Do you have more freedom than you think you have?

A few weeks ago I stumbled on a podcast and blog called TravellingTwo about a couple, Friedel and Andrew, who spent 3 years cycling around the world through countries like Morocco, France, Italy, Iran, Syria, and New Zealand, with little previous cycling experience.

Even if you have NO interest whatsoever in cycling or travel, their story is inspiring.

Friedel and Andrew were working in London, knew they wanted to do a long trip, and knew they didn’t want to do the standard RTW backpacking trip.

I especially love their blog post where Friedel outlines the timeline that led up to their trip.

It’s here

I like their description of what it felt like to resign from work

“June 2006 – We hand in our notice at work. It’s very, very hard and unnerving. Both of us come home feeling ill and literally shaking from the uncertainty of it all.”

I like their description of how their trial run of an overnight bike trip didn’t go to plan.

“August 2006 – We take our bikes out for a test run with loaded bags and a tent. It’s a disaster. We only have to go 70km but we get lost and arrive at our destination late, completely famished and exhausted. That night our tent is attacked by hundreds of slugs. Throughout this month, we feel very stressed by our impending departure and all the things we have to do.”

Psychological aspects.

1. They felt the fear and did it anyway!

2. A RTW bike trip provides opportunities for both pleasure experiences (e.g. seeing beautiful scenery, meeting friendly people, eating new foods) and for mastery/competence experiences (e.g. solving unpredictable problems at the time they emerge, making or arranging bike repairs, dealing with border guards and visas, biking up big hills, figuring out how to cook on a camping stove).

Mastery/competence experiences and pleasure experiences are both important sources of positive emotions and life satisfaction.

3. Experiences don’t need to be fun all the time or free of negative emotions to be worth it.

How might this apply to you?

– What do you want to do in your life that you think would be worth it?

– What do you want to try even though keeping going in your valued direction will involve surfing negative thoughts and emotions (e.g. boredom, self doubt, fear) at various points?

– What thoughts and emotions can you imagine experiencing if you were to complete what you set out to do? For example, you might predict that if you live out one particular life dream you will gain confidence and be inspired to pursue other life dreams.

Do you have more freedom than you think you have?

Lets say you have something you would like to do or you just want to make a change but your thought reaction is “I couldn’t do that”.

Ask yourself if the brakes you are putting on are self-imposed?

You probably have more freedom to do at least SOME of the things you want to do than you think you have.

Taking these opportunities might involve releasing some of the behaviours that are making you miserable e.g overworking, excessive social comparison, avoiding committed action.