Live the Life you Want, Not the Life You Think You Should by Victoria Watts of Bridges and Balloons
One year ago, I was sitting at my desk staring at a Yann Arthus-Bertrand screensaver of a jungle with one single pink tree in the centre. I’d stared at that image for months, in-between deadlines, squabbles over whose turn it was to make tea, and meetings with pernickety clients.
My life had been spent carving a path to that desk – through school, exams, internships and determination – but when I got there it was like the taste of a cream éclair – something that looks and sounds delicious, but sits uncomfortably in my stomach. I loved the idea of working in communications for an NGO, and I enjoyed the people and the purpose, but in my heart I knew we weren’t the right fit.
Each day, as I stared at the little pink tree, I dreamt of replacing the greyness around me with the vibrance of nature, the bustle of the office with the buzz of the jungle, and the doubts in my mind with the passion for something I wasn’t yet sure of. I wanted to slow down, explore, take stock and re-answer the elusive question: What do I want to do with my life?
The pull of security, familiarity and an ever-present idea of what I should be doing made a dive into the unknown feel scarily reckless, irresponsible and wild. Was I simply work-shy? I didn’t think so. In my spare time, I was doing a psychotherapy course and writing for a magazine. I was trying to find my passion, but I was draining myself in the process. I needed to step away, and I yearned to explore the world.
Take a Chance and Live the Life you Want
So eventually we did it. My boyfriend and I packed up our home and booked our tickets to Rio. I left my job and Steve made the decision to take his career, making films, on the road. We had no idea how long we’d be gone for, where we’d go beyond Brazil, or what I’d do for work – but we knew it was the right decision.
Twelve months later and I’m writing this from a roof terrace in Mexico, surrounded by the jungle and with the sound of waves rolling in the distance. This morning I taught my morning yoga class and for the rest of the day I’ll be writing and working on my blogs before meeting friends for sunset. We’ve decided to stay here for several months, making a temporary home in-between our travels. It’s the life of a digital nomad and we’re enjoying it wholeheartedly.
The past year has been magnificent. We’ve been through seven countries in Latin America, from Patagonia up to the pacific coast of Mexico. We’ve gasped at glaciers, marveled at whales, danced wildly and laughed with great new friends. We’ve also argued, cried, feared, and had moments of troubled doubts. It hasn’t all been highs and it hasn’t all been play. On many days we’ve worked more than 12 hours, but that has been our choice. We are living the way we choose to.
This idea of living the way you want to want to rather than the way you think you should, has become my mantra. I realized it during a speech by Dave and Deb at a travel blogging conference in Porto earlier this year. Their enthusiasm and energy helped inspire me to find the courage to follow my own passions. It can be a risky and uncertain path, but I think the rewards are certainly worth it.
Through travelling and stepping outside of our comfort zone, the world has re-opened itself to us. The possibilities feel endless and we take them one by one. Last year, if you had told me I would be teaching yoga now and have a successful travel blog, I wouldn’t have believed you. I didn’t have that faith in myself. Ask me now what I’ll be doing in a year’s time and I really have no idea – but one thing is sure. Instead of daydreaming of a life I want, I intend to continue living the life I want to, taking it day by day and not being afraid to change things when they no longer work – no matter how long it took to get there. And therewith is my new year’s resolution. I’d love to hear yours too.
Have a great 2013!
Make this the year to Live the Life you Want, not the life you think you should.
Victoria is a writer and yoga teacher who blogs at Bridges and Balloons and The Vegetarian Travel Guide with her filmmaker boyfriend Steve. Together they travel, work and ponder their way around the world. Currently they are living in San Pancho in Mexico.
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