The Adventitious Root and the Fear of Becoming Location Independent

“...by expressing your life creatively, the unexpected thrives.” - Alys Fowler

I was sitting in a garden over the weekend when my friend brought up the topic of adventitious roots. These are roots that take a chance in places where growth seems impossible. The idea reminded me a lot of our own lives–how in the midst of rushing between school, work, and other responsibilities we overlook the unique changes that are going on around us. We don’t see when opportunities emerge that have the potential to grow if cultivated.

It sounds a bit flowery, but hey, we’re talking about gardening.

I’ve been struggling with whether or not to uproot my own life and pursue new work opportunities abroad. Working in a garden has reminded me that everything takes time. A lot of our ideas are seeds that never actually turn into anything, but the more we plant, the higher our chances are that something beautiful will eventually emerge from our efforts.

Human nature attempts to ground us in our comfort zone, but if we stay comfortable for too long it transforms into fear. I remember a finance coach asking me what’s stopping me from becoming location independent and I couldn’t give her an answer. Why? Because I knew the reason was fear and my answers were only excuses. It was this moment that made me reflect on my own hesitations and research some of the reasons why we stop ourselves from acting on our goals.

If you’ve been holding yourself back from traveling, I challenge you to ask yourself:

What’s stopping you?

One of the most common mental blocks I see preventing people from becoming location independent is hesitation. We find every excuse in the world not to follow through with our goals because when we hesitate for too long, our fear instincts kick in. In Christopher J. Anderson’s exploration of decision avoidance, he analyzes how prolonging a decision is tied to anticipated emotions like regret and fear. Anderson goes on the explain that, uncertainty leads to more hesitation and that uncertainty can be increased when we assume there are few differences between our options. If you spend time concentrating on all the choices you have, you’ll be paralyzed into inaction. If you want to make a change and quiet the voice in your head that leads to overthinking, consider the following:

  1. What’s the smallest effort you can make today to overcome your fear? Start now, then rinse and repeat. For Michelle Poler, fear was a thread woven into the fabric of her everyday life until she started a 100 day project to do one thing a day that scared her. After 100 days and a few life-changing moments, Poler shared her experience on the TED stage in Houston.
  2. Reality-check your fear. In your mind, what are three worse case scenarios? Now, what if you didn’t overcome your fear? Would your “default future”, or the path you’re already on, be any better?
  3. Find a confidant who can guide you while you overcome your fear. If you’re not sure who to turn to, digital nomad communities online are a great resource for speaking with individuals who have been in similar situations.

Now over to you–what are some strategies you’ve used to overcome your fear of becoming location independent? Share them in the comments or get in touch.