Recently, I was looking out over the island towards the looming volcano Concepción, contemplating life and having a moment with myself. The conversation inside my head was the question that’s often asked during my solo travels: do I stay where I am or do I go. It was in this moment when I realized that at this exact point in time I have the most freedom I’ve ever had in my entire life.
I don’t have a job other than volunteering at InanItah and freelance writing, which I fully control.
I don’t have a return plane ticket to the States or any commitments to be anywhere until September.
I’m free to do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it. And as fantastic as that is, it poses its challenges as well.
Silence the Inner Control Freak
As I sat on the island looking down, the image of who I used to be and what my life used to look life came to mind. I try not to think about my past life because it’s not who I am anymore and serves no purpose, but what came up for me is a phrase I used in my former life as a publicist: “I’m a control freak.”
I’d say this phrase often to my interns, clients, or work supervisors, usually as I was describing a particular project I was working on and defending the way I was completing it. I’d say it like it was some badge of honor; like the more controlling I was, the more I authority I had over a situation.
I’m a control freak! Who wants to be that?! I don’t.
If these past few years of traveling have taught me one thing only, they’ve taught me at the very least to relinquish control. We can’t control everything in life. In fact, we control very little, and the sooner we realize this, the easier it becomes to let things go.
Release Control & See What Happens
The beauty and the burden of traveling long-term, slowly, and solo is that we have the opportunity to do anything. Everything is an option, and it can be overwhelming. For me, traveling this way has taught me that sometimes I need to take a step back, stop controlling what I think the situation or the “plan” needs to look like, and just see what happens.
Many times when I get in my head about what to do next or where I should go next, I question if it’s the right decision. What I’m learning, only recently, is that there is no wrong decision. There can’t be. Everything always works out and ends up exactly as it should be in the long-run.
Letting go of my control freak has been tough. Over the past ten years of my life, I’ve set it up in my head for some reason that the more I control a situation, the better it will turn out. What the past few years of traveling have taught me is that this isn’t true. At all. It’s a lie I’ve told myself. I’ve also somehow convinced myself that as a control freak I have to do everything by myself, without any help. For some reason, I’ve created that the story that I’ll do it better alone than if I had somebody with me.
Why is that?
Let’s Embrace Our Free Spirit
Long-term, solo travel has taught me that I don’t have to control every situation and also that I can’t. It’s impossible. I’ve learned that by letting go and embracing my spontaneous nature, everything is going to be ok. In fact, everything is ok right now, in this moment. And it will be tomorrow, too. And the next day, and the next.
So, here’s to our inner free spirit! Let your freak flags fly, shoot from the hip, do what you want when you want, and see what comes out of it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.