These Photos Brought to You By Uncertainty - Intentional Travelers
Silver Falls, Oregon

21 Nov These Photos Brought to You By Uncertainty

Practicing Gratitude

This is the season of giving thanks, and sometimes we just need to remind ourselves what we have to be thankful for. This post is my way of practicing gratitude.

The Struggle

People may not realize this when they hear about our travels, but we do struggle with our choice to be nomads. People hear about all the places we’ve been in the last 7 months (starting with Peace Corps Jamaica, driving Florida to Chicago, visiting family in Hawaii, driving through the Canadian and U.S. Rockies, France, Switzerland…) and it probably sounds like we’re on a big fat, money-sucking vacation. (We’re really not. Not on vacation. And not losing money.)

The struggle is not about the travel, of course. We love the travel. We intentionally chose to prioritize travel in our lives.

But we do struggle with not having a specific direction or focus right now. We long to feel like we’re working toward something and to know that we’re being of service in a bigger way.

We’ve accepted the fact that we’re in a period of exploration for the time being. But it’s easy to fall into thinking that everything would be a whole lot easier if we just took 9-5 jobs and moved into a permanent dwelling. We would have a clearer answer to “What do you do?” We would have a steady income. We would have a place to hang our pictures.

But we are choosing not to take the easy way out because we believe life is about more than safety and comfort.

We choose freedom and flexibility.

We choose to pave our own path.

That’s not easy because it’s going against the grain. The world around us tells us to take up the “playbook” and follow the instructions (think: Lego Movie).

Being nomads and entrepreneurs doesn’t come with a playbook. It comes with uncertainty. Living with uncertainty isn’t easy, but we think it’s probably worth it. And that’s why I’ve been feeling the need to remind myself what we have to be thankful for. Because sometimes we forget the bigger picture.

 I’m Thankful for Being A Nomad Because…

The number of people we’ve been able to reconnect with in the past 6 months due to our flexible lifestyle (most of whom we wouldn’t have seen at all without traveling to them):

High school friends: 5
College friends: 18
Peace Corps friends: 8
Cousins: 11
Number of States where we saw these people: 10, plus Canada and France
Percentage of people we visited who we hadn’t seen in 2 years (since leaving for Peace Corps): 95%
Percentage of people we visited who we hadn’t seen in 5+ years: 21%

Being Available to Help At the Drop of A Hat

Perhaps we haven’t made an impact on the large scale that we may have expected for our early 30’s, but fortunately we are still able to serve here and there. Without anything to tie us down, we are more easily able to respond to requests for assistance. From driving furniture across the country to being an extra pair of hands in the backyard, we have the flexibility to do it. And one of the highlights this past summer was being able to volunteer for several days as event Ambassadors and experience the World Domination Summit for the first time.

Staying in Tune With Nature and Seeing Amazing New Things

On the days when I wish I knew what direction we’re going to go with our lives, I think to myself: at least I don’t have to sit in an office all day. I’d rather be figuring it out while on the road exploring National Parks, even if it means making less money.

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  • Rebecca
    Posted at 13:46h, 21 November

    Your post inspires me to pause and reflect on experiences of value that were only possible because of lifestyle choices we’re making, especially in times of doubt. There is a concept in mindfulness-based therapy where instead of using the phrase “even though” or “but”, using “and”. For example, “doing X makes me feel anxious AND I’m going to do X because it will be (listing good reasons)”. I’ve always liked that concept of embracing that there are always downsides which don’t have to stop us from doing the things that are important to us.

    • intentionalmc
      Posted at 14:10h, 21 November

      That’s a really cool way to look at it. There are always downsides but you are consciously making the choice based on your priorities and values (which equals intentionality)!

  • Kathy @ SMART Living
    Posted at 20:34h, 21 November

    Hi Michelle! I love the photos and the comments that pop up with them….it is SUCH an example of what an amazing journey you both are on that doesn’t fit anyone’s rule book but your own. I don’t think we can ever know for sure what influence our life, our work and our words has on others. But I do believe that like the butterfly flapping it’s wings on the other side of the planet, everything, EVERYTHING we do touches everything else exactly where and when it is needed. Just keep living your journey as you have been and know that the rest of us are happy to read and watch. ~Kathy

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