I started a project called, “Live a Life in Motion, ONE STEP Out of Your Everyday Life,” after a journey I had in Asia in 2013. My motivation for starting the project was based on experiences from my own life, combined with a desire to create something that can make other peoples’ lives a little bit more balanced and better. My background is from the professional business environment in Oslo. I have combined this traditional background with that of the experiences that I acquired traveling in some of the poorest countries in Asia in 2013 – which changed my life forever – in order to create “Live a Life in Motion, ONE STEP Out of Your Everyday Life.”
My original plan before I went on sabbatical was to get a job similar to the one I was leaving after I returned to Oslo in January 2014. However, I knew when I was close to the end of my sabbatical that this would not happen. My life had changed too much during my 12 months of travel to do that. I realized that I wanted to create my own future, by combining doing something good for other people in the western world, while making a difference for some of the people in one of the countries I visited on my journey in 2013, Nepal. The reason why I choose Nepal is that I had so many extraordinary everyday life adventures and made many really, really good friends there. Today the country, nature and people have a place within my heart.
My impression – based on my own experiences – is that many people in the western world are so preoccupied with living a life that strives for material goods and recognition from friends, colleagues and other parts of society that they have very little time and energy for taking care of themselves and their mental health. And that, despite most of their material needs being already met, there still remains an empty space within. This empty space within is, in many cases, a result of the life that we live in the western world, where recognition from the society often is more important than how we feel within ourselves.
In Nepal, the situation is totally different from our society in the West. The daily basic needs that we take for granted in our part of the world, such as education, healthcare, electricity and clean water, are not being met there. I want to give people in Nepal a better future by creating workplaces in the country as well as by supporting well-organized social projects for school buildings, education, etc.
I also believe that many of us in the western world need to focus more of our energy on how to take better care of ourselves and to strive to get a more balanced life. There is no right or wrong answer on how we create a more balanced life for ourselves. There are as many answers on how this can be done as there are living humans on this earth. In my opinion, this is an individual process – how to build a balanced life for yourself. No one other than one’s self can be in charge of this process.
The idea behind Live a Life in Motion is to close the gap between the striving for recognition in the outer world and, at the same time, to develop inner balance and kindness toward our self and one another.
How I found self-realization and what I have done to create a more balanced life for myself.
I do not exactly know when I started to feel that something had to be changed in my life so that it could be more balanced. From the day I got my masters degree in my mid-twenties until 2013, I lived a busy life together with my boyfriend, whom I lived with for 17 years. We were both hardworking, and, in turn, were rewarded for putting in long hours at work through better positions and higher salaries. Before we turned 30, we had earned enough money to buy our own villa, and, a few years later, we fulfilled our dream of owning a summerhouse by the seaside outside of Oslo. Our economic situation was so good that we could fulfill most of our material dreams.
During this period in my life I was working between 50 and 60 hours per week as well as participating in karate on a national level, which meant that I was working approximately another 10 – 12 training hours per week plus tournaments on the weekends. Life was really busy. I usually left our house between 6:30 and 7:30 in the morning and arrived home around ten o’clock at night. I continued with this life until I decided to take a sabbatical and travel to Asia for one year in 2013.
I started to change my life slowly, slowly, and I used some years before I had reached the point where I decided that I wanted to take a sabbatical year and travel. The years before I went on my sabbatical were some of the hardest emotional years that I have had in my life. Plainly stated, I was on a manic rollercoaster for many of those years.
I felt as though I just had to keep up with the life that I had designed for myself… A life filled with activities 24 hours per day, seven days per week. A life designed purposefully in a way so that there was simply no time to sit down and feel how I was doing on a personal level. The few times when I gave myself the opportunity to relax and feel how I was doing on a personal level, the only thing I could feel was that of boredom. I felt no peace within myself when I was relaxing. I didn’t feel anything. I was totally empty inside.
I tried to keep up with the tempo I had been used to of working long, intense hours at work, training 5-6 days each week, socializing with friends and striving for the material status –symbols like nice clothes, not one but two cars, a house, a summerhouse and nice holidays abroad… the proof of a successful life in the western world. I started to feel the life I was living on my body with intense pain in my muscles. I was constantly tired and, despite all the hours I used on training, I was overweight from the stressful life that I lived. I began to realize that I had to do something about my situation. So in my mid-thirties I started to search for a new direction in life. I began the search for a life that had more balance between my inner self and my surroundings.
I started my journey toward a more harmonious inner life by attending a meditation course. But, truthfully, it was when I started practicing yoga a few years later that I felt I had found my environment for inner personal development. The period in life when I started to seek inner peace and personal development was a time in which a lot of changes happened in my life. Not all of these changes were chosen by me, but, nonetheless, I had to handle each of them and get on with my life.
One of the things that happened right before I turned forty was that my boyfriend of 17 years and I broke up. At the time, this was a devastating incident that broke my heart into many pieces. I had built my life around the life we lived together and the thought of living a life without him was terrifying.
My ex and I were extremely different in many areas. One of which is, perhaps, one of the most important… the values with which each of us chose to build our life upon. I had no other choice than to realize that this was a fact that would not change and to start to build a life on my own.
During this process of finding myself again I was in close connection with my intuition, which told me to stick to meditation and yoga so that I could build my “new” lifestyle based upon my inner personal needs. So I did. It was during this period of my life that I found my passion for mountaineering.
I participated in a weekend trip to the Norwegian mountains the autumn after the breakup with my ex, and I became hooked on mountaineering from day one. I went up to the mountains on treks and skiing trips during every spare moment I had. I could not ski, so I had to learn to ski in order to live out one of my dreams of skiing from cottage to cottage in the snow-covered winter mountains. My new passion for mountaineering was also the reason I started with climbing, despite the fact that I am scared of heights.
Meditation and yoga were important building blocks in my daily routines during this stage in my life. Slowly, slowly my life started to take form again. It was a totally different form than how my life looked like when I was living together with my ex, but it was and still is a lifestyle that I love and that makes me happy.
It was then that I started to work on the idea of taking a year off and travel in Asia. Little by little the idea of breaking away from a safe well-paid job in Oslo and living off of my savings while I went backpacking in Asia took form. I left Norway in January 2013.
The last week before I sat on the plane to Asia was one of the toughest I have experienced in my life. Again, I found myself terrified of what laid in front of me. Even though I had dreamed of making this sabbatical year a reality for a long, long time, it was absolutely demanding to take the last step in order to really do it. I had to really push myself mentally to step far outside of my comfort zone and into the uncertain world of a continent that was unexplored and unknown for me.
When I look back at 2013, and to the year when I traveled to some of the poorest countries in Asia, I am overcome with happiness that I pushed myself to turn my dream into a reality.
It was during this trip that I had my first experiences with the social structure in Asia, where spending time together with family and friends is the most important way to spend one’s time. For example, it was a shock for me to arrive in Myanmar as the first country I visited, where it was almost impossible to get an afternoon alone for myself. My friends were so lovely and wanted to make the most of the time I spent as a guest in their country. So much so, in fact, that they made plans to see me during all of my spare time. My experiences in Nepal were similar.
I will never forget when one of my friends in Kathmandu asked me, “Do you not have any friends?”
I said, “Yes, of course I have! Why do you ask?”
He answered, “Because you are always alone.”
That conversation with my friend was and eye opener for me. I realized how much it means for Asian people to be around family and friends.
During my journey I learned why having a large social network of family and friends is so important for them. In these countries, where they do not take for granted to get education, health, electricity, food or clean water, it is important to have good family and friends that you can rely on and whom you know will care for you and look after after you.
I find that the poorest countries I visited are richest when it comes to social human interaction. They make time to talk with each other and are interested in what happens in their society. They have to take care of their parents and other family members when they need support, and they even care for their neighbors and friends’ welfare. The care and interest they have for everybody in their surroundings is a value that cannot be measured in money. It is an undervalued and invaluable asset, which, instead, contributes to a better balance between a person and society because it is based on a community of people actively interacting together and caring for one another.
I experienced many fantastic moments along my journey in Asia. From teaching English at a monastery school in Myanmar to trekking in the Himalaya and making new friendships with people from all over the world in Nepal. However, my best times were spent in the poorest countries I visited, Myanmar and Nepal, because it is where I was able to make a direct connection with the local people. It is this experience with the locals, where the extra dimension of a journey begins.
I have taken many small steps, which have led my life in the direction where I am today. From my decision to participate in first meditation class in 2005 to my first yoga class years later, mountaineering, learning to ski and climb, deciding that I wanted to take a sabbatical year to go traveling in Asia… and then to actually do it! I continued to take small steps on my journey by teaching English in a monastery school in Myanmar, by following my passion of trekking in Himalaya both in Nepal, India and Bhutan, climbing three 6,000 meter peaks, and living together with Himalayan villagers and many, many more steps. Each step was a part of my journey. Each step formed me. And each step was an important experience that allowed me to make the next decision about the next step that I decided to take. In each of these decisions, following my intuition has been in integral piece in the choices that I have made.
I believe that we, who live in the western world, need to have more focus on how we can take better care of ourselves. This does not mean that we need to change everything we have in our lives today. It is about how we can become more aware of if our lives are being lived in a harmonious and balanced way. And if the answer is “no,” then to determine what adjustments can be made in order to live a more balanced life.
If you feel that you live an unbalanced life, do something about it today that will lead you toward a more balanced life tomorrow. By taking more care of ourselves in our own lives, we will also have positive effects on our surroundings. The more balanced we are within ourselves, the easier it is to handle difficult situations with other people. So, go ahead… Take that first little step, today!
Want an opportunity to thrust yourself toward living a more balanced life?
Perhaps an exciting and fun way to take that first step to get you started in the direction of taking one step out of your everyday life is by traveling to Nepal with me and other like-minded people…
As you know, I have continued taking small steps since my first meditation class in 2005. Since my sabbatical in 2013, I have worked hard to figure out how I can combine and balance my personal development with the goals I want to achieve. These small steps have taken me to my project called “Live a Life in Motion, ONE STEP Out of Your Everyday Life,” where I am building a community for people, who are seeking to achieve more balance in their own life.
I want to share the fantastic experiences that I have discovered firsthand in Nepal with people who are curious and seek opportunities that can take them one step out of their everyday life on their journey to a different lifestyle. In order to achieve that, I have developed a trekking concept in which participants can take part in some of the special experiences that Nepal has to offer along with myself and my local Nepalese partners, whom I have had the privilege of knowing and working with for many years.
In my opinion, a trek to Nepal can be one of many steps/activities we choose to participate in to work on our own life, since traveling there takes one totally out of our everyday life.
Arriving in Kathmandu feels like landing in another world, where people live their daily lives in surroundings from that of at least 100 years back in time, while, simultaneously, living with a very modern mindset. The Nepalese have long spiritual traditions with Buddhism and Hinduism that is kept alive in their society today. This combination of tradition and adjustment to the modern life forms the society in Nepal.
Also, as I mentioned above, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, which also means that the people have a tradition for taking care of one another. The way the society functions effects the people in a very positive way. In turn, most foreigners who visit Nepal have had a very good experience with the Nepalese people. In fact, many westerners, who have been visiting Nepal for several years, say that the most important reason for them to revisit the country year after year is the friendliness of the people in Nepal.
The hospitality of the people, combined with the stunningly beautiful nature, takes you on an adventure that will continue to develop within you long after you arrive back home, not to mention, fills you with fantastic memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life. A journey to Nepal is definitely good nutrition for the soul.
I am organizing two treks to Nepal this coming 2016 autumn season:
- Starting on the 20th of October, I will organize a “Meditation and Yoga Trek in the Last Tibetan Kingdom – Upper Mustang, Nepal.”
- Starting on the 5th of November, I will organize a trek where you can “Experience Beautiful, Native Nepal as a Local in Ganesh Himal.”
$115 US Dollars of each participant’s trek will be dedicated to a social project in Nepal. The two treks we organized in the spring of 2016 created 1,5 FTE’s (or 1.5 years of work) for the local teams we brought with us on our treks.
I have also created a t-shirt brand called “Happy Heart Universe” with my dear friends and social entrepreneurs, Anuza and Alpaza, in Kathmandu. The philosophy behind this project is to create workplaces for women in Nepal and to give $10 US dollar per t-shirt sold to a social project in Nepal.
Are you feeling that you need to work on getting a more balanced life for yourself and your surroundings? If so, I would love to hear from you and see if there is something that I can help you with. Please feel free to e-mail me at Ingvill@livealifeinmotion.com and share your thoughts, feelings, ideas and goals with me.