Dear Traveler, "Settling Down" is Not the Enemy

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Oh, How Things Evolve Freebirdie

I am so happy in my life right now. So incredibly happy. 

It’s moments like this that remind me that being stubborn about the plan for your life is...well...silly.

Do I mean not having aspirations? Do I mean not working for your dream life? Absolutely not.

What I do mean, is being malleable of what that looks like. Of being open to something different. Maybe even something polar opposite to what you had planned for yourself and your life. 

Had you asked me 3 years ago how I envisioned my life, I would have told you that the dream for me would be living wherever I wanted, however I wanted, and for as long as I wanted. I wouldn’t be tied down by anything or anyone. I would make money doing something I love, maybe writing, but it really didn’t matter too much to me. My main dream was to live the adventure. To be an adventurer. A freebirdie.

I had no ambitions to own a home, or really settle down (be tied down) in anyway. I would be with someone who dreamt of adventures too, or I would be with no one at all.

It actually makes me laugh sometimes when I think I had to be so set in that dream. I should have known better than to be so certain. Then to think I would know who I would be or wanted down the road. 

I will tell you that my definition of adventure has changed. I still want to see the world, to explore, and to roam when I please, but I don’t fear staying still as much as I used to. In fact, I welcome the idea. 

It comes back to understanding that I don’t have to choose. That I can be who I am, an adventurer, and a woman who roams, while owning a home. I don’t have to sacrifice any side of me. 

Had you told me 3 years ago that today I would be living in a small town, in a house with a backyard and white picket fence vibes, in a lifelong partnership, with a puppy, I would have probably, honestly, felt disappointed. What do you mean I’m not living in Europe? What do you mean I got a puppy? How will I travel now? 

Wait, I’m starting my own business? That’s pretty cool.

I’m writing everyday? Woah, go me!

I met a guy who is as big of weirdo as me? Sweet.

I, of course, know now that that would have been a ridiculous response. 

You’re not living in Europe, right now, because you love Canada, and there is plenty of adventuring to be had here.

You are challenged in different ways now.

And, puppies are cute, so shut up dummy. Plus, you’re with someone who understands and cares about you (good job). They will support you in all your travel dreams.

You are dreaming bigger. The biggest.

You have dreams you didn't even think to imagine yet.

Just remember to keep your mind, heart, and future open to new possibilities. Even to a new realm of possibilities. 

the Magic of the ultimate adventure

There are of course exceptions, but you never know what’s going to make you happy until you’re living it.

Settling down is not the enemy. You just have to make sure to custom order it. 

Sure, I have a puppy, I am in the longest-term relationship, and I have some serious white picket fence type vibes going, but does that mean I am any less me?

Nope, I’ve actually come to realize how much I’m more me. I can hear myself think. I know what matters. 

That long-term relationship you’re scared of? Pick wisely dummy.

No one is trying to trap you or force you to stop traveling. In fact, they’ll encourage you too, even when you’re not sure you should. They’ll be there right alongside you making adventures happen.

Got a puppy? No problem.

Want to drive to Patagonia (get yourself a mechanic, kids)? How about Texas? Or Alaska? Let’s take the long way. 

Let’s live passionately. Let’s be daring. Let’s adventure together. 

Buying a house is not going to mean you won’t be able to leave. You are always going to have an emergency adventurefund. That is just how we roll. Accept that. 

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You set the terms for your life

You are building your own life. You get to set your own terms. 

Opportunity for an impromptu trip to New York City, of course you’ll make it happen. That’s just how we roll. PLUS, you’ll have someone there backing you. 

What matters is that you would have done the thing whether there was someone backing you or not. 

Again, perception, make the most of it.

View every situation as a new lesson and adventure, and be willing to learn from it. To stand your ground where you know you can’t bend. Where bending will break you. Will tear you away from who you know you really are, from what you know really matters. 

3 years ago Steph what matters list:

  1. Freedom

  2. Freedom

  3. Freedom

  4. Freedom

  5. Coffee

Today Steph what matters list:

  1. Freedom to make my own choices. Design my own life. To be unapologetically me.

  2. Freedom to live a life full of meaningful connection

  3. Freedom to adventure where, when, and with who I want

  4. Freedom to provide support and feel supported

  5. Coffee

You can have it all. Whatever that means for you. 

Building a tiny house and driving it around the country? Do it. 

Solo adventures? Do it. 

Buy a house, have a couple of kids, and travel during the holidays? Do it. 

Combo pack of it all? Do it.

The fact is, you have no idea what life has in store for you. All you can do is make the most of right now. (Repeated to myself daily)

That does not mean just “Going with the flow” or “rolling with the punches” all the time. It does not mean not working for what you want in the future, or doing what you can to figure it out. 

What it does mean, is to embrace the curveballs, and to be open to changing directions. To view it as exciting, not disappointing or soul-sucking. Did I say soul-sucking?

I know how hard you’ve worked to be who you are now and I know how scary it is to think of compromising that. I really really do. 

“No One Puts Baby in a corner”

Didn’t you swear you would never let anyone dictate your life again?

All those “No one puts Baby in a corner” vibes. 

And they won’t. You have a complete say in that.

But you are strong enough to stand your ground. 

To check in with yourself. 

To remind yourself what matters. 

I promise. 

You won’t forget who you are now. You’ll always be her. 

You’re just adding some layers. 

You’re just learning new lessons. 

I promise this will make you, if nothing else, stronger and more sure. 

Freedom can look a lot of different ways. 

Embrace them all and you’ll see it everywhere. 

You know who you are deep down, you won’t lose her, and if you do, you’ll come back to her. 

Think of all the things you’ve loved and done because you where open to a new direction. Big or Small. Why would this be any different? 

The fear gremlin shows up in a lot of different ways. 

Just because something is one way now, doesn’t mean it won’t change. Doesn’t mean you will live that way forever. In fact, you probably definitely won’t. 

The freaking curveballs I’ve been dealt that turned out to be blessings. Sheesh, we’d be here all day.

The key is to look forward to the curveballs. To get excited to meet the next level version of yourself. Think of how fun it would be to get to know her. 

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Settling down is not an evil concept. It is not a trap. It could even just simply mean, settling into yourself. It is not synonymous with sacrificing who you are. It does not mean sacrificing the wanderer. You know where to find her. You can tap into her whenever you like. Wanna bring the puppy?

25-year-old Steph, actually, you’re going to love having your own office. A home for all your books and all the souvenirs that aren’t tattoos. You’re going to love drinking your coffee on the back porch. You’re going to love just staying in with your manfriend (he’s real cute) on a Friday night. You’re going to be with someone who really hears you, supports all of you, and cheers you on (crazy right?!). Oh, and you have a puppy named after a Marvel character. You’re welcome. I love ya, kid. Keep on, keeping on. 

You can have it all, dude. Just keep your head up, and your eyes peeled. Life’s going to show up for you. You’ll know when it does.

It’s just one giant roller coaster ride.

Life’s the adventure, define it however you’d like.