April 18, 2017

What I Learned when I Gave Away Everything & Went on the Road.


My husband and I are moving into our RV this weekend.

We’ve left our jobs, and we’re leaving our apartment behind us for a life on the road. A life of freedom, adventure, self-employment, and magic.

It sounds amazing, right? We’ve had so many people say, “Wow, I wish I could do that!” and, “I’m planning for the day I can hit the road.” When this idea first sprouted—two months ago, from the comfy confines of our massive living room couch in our Long Beach apartment—it all sounded wonderful and fun.

But sh*t just got real. It’s go time! It’s time to condense our one-bedroom apartment down to few enough material possessions that can comfortably fit into a 28-foot RV. It’s now time to actually walk away from our fixed, “secure” place to live.

This dream idea is really happening—and to be quite honest, it’s a little bit…scary, exciting, and exhilarating. It feels similar to the feeling I felt the times I’ve gone skydiving. Allow me to illustrate: They taught me about my harnesses and parachute and got me all strapped in. Then they flew us up in a plane, and all is well. All of a sudden, I’m strapped to another person, and the side door of the plane is thrown open.

From 10,000 feet in the air, I’m looking out over the earth, realizing that I’m about to jump out of a plane. It didn’t matter that I had booked the adventure months before and had plenty of time to reconsider. Once I was actually miles above the earth in a rickety prop plane, watching people launch themselves out of it, I thought to myself, “Holy f*cking sh*t! Am I really about to do this?”

As I sit in our apartment for one of the last mornings ever, I am connecting with this same feelings within me. Joy at the fact that our dreams are coming to fruition. A twinge of fear at the unknown that lies ahead. Excitement at that same for time the unknown, because it whispers of endless possibilities and choices. Adventure. Disbelief. A sense of freedom, because we are no longer oppressed under the thumb of the grind where we work Monday through Friday 9:30-6:00 p.m. with a 45-minute commute each way in L.A. traffic. (That alone is enough to wipe out any fear!) Nostalgia for the chapter of our lives that is closing so a new one could open.

Part of me feels like I just got out of prison.

I look around the space that has been our home these past 14 months, and I feel a sense of sadness that we are leaving it behind. My tendency toward attachment is making itself known; it’s alive and well. This is where I get to put my Buddhist learnings to practical application, and this is exactly what has afforded me the space to co-create the life of my dreams alongside my husband.

Thanks to meditation, I have become a passive observer of my mind and emotions. My disciplined practice these last four years has gifted me with a freedom I never knew in my life—the freedom to feel what I am feeling and think what I am thinking without engaging with it and making it my identity or allowing it to control me.

That’s how I’ve arrived at this place where I’m about to realize one of my dreams in life (freedom), despite all of the mental chatter that would tell me I need an apartment, job, career, car, clothes, and so on, in order to be safe and secure. It’s no easy task to work through the security programming drilled into us from birth in this consumerist society. To one by one take out each false belief in order to examine it, asking: Does this align with what I believe inside?

I’ll share with you the questions I’ve asked myself to challenge these programmed beliefs:

My mind would try to bring back the belief that I need all these clothes and material possessions. Do I really believe that? When I look at the reality of my life and the way I like to live, what do I really need 20 different dresses for? My mind would whisper that I just might need them for some occasion. This is where we must not listen and choose the contrary action to keep the top five and give away the rest.

Next comes: What will people think of what we are doing? This is tied to a belief that it actually matters what anyone thinks. When I bypass my programming and get to my heart, I know the truth of what we are doing, and that it is right for us, so nothing else matters.  

The last big one is the false belief that living in a fixed home is any more secure than living in a mobile home on the road. The mind would tell me that the only way to be “safe and secure” is to know where the money is coming in from, to know where “home” is, to have a routine, or to know where we are grocery shopping. With the ego, to be comfortable is to be secure. However, this is an illusion! When we actually step outside the comfort zone of what we know, we find that there is just as much security there if we just give it a chance.

I once read that we can’t have security and freedom together. The illusion of security is what keeps us enslaved in the consumerist society of the Western world. We work at a menial job we may or may not hate for just enough money to keep us comfortable. We settle for living in a place that surrounds us with concrete, smog, and traffic, so we can have everything we think we need within reach. We amass debt, so we can have all the new creature comforts.

Does this actually make us happy and fulfilled? If we are honest with ourselves, the answer is often no. We tell ourselves it’s just for now, and that one day we will break free.

So why not now? If two months ago, my husband and I were just talking about our RV life dream, and now we are on the edge of that cliff about to take the leap and fly, so can you.

What dreams are you ready to take action on today?




Author: Lindsay Carricarte

Image: Author’s Own

Editor: Travis May

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