Meet my good friend Traci Asaurus! We met as kids in Spokane during Junior High marching band. After high school, she moved to Seattle and I moved to Portland. Over the years we have remained the kind of friends that can go a long stretch of time without talking and are able to pick right back up where we left off. We have always managed to stay connected, and when we do catch back up, it’s an exchange of experiences in a giddy-talk-without-breathing sort of way. She has been a wonderful friend and I am glad to introduce her to you.
In this week’s podcast episode, Traci shares her amazing self-care journey from Seattle to New York, which she geocached along the way with her dog, Mischief. It was a very profound and personal three-month-long road trip to reclaim herself. Traci explored and experienced all kinds of random fun along the way, without any restrictions or deadlines. During one of her stops in Florida, she took time out to be interviewed for our podcast.
During the interview, Traci shared how the first step of this amazing journey was knowing which of her many dreams was her top priority. Not only did she have the courage to sell everything she owned, pick up, and move from Seattle to New York—it’s the way she did it. Traci left Seattle knowing only one thing: eventually she would end up in New York. She didn’t know when she would arrive. She didn’t have a job waiting for her. She didn’t have a place to live. She went only knowing that it had to work.
The spontaneous nature with which Traci made her trip took courage. It took knowing herself. She put herself first and made a life changing decision without a plan or safety net. It proves she trusts herself. No matter what came her way, she found a way to make it work. She was able to follow her dreams without knowing how it would unfold. This trip exemplified the phrase, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”—Martin Luther King Jr.
Traci explained that planning and having resources, while important, often causes us to put off accomplishing our dreams. We end up thinking we are too busy waiting for the circumstances to be perfect. The reality is, there will never be a perfect time to pursue big dreams. While we all can’t pack up our lives and freedom-ride cross-country to New York, there are opportunities in our own everyday lives to take radical action in accomplishing our biggest dreams. We are all complex human beings with multiple desires to fulfill. The truth is, we can achieve all of our hearts desires. We just need to remember that in order to make our dreams come true, it takes courage, action, and putting ourselves first. During our interview, Traci dropped some profound words of wisdom from the road. I have outlined a few of them below:
- Know your limits and honor them. You must first know yourself to understand your limits. Traci explains that she learned early on during her road trip, that she cannot drive for hours and hours on end. The normal distractions people use in the car on long trips did not work for her. Traci creatively solved that problem and honored it by creating little mini-adventures, like geocaching, along the way. That principle can be applied to self-care; if you do small actions to honor your limits in life, you will be much better prepared to face life’s challenges.
- Learn what commitments to take on. Traci talks about identifying what commitments were the most important to her. She commited to her own needs of adventure and travel. She made this move her top priority. We all have a million things competing for our attention and focus. Stick with the “three a week” rule. Only commit yourself to three activities that are outside of your normal routine. (That includes the weekends.) This helps to give you time to build in self-care and downtime.
- Self-care means reassessing. During her long adventure from place to place, Traci shares that she had to constantly ask herself what she needed to be comfortable along the way. She allowed her own needs to be fulfilled. If she was tired, she would pull over and take a nap. If she needed to stretch her legs, she would pull into the next town and take a hike. This can be done on a moment-to-moment basis in our own lives when needed. Ask yourself right now, “What do I need?” Allow the answer to come up and do what you need first—before anything else.
- Always have a recovery plan. Traci shares the importance of having a recovery plan. She explains that after periods of long hours of travel, you have to build in time to recover from stimulation—good or bad. Many stops along the way, Traci stayed with friends. While it was great to see them, these stops truly needed to be rest for her. It was challenging to balance interacting and catching up with friends, and recovering from the road. She was able to tell her friends and they understood. Planning recovery time after hectic periods of productivity can be extremely helpful for our self-care. Life can get out of control. A recovery plan like sleeping for extra hours, or disconnecting from all social medial for a few days can really recharge our awareness to our own self-care.
- Learn to say “no”. Planning a three-month-long road trip while staying with friends you have scattered about the country can be daunting. On top of that, selling all your items for as much cash as you can, while working, going through a divorce, and planning a farewell party equals one busy lady. Saying no to commitments while getting ready to leave was essential to Traci’s trip. She tells us to, “Drop the guilt that comes with saying ‘no’ to over commitments.” If Traci had overcommitted herself and not put herself first, she would never be able to leave Seattle.
- Don’t become an addendum to another person. Traci suggests that we deserve to be our own person, even if we are in a relationship. We do not have to become the sole support to someone else’s desires and needs. She says, “There is no one like you and there never will be again. Do not blur your own identity with what you think others want from you.” What others think of you is none of your business. In the pursuit of self-care it’s very important to remember that your primary job is to care for yourself first.
- You are responsible for your own happiness. Toward the end of the interview, Traci concludes, “You are not responsible for other’s happiness”. It’s good to hear that reminder! It’s important to put ourselves first, and make ourselves a priority. In this situation, Traci put herself first and decided to move to New York. That’s what self-care is all about—it’s finding ways to generate our own happiness first. It is impossible to generate your own happiness if you are too busy trying to create it for someone else. Focus on your own happiness and self-care will become a part of your daily life.
I was so glad to have Traci on the podcast. If you would like to hear more of Traci’s tips on self-care you can check out the podcast! She has so much self-care wisdom that we can all learn from. You can also follow her amazing journey through her blog posts and her amazing photography, where she shares all the photos she has taken along her journey.