What Traveling The World Has Taught Me
A hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore. Seems I’m not alone at being alone. A hundred billion castaways. Looking for a home. — The Police
In 11 days I’m heading to my 4th continent out of 7 available.
Of the 50 states in the U.S., I’ve been to 34.
I’ve been to Canada and the Florida Keys. I’ve built houses for the poor in Haiti and drank Red Stripe beer in Jamaica.
In short, I haven’t traveled the entire world, but I’ve seen more of it than most.
Here’s what it’s taught me…
1.) Freedom doesn’t really exist, but that’s ok.
It’s not what we really want anyway.
I’m talking about external freedom. The ability to just go anywhere you want, anytime you want, and do anything you want. That doesn’t really exist.
There are rules to where you can go, when, and for how long. They’re called Visas. You can’t just do whatever you want either, there are laws against that.
Freedom in the sense that you can just go anywhere and do anything, does not exist. I’ve tried. There are rules everywhere.
2.) External freedom doesn’t exist, but internal freedom does.
While external freedom doesn’t exist there is another type of freedom that does exist. It’s called internal freedom.
Internal freedom is the freedom of thought, decision, and attitude. No one can tell you what to think, what to decide, or what attitude to have. You’re the sole ruler of your mind and body.
If you want to be sad you can be sad. If you want to be horny you can be horny. If you want to ponder extra terrestrial life you can do that.
At any time anywhere in the world you can close your eyes and reach internal freedom. You can sit there with your eyes closed and experience any emotion you want or think of any thought you want.
I chased freedom all around the world and all along it was inside me.
3.) We don’t even really want freedom anyway.
Not in the sense of being able to live without rules or boundaries.
That’s just some bullshit we tell ourselves.
We tell ourselves “If I didn’t have any rules or boundaries, then I could finally be successful/happy.”
It’s a fallacy. Let me explain…
It’s been 6 months since I’ve had a home. I earn a very good living from an Internet business. I have no strings and enough money to pretty much do whatever I want. And I’m currently traveling the world.
I’m free right? Not necessarily…
Traveling full time feels like a salmon swimming upstream.
You’re constantly pushing against the current of life. Banks want you to have an address. Your credit cards want you to have a stationary address. Sure, there are services to forward your mail, but it’s a rub.
In every new location I have to figure out where we will put our shoes. Where are the forks. Where do I buy milk and bread. Where can I walk safely and where should I avoid. As well as a hundred other things.
I’m loving all the memories and sights of traveling.
Let that be clear.
I am not complaining about traveling. It’s awesome.
I would be remiss to say that I can’t feel the current of life pushing against me though. I can feel it wanting me to go back “home.”
And I desire it.
I miss “my” couch.
I miss “my” bed.
I miss having my office desk setup just the way I like it.
And dear god I miss my LG Ultrawide 34" monitor.
Fight it all we want, we are creatures of habit. We are settlers. We crave routine, structure, and boundaries. Our brains are less stressed when we have these things. Chemically, this is fact.
Pure freedom would be a stressful chaos. We need rules.
Ever seen the movie “The Purge” they allowed freedom once a year for 12 hours. Not the kind of freedom we want!
4.) You can’t escape rules, no matter how hard you try.
At first I was very depressed when I realized there was no true freedom. I really wanted to believe there was. I was crushed.
I hate rules.
Too fricken bad!
You can’t escape rules. You can’t make them go away. You can’t travel far enough to get away from them. Trust me I’ve tried. I dropped out of school, done my share of drugs, went to jail, built a million dollar business, and traveled the world.
I feel like no one on this planet has tried harder than I to break the rules or run away from them.
Truth is I wasn’t traveling, I was running away. I was running to Thailand where life was going to magically become easier. But there are rules in Thailand too. You can’t just decide you want to live in Thailand, hop on a plane, and disappear.
You have to apply for visas and they expire. If you’re not out of the country by the time your visas expires, they’ll lock you up.
Just when I was about to submit to the depressing fact that I’ll always live under someone’s rules, a smile crawled across my face. It dawned on me that rules were the secret to success.
5.) Structure, not freedom, is how we actually win at life
I’m a gamer.
When you play a new game the first thing you ask are “What’s the rules?” Once you know the rules you know how to play. The rules are what teach you how to win at the game. Life is a game.
Birthdays are just new levels in the game of life.
Accomplishments, memories, and money are the points we collect in the game.
The more I understand the rules of life the better I’m able to win at life. For example, knowing that structure and routine are what we crave, I can keep a journal. In my journal I can give my days structure. By living in one place I can design the ultimate routine for success.
Through structure, routine, and rules I can achieve more accomplishments, collect more memories, and earn more money.
That means structure, not freedom, is how we actually win at the game of life.
I guess, in short, what I’m really trying to say is “Mom, I’ll be home soon.”