Eight months ago I quit my full-time job to pursue my dream of traveling the world. I was recently separated from my husband and dealing with a baggage cart full of emotional issues. As I trudged into the office every day I not only felt like my dreams were slipping away, I started to feel like I’d forgotten how to dream. In college I traveled around the world and meant to continue traveling. In the “real world” it seemed the adventures I dreamt of were impossible.
My family was not enthusiastic about my choice to quit my secure, salaried job to travel and pay my way with seasonal farm work and freelance writing. I ignored them, and the Monday after I left my full-time job I packed up my car and set off into the western sunset.
It was the best choice I ever made.
While I don’t make a lot of money, I keep my living expenses low and have been able to afford over a month of straight up travel in six states during the last eight months. I’ve also lived in three different places, made amazing friends all over the world, and managed to not go broke. I work hard and honestly, but people still call me a drifter. To the outside world it seems that I’m just floating wherever the wind takes me; aimlessly driving to the next adventure.
But I am not a drifter. Here is why:
Drifters run away from their problems; I ran towards mine. I left my home and job, but I was not running away. I used the last eight months to understand who I am and what I want from life. I spent a large portion of that time alone, working in fields with nothing but my thoughts. If I wanted to run away from my problems I didn’t need to look any further than the local bar. I chose a constructive and therapeutic path instead.
Drifters don’t consider their future; I travel to support my future. I know that if I do not travel now I will regret it when I am older. I know that the experience I’m gaining as I travel will make me a better friend, daughter, spouse, and worker. I keep a conscious eye on money as I travel and continue to plan for the future, much more than I did when I lived a “conventional” life.
Drifters have no goals in life; I have many. In the last eight months I have pursued my lifelong dreams of traveling, farming, and writing. I have learned how to cook, to grow vegetables, and build greenhouses. I’ve had bylines appear in magazines and on websites. I’ve networked, attended conferences, and been invited to speak to classrooms and on radio shows. I’ve expanded my career in more ways than I ever imagined.
Drifters float between reality and fantasy; I remain grounded in reality and try my best to make the world a better place. I work on organic farms because I believe in the work and in changing our food system. I do not live in a fantasy world where everything is okay, but instead choose to help create a better future for our planet. I write about important issues and spend my time learning about and discussing serious issues facing our planet. I do not spend my time getting sucked into television and dealing with made-up problems on a daily basis, like I often did in my conventional life.
I have lived for travel and adventure since I was old enough to walk. My choice to move around the world was less a choice than a necessity. It was always the life for me, just like a person who knew they wanted to be a doctor or a firefighter from the age of five. My life is unconventional, yes, but I am not running away. I am running towards my dreams, and I do it every day.
About the author
Ash Bruxvoort is a freelance writer and a farmer-in-training. She grew up on a conventional farm in Iowa. She enjoys trail running, hiking, watching the Chicago Cubs, and is in the process of reading everything Margaret Atwood ever wrote. You can follow her on Twitter @ashbrux_writer and read more of her writing at thenomadicfarmer.com. She lives in Upstate New York.
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