On Being a Transient Wanderer

On Being a Transient Wanderer

‎”Not all those who wander are lost.”
- J.R.R. Tolkien

What are you going to do with your life?

It’s the question we are all trying to figure out. Some know pretty early on. Some much later in life. And some, well, just don’t.

I’m in the third category. What about you?

I wasn’t always a wanderer. I originally had my mind set on becoming a weatherman. I worked hard through grade school, got into university to major in meteorology, and had my course of action all planned out. I was all about having plans because it was safe, sound, and secure.

But of course, did my long-term plans work out? A definite no.

I got sidetracked. Majorly sidetracked. When I randomly applied for a campus job to work with an apparel bodyscanner, I became super interested in functional apparel. From there, I digested as much information on the apparel industry.

Does it stop there?

No. I continued to find many other interests & passions I didn’t know I would love … including travel and surf.

And then I found that I loved researching all things functional apparel specifically within the active & action sports industry. See a pattern?

I realized that all my interests aren’t really that different from the next. And that randomly wandering from one interest to the next really helped me continue to define what I specifically liked. Essentially, my journey honed into the niche I’d like to pursue … but yet still be able to keep it broad and general (I’m a multipotentialite).

I struggled for awhile, to be okay that I can be a wanderer. Whether it is the travel wanderer or career wanderer, I’m here to tell you, it’s cool and okay to be a wanderer. When you are a wanderer, you become in tune with uncertainty, and embrace it.

Concerns many people have with wandering include:

A.) Will I ever find that defined path?

B.) I’m still worried about how my friends, family, or job recruiters view me.

C.) How will I maintain productivity going back & forth from one interest to the next?

For concern A.) Just keep wandering. Keep trying out new things. And worry less about defining some deadline where you need to figure out what it is that you want to do. Just do it. At least, you’ll know what you don’t like … vs. not knowing at all, which will lead you one step closer towards finding your path.

For concern B.) Who cares what they think? Are they the ones living your life? No. The toughest thing in being a wanderer is that you will be judged, most of the time negatively. Since many of them will have lived and abided by the safe, sound, and secure lifestyle, even explaining the concept of the wanderer is fruitless. Don’t bother.

For concern C.) There are many different ways to up your productivity. First realize, that many entrepreneurs and wanderers go through some phase where maximizing productivity is a huge challenge. For example, your mind might drift off to Facebook, or you’ll think you can do it later. Second, I’d definitely connect up with specific people within the community of your chosen interest. Plenty of resources and people who help keep you focus, and even at times, hold you accountable. Don’t let your productivity fears hold you back from managing and pursing multiple interests.

Are you a current transient wanderer?

How have you benefited from being a wanderer?

What have been your struggles?


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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle Goddard February 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Thank you for teaching me the word Multipotentiality! That is a new one on me, I can only hope that is what I am. I have definitely wandered.. physically as well as in my mind! Travelling has been a passion, one I would like to do more of when my children are a little older. I’m never quite sure if I envy those people who decide at an early age what it is they want to do or be in life, but I have enjoyed the unfolding of my life.. but now I am glad to have a little more intention and purpose in mind!

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Harrison February 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm

We are all in different stages in discovering our true intentions. Hence why we as humans, weren’t given the ability to foresee the future … even though it’s tempting … sometimes, better to let life unfold, as you mentioned!
Harrison recently posted..Stop Living in Denial and Live in the NowMy Profile

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Coretta February 10, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Yes, Harrison. Thank you for introducing me to ” Multipotentiality”. That’s great. I don’t think that I qualify really. I’ve done a few different things, but there seems to be a common thread through them no matter how far from common they appear to be from each other. I will definitely need to explore ” Multipotentiality” more. Ha.

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Harrison February 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm

“The common thread” you describe actually is the “overarching” theme that connects your multiple interests/passions. People may think two different interests are completely different, but so many things are very much interconnected through that overarching theme. Check out Puttylike.com for more info!
Harrison recently posted..Cali, Colombia is My ParadiseMy Profile

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Coretta February 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm

The overarching theme makes sense to me. I’ll check it out.

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Dennis Salvatier February 11, 2012 at 3:13 am

I think we all struggle to find where we belong in this world. Some people are driven by career ambitions, others by artistic passion and some just roam the Earth. I admire those who go out into the world and absorb the cultures they come in contact with. I grew up pretty fast so I had many responsibilities really early on, but I don’t regret it. I always wanted to be creative and I was able to go with that initial dream. Many of the creative friends I made in school ended up doing insurance or some other desk job because they didn’t think their creativity would pay off. Sad, but it’s not for everybody.
Dennis Salvatier recently posted..What might be right for you, may not be right for someMy Profile

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Harrison February 13, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Hi Dennis, thanks for coming by. Yes, I actually will admit I was one of those “creative” types that decided I needed to get a “science” major because I thought that’d be the safe route to a successful career. But no matter what, my mind and heart always reverted back to doing creative projects … and I just can’t escape/rid my art-sy side. So i’m back on the drawing board to figure out how to incorporate that creative side in me for a long-term career! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Harrison recently posted..On Quitting & Why It Can Be Awesome For YouMy Profile

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Erin February 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm

ooo I’m a multipotentialite, too. Thanks for introducing me to the term! For me, one of the hardest parts of being this way is learning when to say no. I can’t do everything at the same time!
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Harrison February 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I still struggle to say “no” to learning something. But that’s quite important in balancing what we want to do in life! Thanks for coming by!
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Carlo November 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Hey man,

Yeah I’m defo a wanderer that’s for sure. I love your views on how to think about what other’s think of you, because as you said, at the end of the day its your life and no one else can live it for you.

Nor conventional wisdom relating to 9-5 location dependent ideals are being questioned by a lot more people these days.

Next year I plan on moving from home here in Irleand to S.E Asia in order to persure a few dreams of my own along with trying to become 100% location independent myself.

Great blog mate, keep up the good work :)
Carlo recently posted..Italy: A trip down memory laneMy Profile

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Harrison November 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Hey Carlo. Glad to have you here. Definitely go after moving to SE Asia. You can def. figure things along the way. I take it that I might have seen your name on the Location Rebel SEO webinair the other day?

Definitely join up with Location Rebel, it helped me a lot to get location independent skills.

Cheers!
Harrison
Harrison recently posted..On Your Long-Term Goals (Why I Turned Down a Job Interview)My Profile

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Carlo November 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm

That was me indeed mate. Enjoyed the webinar alot. Yeah I’m 100% joining location rebel in a couple of weeks when I’ve plenty of time to knuckle down to it.

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30Traveler November 28, 2012 at 5:38 am

I’m planning some open ended travels from May next year and I am worried I’m going to feel like a homeless person! The main thing I struggle with about not being settled anywhere is that I’d like to buy nice furniture etc. That wasn’t important to me until around 2 years ago, but now it’s becoming so.
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Harrison December 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Hi 30Traveler!

I already at times feel like a homeless person since I’m always moving about, couchsurfing, or staying with a new friend I met in temporary space. When I had lived in a permanent place, I’d want to buy decent furniture, but I realized, that I like accommodation or rentals that already have it furnished. It’s always a hassle to sell own furniture on craigslist later.

Good luck and look forward to following your travels come May!
Harrison recently posted..Sailing with the Lani Kai to Molokini and Turtle TownMy Profile

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