5 Goals Inspired by Life as a Solo Backpacker

It’s weird to think about the concept of ‘goals’ now I have chosen a flexible and open lifestyle; there’s no road in front of me with needless signposts, but rather a blank wide space in which I could go in any direction. But setting goals doesn’t have to mean making specific, unreliable expectations of your future. We can consider how we wish to experience life, no matter what ends up happening within it.

Despite my adversity to making plans, it is worth mentioning I have four little rules which I try and remind myself to live by: Be Kind.  Be Humble.  Be brave, and…  Fuck it. And that’s as far as I ever got with the subject. Until 2 nights ago.

It was 3:30 am and, during a bout of insomnia, I was inspired to consider if I do have any goal for my life. In the dead of night, I came up with one goal which felt like an earnest response to the concept.  If you’d like to read about my one big goal, skip ahead. But having had a little more time to think, I’ve added more mini goals into the mix.

 

TREAT OTHERS AND THE EARTH WELL

I won’t write about how I intend on doing this as I don’t want to lead to a tangent in which I appear to advise or lecture about controversial subjects. Not on this post. This post is of the emotional variety.

But kindness is crucial. When I was a kid I remember thinking that life consisted of many tiny individual moments, which made me terribly sensitive to seeing petty or thoughtless comments that made others upset – in my eyes, that was one moment in somebody’s life that had been ruined for no reason. A moment that they’d never get back. We grow thicker skins as we get older, but those skins are still pierced pretty easily. So just, let’s all try not to be a dick, okay?

HAVE LESS, LIVE MORE

I have lost a bunch of my personal possessions twice in my lifetime: once in a house fire and once when I sold what I had left to go traveling years later. The first instance taught how little material possessions actually matter and the second time I was acting on this realisation.

Experiences count more than things. I don’t really think that I can write it better now than I did in my house fire post, but seriously when you’re gone do you want to be remembered for your stories or your stuff?

Why A House Fire Convinced me to Travel & Live Minimally

You can get a new job but you can’t get and get a new life. We are so lucky to get a choice about this guys. Most people in this world will never leave their own country and people in your own city are working twice as hard as you are just to feed their kids beans on toast for Sunday dinner. We are so lucky if we choose stuff, and we are equally lucky if we choose experiences.

None of this bullshit about how anyone can travel – it’s a huge privilege – and we should be grateful for it every single day. None of this bullshit about how you’re jealous of people who travel full-time if you own a bloomin’ house either. Be grateful for your beautiful home. Be grateful for your travels Just live whichever life you’re choosing the best you can and live it more.

EMBRACE FEAR.  DO THINGS ANYWAY.

Yep, that’s my bio right there: Scared of everything, doing it anyway.

I solo travel with social anxiety, I backpack the world despite a fear of flying, I jumped off the branch in  Laos into the lagoon even though I’m scared of heights and hesitated at the last moment, slipped down anyway, bashing my arm on the way down and ended up with a huge branch-shaped bruise on my arm. (Oh wait. Maybe I don’t recommend that last one.)

Seriously though. Fear sucks. It stops us from doing things we want to do and it really sucks.

Did you know, despite my anxiety, there’s one thing I’m not scared of? Fear itself. (Yeah, you heard that right Roosevelt.) I know I’ll get scared, I know it will hurt… I will do it anyway. Remember that people who don’t feel fear will never get to be brave. And courage is one of the very best things there is to feel.

Overcome. Keep going. Embrace the fear.

BE YOURSELF

Act like a weirdo if that’s what makes you feel good. Write or speak earnestly about your problems or life or experiences or emotions, even if you’re worried about coming across as too intense or silly. Wear the brightest clothes and sing to the shittiest songs in the car. The only way you will find Your People is to be yourself. It’s so important, or you’ll just attract people who don’t truly make you happy.

Just make sure that this goal never contradicts the first goal, and you’re on to a winner.

And this Be Yourself thing goes deeper too. Don’t stick in a  job because society tells you it’s the Right Thing when deep down you know it’s the Wrong Thing. Don’t settle down in the wrong relationship because when you were fifteen you decided you wanted to be married by 30. Don’t buy a house when really you want to buy a caravan by the sea. Learn the new skill even if you’re worried about doing it wrong or think you’re too old or too stupid. Talk to that person you like even if they’re out of your league.

Oh god.

Because… FUCK IT!

Ha… I can’t believe I just did this. These four goals are literally just a reiteration of the four rules I wanted to live by all along. Did you spot it before I did? Kindness, humbleness, bravery and a huge fuck it. I suppose I’ve just given them a little more precision and re-evaluated what they mean to me. I have a tendency to, despite travelling the world, often find my thoughts end up back where they started.

So, here we are, finally on to my one big goal which I wrote earnestly about at 330 in the morning when considering what my life goal could be. It was in response to an instagram post in which @wanderintwo noted there’s is to be happy and healthy. I’ve copied my initial late night response word for word.

THE GOAL I HOPE TO LIVE BY

“I was going to write ‘to be happy’ because it’s simple and to the point and my tendency to ramble usually results in senselessness.

But no such luck. Enjoy:

I don’t just want to be happy. Contentment is a fine goal, but it requires perspective. And perspective comes with overcoming fear and sacrifice. I hope to feel every painful, insecure moment that comes with falling in love. I want the sting that comes from forgetting to put sunscreen on my upper thighs and to feel the shit! panic when I realise something’s been stolen. And god yes I want the happiness that comes in between! – the fuck yes that comes with resolutions or aloe vera or he likes me back! I want to feel it poignantly with an appreciation of how gorgeous these moments are.

So my goal is to feel, I guess. And I don’t mean that in a dirty way (although obvz I do mean that in a dirty way too). This is why we travel, right? To taste crazy new foods and to feel the sea breeze against our skin or the burn on the back of our legs on the way down a mountain. We want to feel like shite getting off night buses at 4am and the sting of mosquito bites. We know we’re going to feel lost or frustrated or overwhelmed but we do it anyway. Because we know it’s so worth it for the ecstasy of seeing a perfect view or making a new connection or finding shitty wine in Bali.

My goal is never to become numb to all of this. To never kid myself into settling for less than everything our bodies allow us to perceive. I’m after the full human experience; every bit, every feeling. ❤️

(Except gross things like infected toenails and giving birth. No thank you.)

And also I’d like to learn to ride a bike. 🤷‍♀️”

 

What do you think guys?

And what are your own goals?

5 Comments

  1. This is so well written Cassie, it really made me think. I like how you highlighted how much of a privilege travelling is as I hate it when people assume we can all ‘quit our jobs and travel the world’. I really love how you write! Melis

  2. This is one of my favourite posts I’ve read this year. Since travelling I’ve started to learn about material possessions. Now when I hear friends back home worrying about having to spend money on getting a new outfit for a small event I realise how much that used to stress me out too, but how much it doesn’t actually matter. I love your last point. During those late night buses and wandering around the streets trying to find my hostel I still have a little smile, because I’m feeling something and creating memories. Xx

    https://www.lauralovette.com/

  3. I love this post so much! I suffer from anxiety too and sometimes do let it stop me from doing the things I want to, but I’m slowly learning to overcome it and its amazing.

    xoxo
    Jess | The Crown Wings

    1. Hi Jess. Thank you so much for that. I’m actually posting a specific post about solo travel with social anxiety in the next day or so. Sounds like you are doing great! xx

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