Choose Your Life

This week's guest post is written by my friend and amazing art nude model Keira Grant.  You can check out more of her writing on her own blog (keiragrant.blogspot.com), and her modeling on her website (www.keiragrant.com)

I am one of the few traveling art nude models who live completely on the road, and have been doing so for half a dozen years. I am essentially in a different city every week or two, and often move to another place after a handful of days. As I continually meet people, many tell me they are jealous of me. They hear the word “travel” and perceive a life of complete freedom.  For many people living in one place with a so-called “normal” career, my life is full of luck.

My lifestyle wasn’t luck—it was a choice.

When these people express how “lucky” I am, I have to remind them that my lifestyle wasn't luck--it was a choice.  They, too, could change the format of their lives. 

I understand their envy. As a music student at a fine arts high school, I had peers who traveled the world for vacations, auditions, and even to attend our school while I went home during winter, spring and summer breaks. Later I had a boyfriend who had traveled internationally, and my family road trips with four kids camping in a tent seemed plain by comparison. On a daily level, life was repetitive and static. My own goals and my introverted nature had me stuck in a room by myself, practicing my music instead of knowing the full colors of life.

My closed life experience led me to resent those who seemed happier and more able to relate to the world.  Travel was just one part that represented the entire concept of a life more fully experienced. With one year left of my graduate degree in music, I learned about the concept of a traveling model.  I knew this was something I had to pursue--a change in my life was necessary to explore what I was missing.

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My decision to put my belongings into storage and walk away from the career in music that I had envisioned since childhood was no small one. I gave up a lot to allow my current lifestyle to happen. I was tormented by my decision for years: all of my past work experience was with children.  The nude images I created modeling would shut the door on the only future I had formerly envisioned.

Still, I was obsessed by the idea.  Despite all the possible worst-case scenarios, I took the plunge and started my road trip. I had to do a modeling trip and see the world.

Years later, my trip continues.

I enjoy my life and love the journey--the way I live is certainly a great adventure. But the freedom I have in geographic location and work schedule has its trade offs. I do not live anywhere, which means I have nowhere to truly go home to. I do not travel in luxury, and often call couches “bed” at night. In order to actually maintain a busy schedule as a model and always have a roof over my head, I have traded creature comforts and a regular schedule for an almost continual job and constant forward planning. 

To those who are jealous of a lifestyle that is not your own, I encourage you to look at your lives and figure out what you truly need. Do you really desire a change? Are you willing to accept the consequences for the benefits in return? Quite possibly, there is a way to explore other areas of existence by incorporating small changes in your life.

Are you jealous of travel and wish you could take time off and see the world? The length of time, how and where would be shaped by your possibilities and vision. Perhaps travel would take you out of your comfort level and have you camping and couchsurfing to stretch a budget and travel longer. Your job may not even be available when you are done with your long adventure. This, I understand this more than anyone. As I travel, I am building experiences, but my resume remains empty.

And many of you may have lives built around people you feel you cannot leave. Even with this, there are options and choices. These human connections are something that a forever traveler may not have, or may have to manage, trading some relationships for a chance to live on the road.

I get to travel and that is wonderful. Not only am I able, but I must; my job and lifestyle are wrapped up in my nomadic existence.  Every day I make the decision to continue, although I know I will slow down my travels when I begin to view people living the American dream as having something I strongly desire.  Even then, part of me will remain on the road, while the rest of me will move forward with the new life I have chosen. This next step will require new sacrifices, but if not willing to take risks and work towards our aspirations, we are not fully living.