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How I found happiness in my life when I was feeling lost

How I found happiness in my life when I was feeling lost

“Doing what you like is freedom, liking what you do is happiness.” ~Frank Tyger

Life is a web of uncertainty, where we often believe we are on the right path, only to realize we’ve been wandering down the wrong road all along. You’ve been there, right? Have you ever thought that your entire life is planned? What if you decide to do the things that will make your life happy but end up being disappointed? I totally understand your frustration.

There’s no definitive map leading to a happy or fulfilled life. There is no wrong or right way. Society provides us with predefined milestones like graduation, marriage, and homeownership, but what if these conventional goals don’t bring true happiness to you?

I am the first to admit that these goals are not wrong, but they may not be what you want in your life.

I was constantly questioning my own existence two years ago. “What am I even doing with my life?” Not in the conventional way of needing a new career or relationship, but more in an existential crisis of “ I was put here for a reason, but for what?”

These nagging feelings became louder, and urged to find an alternative life. One that was less conventional, completely out of comfort zone, and full of excitement. The time had come to embrace the nomad spirit and embark on an adventure of self-discovery. We decided that we were ready for a life of adventure. We sold all our possessions and set out in an RV.

We sold all our belongings, bought a trailer and hit the road to discover our country. But life had different plans.

My father unexpectedly passed away on the day we left. Six hours had passed before I heard the terrible news. We pulled over immediately in the middle to nowhere and decided our next step. In Wisconsin, sitting at a truckstop, heartbroken and shocked, I once again questioned my decisions. “What am I doing with my life? Why is this happening right now?”

Even in the face of grief and sorrow, I knew I needed to keep moving forward. I couldn’t change what had happened, and I couldn’t afford to dwell on it; I had to keep moving forward.

My father was thrilled by my next adventure. He was very proud of me, for having taken a leap of faith and for experiencing all the things this country has to provide. He told me, just before he passed away, to bring back good stories. I will do this in his honor. And so, our nomadic journey began, and over the course of the next year, it transformed our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined.

Traveling may be perceived by some as an escape from reality. Our journey was an awakening and a confrontation with our deepest thoughts and feelings. On the road we reevaluated what really mattered, and what had to be left behind. It provided the space for self-reflection and growth, shedding the limitations that had held us back for so long including some we didn’t even know existed.

Routine stole precious time from us, we realized. We were robbed of the richness and experiences we could have had by staying in our comfort zone. A scarcity mentality also prevented us from taking advantage of opportunities. Breaking free of these so-called “chains” was liberating. It allowed us to discover ourselves in ways that we had never imagined. We started to enjoy the unexpected and less rely on routines.

In the face of life’s challenges—including health and legal issues on top of the loss of my father—we discovered the so-called secret to happiness. It wasn’t about avoiding adversity; it was about embracing life fully, no matter the circumstances. It was about choosing to believe that every moment could bring positive outcomes and realizing that happiness was in my reach.

After a year of traveling, our priorities have changed dramatically. It’s no longer appealing to me to meet societal expectations. Instead, I crave a slower, more intentional life—a life where I immerse myself in the present, valuing experiences over material possessions, and forming meaningful connections with others.

You may be wondering how to bring joy into your everyday life without taking a nomad adventure. Here are a few suggestions.

Embrace playfulness.

Rediscover the joy of childlike play. Engage in activities that bring out your playful side, whether it’s snowboarding, climbing trees, or observing lizards. These moments of fun can revitalize your spirit.

Take on challenges.

Dare to leave your comfort zone. Trying something new, whether it’s a sport, a course, or a skill, broadens your perspective and encourages growth.

Cultivate gratitude.

No matter how small the things you are thankful for may seem, they will make a difference. Gratitude changes your perspective on life, and helps you remember all that you have.

Be open to novelty.

Free yourself from the chains of routine. Seek out new experiences, whether it’s trying a different meal at your favorite restaurant, exploring new places in your town, or trying one new activity each week.

Life can be bewildering, but it’s through shaking up our approach to living that we find our way back to ourselves and happiness. A conscious decision is made to find joy despite challenges, grief and the routine. No matter what life brings you, embrace the journey with open arms, and live it loudly over and over.

Our new motto is: “Explore more” since we’ve hit the road. Exploring more love and intentions, more connections, as well as more experiences, that ignite our souls. We’ve decided to define our happiness every day and you can, too.

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Christina Mendelson

Christina Mendelson, a full-time digital Nomad, is a travel writer and sales director. She shares lessons and adventures from the road with others so they can live well. Visit her Instagram account @livewellexploremore to see more of her adventures.

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