I Give UP! Details Overwhelm Sets In

I quit.

What have I been thinking?

Who do I think I am, chucking my entire life, pretending I can travel the world for a year?

I can’t even imagine how I’m going to deal with my stuff and figure out what to do with my house, let alone have enough money to live and work from the road.  I’m 58 years old, for Pete’s sake. I give up. I’m not going.

These thoughts pass through my mind whenever I think of everything I need to get done to realize my dream of traveling around the world for 365-ish days. And the more I read other world travelers’ blogs, the more I realize that this is perfectly normal, this not-knowing-what’s-going-to-happen fear, this there-are-so-many-things-to-do/plan/decide/buy overwhelm.

Yesterday I was feeling that overwhelm in a pretty major way. My mind whirled with the myriad details of what travel bag to choose, which walking shoes to buy, whether I should sell or rent my house, what to keep and where to keep it, how I’m going to manage mail, how I’m going to deal with taxes, and on and on and on . . .

Then I remembered about lists.

Before I started hyperventilating, I grabbed a pencil and notepad and began writing down everything that was streaming through my mind like a high-def Bruce Willis action movie. A peaceful calm immediately started trickling through my manic brain. Oh, right, I thought. At this age I have tools to deal with fears, anxiety, and overwhelm. I just have to remember what they are and how to use them when I need them most.

I realized then that I actually had a list of lists constantly running in the back of my mind. I am astounded that I had not yet started a real, physical, long-term list of things I need to do/research/buy before I go. So now I have the beginning of my list of lists and a place to jot down all the random thoughts that come into my head when I read a blog about dealing with taxes while traveling or what mail service to use. Lists Fix Everything

Here is the very beginning of my list of lists:

  • Stuff:
    • Room by room, separate items into three categories: Keep, sell, give
    • Create a timeline of selling stuff using VarageSale, Craigslist, Facebook, specialized garage sales (Jewelry! Clothes! Electronics! Tools!)
    • Find an awesome home for my cat, Apples.
  • Stuff about the house:
    • Get CRM from my realtor—should I sell?
    • Talk to property managers about renting to long-term tenant—should I lease?
    • Prepare house accordingly
  • Stuff to purchase:
    • Laptop (Dell Inspiron 11 3000 series)
    • Backpack (probably Eagle Creek Switchback 22) and packing cubes
    • Walking shoes
    • Down jacket
    • The perfect pair of pants
    • Travel insurance
  • Stuff to research:
    • Best way to travel between countries
    • Volunteer opportunities
    • Weather by month
    • How to deal with taxes
    • (This list is going to get huge!)
  • General stuff to do:
    • Re-establish my credit (I had to file bankruptcy in 2010. It’s been a long recovery.)
    • To that end: apply for a credit card
    • Decide where my permanent address will be (tricky, since I don’t plan on coming back to Oregon. Probably will be my mom’s in California)
    • (Another rapidly growing list!)

These items represent just a tiny beginning of things that go through my mind. This list of lists will grow quickly, I’m sure. And when I am working on planning my trip, I’ll go to my list and see what to do. There’s nothing like crossing off an item on a giant, months-long list of lists to feel like I’m making progress!

My goal is to leave by November 2015 and travel for a year, so I also remind myself I have time to take care of all these details, but no time to waste. My departure date will be here before I know it, so I am actively choosing my travel laptop, my backpack, my walking shoes. I am sorting through my stuff and talking to property managers. And the money? I’m already halfway to my goal of saving $10,000, so I may increase the final total if my work flow continues to hold steady.

From now on, when I have those moments of panic and anxiety about preparing for such a huge life change, I will simply remember my lists and take comfort in knowing that it will all work out as long as I stay on track. After all, these are some of the best life skills I’ve developed, tools I can pull out of the bag when they’re most needed.

What do you do when you’re in overwhelm? Are you a list maker? Please share the life skills you’ve developed and keep in your tool bag!




Top Five Reasons for Traveling Around the World

Finding the “Why” in Your Deepest Desires

You have heard it before, and maybe you have even said it yourself: Some day I am going to travel the world. A few weeks ago, I woke up and realized, that day is here. The time is now. I decided to commit to traveling around the world for a year. You can read about that decision here

If you have ever taken a motivational course, you have probably heard about how important it is to solidify your “why.” Your “why” is your reason for doing anything. It is very easy to decide to do something (did you make any New Year’s resolutions?), but to see a decision reach fruition, you must have a solid, strong, and deeply felt reason that propels you toward that goal.

I seem to have a natural ability to accomplish what I set out to do. Many people ask me how I have made the dramatic life changes I have (this post is about that), but honestly, I had to stop and think about why I achieve my goals. I have realized that I practice not only the three secrets I blEurope trip June 08 114ogged about in my last post, but I also have a deep, strong, unshakable desire to reach my goals. If I am missing that part for a particular goal, it usually drops off the map. And yes, that’s happened plenty of times.

I have been writing down in my RTW notebook all the reasons I have for traveling around the world for a year (Paleo-style, I might add, but that’s a topic for the next post), and I thought it might inspire other wanna-travel-ers to begin planning their trips around the world. So, without further preamble, here they are:

5. I want to expand my adventurous side and be brave.

I had always lived a rich and colorful life. But by the time I hit 50, my life had slowed down dramatically, and I noticed that my world had gotten very small. I live in a gorgeous, artsy little town of 20,713 people (I just checked), and while I love the area, I am feeling closed in and shut off from the rest of the world. I have gotten small and safe. I am ready to step back into my natural, adventurous state of being. I want to eat new foods (Paleo as much as possible!) and smell new smells and feel new air.

4. I have wanderlust.

I have had wanderlust all my life. I went on my first international trip when I was 19. I went alone to Europe and had the time of my life. Ever since then, I have traveled as much as my budget would allow. My income is rather small, enough to support a single woman, but I am making my RTW a priority, so every unspent dollar is going into my travel fund. (More about this in another post, too.)

3. I want to meet people from all over the world.

As I mentioned, I live in a small town. It is very vanilla and safe and dramatically NOT diverse. I love people. (As Ruth Gordon says in Harold and Maude, “they’re my species.”) And there is so very much to learn from other cultures, other lifestyles, other ways of being. I cannot wait to see who I meet.

2. There are so many new experiences to be had.

Some guy I used to know taught me that experiences are far more valuable than stuff. I have taken that attitude to heart. (In fact, my teen-aged great-nephews and great-niece don’t quite appreciate that I give them experiences instead of gifts, but I know in my heart that some day they will.) I treat myself the same way. I am creating my own memories from experiences that feed my very core and will last me a  lifetime.

And my number one reason for traveling the world is:

1. I have only one life. Just one.

Yep. This is it. Just this one precious, unique, special chance I get, in all of eternity, to be consciously alive. I will never have this chance again. We all make choices that impact what our life experiences are by the end. I have chosen to mindfully, consciously, and without fear step into the world and grab whatever yummy, dirty, exciting, scary, sweaty, heart-pounding experiences I can. I relish the boring days. I rejoice in the stimulating, exciting days. And at the end of every single day I say, “I am so deeply grateful to be alive.”

What is your dream? What is your “why”? Please share in the comments below.


One Year to Plan a Year

One Year to Plan a Year.