“It is possible to live happily in the here and now. So many conditions of happiness are available—more than enough for you to be happy right now. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more.”
-Thích Nhất Hạnh from Being Peace
In the art of time while traveling the issue isn’t whether or not we have enough time it’s how we spend it. Each day we all wake up with a made up 24 hours. How we choose to spend those 24 hours is completely up to us. And while we all have responsibilities, they shouldn’t be excuses to live a mediocre life. In our choices we also have the ability to be irresponsible, adventurous or spontaneous once in awhile. Those who seek to travel for a long period of time also seem to be the same people who have a laundry list of excuses. They hold on to the idea that tomorrow is guaranteed or that later (whenever that later is) will be more ideal, more convenient. This is very troubling.
We’ve constantly been told by many people that we’ve taken such a huge risk to travel for such a long time, leaving our careers, our homes, and our family and friends. We can’t see this as a “huge risk” rather we view it as a very calculated one with pretty minimal consequences. The biggest risk is finding yourself with regret after years of working for someone to receive a pension that might get you to your dream retirement. To travel after that might be difficult because you may not have the health you once had and are more limited to how you can travel. So if you’re sitting there day-dreaming or twirling your thumbs looking at the future, step back from that and start being aware of the great potential of the present.
For us to understand time we need to take ourselves out of the scope of time.
When people think of going off on a trip they don’t really think about where they currently stand. Often times the need to move is pointless if you are not self-aware of your current being. If you can’t find yourself in this world or if you can’t stop thinking about the next step there’s no point in travel. Understand that there is only now. Move through this world in peace, understanding that your place in this world is wherever you are. Wherever you go, there you are. Then the art of time while traveling is simply to take the concept of time out of your daily equation.
If you travel to a place and can’t even smell the roses it’s as if you’re back home reading a book. The experience of reading about something is completely different than being immersed in it. The text is read but there is no tangible moment being experienced. To be able to see, touch, breath, smell, and taste the aroma of what fills any destination is to travel. Time stands still, better yet it becomes non-existent and you become fully present in the now. The sensation of not having to move and finding yourself wherever you are each day is the art of reconstructing the concept of time. There is no agenda in this being, peace envelops as your observe without judgment what’s happening around you.
However, the concept of time holds on to it an agenda. For example, our agenda of holding a meeting at 3pm may hinder our spontaneity and limit the possibility of any number of things to occur. It stops us even when we want to continue, it gives us deadlines and often times unnecessary stress. We use time to arrange ourselves in this world as a way to control our day but instead of controlling our day it controls our lives. At the point of this control you’ve lost all serendipity. And what’s more pleasant than a serendipitous surprise. This gift of love from the world happens when we abandon control and often times time itself. You can literally stop time, it’s only a fixation of your imagination.
We don’t live in time, rather time lives in us. This creation of time is something we’ve made up to organize our own chaos and get a grasp of the difficult concept of our being. But putting terms like time to the description of our experiences through words only leads to frustration. The reason why we travel is to experience the things we can’t put into words.
A REDEFINITION OF OUR USE OF TIME
But I suppose as people we might still need to use the concept of time. Society gives us traditions that we’ve accepted as truths. In the states it’s a two week vacation. In romance it’s a week long honeymoon. In our career paths it’s sequenced as study, graduate, work for someone else (aka your boss), and build a resume until you have some sort of freedom financially and career wise. We took these lies and created our own time frame. What we created was completely wrong in the eyes of society. In our love dance we decided on 365traveldates and now find ourselves now at 439 travel dates (days).
If we can’t detach ourselves from the idea of time at least we can reexamine how we use it.
Our unconventional journey is celebrated, frowned upon, inspiring, frustrating, and/or empowering. It’s a mix bag depending on who’s commenting on what we’re doing. What’s with all the emotion and drama? Because much of what we are doing is in opposition to what is normal.
If we stopped measuring our lives we would likely live with an abundance of fulfillment and contentedness. Much of the time we are unhappy because we’ve sized ourselves up against some arbitrary measurement- sometimes this is the number in your bank account, the number of countries you’ve been to, or the amount of time you clocked in at work as a way of determining your worth and your work ethic. It’s difficult to be in the present when we are constantly thinking about what we’ve done or what we will do.
TIME AS CURRENCY
People always think of currencies in terms of dollars and cents. But we have a more pressing currency needing our attention, the currency of time.
Again the idea of time is something we’ve created. If we could simply be where we are in each present moment we would be mindful of the peace that comes with standing still without worry, anxiety, and constant anticipation.
In work, we’ve been told that we’ve earned our vacation, more specifically time off. The control that work has on us is deceiving. The fact that you have to earn your time off is absurd. Instead of taking time off we should be giving time back, back to ourselves, on our own terms. Part of The Art in Travel series is an empowerment for those who dream to long-term travel.
Of course, work is another excuse we use not to travel, especially for those who are ambitious in their careers. (*Of course the number one excuse is money. This topic is cover rather extensively in The Art of Money while Traveling.) We’ve obsessed over our work-life balance. A quick examination of this phrase “work-life balance,” quickly shows a flaw in our created lifestyles. Our first thought is work before life. We separate the two and actual put work above life. Even if we were to flip the script on that and rephrase as life-work balance we might still be giving too much weight to the idea of work. Don’t get me wrong we are not advocating quiting your jobs, we are simply asking our audience to reexamine some of societies ideals and norms.
You’re spending all the currency of time you have to gain a currency of money, something you may not even be able to spend because when your finished amassing large sums of money to your fulfillment you may find there’s no more time to do the things you were day dreaming about.
As for me, I’ve never had an issues with firing my bosses and I suppose I’ve learned enough to move in confidence and to know there’s an unlimited amount of opportunities out there especially if time isn’t an issue. And if I’m unable to find something in a given moment and find myself needing a place to stay and a meal to eat, survival mode kicks in and through some creativity and ingenuity I can cover my basic human needs. If I am gifted more time, even with little or no pay, I can continue to move through this life in search of something meaningful, sometimes in the form of work.
So here’s the truth- money isn’t your biggest commodity, time is. All forms of wealth no matter how defined, take up different places on a scale of value. We would much rather have a wealth of time rather than a wealth of money. This past year and a half, even as our savings dwindled, has been the most wealthy we’ve ever been. A honeymoon is a time we are able to spend getting to know each other, uninterrupted and without the noise of society and what’s back “home.”
OUR JOURNEY THROUGH TIME
Time and experimentation are what’s needed in finding your passion.
While some people have truly found their passion I find it hard to believe that most have after attending a 4 year college with limited choices of what to study.Camille and I have found that there’s a long list of things we’d love to try. After all when was the last time you did something for the first time. Even when we do an activity we end up not liking we can have a positive outlook after the particular endeavor. We’ve discovered passions and dislikes and continue to seek new experiences to know the difference between the two. For example, I would have never realized that I was truly passionate about birding if I weren’t presented with the activity in the first place. Camille found passion in baking a few years ago and realized she enjoyed writing while on this journey. If we limited our time for self-discovery we wouldn’t have realized how much we enjoy rock-climbing or free-diving. Long-term travel, especially when it’s in the form of a honeymoon, has been a great way to liberate ourselves from the limitations of time. Often we are unsure about what the date is or what day of the week it is. Sometimes when we make references to places we’ve visited months ago we can’t believe that these specific recollections weren’t from last week.
Having purchased one way tickets it was easy for us to extend trips or simply up and leave if certain places weren’t right for us. If we came across people we liked and wanted some community, fellowship, and love we’d move around with them. With the time we put in certain places and with certain people we create friendships all around the world.
So if we can’t completely live devoid of time at least we can make better arrangements of its use and have a better grasp of what it truly means to be alive with a ticking clock.