How Long-Term Travel Helped Me Find My Purpose

It has been said that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. I always just thought this was some fluffy, romantic quote about travel. Well, until recently that's what I thought.

My travel story starts about 24 months ago. Like so many others my husband and I had enough of living a life that didn't fill us up. So we planned, saved, sold everything and set out to travel the world.

Maybe our story is similar to many others, but in one very big way it is different.

For me, the purpose of the lifestyle change was not specifically to travel. The purpose was to live a life where I controlled what happened during my waking hours. Where I could wake up when I was ready, visit people I wanted to visit, see and learn anything and everything all on my own time.

And for the first 18 months what I wanted (and still want) just so happened to be to live all over the world. We wanted to work from our computers and go wherever the wind blew us. So that's what we did.

It was magical. I met so many extraordinary people. My brain grew at a rate of which I couldn't explain. I loved learning, reading, exploring, and pushing my limits.

I stood firm, though. I was sure that it wasn't about the travel, it was just about having control to do all of the things I wanted.

Even when people would ask us about being travel bloggers we would often hesitate to agree. I'd offer that really, we were alternative lifestyle design bloggers who just so happened to be living a nomadic life.

Here I am now looking back and I realize how wrong I truly ways. It was the travel that brought me to the point where I am now. The point where I have laser clarity on my life's purpose and my gifts that are meant to contribute to the world.

Let me back up a bit.

Lessons Learned Along the Way

After graduating college I was so sure that a 9-5 desk job wasn't for me that I moved to Costa Rica and taught English for 15 months. Though, I didn't know what I did want to do when I grew up, I was positive it wasn't anything that included limited vacation time and 401k matching.

When I returned to the United States after my time in Costa Rica, I ended up getting one of these types of jobs and proved my theory loud and clear. Not for me. About 3 years later my husband, Brock, and I had our escape planned. We could see if we didn't change something, nothing would change.

And, regardless of how scary, intimidating and unknown the future was, we had to look fear right in the face and have courage to believe if we jumped our net would appear.

Talk about a life lesson right there, huh?

Bike Tour

Then we proceeded to spend five months riding our bicycles across the United States. Holy out-of-comfort-zone experience! What I learned about survival, the beauty of drinkable water, and the sheer kindness of humanity on that trip were invaluable to my self-growth.

It was unbelievable to ask so much of my body and realize the physical strength I had inside of me when there was no other option than to make it happen. And, I saw first hand that we are all connected–Humans to each other and us to the earth. We can all help one another get where we are going if we can respect the journey.

It wasn't about the travel…

Round the World Travel

After the 5,000-mile bike ride we were ready to sleep in a bed more than once a week, so we decided to move to Australia and find temporary work. Ready or not I was hit with another major life lesson: sometimes the universe has different plans for you than the ones you have for yourself.

The job in Australia was a nightmare, for lack of better vocabulary, and we had to come up with a plan B fast. We had figured we would spend about 6 months at this job and have plenty of time to decide what was next. Oh no, 6 weeks in we were desperate to do anything else.

House-sitting Surprised Me

That's when house sitting saved us. House sitting! Who would have ever thought that would happen? Not us. House sitting actually then formed the rest of the way 2013 would play out for us.

It's wasn't about the travel…

We eventually would go on to house sit for a month in Australia, two months in New Zealand and two months in Southern California. Didn't see that coming.

Living as a Local

In addition to our house sitting in New Zealand we were fortunate to spend nearly four weeks road-tripping both islands. We fell madly in love with the country as tourists, and then later while living as locals during our house sit we learned what it would be like to live in such a place. This would be the first and only time we realized there is a place on the planet perfect for us.

Mexico was next on the itinerary, and we spent a month in the mountains enjoying warmer weather. I was so glad we decided to spend that time in Mexico. We shopped at local organic farmers markets, practiced Spanish, and enjoyed beautiful mountain views out our windows everyday.

It wasn't about the travel…

The Point is that Travel was the Greatest Teacher and Influencer

Now, of course I could go on about all of the other majorly awesome things that happened, the places I visited, and the people I met, but that isn't the point of this story. You too are a traveler and you already know how travel has the ability to blow your mind wide open about what is possible.

What the story is about is what I learned from all of it. All the while I was so sure that travel wasn't really influencing my life, it was just the fact that I was living deliberately that was giving me the freedom and connection I had been seeking for so long.

Wrong. πŸ™‚

Had I not stepped out of my comfort zone every single day for almost two years I would not be the person I am today. And, what forced me out of that comfort zone so often? Travel.

The Magic of Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

As we all know, outside of our comfort zone is where the magic happens.

I was just so closed off from the truth that I was withholding a huge gift from myself the whole time.

It was when I finally embraced that reality–the reality that travel was the greatest influencer in my self-growth–that my eyes opened all the way and the real magic started happening.

I was able to recall the major lessons and obstacles I had overcome during my travels. Countless times I had to look self-doubt in the face and do what needed to be done, and I'm still standing!

And, though we may have been inspiring the occasional fellow adventurer through our website where we recounted our experiences, I now recognized that wasn't enough.

I knew that the lessons I had learned and the work I had done to get out of my own way could be helpful to many people.

So one afternoon in Portugal this past year, I made an awesome decision to become a life coach. Not to wait one more day and just do it. And since that day I have been coaching amazing women to get unstuck and live their dreams right now, not someday.

Through my own life experience and the confidence and knowledge gained from long-term travel, I am now capable and ready to begin pursuing my purpose. I am excited and honored to help others achieve their own goals and live intentional lives.

Already there has been miraculous progress in all of my clients, and I couldn't ask for more in my work than that. It is because of my lessons learned during my travels, my out-of-comfort zone challenges and triumphs, and personal-self growth, that I can now give the gift of coaching and guidance to others to live their own dreams.
Kathleen Ventura is a life coach and nomadic traveler. She believes in living with intention and purpose, and that your dream life gets started when you do. Kathleen coaches fabulous women to find their purpose and live their dreams at, and she and her husband blog about their adventures at You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter

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