I’m writing you today from Castellon, a town that’s a one-hour drive from Valencia in Spain.
I’m here visiting my father, my 9-year-old little half-brother, and his mother, who is Spanish.
This is my first time in Spain. A couple of weeks ago I was in London. Before that, I was in Lviv, Nice, Paris, Vancouver and I started the year in Toronto. I also spoke at an event in San Diego and briefly returned to San Francisco and LA too!
(If you want to see the photos, make sure you follow me on Instagram).
I’ve been on the move consistently for two years.
We can probably blame social media for this, but lately people tell me they are envious of my lifestyle.
(I do enjoy the irony in just recommending you follow me on Instagram!)
I totally understand why people have this impression. If you look at my photos, it appears like non-stop eating, visiting historic sights, train and plane trips and beautiful nature.
The truth is, much of my travels include these things.
However, it’s important you understand what life really is like when you travel for 12 months of the year.
As with most things, there are the ups and the downs…
What Really Happens When You Have No Permanent Home
“Where do you live?”
This is a question I’m frequently asked.
When it’s a serious question, for example from the officer at Passport Control when you catch the Eurostar train from Paris to London, I say I live in Toronto, Canada.
This is true of course, at least my aunt’s house in Toronto plays the part of my home and I’m a Canadian resident when I need to fill out forms and talk to officials.
When I’m asked this question in a casual setting, my answer is more cryptic…
“I don’t really know right now.”
Which is also the truth.
Ever since I started traveling I’ve experienced dichotomies.
For example, when I was younger and I left Australia to visit Canada, I’d always miss where I wasn’t.
If I was in Brisbane, I’d be thinking about things I like about Toronto. Then while in Toronto, I start missing Australia.
This experience has only magnified as I expand how many places I visit.
Now I miss the hot chocolate in Montreal, the forests in Vancouver, the prices in Lviv, the beach in San Diego, the friends in Australia, the family in Canada and the list goes on.
However, there is one dichotomy I struggle with more than simply things I like about cities…
The Concept Of Home VS The Freedom Of Travel
For most of my early life, I craved having my own home.
I’m a die-hard introvert, so my own quiet space is like heaven to me.
After leaving my mother’s nest, I briefly lived with some friends, before earning enough money from my business to buy my own place.
From that point forward I lived solo (or with my cat, Ramses, who died a few years ago).
I love the routine of living in one place. You have your regular friends, the same places you go to work (in my case, cafes), eat the same foods you enjoy at home or at the same restaurants you go to over and over again.
Having a base is also great for personal and business development.
If you need to create a course or write a book or fill your blog or podcast with content, you just get more done more quickly when you aren’t moving around.
You can also complete an exercise program — for example, I did the P90X program a few years ago, which took up a large chunk of my day. It would not have happened if I was moving around.
The downside of habit and routine is you can get stuck in patterns that keep you comfortable.
Traveling means you experience new things constantly. Everything is exotic, exciting and fun.
Now, whenever I find myself in one city for longer than a month, I start to get this feeling of repetition, of stagnation. I get an urge to move, just for the feeling of movement as purpose.
And therein lies the biggest dichotomy — when I travel, I miss stability and routine, when I stay in one place, I miss movement and change.
Traveling Solo VS Traveling Together
No man is an island they say.
For a while I fought against that belief.
I traveled solo, lived solo, found contentment being solo.
Of course, like many a red-blooded male, I also sought out female companionship.
Eventually, I’d meet a girl who I connected with and we would start traveling together.
Initially, having a partner interrupts the solo patterns I enjoyed and was used to, but that feeling quickly fades away and is replaced with the pleasure of company, closeness and new experiences shared together.
Traveling with someone is about as intense an experience you can have with another human being over a long period of time.
It goes beyond just living in a house together because then you leave each other for work or friends.
When you travel, it’s just you two all the time doing everything from shopping for groceries, being tourists, carrying luggage, to sharing new beds and bathrooms.
When the person you travel with leaves, switching back to solo is difficult. You feel their absence constantly and are reminded of them as you do things you used to do together.
Eventually, solo routines set in again, even if you are still traveling, and you begin to enjoy having 100% control over your time and decisions.
That is of course until the next companion comes along (yes there is a Doctor Who reference there!).
Try Both Before You Die
One thing I am very grateful for is having the opportunity to enjoy all the dichotomies and the ups and downs.
Most people on this planet cannot even make the decisions I get to make every day. If you are reading this, you likely have similar opportunities, so cherish the fact that you probably won the birth lottery.
The world is large and full of incredible variety, in nature, food and people.
You owe it to yourself to sample from this abundance as much as you can.
It’s also important to stay put and just create when the time is right to do so.
By experiencing both, you learn to appreciate both.
True experience comes only through contrast. You don’t truly appreciate what is there until its absence.
I’ll see you on the road,