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The Big Problem With Traveling the World
What the influencers and digital nomads don't tell you.
I’m ready to be done traveling.
Or am I?
It’s a difficult question and in all of the time I’ve spent traveling this year (22 trips and at least a few more before the year is up), I’ve wondered quite a bit if I’m “ready to settle down”.
I’ve wondered if I’m ready to live somewhere and build a life there. Ready to chase some of the home-life dreams I had when I was 19 but just couldn’t figure out where I wanted to go. I’ve wondered if I’m ready to give up the constant travel and the “competitive Jiu-Jitsu life” for a more normal life.
Here’s what I’ve had going on recently, and why the questions I’m asking myself are actually completely wrong. The questions I’m asking myself expose a personal flaw of mine that I’m trying my hardest to work on.
Let’s dive in:
My bucket is overflowing.
I’ve started one really important new habit in the past year.
I don’t tell people about the stuff I’m doing until I’m ready. I keep my plans close to my chest (besides a few people whose opinions I truly value) until I feel ready to share them. Until I don’t think that the dopamine of telling people about a new project will prevent me from completing the project, I don’t really talk much about it.
I’m more of a schemer now than I used to be.
Call me superstitious, but this has worked really well for me. If you struggle to get stuff done, I’d recommend trying it.
Either way, the point I’m trying to make here is that there are a lot of different things I’ve been working on and scheming up that I don’t quite feel ready to share yet. I will share them once the projects are closer to their release dates, but it’s too early.
In my life right now, there are a lot of:
projects being worked on
competitions/matches/seminars being discussed
trips being planned
This does not include my current client work, my training schedule, my announced competitions, and writing The Grappler’s Diary on Instagram and Substack. There’s a lot going on, and managing it gets to be a bit tough.
The dirty part of constant travel is that as a result of constantly being on the road, being extremely active in competition, and hustling as hard as I can, I’ve bit off a bit more than I can chew.
The prerequisites to get stuff done.
I’d rather be in my current position than in that of someone who has never ventured outside of their hometown.
I’d also rather be in my current position than in that of someone who has never “traveled for work”.
But here’s the important thing, really:
The 2 most important requirements to do things (and to do them well) are time and energy.
If you don’t have time — either because you’re stuck on an airplane, distracted by other pressing matters, or because you struggle with time management — and you don’t have energy — because you’re jet-lagged, exhausted, sick, etc. — you will not get the things you need to do done.
You need to have time and energy, otherwise, you will be scatterbrained and unproductive. This will create a cycle that can make you spiral out of control.
I have ADHD, so I’m naturally pretty scatterbrained as it is, and the constant travel I’ve been doing has been terrible for my focus and productivity. There’s a reason why the author goes to the cabin in the woods, and it’s not because they want to be there. It’s because distraction is the easiest vice ever invented.
So there you have it. I’ve been struggling to be productive.
Naturally, this way of thinking is what has led me to believe that putting an end to my nomad days is what I really need to do. At times, I’ve started to think that if I want to live a productive life where I can acquire the skills to live an even more exciting life, I must stop traveling and embrace the monotony of routine.
Here’s the kicker:
You don’t need to live at extremes.
I’m going to be honest with you guys.
I really give my all in everything I do. All of these articles have a piece of my soul in them — even 2 years in. Every tournament and match I compete in, every seminar and private lesson I teach, every article I write (whether it’s under my name or someone else’s), or whatever the heck else I end up putting out, it has my all in it.
But not all my work is good.
Sometimes, simply giving your all is not enough to do things well.
In addition to giving your all, you need to be calculated, disciplined, meticulous, and opportunistic — among other things.
When building your life and taking chances, this is important to remember. Too much action will lead to a decrease in quality, burnout, and anxiety.
However, you don’t need to choose between a productive life and an exciting one. You just need to choose between an extremely productive life, an extremely unproductive one, and the one that you actually want to shoot for.
It’s not “yes productive” or “no productive”, it’s a spectrum. Find where you aim to fit yourself on the spectrum.
That’s why, my goal for next year is to be a bit more selective in the trips that I take and the projects that I take on. I will aim to do more quality work and be less impulsive with taking on new challenges.
For me, that’s the first step.
The big problem with traveling the world is that not everyone even wants to travel the world, but thanks to Instagram, movies, and other forms of media, everyone is trained to think that traveling the world is the path to a fulfilling life.
I bought into this idea hard when I was younger. I read every book on travel that even remotely interested me, I made lists of all the places I wanted to go, and then I built a life over the next decade that allowed me to go to many of these places (and many places I really didn’t want to go).
In time, I’ve realized that while travel is exciting and insightful, it only does so much when it comes to personal development. Skills and assets are built through monotony and routine.
I’ll probably always be a person who travels a lot (the world is far too vast for my curiosity about exploring new places to be drained completely), but my goal for the next year is to become a person who doesn’t travel too much. My goal is to become a productive person who travels a lot. My goal is to focus more on my time and energy management.
My goal is to do more of what I love and less of what I don’t. At this time, I can’t think of a more fulfilling mission.
No premium article this week as it’s the ADCC Trials and I’ve been weight-cutting all week, but check out this recap article I wrote on the North American Trials last year!
Premium articles will resume on Tuesday :)
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