What do underwear burpees in public have to do with travelling the world?
You’d be surprised.
I spent many years of my life motivated by, and looking for– freedom (not understanding I was actually searching for inner freedom, but more on that soon).
At first I was convinced that my life was in shackles.
Someone was telling me where I had to be for 9 hours a day, and what I had to do during those hours.
This wasn’t freedom, this was the ever-so-famous rat race–and I had landed in the middle of it.
If being locked in one place is stuckness, then certainly travelling everywhere must be freedom?
To travel the world I’ll need a massive amount of savings, or a passive income. The latter is likely both easier to get, and more sustainable.
And the rest is history.
Multiple YouTube channels (hence the underwear burpees in public…), companies and experiments later–the dream was achieved!
The Travelling Begins
There’s something magical about landing in southeast Asia, experiencing a culture you’ve never experienced before and realizing that you’re in COMPLETE control of your own schedule.
This was certainly foreign to me.
I was free! I could do whatever I wanted!
With a passive income to support both me and my partner, we travelled pretty much all of southeast Asia to begin with.
Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia (who could forget about Bali…).
And then the thought struck me:
I had achieved what I personally always dreamed of.
I lived on a passive income (I certainly wasn’t rich, but could travel endlessly and needed to spend maybe 5-10% of my time on upkeep for the income) and could go anywhere I wanted.
And I wasn’t even in my 30’s yet.
By pretty much every definition in the book, I was free.
But I didn’t quite feel that way inside.
I had achieved outer freedom, but was still lacking inner freedom.
New Thoughts, New Realities
Before I achieved my ever-so-sought-after freedom, thoughts would appear that detailed all the reasons my life was out of order:
“You don’t own your own time, and you know your time here on earth is limited. Time to act!”
“You’re not making enough money, at least ascend the ladder and make your wasted time worthwhile.”
“Is your job really helping anyone out? Or are you just grinding your gears here?”
“You’ve spent all your life surviving, isn’t it about time you started thriving?”
Guess what changed?
“Oh no, I have to pack up my stuff and change hotels tomorrow? Ah what a bother.”
“Are we flying again? I’m so tired of flying.”
“Another 9 hour bus drive? Pff…”
“Am I really that interested in visiting THAT country?”
Sure, the content of the thoughts were different, but the complaining was the same.
We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.Anaïs Nin
I had been looking for a different kind of freedom all along, I just never realized it.
The Road to Inner Freedom
This is a heavily summarized story.
A passive income to travel the world doesn’t just appear by itself, it took a ton of work.
Always the self-help junkie, I was relentlessly using every tool available to me in order to sustain the productivity without going under.
I was using tools such as meditation (I never skipped my 30 minutes of morning meditation), breathing techniques, The Sedona Method releases, The Wonder Method emotional processing, QiGong, Amygdala Clicking, The Wim Hof Method (yes I rocked those cold showers for years), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping, everything from the gold standard to Faster EFT, Mindful Tapping, The Tapping Solution and Optimal EFT), Mindfulness…
And then we haven’t even touched on the Taoist and most Energy Healing practices…
Also check out Why Yoga Fails to Make You Feel Better.
Needless to say, I was absolutely loaded with tools, and I used them daily.
But during a short break of one of our travels, something magical happened.
The Inner Freedom Realization
At some point when I was feeling anxiety roaming through my body, my first thought was, as usual–to unfold that tension within me.
But I had the most magical of experiences.
I went from experiencing myself as anxious, to becoming an observer of the anxiety.
Not just as a nice theory from mindfulness and buddhism, but truly experienced it.
I landed in a state of pure observing.
And it became so clear to me that thoughts would always be roaming freely with in me;
But the thoughts were never personal.
They were just thoughts, that I for some reason figured had value.
That I figured told things the way they are.
But it’s not true, I could so clearly see the endless creative energy that they are, and how they were jumping from one conclusion to the next, without any basis–without me “doing” anything.
That’s when I realized, that I’d been spending my life trying to escape my thoughts by creating a “free life”.
That all my tools were but means of escape.
The only problem was that none of that was really working.
It was like watching a movie that ended badly, and waiting for a sequel that would save the whole thing.
But it was just a movie, there was nothing to “save”.
From that day and realization, my life changed.
I didn’t do anything, I didn’t get anything, I just realized something.
The realization that thoughts are nothing but thoughts–sometimes light and airy, sometimes dark and heavy.
But without exception, they always pass–and they’re always fluffy nothingness.
Ever since that day, I’ve enjoyed inner freedom–whether I’m staying at one place doing nothing, or travelling the world ceaselessly.
In my experience, inner freedom is the realization that thoughts are an endless creative energy that you do not fully control.
Certainly you can conjure up thoughts on demand, but this happens endlessly without a break–and that’s not all your doing.
If it was, there’d be little time for anything else!
Just because you realize the passing nature and narrative emptiness of your thoughts–that doesn’t mean that tough times no longer exist.
Or that anxiety is no longer a sensation that you can feel.
What it means is that there’s no longer an inner need to escape from anywhere, to a “better place”.
It’s the depth of inner trust that thoughts reign over our experience–and their passing nature.
Also check out Why I Stopped Meditating After 10 Years of Practice.
As my very wise partner said when I tried to to summarize my experience to hear:
“It sounds like it’s just a different way to relate”
Spot on, and that changes everything.
So what do underwear burpees have to do with travelling the world?
It was the beginning of the passive income, that led to the outer travels that led to the inner travel.
Who would’ve thought?