Welcome to Project Life – Travel is Not Enough

Welcome to Project Life

Travel is not enough.

There, I have said it!

The blessing and curse of travel is that it gives you time to think. Analyse. Tear your self apart. Build yourself back up again.

In these times of self-analysis, I have discovered that travelling is fun, but it’s not the answer to everything and definitely not the purpose of my life.

What is my purpose?

Maybe I should start with a brief history of adult me…
Project-life-final

Seemingly I leapt from one thing to another with no obvious purpose, jealous of those who had a grand plan.

Being a shape shifter

Then about a year ago I met a man who described my ‘life floatiness’ as ‘shape shifting’. I’m going to call him The Dude.

According to The Dude, a shape shifter has the ability to adapt and change to whatever they need in life, at a particular time.

What a wonderful way to see it!

The term shape shifter has stuck with me. I like it. It gives me confidence. Plus it makes me sound like one of the frickin X-Men…

I now reject my old self-perceived flaky attitude to life. No longer do I float aimlessly.

In actual fact I had set myself mini life projects and achieved them one by one, before moving onto the next.

Project Life

Without realising it, I have also set myself mini life projects on this trip:

“I want to make house sitting the world a reality.” Check.

“I want to teach myself web design and make pretty websites.” I got my first paid job the other week! Check.

On the outside it appears everything is going great. Can’t complain. The weird thing is though, until recently I still had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that something is not quite right.

The potential to travel indefinitely is there, but do I want it?

At the moment the truthful answer is no.

Travel is great and opens up so many opportunities, but looking at it as a life plan leaves me empty.

It just feels just too self involved, going from one place to the next seeing new things and meeting people, but rarely inputting anything useful or meaningful into the world.

The next challenge

I look at many long-term travel bloggers and they also seem to struggle with merely just travelling. They set themselves bigger, crazier goals to keep life interesting.

Once you achieve something, you don’t just sit back and pat yourself on the back and think well done.

You move onto the next challenge. The more you extend yourself, the more you realise you are capable of. You stop putting limits on things.

And so my attention has changed to Project Life:

Instead of focusing on what I need to do for the rest of my life and freaking out about an overall plan, I am looking at mini projects to keep me on track and motivated:

Project volunteer – To make our travels more fulfilling we plan to volunteer on various projects in Canada and South America. Obviously this is still not 100% altruistic as volunteering makes you feel good, but there is nothing wrong with doing things that also bring you happiness.

Project return to the UK and build a tiny house – we have become obsessed in the last few weeks with the tiny house movement.

The idea of paying a mortgage for the rest of my life gives me heart palpations.

On the other hand I crave having a place to call my own. One built with my own two hands even more so.

The tiny house means we can do this. It’s literally a small version of a house, usually on wheels. People may call us crazy, but I now see this as a compliment.

It means if we get bored or need to leave, it doesn’t matter, we won’t be tethered to debt. It can also combine our desire for a more sustainable life and reduce needless consumption.

project-tiny-house

I am not spiritual and don’t believe in fate, but sometimes this world throws up coincidences I can’t explain. Just as we immersed our lives in all things travel when planning our trip, we have done the same with tiny houses.

Reading blogs, watching videos etc… Then we arrive at our Airbnb stay in Portland and one of the homeowners has just finished filming a documentary about the Tiny House Movement and injects us with a whole heap of fresh inspiration and belief.

Little coincidences like this keep you going on a new path.

Project start a family – this one obviously depends on our bits working (and may not be just a mini project), but we cannot escape our huge desire to create a little person and impart our (lack of) wisdom and show them an alternate lifestyle.

Life enhancing

I guess, like travel I am still looking for experiences that enhance my life, but to me they just connect more deeply with my beliefs and needs.

I am lucky to travel. We enjoy and it will hopefully be a part of our lives in the future, but it’s no longer our sole focus.

Project Life sees our short existence in the world as an experiment. Some things may not work, but others will. Each mistake is learned from. Nothing is forever. We can shape shift as much as we like and not feel guilty about it. Each project has the power to open up new opportunities.

Perhaps we are all shape shifters and don’t even realise it. We set ourselves impossible lifelong plans and get stressed, depressed and worn out trying to achieve them.

It’s cool if you do have a grand plan and it makes you happy, but I can’t imagine asking my 18 year self make decisions about my life now. It would be ridiculous, he was a tool. We change constantly, so it’s ok to adapt our lives to the new us. We should embrace it rather than fear it.

In the last few weeks whilst travelling America I have met so many people who are making their own path in life. Stepping away from the expected career and looking for a fulfilling alternative.

It gives me great hope for my very own Project Life.

But for now, my mini life project is telling me to focus on more immediate matters and make some delicious cheese on toast…

project-soulThought I should end with a super soulful shot so you can imagine me pondering life whilst you read this, innit – Deep man, deep…

It’s time for a challenge – Marcothon

The Challenge

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A few years ago I received a message from my good friend Spam. That isn’t her real name, but a lovely nickname I gave her over 10 years ago.

After you hear what that message contained you’ll be amazed to discover that she is still my friend.

It went something like this.

“Have you heard of Marcothon? It’s a challenge where you run everyday in December, including Christmas day. You just have to do 25 minutes or 3 miles. I’m doing it. You in?”

Of course my first reaction was…

No way!!

But the thought kept niggling away at me.

Could I do it?

Should I do it?

Will my body implode?

I do like a challenge though….

Then finally, why not?

I knew that if we were both doing it and supporting each other, we’d be more likely to succeed.

So I took a deep breath and said yes!

Challenge accepted, I waited for 1st December.

I would like to point out that at the time I lived in North East Scotland and December is winter. It’s COLD!

Like snowy, icy, windy rain and sleet in your face cold.

challenge-marcothon-weatherJust some of the Scottish weather I faced on the challenge

That first day was horrible.

Besides a couple of futile attempts on a treadmill, I’d NEVER EVER RAN in my life before, let alone for 25 minutes, or for 3 miles, 31 days in a row.

I was always one of those girls at school who turned up to P.E. with a note excusing my participation in all sport.

“Yes Sir, it’s my ovaries again,” was the only excuse ever needed.

So I had no idea how I was ever going to keep up the Marcothon challenge every single day.

I did most of my runs after work in the dark, because winter in Scotland means darkness at 3pm.

You have to plan it into your life and will yourself on, even when you would rather sit indoors, eat chocolate and binge watch Netflix.

One day I knew I’d be home late, too late to go out. So I had to head off early morning…. In the dark and cold yet again… Unsurprisingly winter in Scotland doesn’t get light until 9am.

At the time I would have enjoyed pulling out every fingernail one by one, more than facing the cold in my lycra joggers. But I did it!

Support and Success

Everyday Spam and I would text each other, “Run completed” along with photos of our efforts and happy smiley messages.

As difficult as it was for me, Spam was much more of a trooper. She is a paramedic and works shifts. Some days she’d work a 12-hour shift get home 14 hours later, and then have to run for 25 minutes.

Other days she’d smugly text me at 3pm to say she’d been out. Making me dread the run I’d have to do later, as I looked at the rain lashing down outside.

To cut a long story short, I did it.

I ran every day.

I even ran on Christmas day and then cooked Christmas dinner with Rob for his family.

One day I ran around the house in my underpants for 25 minutes. We were staying in a cottage above the snow line, it was so icy outside it was impossible to walk, let alone run. I didn’t want to give up on day 29, so I had to improvise.

I ran on days I didn’t want to.

I got faster.

I ran further.

Felt happier.

In 31 days I could run 5k without stopping in 30 minutes.

I ate all the delicious Christmas food and still lost weight.

Why am I telling you this?

Well… I’m going to do it again. This December I’m challenging myself to run everyday, for 25 minutes or 3 miles.

If I tell you, then I have to do it.

Join me in Marcothon!

Now I challenge you to join me in this craziness!

It would be nice to have some ‘virtual’ company. We can support each other and get through it together!

I can’t promise you will love every second of it, but what’s the point in a challenge if it’s easy?

If a complete novice runner like me can do it, so can you!

So who is up for the challenge?

Let me know, and for all you none commentors you can message me on Facebook or Twitter and get involved.

I would love to hear from you!

Anyone….? *sits nervously waiting, hoping the silence will be broken*

challenge-marcothon

The Official Marcothon Rules:marcothon rules