Written by Alise Saunders
It was spring of 2020, the beginning of COVID lockdown in Texas, USA. While the outside world seemed to be falling apart, I decided to “fall” within, creating a retreat like mindset to go inside my heart and heal my soul. I would connect with my heart’s desire, realizing a lifelong dream. Together with my husband Gregg, we would sell and donate our belongings, with no home to return to, create a travel blog and set out on the adventure of a lifetime.
Searching for Happiness
I had been searching for happiness my whole life. In the past, I thought happiness could be found in a six-figure job, literally expecting some kind of cloud would open and rain happiness down when that extra “0” appeared on my check.
The ability to drive nice cars, live in a big home (everything is bigger in Texas), take international vacations, only illuminated those purchases brought temporary joy, and happiness couldn’t be bought. I hardly felt anything at all anymore, becoming numb to all my emotions to get through the days at work, in a job that was so unfulfilling I was becoming ill.
Leaving the Corporate World
In 2018, I left the corporate world to start a bookkeeping business. It was a safe choice, given my work background, the repetitiveness of accounting, and the low start-up overhead. I struggled with limiting thoughts about my abilities, money, legal liability, getting clients, and perfectionism, but worked through each of these like a boss to build a successful bookkeeping business. It was so freeing to finally use my skills for my benefit. After a lot of hard work, I began to reconnect my emotions, feeling like a whole being again. I began to feel that I needed something more than the bookkeeping business I had built.
What was next? No longer was success defined as the validation from a job well done, and a large financial reward. Success was now an internal metric of happiness, fulfillment, excitement, desire, growth, and engagement, believing the money would follow. My search for the meaning of happiness was becoming clear, but I would have to do something braver than leaving that corporate job. I would have to listen to my heart.
Imagining A Life With No Limits
In 2020, I retreated into our home, tuning out the outside noise, meditating to connect with my heart’s desires and listening to my inner voice and what would bring joy and happiness. Happiness isn’t something from outside, it’s something from within, often a choice, something we create, and to choose to see a reality I often felt persuaded to diminish. The happiest moments, I realized, were travel related, seeking adventure, being challenged by new experiences, and pushing the limits of my routine.
I realized I longed for an adventurous life since childhood, dreaming, with National Geographic magazines in hand, staring at the lustrous images of magical places where wild animals roamed and the faces of people whose stories captivated me. A daily game of What Would You Do In Life If There Were No Limits, with Gregg, helped us create a life of travel like we never thought possible.
Tales From An Untamed Soul
It was one year and one month after my heart called out to create a new life that Gregg and I set out on the road. By April 2021 Gregg went into early retirement, the apartment lease was cancelled, belongings were sold or donated, and the necessary items filled our Ford Edge to the brim.
With two cats in tow, we set out to begin a travel blog, Tales From An Untamed Soul, which provides travel guides to take the stress out of vacation planning. We focus on small town gems hit hard by COVID, that need some tourist love. I enjoy interviewing people we meet on the road who are taking risks, living their dreams and passions and creating businesses that fulfill their lives, all while I manage two other businesses from the road.
Life on the road is full of opportunities to grow, which is now the norm of our everyday life. Living in constant change has been an opportunity for me to overcome fears. The extent of my trauma created many feelings of being unsafe in the world. I had fears of almost everything and I didn’t know how to live authentically. Being on the road has brought an opportunity to delve into each layer of these fears, with help, and overcome fears of heights, bridges, spiders and drowning. Since being on the road, I’ve had to drive across so many bridges, so I’ve gotten lots of practice. I’ve been able to and free myself, from feeling terrorized to being able to enjoy the view.
The ultimate test will be when we head to the Florida Keys. It is basically islands connected by bridges. I am excited to accomplish this next step of freedom. I also conquered my fear of heights by repeatedly riding a Ferris wheel until I could keep my eyes open, even at the top. As I continued to work through the source of my fear, I celebrated my birthday by rock climbing a mountain. I kept my sunglasses on. I didn’t look down at all, which made finding a footing for my feet challenging. I just stayed in the moment, literally focused on every hand and foot movement until I got to the top.
It was only when I was at the top, fully seated, could I open my eyes and look down at how far I’d climbed, and out at the amazing view that seemed to go on forever. I felt euphoria! It was such a big fear to overcome. These tiny steps that led into enormous accomplishments have given me a confidence and a trust in myself. I set out to create a life, wild and free, and I’m doing it!
Just Get Started!
Gregg and I are 65 and 47 respectively, and we believe if we can create a whole new life, anyone can. Creating this blog feels like one of my purposes in life. I think that in our society we stay stuck because we compare ourselves to someone who’s been doing something for a really long time and think we can never be or do that or we have a list of reasons why it won’t work. It’s time we celebrate those who are GETTING STARTED!
The more we show real people taking steps toward a goal, the more people will want to take that first step. It is necessary that people embrace what they love and focus on doing what brings them joy. I love sharing with others how I’m overcoming limiting beliefs, fears, attachments to physical things, breaking from a routine that was suffocating me and how this has transformed who I am. We are meeting so many amazing people, during our travels, with incredible stories of courage, risk, who are living life to its fullest, that we are inspired to keep going.
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