’s me; that’s always been me. When I was about 7 or 8 years old I got really upset with my parents because I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t let me move out and have my own apartment. I have always been very independent, and I have always cherished and nurtured my freedom — in whatever shape it might have taken over the years.
Back in 2015 I blew up my life for the first time and entered Phase 3. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. Recently, I felt like it was time to do it again.
So after more than 8 years working at USF, I decided to leave my position in March. The number one question I keep getting is “what are your plans?/what are you doing next?” And, honestly, I have no idea and that excites me. You can’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life, so all I’m sure of is that whatever I end up doing next will be different.
I’ll still be doing my freelance work on the side, but I’m giving myself a mini sabbatical to re-focus in life before diving headfirst into the next chapter. I’m not sure where my next home base will be, nor am I sure when I’ll even start the hunt for one. All I’m sure of is that right now my soul needs to wander (with some occasional rendezvous plans in the mix). I want to get lost. I want to experience even more cultures, pick up even more languages, and get myself into even more “weird thing is…” moments. I want to build my freelance business from across borders. I want to wake up in different time zones and collect stamps in my passport along the way. With any request for more details than that, my standard response has become: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
People tend to over complicate things, but life is simply a series of choices. If you don’t like how your life looks then it’s time for less excuses and different choices. And as one of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho, said: don't be intimidated by other people's opinions. Only mediocrity is sure of itself, so take risks and do what you really want to do.
The only person or thing holding you back from the life you desire is you. And if you come back at me and say money is stopping you then I’m going to call bullshit. (Have I mentioned yet that I’m bluntly honest?) I come from nothing, and I don’t ask for anything from anyone. All of the successes in my life have been because I’ve worked my ass off for them. So if you really want to travel, then you’ll find a way to save and make it happen.
I'm asked all the time how I’m able to take so many trips, but it’s really all about sacrifices and priorities. That new Apple watch that you had to have? It’s cool and all, but with that same amount of money I’ll just keep my regular watch and buy a plane ticket to Copenhagen instead. All of those bar tabs and weekend brunches you go to? I could use that for accommodations instead. The car you drive that’s better than mine — I’d rather pay for train tickets overseas.
So as odd as it sounds, my priority right now is to be unemployed and homeless. To anyone else that sounds devastating and depressing, but I couldn’t be more thrilled about it all.
My advice to you: whatever it is that you’ve been thinking about doing in life, take the risk. Make the jump. Just go for it. It won’t be easy or glamorous, but damn will it be worth it. Your Phase 3 is waiting to be curated into a life that isn’t chained by routine (in whatever location that might be).
I’ve found that life is always better when looking at the bright side. I’m a creative and inspired communicator with experience in marketing, public relations, new media + graphic design.