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Embracing Freedom: The Decision to Embrace a Child-Free Life and Instead Focus on Travel

In a world that often emphasizes the traditional path of settling down, getting married, and having children, some individuals find fulfillment in breaking away from these societal expectations. For me, the decision to embrace a child-free life and instead focus on travel has been a journey of self-discovery and reconnection. A recent motorcycle trip across the Baja Peninsula served as a poignant reminder of the freedom and joy that comes with choosing a less conventional path.

As Bronson navigated the winding roads from La Paz to Todos Santos, the breathtaking views unfolded before us. The wind in my hair and the expansive landscape reminded me of the unparalleled freedom that my chosen lifestyle affords me. It was in that moment that I felt the true essence of freedom – the kind that comes from experiencing the world without the responsibilities of parenthood.

Early Signs of a Road Less Traveled

Reflecting on my journey, I recalled that my first conscious deviation from the societal norm of motherhood occurred during elementary school. When asked to create a dream book, my classmates were busy crafting collages of weddings and babies, while my dreams were filled with images of Disney World, African safaris, and secluded beaches. Even during my elementary school years, the concept of motherhood never resonated with me. My heart longed for adventures beyond the confines of my small Canadian town, and little did I realize then that this yearning would shape my perspective and future path in life. Over the years, I became more outspoken about my decision not to embrace motherhood but instead to pursue a life of travel.

As a small-town Canadian growing up in the 80s and 90s, such aspirations were not necessarily supported or deemed possible. While my family took vacations to warm destinations, my desire extended beyond the borders of the USA or the Caribbean. Every decision I made from college onward was a deliberate effort to lay the groundwork, to create a foundation that would transform my dreams into reality.

After graduating, I took a significant leap by moving to Vancouver, BC – a monumental shift from my small town in Ontario, Canada. The Pacific Northwest (PNW) quickly became my home base, my foundation, my starting point and also my home base for future endeavors. The PNW felt more like home to me than my hometown ever did. Fast forward 20 years and I still call the PNW home.

Living and working in Vancouver was a transformative experience for me. Residing by Kitsilano Beach, and working in a nursing unit populated mostly by young twenty-something nurses, I discovered the beauty and freedom of being a single woman for the first time. I remained in Vancouver for 3-4 years, a timeframe that would serve as a pattern for my future relocations.

My international travels started here, as it was in Vancouver where I began planning a six-month solo-backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, culminating in a four-year stint living and working abroad in Saudi Arabia. The details of these adventures deserve their own dedicated blog posts, but these experiences marked the beginning of a life dedicated to exploration, self-discovery, and breaking free from societal expectations.

Rediscovering My True Self:

Fast forward to my mid-forties, and after a year of grappling with deep loss and feeling adrift, the motorcycle trip across the Baja Peninsula served as the powerful reminder I needed. A reminder of the amazing life that I have already lived and the dreams I have turned into my reality. This journey to Mexico wasn't about escaping or running away; it was a homecoming, a return to my True Self.

You see, grief has a way of sticking to you, almost like it replicates on a cellular level. The power of grief culminated into some of the most negative self-talk that I have experienced in my life, creating feelings of low self-esteem, minimal self-worth, and never ending feelings of not being enough, or being too much. It felt like I could not get off this hamster wheel, I couldn't silence the inner dialogue and no matter what I did, what I accomplished in 2023, it never seemed to fulfill me.

While certain journeys in my past might have served as a means of escaping reality, this specific expedition was a purposeful endeavor in self-discovery. It reignited the flame of my authentic passions and allowed me to wholeheartedly embrace the freedom inherent in living life on my own terms. It stirred a renewed fervor within me, reminding me of the intrinsic significance of travel in my life – a vital element of my being. You see, I had temporarily forgotten just how crucial travel is to my existence; it is an integral part of who I am. The dream of exploring new cultures, languages, and ways of life has been with me since childhood, and for the past twenty-five years, I have been living that dream.

Reflecting on the year 2023, I now recognize that I was battling with depression. Despite changing jobs, initiating new projects, and enrolling in Ayurvedic school, I couldn't shake off the darkness that surrounded me. It's a common human tendency to overlook the healing powers of the things we love when submerged in sorrow. I heard friends say, "but, you have all..." or "but, you are doing..." It was rare to hear, "take your time, you will find your way." I type that not to place blame, but to bring awareness to the fact that no matter what the cover shows, we can never truly know what is happening inside, unless we ask, unless we get curious, unless we truly see and hear what people are saying with their words and their body language.

There is so much truth to the saying "never judge a book by it's cover." I will forever be grateful to the people that inquired, checked in and gave me the supportive space I yearned for. 🥰

In summary, opting for a life of travel instead of embracing motherhood is a deeply personal choice that demands a sense of bravery. As I continue with my exploration of the world, I will revel in the freedom of my journey and the delight derived from living authentically. Free from the societal expectations placed on women, free from the need to explain, and free from the fear of never being enough.

It was through the twists and turns of the open road across the Baja Peninsula that I found my way back. Perhaps it was the wind in my hair or the sun in my face that reignited this internal fire – as with any flame, it requires a steady supply of air, of oxygen, to stay alight.


Lisa Ostler


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