WHAT IS LIVING A WILDER LIFE?
What does living a wilder life even mean? Does it mean you live in a tent and only live off of the natural resources of the land? Does it mean you compost every day and forage for mushrooms? Noooo. Well…maybe. If that’s what sets your heart afire, then we say…have at it!
For us, living a wilder life means daring to follow the call of your wild heart. For every single person on the planet, it’s going to look different…and it should. The notion that there’s one path to a fulfilling life is narrow-minded and pretty depressing.
Living a wilder life means courageously shedding the collective fog that tells you, “This is how you are supposed to live your life.”
You know the formula, right?
- Go to college knowing exactly what you want to do with the REST OF YOUR LIFE
- Go after your career and excel at it at an above-average rate
- Find your soul mate
- Get married to soul mate
- Buy a “starter” home
- Have two kids that are spread apart by 2.5 to 3 years, and ideally, one should be a boy and the other a girl
- Become super wealthy
- Upgrade to a bigger home
- Retire with 2.5 million in the bank
- Live happily ever after
If that is the life you want and are currently living this life, we mean this from the bottom of our hearts that we think that’s wonderful. There is nothing “wrong” with this formula. There’s no need to feel shame if that’s what you truly desire. But what if it’s not what you want? Or rather, what if the journey it takes to get there doesn’t feel worth what it’s costing you on the inside?
While chasing the so-called American dream, my husband would work 80-hour weeks so we could just barely cover our mortgage and living expenses. To be completely honest, many times, we didn’t make it, and for the first time in our lives, we began to collect major credit card debt. Sure, we lived in a beautiful home and enjoyed the amenities of a life in Los Angeles, but our lives were not our own. We were shackled to our mortgage payments and stuck in jobs we gleaned no pleasure from. We were tense and brittle with each other, consumed with how we could make enough money to survive another month.
Our lives were not a reflection of the values we knew to be true to us. We valued a life of adventure, curiosity, kindness, community, and creativity. On the inside, we knew that to be true, but on the outside, we were solely valuing the acquisition of money. Our breaking point was when we had our first child, and we took a cold hard look at the life we were leading. What we knew to be true was that children don’t learn from what you say; they learn from what you do. We knew we didn’t want him to emulate the values we were modeling. If we wanted to rise up to the sacred role of parent, we were going to have to start making some major changes. We would have to do the work of having our outer life reflect our inner values. We would have to become the people we knew we truly were but had shoved down in order to fit into an image of what we thought we were supposed to be doing.
We spent a lot of time talking and envisioning what our next steps were. Could we leave everything we had spent 15 years building? We had a large community of friends, decent-paying jobs, and a beautiful home with sunshine 365 days of the year. Could we leave it all?
The idea was daunting, and we wrestled with it for a long time before we did the math and realized that if we stayed on the path we were on, we would be adding $2000 a month to our quickly accruing pile of debt. Feelings can be hard to decipher, but numbers…they don’t lie.
It was a swift kick to the gut. The clincher for us was when we asked ourselves – even if we had all the money we needed and then some, would we still want the life we had? We both knew we wouldn’t. Money was not the issue. The issue was we were no longer living a life that gave us any sense of creative fire. The truth was, we were deadened to life. It’s not to say we didn’t enjoy life or have moments of great joy, but on a deep level, we were merely existing and following the formula rather than being active and excited participants in the unfolding of our own lives.
When we sat down with ourselves and listened to what was calling us, we knew we needed to leave Los Angeles and let ourselves roam. We needed to journey and discover where our next chapter of life would occur. We have always been travelers. Inscribed onto our wedding rings are the words, “There’s still so much to see.” It is the foundation of our relationship to never stop exploring each other and the world. It was clear, it was time for us to get back to our explorer roots.
So we’re hitting the road and committing ourselves to seeing where we want to live next. This next chapter of our life will be about slow travel, returning to our creative roots, and exploring parts of the US and the world that we had never considered an option before. We’re even open to trying out van life for a while. Who knows?! The path is completely open, and all we know is that we are in search of a life where the values we cherish are outwardly expressed in the way we live. We strive to live a life where we are listening to the call of our wild heart so our son can learn to listen to his own wild call.
We are on a journey to live a wilder life.
Soooo……when you make a plan to indefinitely travel the US with your two-year-old, try not to time it with a worldwide pandemic.
We took off in 2019 and headed straight for Asheville, North Carolina, with big plans to make it to Montana, Colorado, Utah, New England, the Oregon coast, South Carolina, and who knows where else. In March 2020, six months into our grand adventure, we were stopped dead in our tracks by Covid. We were living in Boise, Idaho, at the time, and our rental was up in a few weeks. With no home to return to and travel being so sketchy, we were left with very few options.
So we packed all our stuff and headed up to North Idaho, where Brad’s dad is from, and sheltered in his family home while we “waited it out.” Sandpoint is an idyllic lake town in North Idaho that is probably one of the most ideal places in the US to just kick back and figure out what your next step should be. When it became clear that the pandemic was not going to be a quick situation, we began to open ourselves up to the possibility of Sandpoint, Idaho, being our home. While we started the journey thinking we would explore the US for a few years and “choose” where we would set roots, it turned out that life had other plans for us. Isn’t that always how it works, though? Life sees your plans and says, “Ha ha ha ha ha.”
Sometimes I think it all worked out for the best. If we had kept on traveling, we would have burned through all our savings and never been able to invest in a home in Sandpoint. And when I’m really honest with myself, non-stop travel with our two-year-old was tough for us. We craved a support system, routine, and a place to return to. It turns out we’re homebodies who like to adventure.
Luckily, travel is our work! So we continue to explore and write for our blog and other wonderful companies and then RETURN HOME. We adore our life in Idaho and are immeasurably blessed by the decision we made to settle here.
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