GUEST BLOG: A Leap of Faith That Changed Everything
I firmly believe (today, at least) that the purpose of life is to find joy, and leaning into what energizes me has become a conscious, daily choice. I have made great changes in my life over the past few years in order to move in a consistently better direction. By defining and redefining what lights me up, I have built a life of more ease, more inspiration, more alignment. But this expansion did not come from a place of pure light. As seems typical in this world, catalysts for change tend to be shrouded in shadows and darkness. I was a passive player with poor boundaries and a penchant for alcohol-consumed nights. My husband and I were newly married, and our life looked pretty typical. We owned a home, had steady jobs, two dogs, and adventure-filled weekends. But we were living lives that were societally-defined, and had no real foundation in our own personal values or dreams. We had become passive players. One day, we were walking our dogs in the beautiful, open space near our home and Jon asked me what was holding us there. I quickly responded that we were there because of my job. I was teaching preschool for my fourteenth year- this time at a progressive school that could, by all intents and purposes, be called my dream job. But I wasn't happy. In retrospect, this should have been obvious considering the copious amount of Colorado IPAs I'd put down on any given Tuesday, or the tears that ensued when I would get a work text on a Sunday, or the ever-present sleepless nights. The truth is, I could ignore my crumbling personal life because this was everything I was supposed to want. When I was asked what was holding us there, it was as if I gave myself permission to dream a bit bigger and have ownership over my own life. So, in the same breath, I told Jon that I thought it was time to move and do something different. That was the moment when things began to shift. The day to day of our collective shift wasn't pretty. Sometimes, change is difficult and massively ugly. But we began telling each other to "choose the better option." I posted quotes by Mary Oliver and Ralph Waldo Emerson in doorways so that each time we entered a new space we were both reminded to do something beautiful with "our one wild and precious life." We started taking one step each day in the direction of our dreams. But first, we had to define the dreams that would act as our compass. We decided that neither one of us wanted to end up in the same position again. We never wanted to own a home that was too big for us in a town that was tripling in size around us with jobs that made us want to come home and wash the majority of the day away with booze. We quit drinking. That sentence makes it sound easy. It was anything but. That said, I am grateful every day that I wake up without the slightest hangover of regret. I recognize now that the drinking was a symptom of lives that were completely off course. We sold everything we owned- house and cars included- and bought a travel trailer and gigantic truck instead. We left it all behind in search of new places, experiences, and people that would feel like home. We have been on the road ever since, and are without an address of our own, but it is in this expansion and rootless lifestyle that I feel as grounded as ever. It started with a realization. The realization was that my life was meant for more. Our lives are meant for more. If your life feels mediocre and not of your choosing, I urge you to ask yourself what is holding you there. Perhaps in seeing where you feel tethered, you will also see the potential for your own freedom. I have learned more about myself, my husband, the world, and life in the past couple of years than I ever thought possible. I have come up against discomfort. I have questioned my decisions. I have tried new things that have become unanticipated passions. I have cried and laughed and lived with intention, even in times when doing so seemed far from possible. All of this because I got honest with myself about what I wanted my future to look like. And after coming up with that vision, I have continuously taken one step at a time, no matter how small, in the direction of my ever-evolving dreams. I wish this type of forward motion for everyone, and my hope is that if you have something pulling at you, that you follow that curiosity without judgement, knowing full well that you are worth the effort. And on the days when it gets difficult- because it will- look back at how far you have come with gratitude for the determination that comes when your life becomes one of your own choosing.
Lara Tuepker is currently traveling the US with her husband and two pups as they search for the next place to call home. All of this while realizing that home is where you find yourself on any given day. You can read more about the couple's travels and Lara's insights from the road on her blog Newly Nomadic at tuepkers.travel.blog or follow her on Instagram @larahtuepker and see her handstitched products @uproot.design