How a Quest Can Bring Purpose and Meaning Back Into Your Life
Musings, Travel

How a Quest Can Bring Purpose and Meaning Back To Your Life

This post is brought to you by guest author Brianna Dawes, founder of the solo travel blog The Backpacking Guru. You can also follow her travel adventures on Instagram.


Over the past few years, I have come to understand that there is something I am destined to do–something much larger than I could have ever imagined. However, this profound realization did not come overnight.

This idea of beginning a journey or quest crept into my mind after reading The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. I realized that it is inside all of us to directly confront our destiny through our own personal journey.

After much thinking and reflection on what my personal quest would be, I identified eight major factors everyone should do or understand in order to pursue their own quest.

  1. What is a Quest?
  2. The Great Discontent
  3. Courage
  4. Finding Your Quest
  5. How to Afford Your Quest
  6. Rebel for a Cause
  7. Misadventures
  8. Coming Home

How a Personal Quest Can Bring Purpose and Meaning Back Into Your Life

What is a Quest?

Quest, the undertaking of something deeper and larger than what we ever thought was possible of achieving. A quest is a mission, a task, an adventure, a desire–it sets us down a road which grows our meaning for purpose in life.

“Many of us undertake an adventure to rediscover our sense of self.” – Chris Guillebeau

Whatever your reason is, a quest is something we cannot ignore. It hits our core and makes us feel like we must do this no matter what obstacles we will endure to get through it.

Each of us is writing our own story, and we only have one chance to get it right…because what is worth living for matters more than what’s worth dying for.

“When a great adventure is offered, you don’t refuse it” – Amelia Earhart

How a Personal Quest Can Bring Purpose and Meaning Back Into Your Life

The Great Discontent

Being unhappy in your daily life is probably the biggest motivation to do anything in this world. Whether it is with your job, living situation, financial situation, love life, family, or all of the above, it is the fuel for your engine.

Take a moment and pause–what is your biggest issue in your daily life? What brings you the biggest pain, annoyance, anxiety, the biggest discontent? Think what the answer is to this question.

When you finish that, think about what brings you the most joy and happiness in this world. How can you get more of that in your life? Would you have to compromise on something to get something else more meaningful?

Discontent is one of the biggest inspirations–let this be a driving force to your potential in this world. Although the change does not need to be immediate, it needs to be a plan and something that you want to change, and you must find a way to make that change possible–for your purpose lies in the answer.

“When discontent leads to excitement, that’s when you know you found your pursuit. Many questions begin from a sense of discontent or alienation. If you find yourself feeling discontented pay attention to the reasons why.” – Chris Guillebeau

How a Personal Quest Can Bring Purpose and Meaning Back Into Your Life

Courage

“Courage is knowing what not to fear.” ― Plato

Intellectual awareness that we will someday die to an emotional awareness can be a guiding light to discovering what really matters.The fierce desire for control over one’s life. Being told you cannot do something is supremely motivating.

Finding your Quest

Start with the things that excite you; think about if you were to do something that mattered most to you, what would it be? Spend a little time on this idea every day. Seek out help and inspiration from people in your life.

Now, brainstorming and investigating this Big Idea:

  • Spend 10-15 mins every day brainstorming
  • Think of special skills you have
  • Seek out exterior inspiration
  • Track your progress

How a Personal Quest Can Bring Purpose and Meaning Back Into Your Life

How to Afford Your Quest

Save! Prioritize! Find a way!

Your quest is your #1 priority in the current moment. How will you fund it?

Adventure Savings Fund

Will you work relentlessly to save the money? Will you start a GoFundMe account? Could you start doing freelance work and find a way to continue making money while you are on your quest?

Write down 20 ways you could find the money. Including impractical ideas, zany ideas, and I-would-never-do-that ideas, pick one of the 20 that maybe you would do.

Rebel for a Cause

Not everyone needs to believe in your dream, but you do! Go after the things that mean the most to you!

Are you fighting for something? Do you want to bring awareness to a certain issue? Find what that something is and go out there and start fighting for it!

You must choose self-reliance or independence, to face down a fear and overcome the challenge.

“I might fail, but I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t try” – Bryon Powell

How a Personal Quest Can Bring Purpose and Meaning Back Into Your Life

Misadventures

Not taking the leap is much worse than trying and failing. Have you had a desire to do something with the sudden urge of unease or uncertainty?

Forget that feeling of worry and fear because if you don’t take that leap the sting of regret will be far greater than the temporary disappointment of trying and failing.

“He had decided to live forever, or die in the attempt” – Joseph Heller

Coming Home

Coming home after a big journey is one of the hardest parts. What do you do next? How do you talk about what you had just done? And how do you handle people in your life that just don’t understand and maybe aren’t supportive of your journey?

I found that being the biggest supporter of my work and my quest was the greatest support I could have ever asked for. Shutting out that little voice in your head that says “You can’t do it” and replacing it with “You’re the best!” and “You got this” and “Wow, look what you just accomplished!” The little things help you get through it all.

How a Quest Can Bring Purpose and Meaning Back Into Your Life

Having an unsupportive family is a really challenging situation but it happens more often than not for us travelers. I have experienced returning from a trip and being greeted by family saying things like, “Now it’s time to get back to reality,” or “Welcome back to the real world!

The problem with these kinds of comments is that they don’t understand that “real world” means different things to different people. My real world is all about traveling!

I couldn’t imagine a life not getting out there and seeing all of what this great big world has to offer. Just because our “American Dream” isn’t centered around a 9-5 job, owning a house and having a nuclear family by 30 doesn’t mean it’s the wrong dream.

Everyone should shape their life to what they desire because there is nothing wrong with living outside of the box.

Have you ever wanted to embark on a quest of your own? Are you on a personal quest right now?


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6 Comments

  • Reply Marissa July 21, 2017 at 11:21 am

    “Not taking the leap is much worse than trying and failing” – this has been my motto for the past year for trying new things, whether it’s a solo trip to a foreign country or testing out things on my blog. I’ve spent years missing out on activities because no one else wanted to do them or I thought it might be a dumb idea, but you’ll always regret it if you don’t at least try.
    Marissa recently posted…10 Reasons to Visit Olympic National ParkMy Profile

  • Reply Jason July 21, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Wow, this is amazing! Almost every word is written as if it was what my wife and I have been thinking or feeling the last few years which ultimately lead to our lifestyle change. Cheers Leah!

  • Reply Steph July 21, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Love this! I’m a quest addict, and the biggest quests I’ve been on were definitely fuelled by discontent, though curiosity plays a big part too. Perhaps I’m too content at the moment, but I like to think I have a few big adventures left in me.

    One of the best events I’ve ever been to was a speed networking event for adventurers and explorers at the Royal Geographical Society in London, organised by British adventurer Alistair Humphreys. A whole room full of people on quests, looking for quests, or looking to find quest partners! The energy was amazing. I met a lady who had retired and was looking for adventure – somebody had just invited her to the Sahara to search for plane wrecks. She had the BIGGEST smile on her face. #lifegoals
    Steph recently posted…Sailing around Africa with the Phoenician Ship ExpeditionMy Profile

  • Reply Eva July 22, 2017 at 1:41 am

    Wow, this could be taken straight from my thoughts! Luckily I have never been afraid of the unknown or of failure, so for me it is fairly easy to step outside the box. And still, I haven’t quit my job yet to go travel full-time…

  • Reply Iain Shiels July 22, 2017 at 6:27 am

    This is an excellent blog post. Well done

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