Many of you may have noticed a theme in my posts/ philosophy/ attitude that pertains to the idea of "the wild." While for some this may incur images of girls in bars by a beach acting inappropriately, to me it means something entirely different.
Before I left for my trip, a friend of mine asked me, "what does being 'wild' mean to you?" I had such a hard time coming up with a suitable answer that could adequately describe how I feel, it frustrated me.
How can I believe in this lifestyle if I can't even describe it accurately enough to share it with another person?
So after 11 days of living on the road, (I wouldn't say I've made it into any actual wilderness yet) here's what I've come up with.
How To Go Wild by Taylor A Ritz
1. Don't take things literally.
The first step is not to take this "wild" concept too literally. Here's the thing; not everyone has the time/ money/ lack of common sense to quit their job, sell all their stuff and go traipsing around the world exploring. This is understandable, and I don't think the path I've chosen is the only way to "go wild." In fact, I don't think living wildly even has to involve actual wilderness. If being outside isn't what excites you, isn't where you desire to be, figure out what does and go do that. I personally think that being outside and in untouched places is a balm for the soul, but I understand everyone may not feel the same way.
2. Push Limits
Push yourself physically and mentally. Push the limits of your relationships with others. You cannot know your limits and boundaries if you don't push yourself. Tell that nagging voice of common sense in your head to shut up and sit down and let you decide for yourself how far you can go. You may very well exceed your own expectations, and the best part is the sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving something you had already decided you couldn't.
Spoiler alert: I did not train for this bike trip. Every day I am pushing myself another mile or up a bigger hill. I'm pushing myself mentally by telling myself (yelling really) that I can make it up that next rise, and if I make it up the next one after that I'll get ice cream. In my case, food bribery is very effective.
3. Make Your Heart Race
This can go hand in hand with pushing limits, but you've got to get your heart racing. Do things that excite you, or terrify you, things that make you feel. Do not go through life in a boring, straight line. Create hills and valleys, travel side to side, make your life as long and full as possible.
I am nervous around heights, so when I'm near a cliff or other high place, I get as close to the edge as I can. My heart races. I am afraid. My common sense tells me a gust of wind could knock me off balance, or I could slip on some loose rock and that would be the end of me. RIP to the dummy who was too dumb to stay away from a cliff edge. Sometimes I lay down and look over the edge. I may look ridiculous but as my heart threatens to jump up into my throat I also feel alive.
4. Live Instinctively
Guess what, humans are animals. Not in a "humans act like animals, they are terrible, blah blah blah." I mean humans are literally animals. We have our own scientific classification in the kingdom Animalia and everything. The problem is, as a society we've gotten way too comfortable, too soft. We're not running from predators and hunting to survive (most of the time). We've stopped using our instincts and so they have dulled over time. Listen to the animal within you. Perceive your surroundings. Note your fellow humans' body language and tone. Pay attention to the wild around you and you'll start to see just how much you've been missing. Do not walk through life with your head down. Hold your head high and take in as much as you can.
Watching people fascinates me, trying to decipher their motives. The more intelligent the animal, the harder this can be. Most animals' motives are relatively simple; food, shelter, mate, etc, but human motives are arguably the most complex. Relying on your instincts to study humans can yield surprising results. You may start to understand those around you a little better and relate to your fellow humans. We are social animals after all.
6. Pursue Desires
Part of accessing your inner animal and living instinctively includes pursuing your desires. Do not let fear and self doubt prevent you from working towards what will truly make you happy. Do not let yourself live a bitter or lonely life thinking that this is all there is for you. Everyone deserves to find their own happiness, but more often than not you have to seek and find. Do not expect happiness to fall in your lap. Happiness is a wild, untamed thing that must be pursued and captured.
5. Be Unpredictable
Stop being comfortable. Just stop. Take note of your comfort zone while you're holding that head up high and then run away from it. Go to new places, go to old places and try new things. Talk to strangers until they aren't anymore. Cram as many unique experiences into your life as you can. Expand your horizons and refuse to settle. Do not succumb to monotony.
6. Do Not Settle
For a job you don't like, a person who doesn't appreciate every facet of the wonderful being you are, a life you don't love. Do not let anyone else tell you what you want or what is best for you. You may think you've reached the peak, that this is all there is for you, but you are probably wrong. The world is vast, filled with more people and places than you could ever hope to experience. "If you do not like where you are, move. You are not a tree." -Jim Rohn
So that's what I've come up with so far. A few principles I try (and sometimes fail) to live by in the pursuance of my ideal happiness.
I'd love to hear what being "wild" means to you. Let me know in a comment below!