The word “Intentional” has been a part of our lives for some time now. This particular word has truly shaped our marriage and the trajectory of our life. From what we’ve seen of Dorene and Troy’s life, being intentional has shaped their lives as well.
So often we make life choices based on what’s “normal,” what we feel is expected of us, what we see others do, or what we’re in the habit of doing. We usually don’t think twice about these choices because we’re not in tune with the fact that another way is possible, perhaps even better.
The problem with doing things the normal, conventional, expected way is that it’s not always what’s best for you.
The typical life blueprint for us North Americans has become: work so that you can buy lots of stuff and eventually retire in self-indulgence. We think we’re pursuing happiness yet what we’re actually doing is consuming more and enjoying it less.
Though our society over the decades may have become more wealthy, accumulated more things, and blasted through advancements in technology and production, we’re not necessarily more joyful or satisfied. In fact, we’re less healthy, less connected to each other, and less happy. Something is not right.
In one of my favorite books, Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle, David Wann says:
“Our economy is out of alignment with the values that make us feel grateful to be alive. Values such as health, relationships with people, connection with nature, satisfying work, a sense of purpose, abundance of personal time, and freedom of expression are the real wealth.”
It’s not enough to say- or even to believe- that something is a priority to you. A priority is whatever receives our time, effort, and money.
If we’re not being intentional, we will end up wasting time, effort, and money on things that don’t actually matter or bring meaning and satisfaction to our life.
There is no ONE way to live intentionally. It looks different for everybody because each person’s values are different. The important thing is aligning our daily decisions and life choices with the values we care most about.
In 2010, my husband and I found ourselves one week away from closing on the purchase of a house, but something didn’t feel quite right. Though it wasn’t easy or pretty, we were forced to define our values and priorities right then and there. The underlying question was: what was more important to us- settling down or freedom?
The beautiful resolution of that intense discussion was that we both agreed that freedom (and adventure) was a greater priority than comfort. That choice to prioritize freedom completely changed the trajectory of our lives. It eventually led to quitting our jobs, deciding to live abroad, serving with the Peace Corps for two years, and becoming Digital Nomads. It’s a path I never could have predicted before 2010, but we haven’t turned back since.
By living simply, saving money, and finding ways to work from anywhere, we’ve been able to continue our travels post-Peace Corps. We love having the flexibility to pick up and go whenever a new opportunity presents itself- from helping our Great Aunt move out of her home in Florida to visiting friends in foreign countries.
Who knows how long we’ll be nomads, living out of a suitcase. But for now, it suits us just right, and we are so blessed to partner on this crazy adventure together!
That’s our story. What’s yours? We would love to know how intentional living has played out in your life. Please share in the comments below.
This is a guest post by Michelle and Jedd of Intentional Travelers. This 30-something couple left their full-time jobs to join the Peace Corps, then became digital nomads, doing work online as they travel the world.