You spend countless nights laying awake thinking about it. Midnight comes and goes and your head spins with the happy thoughts of adventure, new friendships and the sense of freedom you just know your going to find. By 3am, eyes still wide staring into the darkness of your room, the little doubts start to creep in – it would cost a small fortune, what will my family think?, Isn’t it all a bit dangerous? Massaging your forehead with your hand as if to wipe the thoughts away and forget it all, you fall asleep only to be brought back into reality by your 6am alarm, feeling awful for lack of sleep and a little depressed as you are sure your dreams of travel and adventure are unattainable, having talked yourself out of them. Sound about right? Yep – me too.
‘All that we are is the result of what we have thought. – Gautama Budda
By the start of 2011 id lost count of the amount of nights id laid awake running through a million different scenarios, some great, some not so good, all fabrications of a mind that had been feed nothing but travel books, maps, friends stories and van concepts for the past year. Id lay there wondering what it would be like to fall asleep on a beach in Australia listening to the gentle lapping of the sea or getting lost in thoughts of how great it must be to be your own boss, working your own hours, fitting work around your lifestyle instead of the other way round. Inside my head id plan the layout of my dream van down to the tiniest detail. Mixed in would be the doubts, what if my van was stolen and all my possessions with it, or worse, someone tries to break in while I’m asleep inside. What would I do? How would I cope?
Setting The Intention
By mid 2011 I decided that no more would I live my dreams out in the confines of my own mind late at night. I realised no one was going to hand me the lifestyle I wanted, there was going to be no lottery win, if I wanted to travel the world in a campervan id have to go out and make it happen myself. It was the first day of Spring, id taken the first and arguably the hardest step of them all, I’d set the intention and above all, I promised myself I was going to do all it takes to turn it into a reality. Five years on and I can honestly tell you I still believe it to be the best decision I’ve ever taken. Its not always been easy and there are many hurdles to overcome before you can jump behind the wheel of your new home but by setting the intention you’ve taken the first step on the path to a new life of adventure and travel.
What do I mean by setting the intention?
The dictionary defines Intention as ‘ an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result’. Pretty much sums it up. People can set intentions for all kinds of things, the intention to write a book, learn to drive, get married, buy a house, a new car, spending more time with family, eat more healthy or maybe finally getting to the gym. Intention is simply the starting point to all dreams, without it you wouldn’t achieve anything. We have all been setting intentions since a young age, whether it be passing an exam at school or making it onto the school football team. But it seems the bigger the dream the harder it can be to set the intention, especially if your not even sure if its possible. I mean, can you really live for a long period of time or even indefinitely in a campervan. Maybe you know someone already doing it but when I started dreaming about it I didn’t. I wasn’t even sure if it was something people did but I did know I really liked the idea. But by setting the intention I was going to find out.
How to set the intention
So your going to do it, no more dreaming, no more what if’s, you’ve decided there’s no more time to loose. This time its for real, this time you’re committed. No stopping you, right? I must of said that to myself at least a dozen times throughout late 2010 and early 2011. Each time convinced that this time I wouldn’t let a single thing get in the way only to get dejected with the ‘how’s’ and ‘what if’s ‘and give up a week or two later. I knew I wanted this lifestyle more than anything so what kept stopping me? In truth, me. I realised I hadn’t convinced myself it was possible. I was too attached to a specific outcome and at the first sign of things not heading towards that outcome, I’d become detached of the intention. Any opposition, a friend telling me I’m mad or a co-workers prediction that id be back within six months begging for my job back, and id be forced into a rethink. Is he/she right? Am I just destined to fail? Is this all just a fantasy, an illusion. Maybe I really was mad.
What was different about that first day of Spring in 2011 when, for the umpteenth time, I promised this was it, this time id do it, was I’d convinced myself I could do it. I didn’t care anymore about the horror stories id heard from friends who’d travelled, about running out of money in the middle of no where or when they fell ill in a country they didn’t speak the language and had to end their trip. I was going to go and find out for myself, to have my own experience come what may. You can only fail if you tried in the first place right? When you act on an intention, and really act on it, amazing things can happen.
Buy convincing myself that I could do this something changed. It wasn’t an ah-ha moment as such, it was more a determined focus. To set the intention you have to be 100% focused, unwavering in your desire to achieve. This time I found when someone told me I couldn’t do it, or provided me with their guarantee that id be back before the years out it spurred me on, I wanted to prove them wrong and knew I could. When you believe whole heartedly in yourself and in your pursuit of your dream and you’re focused, then nothing will stop you. You have, my friends, set the intention.
Setting the intention can be one of the hardest things your ever do
To be sure your going to stick with your new intention of travelling the world in campervan you can do a few things. The most important of which is be clear in your head what it is your after. In my case, I wanted to dramatically downsize my life and at the same time travel the world comfortably for as long as I could. Write it down and keep it somewhere close to hand. I even started randomly sticking post-it notes around my house, on mirrors, doors frames, pictures even the TV, with little messages to remind me what I was aiming for. These can really help when things get a little tough. Its also a good idea to talk to someone who you feel will encourage you and can even supportively help hold you accountable to making it happen. Thirdly start doing something to demonstrate your commitment to yourself and if you feel you need to, to others. How? Glad you asked.
So what now?
There’s a whole host of things your going to need to accomplish before you don the sunglass and head off which ill be covering in the rest of this series but the first thing your going to need to do is too stay focused. Once you have set the intention you are already realising your dream so start immersing yourself in it. There is a whole world full of videos and stories available at a click of a mouse from people travelling the world in their campervans (just check out the resources page above to start firing your imagination). For me, I changed my whole perspective. I started following those doing the same on social media which would provide me with daily doses of inspiration, I read books on travel and watched movies – who doesn’t watch ‘Into The Wild’ and immediately fall in love with the idea. Every decision I made, big or small, had my desire to achieve my dream at the heart of it. For example, I would turn down offers of going for a midweek pint at the local because I needed that money, instead inviting friends to my place. That 10 or 20 was 10 or 20 more towards my campervan. Be conscience of your decisions especially when they involve money. Ill help cover how you can achieve your saving goals in a later post.
Start researching anything and everything you think you might need to know, your soon get an idea if its important to you. Get lost in the world of campervans – prices, designs, self builds or pre built and start forming an idea of what would be best for you. Start working out how long you want to go for six months, a year, a lifetime. Where are you going to head? Research the countries you want to visit and even plan your route but always be open to change. Be sure not to let other peoples negativity get to you, it may not be right for them but remember, you’ve decided it IS right for you.
Setting the intention can be one of the hardest things your ever do on your way to obtaining your travel dreams but once you have, then smile my friend and smile big, because that dream that’s been keeping you awake at night is no longer, its now a reality and you’ve taken that first step into your new world. Be sure to acknowledge, at each step in the process from now to driving into your first country, that you did what you said you would. Without setting that intention you never would of.
Feels good ay!
Read Part 2 – Choosing Your Camper