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We all begin with curiosity, but comfort then ties us down. We’re born with wild imaginations, and spectacular dreams, but as we reach adulthood, far too many of us choose to settle for less. Don’t want an ordinary life. 

We choose to settle for an “okay” life instead of one which is extraordinary. We allow ourselves to become slaves to pensions, expectations, and consumerism. We let some faceless person in a human resources department decide how much money we’ll earn, what we’ll do with our days and whether we get to enjoy job security. What is the best way to live an extraordinary life?

Sarah Peterson says you should join the movement and unsettle.

What do you love the most about travelling?

I love the freedom I feel when I’m on the road. I feel almost weightless – like there is no responsibility, nothing holding me back from becoming the person I want to become. I want to be extraordinary.

What inspired you to start travelling?

I’ve always wanted to travel, but I broke the seal when my husband and I had a couple of glasses of wine before our wedding when we were planning our honeymoon. How do I make my life complete?

I didn’t want to go to a typical honeymoon destination – all inclusive vacations aren’t really my thing. We were brainstorming alternatives, including Greece, Paris, Nicaragua, and then we found some information about a trek in Nepal that we were just dying to do. Did I settle in life?

We booked the trek as our honeymoon, and I’ve been addicted to travel ever since! (We then followed up with a proper honeymoon in Bali.)

What is ‘Unsettle” all about?

Unsettle is a movement; we give people the tools to stop settling for lives and work they don’t love. We aren’t at the mercy of old-school bosses anymore. We shouldn’t have to ask permission to travel. We shouldn’t have to live our lives for two weeks of vacation each year. Should I settle down?

And we certainly shouldn’t let some faceless person in a human resources department decide how much money we’ll earn, what we’ll do with our days and whether we get to enjoy job security. How to unsettle

So you have established a location independent lifestyle which allows you to travel the world?

For the most part, I have. I do have a mortgage and a house with my husband, but the income from the businesses we run allow us to be location independent; we can pay the mortgage on the road.

What made you realize that the 9-5 lifestyle wasn’t for you?

After we got back from Nepal and Bali, I realized that I really wanted to do more travel. I wanted to see the world and I simply couldn’t fit that into a 2-3 weeks of vacation time per year. I don’t want to work 9-5

What’s your definition of an “ok” life v an extraordinary one?

An “okay” life is one where you live it to other people’s standards and expectations. Maybe it’s society’s standards, or maybe it’s just expectations that you’ve been saddled with your whole life (which we all have).

An extraordinary life is lived when the person takes back control, stops asking for permission, and lives for themselves rather than being slaves to pensions, expectations, and consumerism. Why is life boring?

Do you believe that anyone can pursue this reality?

I have no doubt that anybody could pursue it, but not everybody will.

What advice do you have for others who want to do what you do?

Start publishing. Whether it’s a blog, a podcast, Youtube videos, Instagram photos – start sharing your gifts, talents, story, and abilities with the world.

Contribute instead of just consume. Start a website. Find a niche. Educate yourself. Research how to make this lifestyle a reality. And then make it one.

Even before you achieved a location independent lifestyle you still managed to travel and pay the mortgage. How did you make travel a priority?

I made travel a priority financially by cutting out the things that wouldn’t serve me. How do I life an extraordinary life?

I didn’t buy a lot of consumer goods because they anchored me to home. I saved money and became interested in personal finance, and I quit my regular job for a contract that would allow me to take more time off than my regular job would. I tried to design my life around my goals of travelling more.

How has your location independent lifestyle changed you as a person?

It’s made me more free, happier, and more balanced. Even when I’m home and not travelling, location independence helps me have deeper relationships with people, nurture my physical health and give me a better perspective.

Tell us about some of the most memorable moments from your travels to date?

In Nepal, I accidently died my hair orange.

I am a natural blonde and I have very light hair. After our trek, a new friend and I went to get a massage in Kathamandu and a hair treatment. At the spa, they asked me what I wanted as the treatment, and they suggested Nepali mustard oil. When in Rome, right? Don’t settle for an ordinary life.

Except that mustard oil has an organish tinge, which you wouldn’t notice on dark hair, but a few hours later I was on a plane to Bali and my hair had finally dried. My husband was looking at my head funny, and he asked me why my hair was orange. You don’t have to be ordinary. 

It didn’t ever wash out – I had to get it highlighted and let it grow out!!

Another memorable moment was deciding to go to Nice on a whim in Europe, and arriving when the Carnaval was going on. It was so much fun! There was so much confetti on the ground that you couldn’t even see the pavement in some places, and the festivities were infectious.

What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started traveling?

One thing I know now that I wish I knew when I started was that it’s far cheaper than many people think it is to travel. I didn’t know how affordable it really was until I had gone to a few countries and really paid attention to the costs.

If I had known this sooner, I would have started travelling far sooner!

Three things you can’t travel without?

My laptop (this is a bit of a cheat, since every location independent online entrepreneur needs it!), a nice pashmina scarf that can be used as an airplane blanket, pillow cover, scarf and cover up, and my hiking boots.

Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?

I’ll be in South America this year, and Patagonia has always been very high on my bucket list. Tanzania and Turkey are both up there too, along with Japan.

I’ll make it to all of those places soon!

Why should people unsettle?

To realize their full potential, live an amazing life and to wake up from being on autopilot. But I think our generation is realizing how important this is already!

INSPIRED? PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓

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Sarah Peterson blogs at unsettle.org, where she helps people start doing work they love through lifestyle business.

She has an odd affinity for confetti, and occasionally tries to motivate people on Twitter. Visit her site for insanely actionable tips on how to build your own career and start loving Monday’s again.

Follow Sarah on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Carnival photos by Flckr users debs-eye & Mark Fischer.

    22 Comments

  1. What an inspiring interview! I’m a big believer that people shouldn’t settle as well, but it’s difficult to make non-travelers see it that way. I wish that I could just make others take a risk and see the world, instead of being stuck in a cubicle.

    • Thanks so much Cory! Not everyone loves to travel, but travelers are easy to convince :)

  2. I love this! It’s exactly how I feel. I’ve tried the 9-5, and know it’s just not for me. I want to live a life where I love my work and have the freedom to live my life in the way I would like. Great post :)

    • So glad you enjoyed the post and were inspired by Sarah’s story Natalie! All the best in unsettling!

  3. I guess there is nothing wrong with 9-to-5 jobs, as long as you love what you do. If you don’t, there is no reason to conform to that kind of lifestyle. I have never liked offices and suits, so I refuse to get myself locked in one.
    Sarah sounds like a very focused and independent person and her Unsettle is bound to succeed. I can’t believe the website is only 1 year old. Well done, Sarah!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words :) I think sometimes a job is perfect for somebody, as long as you love it :)

  4. Very interesting perspective. This is pretty much what I try to do although I still hold a full-time job. Travel is clearly a priority and my goal is to do it as much as possible. It’s an addiction as well :)

    • Hey Hugo – travel is DEFINITELY an addiction :) If you can travel while working in a full time job all the power to yoU :)

  5. Great perspective and outlook on life. The orange hair story was very entertaining.

    • Hahaha I’d definitely describe it as “interesting” – thanks for your comment, Rhonda!

  6. Very interesting indeed and a thought most of us will share. I certainly fear ending up in a boring 9-5 job with a mortgage and a steady income and a life that is totally predictable. I am curious about what she means with tools and I am going to check her site out

    • Boring is no fun, Mar! Thanks for checking Unsettle out.

  7. Really inspiring interview! Loved the read. I hope to achieve the same life as Sarah. For the start, I hope to find a job after graduation that allows me to travel. Fingers crossed!

    • If you want it, you can get it, Kathrin!

  8. Agree with the interview. I think the idea of setteling down is a headache for most of people who hate routine. Stability can be scarry:) However, I see setteling down made some of my friends quite happy, so there is no recipe that would work for all.

    • Absolutely Veronika – it’s all about pursuing the life that you love, and that’s going to be different for different people. Some people do revel in the routine of having a 9-5 and knowing that there’s a stable and secure life there. Others hate routine.

      Hopefully we can convince people that it doesn’t matter what their passions are, in this day and age they at least have the choice!

  9. Love this interview! Thanks for sharing. Totally agree with the unsettle movement and really like that term. My husband and I have a home base that we love coming home to between traveling, but last year we adopted the location independent lifestyle, too. It’s so nice to be able to travel when you want to and not when you are told you can by a boss. Also, that’s so crazy about the mustard oil not washing out–who would have thought!!

    • Glad you enjoyed and could relate to the interview Jenna! Having a home base combined with a location independent lifestyle is a pretty winning combination honestly – we’re setting ourselves up for the same. Like a mixture of the routine and the freedom to break it whenever we feel the need.

      It’s all about balance and what works best for each person in the end!

  10. YES!!! I feel like we got sucked into the ‘American Dream’ before we realized how crazy it is to spend all of our time working so we can pay for stuff that we won’t actually own for many, many years. Now I couldn’t imagine working 5 days a week and being confined to only 2 weeks of vacation a year. I actually have a pretty traditional job too, I am a nurse. My husband and I are planning on building a tiny house which will free us up from a mortgage and give us more freedom to pursue experiences and the things we love, including/especially traveling.

    • Congrats on realizing your dream life Valerie! Sounds like you both have your priorities straight :)

      I too very quickly realized that I wasn’t happy placing value on possessions rather than experiences – so I stopped buying meaningless things. It’s all clutter that we never really need. Such a liberating feeling when we sold everything and could fit everything we owned into a suitcase!

      In the end, we remember memories and moments over big houses and the things we buy to fill the walls.

      Happy travels!

  11. It’s awesome that you have chosen a path that makes you happy and fulfilled! Thank you for sharing your advice.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Mary :)

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