AntiComfortable is the art of living life to the fullest by seeking discomfort and embracing the chaos. Nothing epic ever comes from being comfortable. By challenging myself and repeatedly stepping outside of my comfort zone I’ve grown as a person, gained extraordinary experiences, and met incredible people who have enriched my life.
AntiComfortable – adjective – To fully experience life through seeking discomfort.
I wasn’t always this way. After graduating college I moved to Santa Barbara (aka, Paradise) and built a relatively normal life. I had a comfortable house, comfortable car, comfortable career, and nothing to complain about. One day while standing atop Half Dome in Yosemite my college friend offhandedly said, “Hey, maybe we should quit our jobs and hike the Appalachian Trail.” Well, at the time I didn’t know what the Appalachian Trail was, but I did know that I was ready to quit my job, so, we did.
After spending 4.5 months thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail I returned to Santa Barbara and failed miserably at rebuilding a “normal” life. I realized that I was missing the daily challenges that living “comfortably” in Santa Barbara could not provide. I started running Ultramarathons to push my physical limits, but I still needed something to challenge my mental and emotional sides. Living a “comfortable” life was the problem. I moved out of my apartment, donated most of my physical possessions, and started couch surfing with friends.
After a few months living on couches I built my first van home in a 2006 Honda Element. I was officially homeless, living on the streets of Santa Barbara while holding down a professional career and having a blast. Eventually I upgraded to a 1985 Volkswagen Westfalia campervan and before long I quit another comfortable career for the challenge of creating a freelance income while living on the road.
Since escaping the trappings of “The American Dream” I have crisscrossed the continent several times in my van, backpacked through Ecuador and Peru, and returned to South America to bicycle tour through Chile and Argentina. The question I get asked most often is:
“So, how long do you plan to do this?”
The lesson I’ve learned over the past few years is that every time I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone I’ve been rewarded with a larger comfort zone. It’s kind of a catch-22. Each time I expand my comfort zone, I need to do something bigger and wilder to feel alive again. Camping in my Honda on the weekends became so normal that the next logical step was to live in it full time. Living in a van and having a job in Santa Barbara became so normal that the next step was to live in a van and travel the country while self employed. Traveling fulltime in a van became so normal that the next logical step was to park the van and take only what fit in a backpack and fly to a foreign country. Now all of that is so normal that I’m bicycle touring in South America to experience new challenges.
So, how long will I continue to live AntiComfortable?
This lifestyle had become sort of an addiction, and I plan to ride this out as long as I can!
AntiComfortable – By Chris ‘Tarzan’ Clemens
What does AntiComfortable mean to you? I absolutely do not advocate that everyone quit their job, sell their stuff, and live in a van. That’s my focus of discomfort, but probably not yours.
I didn’t end up FunEmployed and traveling the world overnight. My current lifestyle is a result of taking little uncomfortable steps each day and creating the life of my dreams. All of the little steps took me from comfortable, to uncomfortable, to discomfort, to AntiComfortable. What little steps can you take today? How can you expand your own comfort zone? How are you willing to challenge yourself?
Start living AntiComfortable today and build the life of your dreams…