I’m the prototype of the typical local city boy. Or at least, I was!
About 26 years ago I was born in the concrete jungle of Belgium. And while growing up, my entire youth took place within a radius of 6 miles.
Can you imagine this, only 6 miles of this enormous world? Everything I did & needed was right at my feet, just a single fart away from home.
But rather then complaining, I want to believe I had a better childhood than most kids these days. I was lucky enough to be able to make my own mistakes, since my parents gave me that freedom.
I spent most of my spare time and holidays on the streets. While most of my peers enjoyed staying at home playing inside, I went on little adventures. Climbing trees & building forts became almost daily routine.
Thank God that technology wasn’t that evolved back then!
Childhood was such an amazing time. Having no worries and just doing the things you love to do.
A LOST BOY
But the older I got, the more everything seemed to fall apart…
BAM! Adulthood came kicking into in my life.
Without any warning my entire life changed. All of a sudden, I lost my connection with the world around me. Before I was even aware of it, I got lost in the system & trapped in the rat race.
You know how the story goes… Careers, girlfriends, babies or just life in general drifts all of us in another direction. Anyhow, I really struggled with all the changes adulthood brought me.
I get it, at a certain age you are expected to mature and live life like we know it. Fitting into the system & doing the things everyone else does.
But what if you don’t even know who you are?
I had no real ambitions toward a successful career, as I hadn’t figured it out what I loved doing. For some worthless reason I stumbled into carpentry in school.
And to this day, that’s the only regret I have, that I didn’t follow the right path academically.
If I had a time machine, I would be a vet right now…
However, getting a job was always easy. But those crappy jobs never gave me any satisfaction, and that’s why I always quit them faster than you can say “Jack Robinson.”
My inner voice always told me to do something meaningful, something that gives satisfaction. Something that changes lives or at least makes a difference.
The only problem, what?
SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED
So life wasn’t working out for me. I wasn’t moving forward at all. At that time my comfort zone was shrinking each day. At one point my comfort zone was from the couch to the fridge, and I’m not kidding.
As result, I gained tons of weight. At my worst, I weighed 264 lbs. Days were passing by without me in them. I wasn’t acting on all of the possibilities life had given me.
Based on society’s views of success, I was simply a loser. No house, no wife, no job, no driver license and being that fat. Even though I had my own view of success, it was hard dealing with the judgment. I could literally read on people’s faces, that I was one of the biggest losers they’d ever met.
Some even said it out loud…
Most were just giving me “good” advice. The amount of advice was endless. It seemed everyone else knew my life better then I did. But I do not blame anyone for this, it’s just the way we were raised…
Afraid of this big scary world, I found myself on the wrong side of rock bottom. I felt I’d lost the most important thing to me: myself.
SOMETHING NEEDED TO CHANGE.
I really was on the brink of death. I was broke & broken.
I urgently needed to figure things out before it was too late. No matter what, I couldn’t live this way any longer. It was time to move forward and leave the past behind.
So, what changed ?
There is a saying, “it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks“.
And the same applies to humans. Adults only learn through massive trauma. And trauma was what changed me. I experienced several panic attacks in one single weekend. I still believe I was on the edge of passing out.
During those attacks, my mind shifted. While suffering, I convinced myself that I still had something inside me. I wasn’t done yet. I still had things to offer. That weekend was very fussy so I’m not sure how I did it, but I managed to survive.
My mind refused to give up, and for the first time I didn’t quite on something…
PICKING UP THE BROKEN PIECES
That very next Monday, I started to build myself up again. Trying to pick up the pieces, I went on my first journey, one of self-discovery.
The entire week I cut off my electronics & stayed in a forest to find my life’s purpose. All I had with me was a pen & paper. I was so committed, to search deep down within myself, to be alone with myself and only my thoughts. This was gonna be a fight inside me. Me against me.
I began to let my thoughts wonder, thinking about what made me happy. I had no limits this time and no boxes to fit into. Everything was & is possible. Long story short, a few topics or experiences gave me joy in life. “Wildlife, traveling & culture” were the things that made me happy.
With this in mind I figured out what my life long dream was:
Going to places with amazing people while having the best (spontaneous) experiences one can only imagine. And on that journey, helping other people to achieve their dreams and goals.
MORE EXCUSES THEN A PREGNANT NUN
But the habit of being afraid quickly took over again. Afraid to fail, I already began making excuses. That it wasn’t possible, that I would become a hobo and die on the streets. All of the worst scenarios were playing in my mind. Still afraid to attack my goals, I was stuck between a world full of dreams and the sad reality.
Time passed by and I began to daydream more and more about traveling the world, wildlife & adventures. I’m glad I had those, as they were first steps toward my journey. But reality always kicked in harder and harder when I finished daydreaming.
Freedom is the key to happiness.
RUNNING OR LIVING
I was about to leave everything behind (including debts & problems) to explore the world. But that would be running away, instead of living my dream. So, I began fixing my problems and paying my debts until I was ready to approach the world.
I needed to find a way to survive on the road. By searching the Web I found that it was possible by creating a successful blog & using all kind of other tricks. In the past I would have never believed in this concept or even believed in myself.
But things have changed for the better & since I wanted to travel so desperately, I gave it my all. I took that one shot that I would pass on in the past.
To be honest, I’m glad I found a solution for my problems instead of running away. Because now I can travel with a free mind, without having to look back at all.
While most might have a “successful life”, I live & have freedom.. And that’s all I can wish for.
Hi! I’m Jonas, a freedom seeker. I transformed from a local city boy into a world traveler who has an intensive passion for wildlife and nature! Follow me along a journey of adventure, volunteer & wonder! Let me guide you through a world of travel.