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In the past week I’ve had two conversations with North American women of my age who make a lot more money than I do. One of them had also traveled more, and that made me feel a little sad. Until I realized helicopter tours of Victoria Falls are not the reason I travel anyway, and the idea of sharing a tour around the most touristic sites in Bulgaria, a pretty chill country where English is widely spoken, didn’t seem that exciting much as it would efficiently enable me to check the boxes off.

They both expressed some kind of concern, and maybe even pity for him, though at least with one, I’m sure a sense of competition led her to emphasize her financial accomplishments to get a sense of satisfaction from being better.

In the same week, the universe has seen to it that I didn’t book my planned trip to South America, and instead I’m going to India again (by way of Kazakhstan so as to avoid needing a Russian transit visa or paying a mint through another airline- pls I wanted to see Kazakhstan, because I enjoy comparing post communist places and I’m interested in Central Asia and the Silk Road).

The truth is that I had gotten into my mind I wanted to travel to all 6 (or 7 if possible) continents before turning 30, which would indeed be a wonderful thing. But now I recognize it as just another accomplishment I was aiming towards to justify my life, and also driven by the fear that once I find marital love and hopefully also have a family, my life will be over, I will have no more freedom, and my life is a race against my biological clock.

But a three day weekend in Bulgaria showed me what I needed to know- that I’ll go where the wind takes me, and that’s that. That is what I am most happy with. I had some ideas in mind for what I wanted to do, I packed my hiking boots and wanted to see beautiful nature, but in reality due to weather forecasts of rain (which were not true) and warnings about bad visibility and mud on the mountains, I didn’t actually get out of the cities at all, and the one city I travelled two hours to get to I only saw for 30 minutes or so as I met a lovely fellow traveller and kindred spirit and spent the day talking to him and having lunch instead. And what a wonderful trip it was! It reminded me why I travel- for atmosphere more than for sightseeing, and that rarely is there a specific thing which seeing it gives great satisfaction. Sometimes yes, but only when the desire is somewhere deep in our imaginations or souls and from a guidebook or travel blog.

I travel so I can learn how to live.

I actually realize this is one of the first times I’ve ever written about travel on this blog, which maybe is a sign I’m ready to write about travel, which I’ve been wanting to for years but feeling blocked. Yes, I want to do it to get some things sponsored perhaps and build a readership and get money but also to be of benefit, and I was a bit blocked. but maybe not so much now! Hahaha I love this blog, and I love you for reading it.

So anyway, my point is that if anything i pity the North American girls who see their value as a reflection of their career and bank account more so than what’s inside, even if they value me for my character and experiences or claim to. I could be reading it completely wrong, but just recently instead of thinking I’m the pits and that people who bring me down are right to do so, I’ve realized that sometimes people are genuinely jealous of my life, and I guess that’s the best compliment there is in a way.

Although a bigger one woudl be if someone changes their life in order to like it better thanks to my inspiration and empowerment.

I feel compassion for them because they seem so stuck and rigid in their habitual ways of thinking, and caught in black and white. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will know how much I suffered from this until very recently, and it really wasn’t pretty or fun at all. it’s only recently I’ve learned to let go of expectations and take happiness where I find it.

And yes, I do intend to manage money better and manifest money better, but I realize finally that the fact that I for example, didn’t follow my taxes on time in a silly oversight doesn’t make a bad person or constitutionally irresponsible. It just means I messed up, and if I have a habit of messing up, it’s just because I haven’t found the right system.

But what I can say is that I have absolutely no regrets about the times in my life I followed my heart and made it work even if things were a little tough. In those moments, I chose my own adventure, took my life in my hands, and exercised my radical freedom. I might have more money or be more comfortable if I didn’t do those things, or I might be stark raving mad and depressed and more self destructive than I already was for the relatively reasonable compromises I made. i would hate for my life to be a tightrope walk of needing to always perform well and follow the rules in order to be happy or value myself. That is no fun at all. That said, money and skills and some amount of rule following can bring freedom, and that’s important to. It’s important to play the game well, but not let the game play you.

Live to love your life, not to work or earn or play in the sense of pursuing only shallow pleasures. Play in a larger sense of everything in your life being on the board. Enjoy the ups and downs, play to win but let it be fun, realize it’s only a game. Don’t take things too seriously, and my hunch is you’ll find that things start to go your way more often.

So in other words, I’m rich, and we’re all in the process of winning.