For many of us, finding a way out of the daily rut can be a challenge. Russell Ward, author of
In Search of a Life Less Ordinary, shares insight on how dreamers can become doers and create extraordinary lives that are far removed from the well-worn paths many of us reluctantly tread.
Russell states, "I wanted to live my life to the fullest, not watch it pass me by. I wanted more from this life and I point blank refused to settle for less. I knew there were others out there like me who didn't believe that passion, wonder and adventure were reserved for the special few. I knew there were people out there who did what they loved and focused on the things that mattered most. People who created lives with more adventure, opportunity and even the chance to live someplace new.
What does it mean to live a life less ordinary?
Living a life less ordinary means you live life on your terms, not the way others expect. It's about knowing when it's time to make those major life changes, whether moving abroad, changing a job or simply making tweaks to a currently unfulfilling life.
How can a person escape the daily grind to live this way?
I actually just wrote The Life Less Ordinary Manifesto, which shows people how to escape their rut. In the book, you'll learn the steps I took to improve my life and give it greater meaning, when the time is right to make those changes to live a less ordinary life, that change won't be easy but it will be worth it, and how to take those first steps to turn a dream into an exciting new reality.
Travel obviously plays a big role in living this way. For me, it did. Personally, I craved change, and I knew there was more to life than the 9 to 5 routine, evenings in front of the TV and weekends spent at the shopping mall. In my 20s, I realized I'd given up any control over my life. I only saw longing and regret stretching out before me, and I needed to take the control back. I knew there was more to life and I wanted to discover my calling at work, home and play.
More than just traveling, we decided to quit our life in the U.K. and move abroad, where we continued with a conventional life of sorts, but one with a different view out the window. Soon, however, the longing for even greater change took hold;and I started out on the path to full-time writing, revisiting what mattered most to me and leaving my traditional corporate job behind.
How can a person shape his or her life around a love for travel and exploration?
For me, it's about removing the unnecessary things in life and freeing up your time for the things that matter.
I'm fortunate that travel is increasingly part of my writing career, and so it's easier to plan life around travel rather than the other way around. But what's been most important is understanding what I'm passionate about - what drives me - and making that the focus. Since I've done that, travel naturally sits far higher up the food chain than it might otherwise have.
What destinations do you recommend?
I never tire of returning to Canada, my grandfather's homeland; and I'm particularly drawn to the West Coast and British Columbia for its natural and rugged beauty, with Vancouver being the jewel in that crown.
I rediscovered Wales in the U.K. last year (my grandmother's home), and I realized how special it was to me. I spent time on the Pembrokeshire coast and I could return again and again for its rugged landscape and isolation from the rest of the country.
Next on my list would be New Zealand's south island. From Christchurch to Queenstown, snow fields to vast plains, I was captivated by the region and will return one day soon.
What advice can you offer others who dream of moving abroad?
The best advice I can offer is to understand who you truly are. For example, if curiosity burns brightly within you and your parents always said you couldn't sit still, your friends grew impatient with your own impatience, and you never seemed settled because you felt there was so much more to see and do, then a life abroad is definitely for you.
Once you're clear on who you are and what you want, define your end goal. Create a plan and think about the small steps you can take towards that goal. Remember to keep those steps measurable, simple and succinct. Then begin.
What are the biggest challenges to moving abroad?
When I left Britain, I faced homesickness, uncertainty, culture shock, and loneliness at being away from my support network of family and friends. But for me, the epic scale of experiences I knew I'd have - such as the drastically different lifestyle, the better life for my children - reminded me why I wanted to put myself through this and that it would be worth it because it would make me a happier, more content, less restless version of my former self. And I'd finally be free to choose life on my terms with little or no regrets.
Thirteen years ago, British expat and writer Russell Ward broke free from his office cubicle, left his homeland and started a new life for himself abroad. Today. he's based in Sydney, Australia's Northern Beaches with his wife and son, and living a life with less stress, better health and more time for family and adventure. He writes for The Huffington Post, The Telegraph and Mamamia, among others, about the different aspects of being an expat abroad. Connect with Russell on