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February 18, 2012

Crafting Your Own Meaning for Life

A few weeks ago, with great assistance from Rolf Potts, BootsnAll launched the Indie Travel Manifesto. Hopefully by now you have had the chance to read through the manifesto, vote on it, sign it, discuss it, and share it. If not, the short story is that we wanted to craft a series of statements about how indie travelers view travel and the world in which we live.

As an employee of BootsnAll, the vast majority of the statements in the manifesto ring true for me as a traveler and citizen of the world. Some stand out more than others, but there’s one in particular that really hit home.

Over the course of the last five years, my life has changed immensely. On this day five years ago, my wife and I were like most other young American couples. We had never even heard of the term round the world trip before. We loved to travel, but we thought that long-term travel was only possible for retirees and Europeans. Then one day at work my wife stumbled across the blog of a normal, American couple about our age who had just returned from a 14-month RTW trip. We were fascinated, and from that day on, our lives changed.

We were suddenly defining our values, exploring our beliefs, and crafting our own meaning for life. We realized that even though we were from the United States, we didn’t have to take the same path as most others. We didn’t have to buy a house, move to the burbs, start popping out kids, and going to soccer games every weekend. We didn’t have to work 60+ hour weeks, never use our vacation time, and wait until retirement to travel and truly enjoy our lives.

With the finding of that one blog, our lives had suddenly changed. We decided from that day forward that we would take back control of our lives, and we decided to do what we wanted to do. So we started planning and saving, and 18 months later we headed off on our own round the world trip. We hiked to Machu Picchu. We marveled at Iguazu Falls. We explored Angkor Wat. We drank cocktails on a Thai beach. We saw the sun come up at the Taj Mahal. All these amazing things we saw and did were all because we decided to craft our own meaning for life.

Now that is how we live our lives. Even though our trip is over, we are back in our hometown, and we are (gasp!) actually in the process of buying a home, now we’re doing it on our terms. We’re living the life we want to live. And that’s what the Indie Travel Manifesto is all about. It’s not just about travel. It’s about a way of life. It’s how you see the world. It’s about taking control and living the life that you want to live, not the life that you think you’re supposed to live.

Do you agree? If so, check out the manifesto and sign it. Join this community of like-minded people and share your thoughts on travel, the world we live in, and life itself.

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Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

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