The Comfortable Life Is Overrated

Weeks ago, I caught the end of an interview with Luvvie Ajayi on NPR as part of their Comfort Zone series on the TED Radio Hour. Ever since, three simple words she spoke have been ringing true to me.

Comfort is overrated.

At first glance you may think I have less in common with Luvvie than any two people you have ever met. But these three words hit home for me. We are both writers, and each of us took a leap of faith early in our careers that turned our world inside out, upside down, and onto the right track. But while the similarities may end there, Luvvie’s TED talk has had me thinking about the beliefs we share when it comes to the status quo—something both of us ran away from long ago.

If you’re asking what this talk about taking a stand has to do with our full-time RVing location independent entrepreneur lifestyle, keep reading. The answer is nothing, and everything.

There is a misconception among many of those living the default life, that those of us who live this nomadic lifestyle must be fearless. To paraphrase Luvvie: We are not fearless. We are not unafraid of the consequences for living a life on the road. It’s not like the sacrifices we make don’t scare us. Even after eleven years now, some of the lifestyle choices we have made still scare the shit out of me!

Certain questions have nagged me since I left my comfortable career when we decided to start our own business, and that was ten years before hit the road. What will we do without our 401K and benefits? What if our emergency fund doesn’t cover our next major surprise expense? What lies ahead for us down the road. Where will we be in another ten years?

What if we get another flat tire? What if we run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere? What if we can’t get online everywhere we go? What if Wyatt Ray gets sick in Alaska? To paraphrase Uncle Kracker, forget What and tell If to take a hike!

We don’t do this without fear. My first big boss told me back in my Silicon Valley days, FUD will get you nowhere. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt will do you no good. That same boss taught me that, “only the paranoid survive.” So if you ask me, having a few fears are a good thing—as long as you face them head on, put them in their place, and put them to good use.

Fear has a very concrete power of keeping us from doing and saying the things that are our purpose. —Luvvie Ajayi 

Luvvie says we can’t let fear rule our lives or dictate what we do. I agree. Fear is what causes people to say “someday” about seeking out their deepest desires. To say, “Oh I could never do that,” or that they must wait until the retire. Fear forces people into living a life of complacency, it prevents them from following and fulfilling their wildest dreams.

Luvvie jumped out of a plane, something she never thought she would ever do. She later looked back and realized, “sitting on the edge of that plane is comfort.”

Long ago, I left a perfectly upward mobile career path. Years later, we drove away from a booming business we grew from scratch. Early on in our travels, the FUD had us asking ourselves: What is wrong with us? It didn’t take long to realize taking that leap was the best thing we’ve ever done. And we could never have done it, if we didn’t face our fears.

Keeping things the way they’ve been is comfortable.

Comfort is so overrated.

Living your life for a false sense of security may be comfortable, but it is more unpredictable than you think. I know, been there, done that. It’s not exactly comfortable hauling a trailer up steep mountain grades in driving rain. There is no comfort in waiting for your truck to be repaired in a small town with only one mechanic. But if we feared these things, we would never reap the benefits of exploring so many beautiful places as we have seen.

Driving into unknown territory with no cell service, maneuvering our trailer through small towns in the search of diesel, having no typical job or “home” and making a living on the road are all like falling out of that plane every day.

All comfort has done is maintain the status quo. So we have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Read Luvvie’s Book: I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do Better Manual

Read Luvvie’s Blog: Awesomely Luvvie

Listen to Luvvie’s Podcast: Rants and Randomness

Watch the TED Talk (10± Min.)

Luvvie Ajayi: Can Creating Discomfort In Others Help Change The Status Quo?

Listen to Ted Radio Hour interview below.

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10 Responses to “The Comfortable Life Is Overrated”

  1. I agree that comfort is overrated. It makes us not want anything else. There is much out there to do and see and that is where the comfort is. Doing new and exciting things…..Don’t get comfortable. Make comfortable.

  2. So let me get this straight, if you’re living a comfortable life while RVing is your life overrated? You crazy kids, it’s been too long. I hope you’re both doing well, or, that you’re enjoying an underrated life in your magic bus. Much love from California. Eric

    • Way too to long stranger! And yes, there are those who might think living in a van down by the river is overrated…as I write this while sitting in my magic van, by a river, deep in the BC mountains.

  3. Courage is taking action despite being afraid. Staying stagnant isn’t just comfortable–like a body of unmoving water, stagnancy breeds disease. Look at the Salton Sea by Niland.

  4. Hello Hoppy Travellers!
    I agree 100%! Comfort is definitely overrated! Comfort causes complacency. Comfort makes us lazy. Comfort hides the wonders of the world and we forget to take it all in!
    It is ‘comforting’ to know that you do experience the fears of living in the road…. on first sight, you guys appear to be fearless nomads, ready to take on the world, but in reality you are both incredibly adventurous and your spirit takes you to places most of us will never get a chance to go, but you guys do it with zest and caution! And a brilliant attitude!
    Thank you for taking the time to travel through our ‘small’ piece of Paradise! We can’t wait to show you more!!
    I love Uncle Kracker’s phrase…. I will forget ‘What’ and ‘If’ has already taken a hike!! 😉
    Can you please tell Wyatt that I Ruv, Ruv, Ruv him and can’t wait to go on another adventure tour with him!
    Safe travel wishes to you all through this wild and beautiful Country! I will live my ‘comfortable life’ vicariously through the three of you!! 😉
    Until we meet again, lots of love from
    Petra, Paul, Stewie and our four very comfortable kittens!
    xxx

  5. I agree with your thoughts, although I would alter it slightly and say embrace Fear, make it your friend, challenge yourself to go beyond your fears. Whether its boondocking and traveling off the beaten path with your RV or rock climbing, fear is that little voice that makes sure you are prepared, that you double checked eveything. In rock climbing, newbies were always afraid of falling, so we would always setup a safe situation and have the newbie fall. The rope and the belayer would catch them, there was usually a bit of screaming involved, but then the newbie would usually say, that’s no big deal. That was because the scenario we setup was prepared to catch them before they hit the ground or a ledge. It doesn’t mean they were never again afraid of falling, but the fear didn’t paralyze them.
    Same with RVing, have a emergency fund, maintain your vehicle, and don’t be afraid to fall, but when you do fall, and you will, go ahead and scream, then solve each problem as it comes along. Each fall or near fall makes you stronger and a more confident RVer.

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