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Illusions …

The hard part with my decision on traveling for a year is how not to make plans.

A friend of mine asked me where I was planing on going. My own answer surprised me since I hadn’t really thought about it. To wherever the winds take me. By then I knew I want to travel in a slow pace. Not crisscrossing around the globe just to check of a list of cities or continents. Even though at this point, 25 days before takeoff, I realise that one year won’t be enough whether traveling fast or slowly.

Planning and working towards making the plans come true. I believe we all recognise that from our upbringing and the values society holds for us. Especially now when living in the social media age. Facebook is full of articles and adds on how to succeed in this or that area and what to do to get there. Either it has to do with beauty, nutrition, schooling, insurances, traveling etc. Haven’t we all read 5 best ways to … As if there is an absolute true on how things should be done. How to live a life in the right way. And to start planing for it.

One of the best times in my life was when sailing The East Indiaman Götheborg. Being at sea the only thing I knew was when to be on watch and when not. The weather, the winds and maintenance decided the amount of work balanced with leisure time. Yes, Yes, I know. We can’t all live like that. But I miss the not planing part.

So when my friend asked me where I was planing on going I was thinking of not planing where to go. And then my brain did what it is used to doing. My brain started planning.

I get it, I get what my brain is doing. When I decided to start this whole thing I immediately started planing and making lists. Renting out my apartment, check insurances, see to that all the bills goes to my e-bank, stop all paper mail, prepare for this and that, and what to bring, how to store photos, vaccines and much much more. So the brain picked that up and started planing for where to go. So the past two days I’ve been looking for places to stay, people to take me in, South America or Iceland, where and what.

And this morning my brain freaked out because it didn’t know where it’s body, me, would be in a month from now. My brain freaked out and my body started hurting. So I had to sit down and talk some sense into my brain.

Because deep down in my inner core I know that planing only gives me an illusion of security. No matter if I am at home or if I am out traveling the world. Planing creates expectations. When reality doesn’t meet ones expectations one might experience it as a failure. The feeling of failure doesn’t do any good.

So instead of planing I will try to give myself, and my brain, the framework for my journey. This is probably something I will have to remind myself of from time to time. Or perhaps it won’t be a problem once I’m off. So here is my framework.

Meet locals
Listen to peoples stories
Be kind
Do a lot of photography

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Preparing the mind …

The one thing I’ve learned about life is that every change needs preparations. It’s not about making lists over things needed doing. It’s about preparing the mind and the thoughts for the change. Let’s say you decide to run New York marathon, in order to make it happen you will have give yourself the time to train your body for that physical challenge. Right? Right!

It’s the same technique you have to use when it comes to your mind. You have to work out, try new thoughts, think them again, challenge the thoughts in action, stumble, get up and try again. It’s hard work, but I believe it’s rewarding in the sense of inner peace. Let’s get back on that.

My preparations probably started when I was teenager. The thought of exploring what was on the other side has always intrigued me. At 18 I found myself a position as au pair in the Netherlands. I remember telling my mother about it in excitement. Her response to me was I don’t think you should go because I don’t think you will cope. I wasn’t sure if my mother was wright, mothers are not always right, but her comment made me hesitate and question my ability. So I didn’t go to The Netherlands, I didn’t try bein au pair, I didn’t go traveling. But I left home.

So with that upbringing it took me 40 years of working out my brain to get where I am today. Trust me, there are no shortcuts. I stopped reading those books about how to help myself ages ago. And if you really want to read any of those choose one, read that one and forget about the rest. Then proceed to training your thoughts, every single day, and follow it up with tiny exercises. At first the new will feel odd but give it a good couple of weeks practicing the same thought and then look back. You’ll see the change and you’ll be proud of yourself. Be proud of yourself.

Over the years I’ve challenged myself in a lot of different ways. It has never been about showing off or proving anything to someone else. It has always been about me. Me, my curiosity, overcoming my own fears, challenging my abilities, my strengths and above all my weaknesses.

I attended a webinar today, listening to Anna Åberg, a Swedish digital nomad and guru. Even though she has succeeded and has nothing to prove to anybody she talked about those inner fears. Yes, we all have them. Wether we are at the top or on our way there. The most important thing is not to let those fears restrain you from trying.

Not trying is a failure. Trying and not making it leaves you with one more experience.

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Precious pieces …

Yesterday I took a day off from planing and preparing. The temperature has decreased dramatically the past few days from flip flop weather to boots and mittens weather. But it’s beautiful outside with all these autumnish colours. So I took a stroll and ended up at the Museum of Gothenburg. One can spend hours here getting to know about the history of the city but also the present and what is planned for its future.

I’m on my way out when I see the text Precious Pieces. There are also small pieces of paper on which people has written down their own precious pieces. My body, my friends, my cat …

Makes me happy that most people think of their family, friends and pets as their most precious things. When we travel we tend to bring things that will remind us of the people who can’t be with us. In the 19th century when Sweden famished people left for USA. One of Swedens national poets wrote about it and in one of his books describes how a woman brought seeds from an apple tree. That was her precious pieces.

I am extremely lucky to be privileged with things like education, health care, parental leave and a lot of other things. Today I am also privileged with being able to stay in touch with the people dearest to me because of technology. I love technology.

Apart from the obvious ways of staying in touch through social media I recently found the app FireChat. What’s unique about FireChat is that it also works when there is no Internet connection or cellular phone coverage.

Technology will help me stay in touch with Mine Precious Pieces.

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How to carry my belongings …

As I told you before I decided to travel light. The main goal for this year is not about buying souvenirs to bring home or struggling when moving from one place to another with carrying my things. So I’m going to travel light.

That means one bag. The one I already have is a 32 litres wheeled backpack from Eagle Creec. It’s a genius bag. Weighs 1.2 kg, easy to convert from backpack to wheeled bag and I’m convinced one can pack at least 50 litres. This is a magical bag. I’ve had it for two almost years and it’s the best ever suitcase/bag/backpack I’ve ever had. Eagle Creec also has a double bag, a removable daypack strapped to the front for day-tripping. Looks handy but I think I’ll be fine with the one I have. I have to confess I’m a sucker for practical gadgets and could easily spend a fortune on them.

In addition to that one I’ll bring a TrustBag. It’s a gym-bag in appearance, but very safe and practical when traveling. Look at the video and you’ll never ever want to bring another handy-sized bag when traveling. The material can resist cuts, ripping and abrasion, the inner bag is waterproof and made out of RFID-blocking material so that passport and credit cards can’t be scanned. You don’t want your id and credit cards scanned. The only thing they have missed, in my opinion, is something to prevent the bag to be easily taken of when carried. So I’ll probably keep the two straps together at the front with a snaplink.

The FlipBelt Zipper edition is a smart belt to wear when working out or traveling. The zipper edition is wider so you can store a passport or a larger smartphone if needed.

I might also bring a light weight, foldable day backpack for day trips and such.

I’ll get back to you with photos in a couple of weeks when I make my first packing tryout.

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Changes …

I had a conversation with a friend wether traveling is a sort of escapism. Well, Yes, it can be. And so can moving, getting a new job, divorcing and a lot of other different life changing acts. When you decide to make a change, when you are planing it, it doesn’t seem to be a big deal. But it is. The difference between planed and unplanned changes is that the ones you plan they sort of develop from a thought into action. You plant a seed, you water the soil and eventually there will grow a plant. You get accustomed to the idea and it doesn’t feel awkward or strange thinking of it.

Changes are good thing. Changes makes us stay alert and awake. Changes gives us new perspectives and challenges our way of thinking of ourselves.

So why am I making his change in my life. And why now.

Because it was the right time for it. Because it fitted into my life. And most of all probably because I have been preparing for it to happen for the past 10 years. I didn’t know I would do this and I didn’t plan for it. But I ques I was ready when the time was right. All the bits and pieces just came to place, aligned in a perfect way.

To me this is pretty much how I would define quant in real life. Stephen Hawking will probably never read this blog and therefore I will never find out whether he agrees or not, but I think he would.

Do less planing and be more open minded for what gets in your way. That is one of the wisdoms I’ve acquired through my life so far. With that comes learning to say Yes more often. And trust me, it’s a rewarding life philosophy.

Say yes!