Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post on the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi. Their sudden tragic passing, along with the passing of everyone else on that helicopter, was a sober confirmation of one phrase that marked me the summer of 2019 and thus resulted in me leaping out of my day job into self-employment at the beginning of January this year:
Time is not a renewable resource.
It is usually pretty easy to list off all the reasons something won’t work or why we may not be ready. But the truth is, death has a way of sifting our reasons and exposing them for what they can sometimes be: excuses. Death has the ability to recalibrate the measuring stick we use to determine what matters.
By the end of June, an idea that had occasionally resurfaced over the past decade resurfaced again. To make a long story short, it was an idea to travel the States (and eventually abroad again) visiting a different city every couple weeks to every couple months. Essentially, the idea of always having “one bag packed,” experiencing and exploring culture, people and places on a regular and joy-filled basis.
As usual with a super cool dream, the practicals remained a mystery.
Would I be traveling for work?
Where would I live?
How would I afford a life like this if it wasn’t for work?
Could I afford a life like this if it wasn’t for work?
It remained a mystery until the end of this past June, that is.
I had to determine whether I would be renewing my lease for another year, but each time I considered staying in Kansas City, it just felt… wrong. Simultaneously, this travel idea or dream or whatever you want to call it gently began to emerge out of the persistent recesses of my subconscious. I pondered again how I could make something like this work.
Then a friend, randomly and without any knowledge of this travel dream I had, made an off-the-cuff comment about websites dedicated to swapping housesitting services in exchange for a free place to stay.
You may have heard the phrase, “everything can change in a moment.” In that moment, all the uncertain practicals that had held this dream hostage in stagnancy started to unravel. The wheels began turning rapidly, and after doing some research and considering other economical back-up options other than just housesitting (I mean, remember COVID? Being able to constantly roll gracefully with the punches and have back-up options like WWOOFing and collaborative partnerships were a must for me), I decided there was enough there to make my move, literally and figuratively.
Despite the swirling uncertainty of 2020, there is no time like the present to just go for it.
After selling or giving away 75% of my stuff, storing the sentimental or super important 20% in a small storage unit, and packing the remaining 5% in my CR-V, I hit the open road September 1st to make my second big leap of faith for the year and begin my nomadic life for an undetermined amount of time, starting in Colorado. (Blog post and travel tips on Colorado to come shortly!)
Goodbye, Kansas City and Old Reality. Hello, Open Road and all kinds of Newness.
In the end for me, it came down to getting real with two sides of the same fear-coin: either submitting to the fear of the unknown by staying in Kansas City another year, or taking another bold leap and facing that same fear. In either scenario, fear is involved, the difference being how I choose to engage it and be influenced by it.
Now, your journey will not be the same as mine, and vice versa. The thought of selling most of your belongings and living on the road may freak you out, or it may exhilarate you. You may prefer to have a hefty amount of finances and savings in place before hitting the open road, or you may be just fine with up and leaving whenever to go wherever with whatever. Leaving without having a definitely mapped plan of every place you will be living or visiting may make you uneasy, or maybe launching out into the unknown will instead feel like freedom and expansively endless possibilities. Point being, we are all very different for a reason, and it is important to remember those differences and honor the road each of us are on without projecting insecurities or personal standards onto each other.
The cool thing about this adventure is there are no rules, so I am thrilled to have the freedom to decide how I want this to look and be.
With all of this, I say, welcome aboard! I am happy to have you here. My sincerest hope and goal is to inspire and motivate others to live their best and fullest life, whatever that looks like. May that be the case for you.
Also, before you leave today, please like this post and follow my blog (bottom of page). This will ensure you are notified right away when a new blog post is published.
Please follow me on Instagram @ariellasuzabella and Twitter @ariellsuzanne as well. I look forward to adventuring with you!
What you can expect:
Adventure! I love culture, people and new places, and I will be sharing those favorite places, experiences and tips with all of you. At times, I may go off the grid for a bit, or may decide to not visually document an experience and to instead just fully enjoy the moment. Either way, it’s all part of the adventure, and you can expect me to write about it.
Travel tips! At the end of every blog post, I will share travel tips and best practices to help you practically dream and plan your adventure (or to find ways to apply to your everyday life).
Runway modeling! If you do a little digging into this blog you will quickly find that at its inception, this blog documented my budding journey into runway modeling. That pursuit will continue even while on the road, but this time in many other cities!
What to not expect:
A box. We aren’t about “putting life in a box” around here. I have resisted the urge and outward pressure to clearly define how long this adventure will play out, where I will be going and for how long. I mean, shouldn’t we have all learned by now that life laughs in the face of our best laid plans? Basically, I am trying my best to know what I can control (certain ways I take care of my finances and resources, for ex) versus what I cannot (what the heck the world will look like in 3 months and how that will affect where I live, work and connect).
So, if you come now and in the future, expecting a box with a certain set of standards, then I guarantee you this blog journey won’t be for you.
- Do it for YOU. There will always be critics, and some of the most difficult critiques are from those who love you or who you thought would understand or always have your back. At the end of the day, you alone are the one who has to make the final decision on how your life rolls out. Remember that.
- Shed any physical baggage. This can be applied in various ways and won’t practically play out the same way for everyone. For me, that looked like selling or giving away most of my stuff. I personally couldn’t justify putting all the work and effort into packing and moving items into storage that I wouldn’t touch for another year or two or more. It made more sense to me to let others benefit from the things that served me so well.
- Say goodbye. Don’t allow the past to tag along into your new present. This can look like many different things to many people, so do what’s best for you. For me, anytime I drove around Kansas City the last 10 days, I spent time reminiscing and being intentionally grateful for how each area became a part of my life. This also looked like going through my phone and deleting old contact numbers. Setting new and long-overdue standards for how I allow men to interact with me on social media was another way I said goodbye to my past, as well as taking a little time to reassess and reinforce what my core values on social justice, environmental issues and spiritual matters has been an important conversation with myself as I move forward out of the old into the new.
- Receive love and support. Guess what, people love you. It’s true, and these precious people will want to express that love to you in different ways. To me, as long as that love doesn’t masquerade as control, manipulation, shame or makes you feel unsafe, honey, let the love roll in. Let people set up and manage an event to help you sell your stuff, give you money, be another present body to assist with anything you need those final days, buy lunch for you as you sell and pack, tell you how cool and brave you are, and scrub your bathroom sink.
- Don’t sweat the sudden changes in plans, because they will happen. Roll with it, baby. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. Adventure is calling, and there is nothing like it, but that will require a commitment to being solution-oriented and letting things roll off your back. For example, the day I was set to leave I ran into a snag with the pickup of my bed and having the unforeseen complication of the hallway carpet in my building being replaced on my move out day. At one point, I literally sat for an hour in my apartment waiting for the opportunity to leave. But I didn’t sweat it. Though I didn’t get on the road until 8 hours after I planned, what matters is that I did.