Risk and Joy and Life Lessons from Instagram-Celebrities

Recently, I’ve been listening to stories of storytellers – of makers and creators, photographers and insta-celebrities and beauty-capturers – of people who meet and love and react. People who are famous for seeing the beautiful and broken and hopeful and inspiring in the world and sharing it. It’s partially because I have a lot of travel time on my hands and podcasts have become a saving grace. But it’s more because these folks teach me things.

By listening to their stories, I’ve come to realize two things:

  1. I want my life to be like that.
  2. My life is like that.

By some fluke, I escaped. I got out of a trap I didn’t even know I was in. Because now I’m dreaming and meeting and loving and sharing and everything makes sense. I broke out of the routine, but instead of the unknown producing anxiety (which would have been logical, especially for me), it has created crazy amounts of joy.

And I’m beginning to think that that sensation is actually quite independent of the travel itself.

Sure, being surrounded by insane beauty all the time doesn’t hurt the creative, joyful, liberating process, but it’s not required.

What is required is intentionality.

By living every day in the unknown, I’ve eliminated the choice – I have to embrace fear and ask questions and be present because I don’t have any other option. But I could do those same things at home – it would just take a bit more guts and focus. When it’s easy to live in comfort and routine, it takes a lot of willpower to live risky and free on purpose.

I’ve spent the past few weeks traveling with my friend Haley, and she is now returning to her (mega creative, fun, cool) life in Nashville. Watching her getting ready to go home has made me think a lot about what I want my life to look like when I return. Because it can’t be the same.

It has to be different.

I want my heart-life to look the same at home as it does on the road. I want to meet and know the people around me. I want to practice actionable gratitude. I want every day to be an adventure. Because this life I’m living right now is simple and beautiful. It’s full of risk and joy. And I think it’s a little bit closer to the way life’s supposed to be.

I’m still figuring out what it will look like to be at home. Thankfully, it’s still a long way off, but time is flying as fast as ever, so I know that I’ll be in Chicago before I know it.

For me, the hardest part of travel is the return. It’s coming home different to a place that is largely the same. And the easy option is to revert to the way things were – to the way things naturally go. But I’m not going for that this time. Or at least I’m going to do my best to avoid it.

Because I love this travel life. But more than that, I love who I am when I’m living this travel life.

And that girl is going home with me. She is me. And I’m going to fight to keep her around.


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