Before we began this adventure we were different to whom we are today. There is no denying that living on the road promotes a lot of personal change and growth, as does any dramatic change in your life. We knew there would be changes, well we hoped, but we didn’t realise they would be so dramatic.
You can easily account for all of the physical ways your life will change but there is no way you can prepare for how much that will spill into the mental/emotional aspects of what makes you, you. You discover new (and sometimes old) things about yourself, you reignite passion that had been lost in routine and you let go, of many negative past experiences. I like to consider myself a spiritual or thoughtful person so read on for my interpretation of the change and growth I have experienced as a result of this adventure.
|'Let it go'|
For me, the “letting go” has been the most dramatic change. I was an extremely “hardened” person due to being let down by the world, many times in my short life and never truly understanding why. For someone of just 25 years of age I had experienced enough loss to last a lifetime, enough emotional and physical pain to really start to feel that the world “had it in” for poor little me (don’t we all feel that way sometimes, though?). I didn’t understand all of the bad things that had happened and I gauged my self-worth, and ability to be happy based on the negative experiences of the past.
This kind of mindset had fashioned me into a stressed, over-emotional, pessimistic shadow of the woman I hoped to be. It dictated my days, my relationships with others and my passion for life, in subtle and overwhelming ways. Even when I was happy and content ‘in the moment’ I was aware and held back by the fact that it could all be taken away at any second and nothing was within my control.
When we moved into our van and began travelling I didn’t necessarily gain a massive amount of control that had been missing from my life. I gained an entirely new perspective and emotional response to my past. I gained the ability to “let it go”. I’m not 100% sure of what aspect of the adventure facilitated this element of growth, whether it was the actual act of downsizing and leaving everyone and everything we knew. Perhaps it was seeing a new place every day or meeting new people or all of these things combined? I know it certainly had something to do with being so close to nature.
I tend to harp on a lot about the healing power nature possesses, because I genuinely believe it played a role in my personal growth. Immersing yourself in nature is not only reaffirming but the minimalistic non-material aspect of it makes it something you can subconsciously depend on when other resources may dry up. You don’t need to control nature yet you don’t feel disconnected from your own future when you immerse yourself in it. Being able to seek out nature (by going on camping trips or picnics or even travelling Australia in a van or tent) and wander through a forest or watch a sunset over the beach provides the most simplistic form of joy and happiness.
For me, enjoying nature and the outdoors has been fundamental to growing as a person. When I sit on a beach and watch the sunset, or let the red sand of the dessert sift through my fingers I experience optimistic emotions and a vigour or passion for life. I feel inspired by nature and its beauty. I let go of the past and relax, physically and mentally, into the woman I am meant to be. My family and I relax and we are flooded with endorphins and energy to conquer any emotional or physical barrier. Never underestimate the positive effect that getting outside and immersing yourself and your family in nature could have on your life, your relationships and your overall happiness.