Lessons From A Passport
Words by Nicole Lindstrom & Photos by Sasha Juliard
Nicole Lindstrom is a travel writer currently exploring the U.S. by van. She is the creative director and editor of the online travel guide GLDMNE and co-author of Wanderlust, A Modern Yogi's Guide To Discovering Your Best Self. Sasha Juliard is a freelance photographer and web designer. He started How To Work Remotely in 2015 and is a contributor to several online publications. Follow along with their journey on Instagram at @gldmne and @sashajuliard.
The road, as wise as she is, taught us a thing or two when she handed us a passport and sent us around the world. What began with a single plane ticket grew to an adventure that would take us to 10 countries (and still has us going). Equal parts grit and glimmer, the road and her lessons have asked us to pay attention. We've listened and we've learned. We've stepped out and we've seen – all while steadily placing one foot in front of the other to find wherever it may lead us.
Find Your Beginning
For us it was plane tickets and passports. I knew I had to see more. To share. To learn. To be.
The idea of making the road our home was conceived from a moment's inspiration walking through an old bookstore in Nicaragua. Used books toppled over themselves, falling into disheveled stacks on tables and benches, stools and chairs. Choosing one and blowing sparkling dust into morning light, "This." I thought, "This is a true goldmine." I travel to seek wealth not in gold, but wealth in knowledge. There was much to learn from these corners of the world.
Take the First Step
From that day in Nicaragua forward, I knew I couldn't resist the first step — it would become the welcomed invitation for change.
And it might be yours, too. Purchase a ticket, set a date, send that email, sign up for that class. I knew having something tangible to move towards would put everything else in motion. I knew that the "perfect" time might never roll around. There would always be a reason to stay. You will never know until you go.
For my boyfriend, Sasha – who sees much of life through the lens of his camera – the first step was buying a one-way plane ticket with the hopes that it would lead to more. Knowing that both of our crafts could be tended to remotely, I traded in my full-time job in New York with only five vacation days remaining for the thrill of something new. And to do what I had always wanted – to join my partner on a journey around the world. Purchasing that matching plane ticket was the push I needed to uncover a different way of seeing.
Bangkok led to the Philippines, the Philippines led to Bali, Bali led to Hawaii, Hawaii led to California, California led to Mexico… and the journey continues to this day through the slot canyons of Utah.
Stick With It
What calls you? What asks for your attention? Once you've heard the call, there is little left but to do it...and to stick with it.
The road is a choice. Collecting passport stamps is a choice. The lifestyle has its ups and downs, but we prioritize each decision to make it sustainable. Giving up our daily fancy coffee fix and cooking from wherever we can call home at the moment allows us to watch the pennies add up. We believe in investing in experience. When we made the decision to travel, I had $3,000 to my name and guessed that it would maybe last three months. Now, 10 months and 10 countries later – after scaling the cliffs of Santorini and swimming off the coast of Baja Del Sur – I have $4,000. Realizing just how little we truly need, we've made room for the goal of continued travel.
What do you want your daily life to look like? Where can you save your money or time? Think of this as life's piggy bank and crack it open for what matters most.
Be Here Now
While standing on a dock in Austria, we caught ourselves talking about how excited we were to see Prague and had to remind ourselves to feel the cold mountain air. Yesterday, while hiking through Zion our conversations kept going back to how amazing Yosemite must be. Too often precious moments are spent aching for something else. Looking back you realize that those were the moments that were truly great – experiences that will never find you just like that again.
Be. Here. Now. And be there once you get there.
This is important to remember no matter where you are. If you are walking along the same route you find yourself on every day, take surprise in all of the things you've never noticed. If you're sitting with a family member you know all too well, listen closely and ask new questions. It's attention, you see. When you find yourself too far ahead, all it takes to bring yourself back to the blessing is attention. Start with your breath, feel the rise and fall of your chest, then feel your feet on the ground and the buzz in your fingertips. And remember that now is yours.
With well worn passports in our tattered pockets, our road still goes on. Today we are in California. Tomorrow will be there when we get there.
The Road Knows
At Artifact Uprising, we've always believed the road knows best – that winding roads and crooked paths teach and shape and stir up and inspire and unearth so much in our storied lives. In an ongoing series meant to share your adventures and inspire the same in others, we're excited to profile your journeys here. Do you have a journey we'd love to follow along with? Tag your photos with #theroadknows on Instagram and your adventures in print– we can't wait to follow along.