Vagabond: vag·a·bond (noun)
- A person who wanders from place to place without a home or job.
As easy as it seems, quitting your job to travel the world comes with some hurdles. The main one for me being adjusting to a vagabond lifestyle. Before embarking on this adventure, I would say I thought about most everything, but the lifestyle adjustment wasn’t one of them. Whether that’s because I didn’t think it would be a challenge, or whether I just assumed I would deal with it when it comes, I didn’t put much thought into it.
The main thing I am referring too when I talk about this lifestyle change is what I am doing with my time. Life when working my full-time job was jam packed. Long days, coming home and making dinner, spending time with Lindsey, hanging out with friends, finding time to exercise (or not), weekend trips, appointments, phone calls, the list goes on. I never really had to think about what to do since there was so much going on. In fact, it was hard to find time to just relax and maybe read a book, or even just stare into space. Now that I am living outside of that grind, I have lots of time on my hands, so the question becomes; “what do you do with your time?”.
Now that I am a few months into it, its interesting to see the things that now fill up my days.
First and foremost, reading books has become a frequent ritual. While this doesn’t seem like a major revelation, for me it’s a big change. Prior to this trip, I couldn’t tell you the last book I read in full. If I was to guess, I would say it was The Outsiders. Reading just wasn’t something I made time for in my previous life. It wasn’t even something that was on the list of “I would do it if I had more time…”.
My current situation almost forces you to read books, and I am happy it does. I’ve completed two books in the past two months and working on the third. I am even looking forward to continuing this new habit. I mean, I don’t even know what kind of books I like to read yet. It’s a bit of discovery into myself, and not only that, its relaxing. I can now go to the beach and just sit, whereas before if I am on the beach all I want to do is play. Granted I still want to play on the beach over read, but its nice to have the option.
Another one of my newest hobbies is blogging. I’m not sure I have written anything outside of school or work, ever. Creating this website and writing content for it has been a great exercise of my mind. In creating the website, with help from some friends, I learned a great new skill which I am sure will benefit me in the future. As for writing the content, that has been beneficial in many ways.
Number one, it’s been great for keeping records of what we are doing on the road. I don’t keep a journal or anything, and as much as I believe I will remember all these great times, I sure some memories will fade as the experiences pile up. On top of that, writing is challenging, and I enjoy putting my mind to work. I am a ball of energy, so much like a Black Lab, I need to be exercised to get a good night’s rest. Physical exercise is one thing, but challenging my mind with writing can really tire me out, which is nice. Its also not like I am sitting in a cube writing on a desktop. When I write, I am usually sitting with my feet in the sand and palm trees swaying at my back, so it’s a great way to spend a couple hours of my day.
Much like reading, writing wasn’t something that was on the list of “I would do it if I had more time…”, but I am really enjoying this new part of my day.
Unlike both reading and blogging, exercise was something on the list of “I would do it if I had more time”. Granted, that list is just an excuse not to do it. I viewed exercise more of a chore, and once that’s the mindset, it’s impossible to keep it up. Like any chore, you can always find an excuse not to do it. I don’t like going to the gym, and running wasn’t my thing either. Usually I got my workouts via sports like racquetball, soccer, or swimming. That way I would at least enjoy the time I was spending exercising.
Now, with my days free for whatever I want to do, I view exercise in a different light. Running is now something I seek out. Not because I feel I need to, but because going for a run on the beach in the morning is an experience in it of itself. So many beautiful beaches, it’s a great way to start my day. I still don’t want to go run on a treadmill, but if there’s a nice long beach, I am all for it.
Beyond running, its push-ups and sit-ups. My options are a bit limited while camping, but you can do push-ups and sit-ups everywhere. Now, unlike running, I still need to force myself to do them, but I don’t have the “I don’t have time” excuse. If I am going to live the vagabond life, I feel I owe it to myself to get my body in shape. Considering I have the time, why not?
Learning a new language has become a daily focus for me. I am committed to spending 30 minutes or more everyday practicing Spanish. I have been splitting time between a podcast I have been listening to, Duolingo, and a couple Spanish phrase books, and its been paying off. At this point, I am far from fluent, but getting better every day.
You certainly don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to do what we are doing, but being able to have conversations with locals adds to the experience. Not only just communicating things you want or need at a store or something, but talking to a local guy about what he does for a living and hearing some of his stories. I look forward to connecting with someone who speaks no English and having a conversation I could have never had otherwise.
So, what do you do all day? you might ask. Well first off, the hours of my day have also adjusted. We wake up with the sun on most days, and are in bed around 9pm. Once the sun goes down and we finish dinner, there isn’t much happening (outside of the major cities at least). So, my day tends to be a function of the sun.
Wake up, practice some Spanish, maybe go for a run & exercise, relax and do some reading, or break out the laptop and write. Pretty full day already. Let’s not forget, we are traveling, so everyday also may come with an adventure or two. Could be kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, hiking, exploring a new town, or getting into whatever adventure is around us. What ever it is, I am back to a place where I always have something to do, but this time nothing feels like a chore or work.
Adjusted to the vagabonding lifestyle
The first couple weeks I was asking myself what I would do with my time. Now, I am finding myself watching the sunset and wondering how the day went so fast. It took a little while to adjust to the vagabonding life, but now that I am in it, my days are full and my soul is too. Now the challenge will be figuring out how to keep this abundance in my life after this trip is over…