Two years ago, I left my permanent address in the states to forge a new life for myself.
I had no idea what that life would look like, really. I just knew I needed it—whatever it was.
Back then, if you asked me what I wanted, I would have given you a 10-page list. I wanted to see everything, go everywhere, do everything.
I had always wanted that, really.
I wanted it when I first set foot in Australia in 1999, ankles swollen from over 24 hours of airplanes and layovers.
I still wanted it when I chased a giraffe through that game reserve in Botswana the very next year.
I wanted it when I took off for Belize to do a test run of my working-remotely-from-other-countries plan.
And, of course, I wanted it when I sat at home between trips, planning my next adventure.
Now, though, after two years of full-time, unapologetic unconventional living, my lengthy must-do lists and that endless itch for the next adventure have bled into something new.
I feel myself settling into a simpler rhythm, a strange and perfect contentment with my life just as it is today, in this moment. I’m not planning my next adventure. I’m not craning my neck to see what lies around the bend. Instead, I’m fully, perfectly in this moment right here.
I still approach life with my arms wide open, my face turned to the sky, seizing opportunities as they appear, loving adventure and newness and change. I still say yes far more often than I say no. I still love the idea of kayaking the Cinque Terre and exploring Patagonia.
But these days, if you ask me what I want from life, I don’t have a 10-page list for you.
Instead, I find that my joy rests in a few simple things:
I want to hike.
To laugh. Often.
To sing out loud.
And to love.
This shift toward simplicity—toward knowing myself thoroughly, toward taking joy in the small things—feels perfectly timed, as I settle into my home base here in Switzerland (the first place I’ve called home since that long-ago day when Luna and I boarded a plane for Edinburgh, Scotland).
Perhaps this is a strange way to put it, but I finally feel as though I’ve grown into myself. Like I spent so much time trying to fill into the person I wanted to be, the life I wanted to live. Like I was always waiting for my life to really feel like mine…
And now I’m here—able to simply live it. Still growing. Still changing. Still struggling at times. Still wanting to love more perfectly and always move forward. Still with a life that hands me joy and tragedy, beauty and difficulty, all in one not-always-tidy package. But also perfectly myself, content to be here, content to be me.
So the second anniversary of my unconventional life passes tomorrow, with unconventional living looking different than I ever anticipated.
And for that, I am grateful.