It’s human nature to want to be accepted by those around us, especially those closest to us. We want to be unique yet yearn to fit in, we crave something different but sabotage ourselves just as that something awesome is within reach. The rather harsh reality is, however, if you really want to live life on your own terms, you are going to have to let go of a lot & get out of your own damn way.
Here you’ll discover why we decided to ditch ‘normality’ for a life on the road, almost three years ago. We’ll also take you through how to visualise living on your own terms &, we share 7 tips with action points so that you can get started with living as you chose right away.
“If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.”– Mo Willems
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Post updated by The Wilder Route on 6th May 2021.
How We Ditched ‘Normality’
Back at the start of 2018, after returning from a year-long backpacking trip we were faced with the question of how we wanted our lives to be?
After some pretty epic adventures including an independent cycle tour of Cuba & wild camping in Canada, we returned to our home country of the UK with a deeper connection to the natural world & a feeling of exploration in our souls.
Knowing from that point that we wanted to live a life that brought us closer to nature & be able to share that with others, in the July of that year, we sold most of our possessions & packed the rest of what we owned into our tiny home on wheels.
Since then we have lived in our motorhome full-time, building our online business on the road & even getting married along the way. We are proof that creating a life for yourself that you love, is possible.
To Live Life On Your Own Terms ∼ What Does This Look Like?
The first step to building your dream life is to visualise it; remember if you have dreamt it, it exists.
For example, when we were looking to live on our own terms, this meant looking at what we really love to do & building more of that into our everyday. We love to adventure, hiking being one of our favourite ways to explore, so when thinking about our dream life hiking, nature & time outdoors were all integral parts of our new lifestyle.
““ Visualisation is daydreaming with a purpose.””– Bo Bennett
Get yourself something to draw or paint with (doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple pencil & paper will do) & draw what your dream life would look like – go into as much detail as you can & when you are finished hang your creation somewhere as a constant reminder of what living on your own terms looks like.
Can I Truly Live Life On My Own Terms?
Of course you can, the thing to remember is that to live life as you choose is not some selfish act of just doing what you want – it’s about finding meaning & purpose so that you can live a more fulfilled life. Our 7 tips below are here to help you, each including a point that you can act on right away…
1. Prioritise What’s Important To You
The pandemic has made a lot of people stop & think about what’s truly important. The reality, for a lot of people, is a pretty hectic & overwhelming life &, when we live in this state of constant stress everything is affected.
In fact, according to new research from the British Nutrition Foundation almost half of UK adults say that busy lives & stress play a large role in stopping them from eating healthily, with 40 percent of adults admitting that being too tired after work is their main reason for not being active – Source WorkplaceInsight.net
With stress on the rise, we’d say it’s vital to think about what’s most important to you & set priorities accordingly.
For example, before we went on our big backpacking trip together our lives were very much taken up with work & time socialising with friends & family. Our friends & family are very important to us, however, it has meant that we’ve had to look at how we spend our time with them & adjust that to suit our new lifestyle. We have swapped big nights out for big hikes, regular & steady income for self-employment & a permanent home base for our tiny home on wheels. We have done all of this as it means that we get to work & adventure wherever we choose & instead of living for the expectations of others we are living life on our own terms – happy & free.
Note down everything that you love to do, the things that make you feel alive in your body & set your soul on fire. If you are struggling to think of something that you do now think about anything that you did as a child or earlier in life, that made you feel this way. It is important when making this list not to get caught up in any outcomes, so for example when writing ‘I love to paint’ you don’t get too attached to what you’ll actually paint or how good it will be. Title this list ‘The Things I Love To Do’ & keep it somewhere safe.
2. Work On Your Own Terms
Loving what you do every day is the dream, isn’t it? Realistically though a lot of people are stuck in jobs that they loathe. The thing to remember when looking to work on your own terms is that millions of people around the world do exactly that, so there’s no reason, with some hard work & determination that you cannot.
Mindset will play a big part here, playing to your skills & knowing your worth being key.
For example, when we decided we wanted to work from anywhere & share our love of nature & adventure with others we didn’t 100% know how we were going to do that. What we did know, a year after setting up The Wilder Route, was that we had the skills to help others with their websites & social media & thus, our digital marketing agency The Green Thread was born. As well as this we have carried on delivering van life, travel & alternative living inspiration & have also, guided by our love of nature & adventure set up our very own organic clothing range Nature Threads, which you can check out here.
Using your ‘The Things I Love To Do’ list, think of the possibilities for jobs that you could do that would a) mean that you are directly doing those things or b) will bring you closer to being able to do those things more often. If remote working is something you are looking to do be sure to check out our step-by-step guide on how to become a digital nomad which includes tips from ourselves & other digital nomads on working from anywhere.
3. Say No
Saying no is something that a lot of people struggle with but saying yes to everything can put major stress & strain on a person. As well as prioritising, saying no is crucial in achieving your goals & steering you towards your dream life.
We are not saying that you should never do things that you don’t feel like doing, as doing so is just a part of life, what we are saying is that you shouldn’t feel guilty for saying no to things that are not meant for you. Living life on our terms has very much meant that we say no to a lot of things that we maybe would have said yes to before but the result of that is, we have more room for the things that mean the most to us both.
“Real freedom is saying ‘no’ without giving a reason.”– Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words
Think of three things right now that are non-negotiable for you, these could be things that you don’t wish to get involved in discussing with others or something that you just don’t want to do – note these things down under the heading ‘Boundaries’ & stick to saying no when someone is trying to pull you in the opposite direction. Noting how these values serve you, for example, ‘I am not drinking alcohol for a year because I would love to be a healthier version of myself’ is a good way to remind yourself why this boundary is important to you. A book that has helped us is —> The Power Of A Positive No. <—
4. Ditch The Guilt
Society has a way of holding us down in social shackles, making us feel as though we ‘should’ be living a certain way. The way we see it, what is most important, is living in a way that is connected to your true purpose & your true authentic self because that, in turn, is how we best serve others & make the world a better place.
It is so easy, however, to get caught up in a cycle of guilt when you are not living in a way that others deem you ‘should’ do.
For example, we got married in 2019 & around that, a lot of expectation was projected our way, you see, married to some people means ‘settling down’ with a mortgage & children. But married to us means a lifetime of adventure together, for that, is what makes us both happy & that is how we have chosen our married life to be. Yes, we felt bad at times, having to tell people no & seemingly ‘let people down’ but what’s the alternative? Well, it’s to make ourselves miserable which is something we are not willing to let happen.
Find a quiet space & sit for a while thinking about the last time you felt guilty about something, think about why you felt guilty, where you were & who that involved. Now, hold that guilt in your mind & focus on it. Ask yourself, were you really doing anything ‘wrong’? If there’s something deeper that you need to work on, we’d recommend delving deeper but if the guilt was because of a difference in opinion, not living up to someone else’s expectation or anything like that, it’s time to let it go… in your mind, imagine that guilt in a big pink bubble, put the people, feelings &/or the situation in that bubble too, breath all the love that you can into that bubble until it floats away, into the sky & smile knowing that your love has helped you to move on from this guilt.
5. How To Handle ‘Advice’
Have you ever been buzzing about an idea, only for someone to completely burst your bubble with their opinion? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there!
It’s useful to know that there is a fine line between unwanted opinion & welcomed advice.
For example, you are reading this blog post which is filled with our opinions & perception based on our own experiences – you have chosen to open it & read it but that does not mean that you have to follow all or even any of the advice that we are giving you. What you chose to take from this post is up to you.
Living life on our own terms in the way that we do means that we get a lot of questions, advice is thrown our way & quite often we are faced with other people’s opinions. Whilst we appreciate that intentions might be good, we have learned that we have the option to take on someone’s opinion/advice or not & guess what? So do you!
“One of the most expensive things you could ever do is pay attention to the wrong people.”– Dr. Henry Cloud
Handling situations with grace is key, remember if someone is telling you what you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing, that’s on them. Be prepared by reading this post which details ‘6 Polite but Effective Ways to Deal With Unwanted Advice‘.
6. Take Small Steps
A while back we spoke in front of a live audience at travel conference Borderless Live about ‘‘Living Life On Your Own Terms’ – one of the questions we were asked by our host Han Meets World was… “If you could give one piece of advice to help others to start living life on their own terms, what would it be?”
Our answer was simply to visualise what your dream life looks like (the start of this post details how to do that) & to start by taking even the smallest of steps to get there.
For example, you want to start a travel blog but have a full-time job – look at how much time you can dedicate to it per week, allocate that time & stick to it. You may want to pack up everything you own & drive off into the mountains but we can tell you that this didn’t happen in an instant for us, there were lots of steps but most importantly tons of determination involved.
With some patience, courage & hard work we believe you can get to living a life that you love.
Looking at your ‘Things I love To Do List’ note down 10 things you can do, big or small, that will get you even just a little bit closer to doing what you love & living life on your own terms. Come back to this list every 30 days & make sure you are staying on track.
7. Find Your Balance
It is said that your new life will cost you your old one & in some ways, this is very much true. Deciding to do things differently may mean that you lose some things along the way however, a lot can be gained too.
This goes back to prioritising what is important & finding your balance in making the time for what matters most. Balance can be a funny thing & something that we have admittedly struggled with. We have both found that not only setting but reassessing priorities has helped us massively in living & working on the road. It’s all very much been about working through the ebbs & flows.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”– Mahatma Ghandi
We both journal regularly & it has massively helped us to stay on track. Get yourself a fresh journal, it doesn’t have to be expensive, just something that you can jot notes in (you can even use it for the exercises above). If you can splash out a little more we’d recommend The Daily Greatness Journal which is designed to help you to transform your habits, achieve your goals & improve your life. With daily prompts, weekly check-ins & space to review where you are at quarterly, Kelly uses this journal & loves it!
Are You Ready To Live Life On Your Own Terms?!… Good, Because You Can Do It
Whether you have started your journey to your dream life or are just starting, we hope that you have found this post both useful & inspiring.
We can assure you that sticking with your dreams will pay off in the end & the rewards for that are unmeasurable.
When we began all of this we never imagined that we would be working online full-time let alone running our own digital business.
It’s not just us though, countless brave souls around the world have committed to living life on their terms & are successful in doing so.
So there you have it, if you are wondering if it is possible it most definitely is!
Love & freedom filled wishes,
Kelly & Adam x
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