Most of my life I felt similarly. I wanted to travel, travel, travel! Leave our quiet neck of the woods and see Mexico, Italy, France, Switzerland, Nicaragua, Belgium, Netherlands, San Diego, Portland, Fort Myers Beach, here, there, everywhere, never quit traveling, never quit traveling!
And that happened. Often on a limited budget, in limited amounts of time, on a hope & a wish, on luck and free airline miles, on places to stay with family and friends–it happened. I traveled hither and yon.
The trips were delightful. You smelled espresso, tasted arroz a la plancha, climbed pyramids, bicycled in Antwerp, experienced Montezuma’s revenge. (OK, that last one was not delightful–I was 17 years old and drank some ice tea the gut refused to sanction–and ended up getting a shot in the rear end by a doctor in some hotel near Acapulco. Landed in the Detroit airport in one of Michigan’s worst April snowstorms and our school bus got stuck in the snow outside our small town and snowmobiles rescued the travelers in our Spanish Club. A boy in Mexico named Sergio said he loved me, but I suspect he wanted a free ticket to the United States and…oh my! It is certainly easy to get carried away with adventurous tales.)
If you had an unlimited amount of money and time, what would your LIFE look like?
At age 12, 22, 35, 47, and 58 I would repeat monkey-like: travel, more travel, even more travel. Oh, and give money to people less fortunate. And also maybe have enough money to feel fully comfortable. I can remember making our way here in the woods in the 1980’s and wanting to buy an answering machine that cost $40. We didn’t have that much extra money. We waited months to buy that answering machine.
What’s oddly happened since the years have passed–how can I put this in words that sound true?–I began slowly to realize that travel really was wonderful. And that a certain amount of money felt necessary to feel comfortable enough to relax and thrive and buy a new roof. But what shined more clearly and truly: the real prize is the ability to feel happy in myself, no matter where I was.
That money and time ARE beautiful assets, but they don’t mean as much as feeling content inside. Italy looks stunningly gorgeous, but that’s outward. What shines inside slowly is feeling more compelling than the treasures gifted by travel and cash.
And–please don’t get me wrong–I have not achieved some wonderful always-happy content peaceful inner state. Uh-uh. It hasn’t happened.
But what has happened, more and more, is that I have begun to cherish this inner home that is not dependent on travel or money. Not dependent on anything external. Not even dependent on our little house in the woods. To continually keep reaching for and discovering the peace which exists deep inside and is not dependent on the outer world to fulfil.
I answered my Facebook friend: My life would look exactly the same as it looks now. Because time and money and travel really don’t buy happiness. They can enrichen, but they’re not enough. Happiness feels like an inner well that exists deep within. Look at all those millionaire travelers still seeking fulfillment. (If you know any millionaire travelers, that is…)
But enough of me. I would like to hear what you think and dream and feel. If YOU had unlimited time and money, what would your LIFE look like? Even if happiness does lie within, what ignites your heart to dream about?