I’ve considered myself a backpacker for 13 years and I want to share my experience as to what it gave me and the pitfalls of it. I’m mostly writing this article to turn the page into a new chapter of my life, and if someone else gets value from it, then so be it.

First, I’m being very careful not to use the word ‘transcending’. Transcending means to avoid something. Whenever you transcend something, such as transcending sexuality or transcending money, you disconnect from a part of yourself. Here I will talk about outgrowing, which is taking what works about something and correcting the aspects that no longer serve me.

Ever since I was 19, I have been traveling all around the world. I lived in Finland, Sweden, France, Spain, Hungary, Thailand, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Canada, and traveled to Norway, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, Andorra, Portugal, Italy, Laos, Myanmar, Belize, China and United States. I speak French, English, Spanish, Thai, a little bit of Swedish and a few words of a bunch of other languages. You can consider that I’m an experienced traveler and I know what I’m talking about. For those who think I’m lucky, this has nothing to do with luck. I simply made the decision.

Let’s about about what I got from such travels. I got to learn many different cultures that have ways of thinking, beliefs and values that are completely different from anything I had ever seen back home. This stretched my mind into new ways of thinking that simply cannot be explained. Learning various languages also has great benefits. When you speak a single language, you can only think of concepts that have words in that language. When you learn a second language and are immersed into that culture, it gets to a point where you start thinking in that foreign language and it gets really confusing. When you learn a third language, your way of thinking disassociates itself from the language and your brain can think a lot more fluidly and then express itself in any language with the closest words available.

Besides that, I got to meet many great people, make friends all around the world, taste all kinds of foods and wines, and see absolutely gorgeous landscapes and historical monuments all over the world. This really has been a blessing.

And then, what does it mean to be a backpacker? It means to travel as much as possible with as little money as possible. I generally had a limited supply of money and would stretch it thin to be able to live without income for as long as possible. It means sleeping in cheap hostels, eating cheap food in the streets and wandering around. In the past few years, I’ve been avoiding other backpackers, and I just realized why. Many backpackers are lost souls living in avoidance of their lives, and they’re sucking energy from their environment. I think you can see the dysfunction.

I’m at a point where I’m running a business and have a lot of work to do because there’s a greater purpose I’m here to accomplish in this world. Being a location-independent entrepreneur is something I resonate more with. I’m an entrepreneur to be my own boss. It takes away the stability of a paycheck but gives me the freedom to travel around and work online.

I haven’t been talking about travels for a long time because I was subconsciously afraid that some would adopt the backpacker lifestyle. And then what? They get into a scarcity lifestyle, wander around and consume without doing much, and have no resources to invest in themselves. Once someone falls into that lifestyle, I can forget about having them as clients.

I still want to get as much as possible at the lowest price possible, but I’m at a place where I don’t want to compromise anymore. Above is a picture of the place where I’m staying right now in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It really isn’t expensive at $350 per month, and it has everything I want. It was noisy for being too close to the airport so I moved into a different room and it’s better. The only downside is that it’s a bit far from the city but there’s plenty of stuff within 15 minutes drive. I’m away from the touristy areas and am really enjoying the beauty of local life.

The aspect that I want to turn the page on is the whole scarcity mindset. After living in Paris for almost a year where I had about $140 of pocket money per day, I lived about a year in Thailand for $10000 including plane round-trip and all travel expenses. That was 8 years ago. Going back into this environment brought back old scarcity programmings.

I’m no longer a backpacker who is wandering through life. I’m a spiritual warrior and an entrepreneur who is creating a rich and abundant lifestyle while helping many people live the greatest version of themselves. Sure I enjoy having certain luxuries of life such as great food and a great apartment for a fraction of what it would normally cost. There are other things on which I won’t compromise and where I invest the full value. That includes when I’m getting mentors and training for my business, and when I’m getting tools for my business.

By designing a lifestyle that produces value instead of designing a lifestyle that consumes and stretches thin, I’ll be able to travel even more in a way that is self-sustaining. I’m not in Thailand to avoid pains of the past but because I need to be here to achieve the next phase of my soul’s purpose. It certainly has been very interesting so far.

I have spent a LOT of time and efforts over the past few years to build a stronger foundation for my business and create a cashflow that would sustain my lifestyle. This year, my focus will be on regaining the lifestyle and freedom that I had when I was first backpacking.

I’m not exactly sure what you got from this article. I touched so many points and I guess each person will get something completely different from it. How does this relate to the way you are living your own life? What are you getting from this share of my experience?

Etienne Charland, Soul Foundation Architect
>> Get a Soul Alignment Reading to kick-start your awakening journey!