Lost my possessions, found my happiness.
Every so often, I get a little reminder of just why it is I chose this lifestyle..
Just a few months prior to this photo being taken, I was a pretty miserable individual. Leaving home at 6:20am, returning at 5:45pm, struggling to balance my duties as a parent, a full time employee and trying to navigate the world of raising a child on the Autism spectrum. I kept myself going every day with caffeine and nicotine, and I’m ashamed to say, I often brought myself down with alcohol. Jaiden was waking 2-5 times most nights so I was surviving on just a few hours of broken sleep. The mornings were like groundhog day as I did everything I could to ensure I facilitated his need for a rigid routine so we could walk out the door on time. After work, I’d shoo him off to play, cook dinner, and send him to bed so we could be up at 5am to do it all again. When the weekends came around, after the chores were done, spending any time interacting with him felt like just another chore. I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was relax.
Given that I never had a father in my life; As a 9 year old, I remember looking at my friends fathers and deciding that I was going to take all of their best traits and become some kind of awesome father. Somewhere along the way, I forgot all about that and suddenly found myself conforming to societies expectations rather than following what my heart really wanted. It wasn’t until my counsellor posed the question “If you could do anything tomorrow, what would you do?” that I started realising how disconnected my dreams and reality really was. Materialism has meant that I was playing a game, a game where the goalposts never stopped moving and I certainly never won. It was the endless pursuit of ‘stuff’.
I was working away Jaidens childhood, missing all of his milestones, and for what? A new TV? A faster car? Nicer ‘things’? These are the very same things that sat idle whilst I was at work every day, so any chance of them bringing me joy was lost because I was too busy to spend any time enjoying them. After making the decision to travel, I felt like suddenly I was working towards a goal that was worthwhile. The problem was, watching everything you’ve ever worked for, slowly disappear, is a pretty difficult process. Suddenly, I one day found myself sitting on the loungeroom floor with Jaiden, a few bags with clothes and toys, and not much else. All I could think was “What the fuck have I done?”
These sentiments were echoed by many of my friends, who could not understand why I’d leave a stable job, sell everything I owned and loved, in order to buy a crappy old caravan and move into it. Society tells us that we need to live a certain way, we need to buy the house, have a nice new car and get the latest phone in order to live a happy and fulfilling life. My gut told me otherwise, and so I followed that hunch and took a chance.
This photo is from one of the first weeks I’d ever spent with Jaiden. I didn’t have my nice car, my nice TV or, well, any of my possessions for that matter.
But when I look at this picture, I see that for the first time, I was genuinely happy. The kind of happiness that no amount of money or possessions can buy.