About a month ago I was scheduled to deliver a speech at the DNX Bangkok, I found myself nervously walking up and down my flat in Copacabana, ready to cancel the speaking engagement.
I was torturing my mind on how to end the talk. What was my conclusion? What was my message if I myself was not sure about what to make of my life experiences? Also I had no idea what I would do next in my life. Could I give a talk without knowing the next thing I’d be doing?
I even discussed cancelling the talk with Marcus, the DNX organizer, who convinced me to stick with it.
But then something happened when I started remembering my traveling experiences in detail and developing the talk.
I had met so many people, ranging from refugees, to kings, businessmen, pirates, smugglers and tuareg musicians. All of them had shared their stories with me, giving me the opportunity to see the world from their unique perspectives.
The cultural knowledge I acquired, the connections I made, the inspiration I found out there and the opportunity I was given to discover my creativity, limits and passions while on the road. I realized how amazingly priceless those experiences are. I might lose a phone or any material possession but my memories will always stay with me for the rest of my life and that is truly amazing.
The most important insight however, was triggered by remembering Africa and the conversations I had with Monir. I became aware of how far I drifted from the person I used to be while travelling through Africa .
Who I really am is someone that feels most alive when feeling connected to the world, when taking it all in, feeling it’s pain and joy. Looking at life from all angles: from the Monirs, the smugglers, the pirates, prostitutes, kings and CEOs.
Not just work, and calls, and tasks, and productivity hacks and CEO’s and clients.
In the last three years I followed success and money and climbed higher on the proverbial ladder.
I forgot WHY I once wanted to become location independent and be my own boss: To live a free life, to dance and sing and celebrate, to continue experiencing the world in all it’s facets and to use my experiences to create something with the goal of removing boundaries and fears in peoples’ head’s.
And THAT is the reason why I was cynical at times, and stressed about what’s next, because I followed success and money, but success and money makes you happy only to a point.
I read that many times before, and rationally I understood it. But now I experienced it myself: It is true! More money than you need, does not make you more happy. What makes me happy is filming a short documentary about Monir, and getting mail from a Spaniard living in south Spain saying that watching it changed their perspective on Moroccans immigrants in Spain.
Now I celebrate realizing that I could lose everything, I could lose my company and all my material possessions, and it wouldn’t be such a big deal. I’d still have my experiences. I’d still have the trust and confidence that I’ll be safe, and the skills I acquired while travelling.
As Joseph Campbell once said:
“If you follow your bliss, you will always have your bliss, money or not. If you follow money, you may lose it, and you will have nothing.”
Check out my talk of how I’ve gotten to this place, where I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I’ve become ok with it.