On Simplicity, Contentment, & Two Years Of Travel

by gigigriffis

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 dance.

To sing out loud.

To write.

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.

Simply content.

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.

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15 comments

Dale May 29, 2014 - 4:11 am

Congratulations Gigi!

We’re approaching that milestone in just over two weeks and like you we’re so thankful for everyday and what travelling has given us both.

Like you we’re appreciating life more, the little things and the big and you’ll know be in Switzerland which is where I realised late last year that I need my connect to nature to bring me peace away from the craziness of city life from time to time. The best country for that, by far.

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gigigriffis May 29, 2014 - 4:46 am

Thanks, Dale. And congrats right back!

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Montecristo Travels (Sonja) May 29, 2014 - 7:32 am

What a beautiful post. It is often said that to find ones self one has to get lost. Looks like you did just that.

Congrats dear Gigi. Takes courage to do what you did. I admire your spirit.

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gigigriffis May 29, 2014 - 7:39 am

Thank you!

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Rebecca May 29, 2014 - 10:46 am

Great post and Congrats on living the life you want and seeing the world while you are at it.
It really is great to just be satisfied with how things are without wanting the next adventure or thing.

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gigigriffis May 29, 2014 - 11:40 am

Thanks!

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Jessica V. Lindgren | Gal Friday 612 May 29, 2014 - 11:24 am

<3 <3 <3

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gigigriffis May 29, 2014 - 11:40 am

:)

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Steve barta May 30, 2014 - 7:21 am

Beautiful! Thx for sharing!

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gigigriffis May 30, 2014 - 7:24 am

Thank you. :)

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Hope May 30, 2014 - 8:09 am

Congrats! What a lovely journey. If everyone took time to enjoy the little things, we’d be doing a lot less running around and a lot more living. (We’d also hear a lot more people belting their hearts out in falsetto, which I personally think is hilarious.)

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gigigriffis May 31, 2014 - 7:18 am

Thanks!

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Ali June 2, 2014 - 5:08 am

Congrats on 2 wonderful years, Gigi! I’m so happy for you, and I’m so glad you came through Freiburg almost 2 years ago. It’s really wonderful that you’ve found that simplicity and contentment.

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Rebekah June 2, 2014 - 1:41 pm

I’m still at the 10-page list point, but your experience and words are very encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

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gigigriffis June 3, 2014 - 1:30 am

Thanks. :)

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