When I first started traveling I would think long and hard on where I wanted to go. Because travel is expensive and so you have to optimize the opportunities it brings. But many trips later and I’m far more agnostic on what the destination is. No matter where you are, there will be something awesome to see, interesting people to meet and adventures to be had.
What I’ve found that the traveling is actually not the main thing. It’s the freedom that travel brings.
Go see the sights? Good!
Bake on the beach? Fine!
Read a book at the pool? Sure!
Sumptuous dinner and partying? Of course!
When you travel you have a number of days set aside in which you don’t need to do anything specific, meaning you can do anything you like.
A few years back I went on a sabbatical, 8 months of the above. As expected, I absolutely loved it. But after the first few months something started nagging at the back of my mind. Yes, this was great. But after a while it started feeling selfish, hedonistic even. Everything I did was geared to personal enjoyment. And though that is certainly something great, it’s not the only thing in life. 6 months in and I started longing for doing something constructive, something useful again.
And so I went back to “real life”, back to work, quickly filling my days with responsibilities and expectations, pleasing customers / clients, saying yes when I wanted to say no. Needless to say, the joy that I felt while traveling quickly evaporated (though I did have a sense of doing something constructive!)
Is there nothing in between? Is it possible to have freedom and to be constructive at the same time?
This is a question that has been in the back of my mind for a while. I don’t have an answer, but I have a hypothesis (or perhaps I should say two):
- An important part of happiness is freedom. Freedom can be the full absence of responsibility, but it can also mean having a strong influence over what your responsibilities are.
- Being constructive means doing something that makes other happy (external) and learning new things (internal).
I’m hard at work to launch a startup. It will help me to test the hypotheses above; I’ll have a lot of control over what and how I do things, it means building something that people (hopefully) will enjoy and I’ll certainly be learning a boatload of new things.
I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out whether I was correct or not.
I’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.
If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!