I’ve wanted to write a post regarding other people’s reactions to change, no matter what that change may be, where it comes from and how I choose to deal with it.
I’ve always been the kind of person who goes after what I want and oftentimes my dreams are unconventional. My family (parents) are the opposite. They had 1.5 kids (I’m the .5 LOL). They moved into the perfect house with the perfect number of bedrooms. My father worked a full time job to support my mother and the 1.5 children. My mother was a stay at home mom. They traveled 1-2 weeks out of every year, etc. They lived the “American dream” but that’s never been my dream, EVER. (Caveat: I recently learned that the American Dream was a marketing campaign by Fannie Mae to push people into buying property!)
When I wanted to travel solo, I did it. My family thought I was nuts and naysayed me all the way there and back again. Eventually I stopped telling them because I didn’t want to deal with their negativity.
When I went back to school in my 40’s to get a master’s degree, they naysayed me through my first year. I was too old, I was giving up my “best” earning years, yadda yadda yadda.
When I wanted to get a divorce and chose to be single and not have children, my father told me that I was a complete failure.
My family has pretty much labeled me as a failure for my entire life. And yet — I’ve achieved more in my lifetime than most of them (siblings not included) have achieved in a year.
This is not a brag, it’s a fact. I don’t need to list my accomplishments, they don’t matter. What matters is that there will ALWAYS be naysayers in your life. Don’t listen to them! Listen to and focus on the people who encourage and support you!
My impetus for writing this particular blog at this particular moment is a facebook post I recently saw. Another person in my family is trying out van travel. She’s not looking at it as a full time life but merely as a way to add more travel into her everyday life. She’s very active on Facebook. Me, not so much.
She posted a few pics of her first van experience and someone in my family posted that we are both “loopy” (another word for crazy) and this negative person hoped that I would see the post and “come to my senses”.
I responded with sarcasm (“thank you for your support and for calling us names”). Yes it pissed me off but it shouldn’t. This particular person in my family has never followed their dreams. EVER. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the things they bemoan constantly. They dreamed of moving to another state, but they never did. They have lived in the same house for over 40 years and they hate it. They hate their life. They are miserable.
So what about me following my dreams is upsetting to them? It’s like a slap in the face. It reminds them of what they never did. I liken it to a using alcoholic who has a sober friend. It’s pointing out their problems, their issues, their pain and their suffering.
People are scared of change. They just are. I’m not immune to that fear but I’m more afraid of not changing, of stagnating, of staying the same. One of my favorite quotes is from Tony Robbins: “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change."
I truly believe that, plus it’s the point I’ve finally reached. And my change is terrifying other people. And their way of responding is to demonize me, call me names and point their fingers. They don’t need to be held accountable if I’m the one who’s crazy for doing something they only wish they had the guts to do.
This happens with minimalism too. And the book I just finished reading, which I highly recommend is: Everything That Remains by The Minimalists. Among countless seeds of wisdom, Joshua talks about the fear of getting rid of “things” and what non-consumerism brings up for others.
People have to question their own actions, beliefs and ways of being when other people in their lives embrace a new way of living.
It happened when I became clean and sober 12 years ago. People who couldn’t stop using naturally fell away from my life. I expect the same will happen now, it’s already happening!
When I mentioned my upcoming vanlife decision to my neighbor she rolled her eyes and said “you’re NOT moving into a van”! While I see this as minimizing, invalidating and not listening (let alone hearing), I decided to let it be a lesson instead. Don’t tell people who can’t be supportive.
My family, my neighbors and quite a few of my acquaintances are not my “audience” and by audience I mean support group—people who have the same values, ideals and passions as I do.
And that’s okay. I don’t have to listen to all the people proclaiming “you’re going to be homeless” or “you’re giving up a good career” or “you’re crazy” and whatever other fears and negativities they want to push on me.
I don’t have to accept their stories or their drama. I’m confident and secure in my choices today.
When I started writing and publishing in 2016 I had friends and family “begging” for copies of my novels. They ALL wanted to read what I was writing. And you know what? I sent free copies to almost 100 people. Guess how many read them? ONE. One person read my books. And that’s when I learned that my friends and family will never be my “audience” and that’s okay. They wanted to read a book I wrote, they may have even intended to read it, but they never did because the truth is, they don’t read the genre I write. The only thing that interested any of them was the fact that they knew someone who had written a book.
It happened again recently when I posted a cover for a new book under a new pen name on facebook. I got dozens of requests and yes I spent the 2 hours it took to send my book to a new set of 50+ people that I knew would never read it. And I was right, only one person read it and not the same person as the first time, someone else. I only make the download available for 2 weeks so if I person doesn’t download it and tries later, they’ll have to ask me for it again. It’s been well over a month and no one has asked. I check the downloads periodically and less than 5% ever even click on the link. Are people all talk? Kind of. Should I hold that against them? If I want to, but that won't change the outcome and takes up too much of my time and energy. Instead I move on, keep writing and producing and growing while focusing on the positive. I gave those friends and family what they thought they wanted (access to my books) and they failed. Once they’ve failed, they never ask again :) It’s an important lesson for all of us. 1. Don’t have big expectations and 2. Don’t ask a friend for something they’ve written that you’re not going to read!!!
I hope this inspires you, helps you in some way. I hope you can forgive those in your life who don't understand you or emotionally support you. I hope you can fill your life with encouragers instead of naysayers. But when you encounter naysayers (and you will) know this is their baggage and not yours. You are living the dreams they didn't have the courage to live. Follow your dreams and if you can't find support from anyone around you, please reach out to me! :)
~ by KA
***I do include affiliate Amazon links in some of my posts. If you click on books or products I recommend, and purchase them I will receive a few cents but it will not cost you anything extra. You are not required to purchase anything through any of the links I provide! But if you choose to, I thank you!
I need to do a “quick” post about the travel aspect of #vanlife. If you don’t like to travel, you can still live in a van if you have somewhere to park it long term. But the idea of van living sprung from travel. Setting yourself free on the open road, finding your rhythm with nature, exploring hidden wonderlands and discovering yourself. There is a 2015 movie based on a true story about a lady who lives in a stationary van. It’s not unheard of but that’s not why I’m doing it and that’s not what my blog, instagram, youtube videos and podcast are about. (The latter two are in the works for the not-to-distant future)
I am not a spontaneous person. Weird, right?! But neither do I accomplish each daily task at a specific time without deviation. I prefer a solid plan for my daily goals, but my plan seldom has specific times set for each task. For example, I may have a list that says: finish chapter ten in book x, write a blog post for penname y, create automation sequence for newsletter z. But it doesn’t look like: 9am to 10am = x, 10am to 12:30pm = y. I’ve tried this and I’ve failed. Lists without times work best for me.
I usually have so much on my list to accomplish each day that I have to prioritize and put the most important items first. This means the items toward the bottom are often carried forward to the next day. And the joke among my friends is that I usually accomplish more in one day than most people accomplish in a week. It’s true, but that’s how I’ve always been.
Working two jobs for 40 years without stopping has made me proactive, disciplined, productive, motivated and focused. Not every single day. I have my off days just like everyone, but 90% of the time. This is not to brag, I’m not actually sure it’s a good thing. I haven’t scheduled (and therefore haven’t taken) time to stop and smell the roses, have fun, explore… I haven’t even been to the beaches near my house! I live 40 minutes from some of the most beautiful beaches in my state and I love the beach. I’ve lived in this particular location for 10 years and I still have yet to explore it. That’s not something I’m proud of.
When I travel I am spontaneous. When I travel, I explore. I still manage to work when I travel too, but I don’t fill my days with x, y and z between 10am and 2pm.
I walk out the door of whatever hostel or airbnb I’m staying in and I go where my little feetsies (size 5) take me. Sometimes I’ll research a highly recommended place to eat (right before I walk outside) and I’ll head there, but more often I’ll walk until some place catches my eye.
There are definitely some things I loosely plan. Like when I was in Barcelona, I was told I had to buy tickets for La Familia Sagrada months ahead of time or I’d never get in. So I did. But you know what? I still didn’t get in! I made a mistake and bought the wrong ticket for the wrong day! But in that moment, standing in front of Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, I simply did something else.
When I travel I point my boat downstream and go with the flow. It’s the ONLY time I do this!
Before I leave for a vacation, I always plan where I’m going and when because when traveling through Europe (my preferred destination) and having a set amount of time, you kind of have to.
So I will know that from this date to this date I’ll be in Prague and from this date to this date I’ll be in Berlin. I print out a calendar and I write in how many days I’ll be in each destination and which day I’ll travel to the next. I sit with my laptop and book all my accommodations and plane fares. I don’t book most train rides before leaving. Those I book when I’m there, usually the day or up to a week prior. Sometimes I book them after arriving at the train station. If it’s a particularly important train ride to a smaller town, like the time I flew from Spain to Italy and then had only 5 hours to get down to Cinque Terre, I’ll book ahead.
So what does my perceived vanlife look like for me? I plan to work on the road. Currently when I’m not at Job A which takes place in an office, I’m at Job B, which takes place at home. And I AM disciplined. I work from 10am until 4pm, five days a week and from 9am to 9pm, two days a week. I used to work 12-hour days, all 7 days a week, but 2 years ago, I decided that having a life was more important. Most days that I work from home (my preferred job/passion of writing, editing and publishing) I also exercise for 90 minutes, walk/run the dog for 30 minutes, make dinner and eat for an hour.
When I’m on the road, I know that everything will change. But I still plan to work for six hours, exercise and eat well. At night instead of watching TV or playing video games, I will probably be planning my next day of finding the local grocery store to purchase water and somewhere to park and sleep the next night. While I plan to be somewhat spontaneous while living in a van, I will have to stick to a schedule too.
There is a method to my madness. I will follow vanlifers before me and go south for the winter and north for the summer. I’ve already written out a list of where I want to go and a rough idea of when. For example, I’ll be moving into my van in June 2021 and for the first 3 months I plan to explore the Pacific Northwest and visit friends there. I have friends who live in Southern Oregon all the way up and through Seattle into the San Juan Islands, and they all know I’m coming to visit! I have a rough idea of where I want to go and what I want to see in the fall and then plan to visit family and friends in Southern California for the winter. But I know plans can and will change, and I love that. The idea of shedding my belongings, all this STUFF, and hitting the road to the great unknown is my anecdote to the 40 years I’ve worked my life away in stagnant rooms.
A new beginning. Forced spontaneity. Moving out of my comfort zone. Facing fears. Yes, please! Where do I sign up?
Hi, I'm Kimberly Anne! (aka K.A.)
This is where you'll be notified of some bloggings, podcast episodes and my upcoming classes at discounted prices!
You have successfully joined our subscriber list.