The first time I seriously considered leaving the United States to travel full-time was March 2014. I was 58 years old. Two months later, I had sold or given away almost everything I owned. Three years later, I am writing this from 40,000 feet, as I fly back from my 1,167-day worldwide journey. I am different from when I left: I am a woman who trusts herself absolutely.
I am 61 and fearless.
Looking back, I marvel at the confidence it took to cancel the lease on my luxury condo, sell my sports car, end my relationship with a wonderful man (I couldn’t ask him to wait for me), close my consulting company, and resign from two board of director positions. I didn’t have a lot of money, investments, or an inheritance to fall back on, I only knew there was something missing in my life.
I had done everything I was supposed to do: raised two sons, became a successful entrepreneur, served my community and somehow lost some of me in all of it. I was living a life that no longer served me, working to pay huge bills to have the things I thought would make me happy. But they didn’t. They just shackled me to a life that wasn’t fulfilling.
I longed to simplify. I wanted to travel.
As a spiritual life coach and an energy healing practitioner, I knew I would be able to work from anywhere in the world. Using social media, I was able to create a bit of passive income as I set out on my journey.
I was living a life that no longer served me, working to pay huge bills to have the things I thought would make me happy. But they didn’t. They just shackled me to a life that wasn’t fulfilling.
In July, just four months after I decided to upend my life, I said goodbye to my sons, mother, family and friends, and spent a last bittersweet night with my boyfriend. Each goodbye broke my heart. Each goodbye was a step closer to my dream.
But that’s not to say that I wasn’t scared!
The little girl inside of me wanted to stay comfortable in the life I had created. A little voice in the back of my head was saying, “What if you’re wrong? What if you don’t like it? What if this is a whole lot harder than you think it’s going to be? What if this is a huge mistake?” Still, I had to do it.
That first year, I explored twelve countries in Europe and volunteered in Bosnia excavating the world’s largest pyramids. For the next 18 months, I lived in The Sacred Valley of Peru’s Andean highlands, investigated the ruins of Bolivia, drove all over southern Mexico, and worked as a guide for a spiritual healer in Brazil. Then I spent six months in South Africa, visiting ancient structures from Nelspruit to Cape Town. I experienced miracles and unexplained occurrences. From there, I traveled to Asia, visiting six countries. I especially loved Thailand.
In the last three years, I’ve experienced so many different events and emotions. There were times that I was nearly out of money. There were times that I felt deeply alone. There were times that I looked up to realize that I was in physical danger. But there was also joy — oh so much joy.
Fourteen months into my journey, while I was in Brazil working for the spiritual healer, I met a young Swiss woman with breast cancer that had spread to her bones. She looked healthy but was in tremendous pain. She’d been told that she would die soon, so she’d come from Switzerland to see the famous healer. I guided the woman through her journey with the healer, and her health improved. Three years later, she is alive and thriving. I had many similar experiences, and though it pained me to see people suffering, it was so gratifying to know that I was playing a significant role in their healing.
I got the opportunity to step outside of what was expected of me. I got to escape the rules that American society tells a 58-year-old woman she is supposed to live by.
Last July, just a couple of months before I returned to the United States, I spent a month in the Thai village of Pai. It is an absolutely beautiful place, and despite being surrounded by many people, even some close friends, I felt lonely a lot of the time. Loneliness is not something I often experience, and it felt especially painful. I found myself drawn to a small bungalow owned by a beautiful Buddhist woman. I rented the house from her, and even though she spoke no English, and I do not speak Thai, we communicated through our eyes and gestures. She appeared over and over to look after me when I needed it most, appearing with an open heart and meeting my needs before I even knew I had them. It was humbling, and I had to learn to accept her gifts of food and comfort. I cried when she dropped me off at the bus station the day I left, and not a day passes that I don’t remember that there are opportunities to serve others the way my Buddhist angel served me.
Now, I am resting. I am preparing for a new adventure. I am living in the knowledge that I went in search of meaning for my life and I found it. People often say to me, “You’re so lucky,” but the truth is there was no luck involved here. I followed my heart. Because I did, I got the opportunity to step outside of what was expected of me. I got to escape the rules that American society tells a 58-year-old woman she is supposed to live by. And I found the most important thing each of us can find in this world. I found my truest self and what brings joy into my life.
It wasn’t easy, but the unknown isn’t. There were times I was afraid and alone and wondering, What in the world have I done? That’s when I discovered I already had all the answers, I just had to listen for them.
Adele Good is a spiritual life coach and associate with Imagine Miracles. You can learn more about her at allgoodinternational.com.