Throughout the animal kingdom, you can find examples of animals that migrate incredible distances at regular intervals. According to CNN, whales hold the title of being the farthest migrators of any ocean creature – though great white sharks and leatherback turtles give them a run for their money. A gray whale was clocked on a 14,000-mile journey and humpbacks also easily migrate more than 10,000 miles, rotating between the warm waters of Hawaii in the winter and the cooler temperatures of Alaska in the summer, moving at a leisurely one mile per hour.
Humpback whales, like this one, migrate incredible distances.
On land, Adélie penguins waddle an impressive 8,000 miles in a circle around the Ross Sea off Antarctica. Their circuitous route keeps them in a sunny spot all winter and returns them to their breeding grounds in the summer. And in the air, the Alaskan bar-tailed godwit holds the record for the longest non-stop flight. Though they annually fly 15,500 miles, one 7,000-mile stretch of the journey – from Alaska to New Zealand – the birds complete in just eight days without eating or resting.
The Human Drive to Travel
Like our animal cousins, some humans also have an innate desire to be mobile. Animals migrate for various reasons – to return to a more favorable climate, to breed, to raise young, to find better sources of food and water – and so do humans.
Some of our reasons are similar, like the retired “snow bird” that, each fall, ditches the snowy mountains outside their Colorado cabin for their sunny, A/C-rich desert ranch house in Phoenix, only to return back to Colorado when the mercury begins to rise in the spring.
Many young adults are encouraged to take a “gap year” or study abroad to travel the world, gain a slightly more worldly perspective and shake off the sting of adolescence before jumping into the traditional college/career/marriage/family life that will inevitably tame their wild spirit.
Still, there are others of us who have a lifetime affliction – wanderlust – that leaves us discontent with staying still. We want to travel every continent, traverse land and sea, scale mountains and skyscrapers, breathe in the air of rainforests and ancient cities. During our adventures, we let ourselves live fully engrossed in the moment, and between travels, we daydream constantly about the next adventure.
Tips for Living With Wanderlust
Some of us are constantly daydreaming about our next big adventure.
Living with wanderlust isn’t always easy. For one, travel is expensive, and the average American only accrues 10 days of paid time off each year. This compounds if you have a family, which means multiplying airfare, lodging, food, transportation plus activities by the number of people in your family – not to mention working around school and work calendars.
But there are certain ways you can hack your life to accommodate your need to migrate.
- Find a job that allows you to work remotely. Technology makes many of our goals more attainable than ever, particularly if you want to work remotely. As long as you have the discipline to continue to check in regularly and get the job done, some employers will allow you to work from virtually anywhere. Certain industries and companies are more favorable to remote work, so consider find a new job or career that accommodates your passion – cybersecurity is a great option if you want to work remotely.
- Pick a partner who shares your love of travel. No matter what you’re into, it’s important to find a partner or spouse who shares – or, at least, understands – your hobbies, dreams and goals.
- Network with other travelers. Join a Facebook group, read blogs, go to meet-ups. Make friends with people who also enjoy travelling as much as you do. Not only can they offer tips and tricks for exploring their favorite places, they’ll also encourage and inspire you to keep doing what you love.
- Look for treasure close to home. Sometimes the greatest adventures are right under our noses or simply designed based on circumstance. Though Venice, Italy, might be on the bucket list, Venice Beach, Calif., has its own unique vibe and cultural merits. Plus, that plane ticket to LAX is a fraction of the price as the one to Italy.
- Be financially responsible. Just because you went to Venice Beach this year doesn’t mean you can’t go to Venice, Italy, next year. Give yourself some time to plan and save. If you're not tied to a school calendar, consider travelling during the shoulder season when travel is cheaper. If you can, accumulate some extra time off so you can add a few more days to your trip.
Even if travel isn’t your thing, you can still follow the spirit of these tips to build the life you want. It may sound intimidating and out of reach at first, but the point is, you can build the life you want. All you need is a little drive, determination and planning.
Take a friend of mine. He is a fellow entrepreneur who has fully customized his life. He built a successful business thanks to plenty of hard work and countless hours on the clock. But after years of the grind, the thrill of success wore off. The work went from being exciting and fulfilling to just, well, work. But he had worked hard, and his hard work was about to pay off.
He sold his successful business, bought a van, which he gutted and rebuilt to his exact specifications, and hit the road for an early retirement. He criss-crossed the country, going wherever his whim guided him. And after a few years of putting rubber to the road, he decided it was time to figure out what was next.
So, he sat down and thought about his priorities. He wanted to keep travelling, but he also wanted to create a vocation that allows him to do something meaningful with his time and utilize his skill for growing business. Luckily, the internet allows him to do just that – build a new, web-based cybersecurity business while maintaining the flexibility to travel.
He’s designing a life that gives him the best of both worlds – fulfilling work and freedom.
It's your life – you get to pick which road you take.
This is the beauty of customization. You get to figure out what you want and what steps you’ll take to accomplish your goals.
Customize Your Life
Whether you have the travel bug or some other deep passion, it’s possible to build yourself a better life. Avoid negative and limiting thoughts that hold you back from getting what you want. Instead, shift your thinking by choosing a goal, creating a plan and telling yourself you can create the life you want.
We’ve got a little homework for you today. Take five minutes and think about one aspect of your life you’d like to redesign. Next, brainstorm a list of actionable steps you can take to begin working toward your goals. Circle the one that you can do today, and get to it!