Living in an RV was one of the best things I could have possibly done for the eight or so years I did it. It allowed me freedom, both physical and financial, made it easy for me to travel, forced me to become minimalist, and taught me a lot. If I were still living in an RV today, that would probably be a mistake.
When I moved to LA for a year to learn how to date, I was out in clubs nearly every night. I dressed crazy and had few obligations that weren't social. I grew tremendously as a person during that time, but I couldn't be more glad that I'm not doing it anymore.
In 2008 I had a backpack worth of stuff and I left the US for nine months on a backpacking trip around the world. I don't know any other way I could have gained the perspective and learned as much as I did, but my possessions can't fit in a bag anymore and I'm in the US almost every month.
Those are three examples, but I could go on for days about all of the things that I did, especially things that defined who I was, that I no longer do. I don't regret any of them, but I am simultaneously glad that I am no longer doing them.
When you drive a manual car, you generally start in first gear. This is a perfect gear to start in, because it can get you going from a stop and you smoothly accelerate to a low speed. Then, all of a sudden, first gear is no longer a good gear to be in. It holds you back by limiting your speed and the high RPMs can make the ride jerky. You have to shift into second gear, and the process repeats itself.
This is also true in real life. Very often you can find the perfect habit or work or lifestyle or attitude that gets you from point A to point B, but as soon as you get to point B it is no longer correct for you.
Some people resist this. These are the forty year olds who are still talking about what great athletes they were in college. They were to afraid to let go of their old identities, so they never built new ones. It's comfortable to keep doing what you've been doing, especially when it's been working for you.
Your attitude should really be the opposite. You should aim to outgrow your identity that you have now. That doesn't mean that what you're doing right now isn't amazing, it's just recognizing that you will grow as a person and that the world will change, and that you have the capability to adjust to that.
Not every shift is drastic, by the way. I didn't go from being totally minimalist to a packrat. I kept the parts of it that were working, like wearing the same clothes every day, but left behind the parts that weren't serving me anymore. I don't go to clubs or chat up girls anymore, but I am still much more social than I was before that phase.
Embrace who you are and give it all of your effort, but when you can see that it's no longer the right gear for you, don't be afraid to shift.
Photo is The Vessel in New York, weird staircase that goes to nowhere but looks really cool.
When I first bought an RV to live in last year a lot of people thought that it was a phase I would quickly snap out of. Part of me thought the same thing. Would a move from a 2000 square foot condo to a 100 square foot RV be bearable?
As it turned out, it was more than bearable. I loved it. When I left the country to travel, I sold everything including the RV I loved so much. Seven months later, back in Austin and faced with the proposition of finding somewhere to live, the decision was simple.
I wanted another RV, and it had to be even smaller.
For years people who came to my place for the first time and looked at my books would be confused. First of all the amount of them would freak people out as they never seem to take me for a reader anyway but also the selection. I'll pretty much read anything.
Now I haven't always been that way. When I was growing up I pretty much only read Stephen King. Sure, they made me read stuff by dutch authors in school but I only read that cause I had to. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't that I didn't like anything else, it just never occurred to me to try it. And why should I? There were enough books for me to read that I knew I would enjoy. So I would only add a new author to my reading list if I'd had exhausted the works of whatever author I was into at the time. So for a long time I didn't really expand my reading selection a lot. Only doing that when I had to.
Then one day when I was flying from London to Amsterdam my flight got delayed and my I finished my book before my flight was even boarding. As it wasn't sure when we would start boarding and there was no bookstore near the gate I was waiting at I was stuck without a book. Or rather, I did have some books that I picked up for a friend. She's an English girl that lives in Amsterdam and had given me a list of books to pick up (this is pre internet ordering. Yes, I'm that old ;) ). So technically I was only "without a book I like".
Now for some reason she decided to give me a list of romance novels so I was stuck with 7 of those. As the delay was taking ever longer I eventually opened one of them and started reading and... exactly as I expected, I hated it! Seriously, I forced myself to read the first chapter but then really couldn't handle it anymore. But about 30 minutes later I was so bored that I decided to give another one of the books a try. Again, a romance novel but this one was much better than the first one. I found myself actually getting into the book and before I knew it we were boarding, took off and landed and I was home having finished the book.
That moment though was when something changed. Although I have always known we can't see whether or not we like something (or can do something for that matter) until we've tried it, it wasn't until that moment that the message finally sunk in.