Deprecated: class-oembed.php is deprecated since version 5.3.0! Use wp-includes/class-wp-oembed.php instead. in /wordpress/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4967 Notice: date_default_timezone_set(): Timezone ID '' is invalid in /www/wp-content/plugins/wordlift/includes/class-wordlift-post-to-jsonld-converter.php on line 97
Select Page


4 Tactics For Becoming an Unconventional Tourist

The following is a guest post. My love of unconventional travel started when I was 12 years old. My dad had decided that, of all the ways to spend Christmas, we should go on a cycling tour around Cuba. And so we did it. We figured out how to...

I Hate Hair: Reasons Why Shaving Your Head Skyrockets Confidence

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes is sharing how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Aron James: Hair loss is something that happens to our grandfathers. It is the sign of the wisdom that comes with old age; a rite of...

How to Be a Solo-Female Hiker: Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes shares how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Hayley Turner (a.k.a. Little Foot): I can still remember everything about that day, from waking up and walking 12 miles by noon, the dogs...

Do You Really “Find Yourself” When You Travel?

"I know this sounds cliché, but I have to ask—do you really 'find yourself' when you travel?" the girl asked me. Her young friend crouched next to my table, gently stroking the cats as they slept. Café Neko is a small coffee shop in Vienna that allows cats to wander...

When Not Everything Goes as Planned, It Still Goes: A Story About Finding Your Passion

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes is sharing how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Jen: As a kid, I was told that I was lucky that I already knew what I wanted to do with my life. From age four, I knew I wanted to be...

The Digital Nomad’s Roadmap – A Complete Guide: Successfully Live, Work, and Travel Anywhere

So you wanna be a digital nomad. I’m not surprised: the future is bright for freelancers and location independent workers. Statistics show 40% of Americans will be contingent workers by 2020. That’s a lot of potential for digital nomads! Yet there’s no hands-on guide...

Limitations: Why the 9–5 Job Doesn’t Need To Stop You

Over the years I’ve had a number of conversations with people who talk about cool things they want to do, see, or make. A lot of these conversations end with “Well, I’d love to do it, but unfortunately I have XYZ,” and many times those XYZs are very valid limitations...

Stealing Second Base: From Side Gig to Self Employed Full Time

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes is sharing how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Katherine Stimson: “You can’t steal second base with one foot still on first.” In the spring of 2010, a Facebook ad posted by a total...

Dreams Are Like Pirate Treasure: Hard to Find, But Worth the Risk

All dreams start somewhere and typically, no matter the size of the overall dream, most dreams start small. Let’s say yours is to feel better at work every day. You focus on sitting up straight in week one. Week two finds you taking a 10-minute walk at lunchtime. Week...

Becoming a conqueror: Facing your deepest fears. #DifferentLifeStories

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes is sharing how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Emily:


My life has turned out in a way I never pictured and that no one ever saw for me.

I spent the first 19 years of my life sitting in front of a TV dreaming. I would watch people live their lives and believe that the things they did would happen when I was older and without me needing to actually get up and do things. I was always just waiting for life to happen so much so that when I graduated from high school I hadn’t even applied to college or thought about what I wanted to do. I ended up at a community college and in my first apartment alone and scared. I could barely leave the place.

It would take me two hours to work up the nerve to go to the grocery store.

Suffice to say, I had deep rooted problems from being allowed to do nothing while growing up.

The spark that ignited the change in my life was a boy.

I was 19 and somehow dating this 25-year-old boy who had been in the navy for 5 years. And he hated the navy. It was a waste of his life and so outside of working his 16 hour shifts of doing nothing on a boat sitting in the harbor he craved adventure. In the short three months we were together we did hiking trips, took last minute road trips to places like the Grand Canyon and found enriching cultural events to fill the time.

But during this time I was still this scared girl, and while he was planning our next adventure, I was on the couch watching TV.

We fought a lot.

And in one of our fights he hit the hammer that put the nail into forever changing who I was.

He called me a Fragile Deer.

He said that I was always afraid of everything and I did nothing. I didn’t choose quality friends and I was always ok with how everything was. It all just stabbed my heart. I didn’t want to be a fragile deer, one that could break so easy. That wasn’t how I wanted to see myself.

And he was right, I hated my friends and I never had an opinion. I couldn’t even order food properly because I didn’t know what I wanted or as afraid I would be judged.

After we broke up I started pushing myself to do all the things that made me feel afraid.

It started with me going to the park by myself. I would sit in the parking lot afraid to get out of the car and say to myself: “You’re not the fragile deer, other people do this, you can do it too.”

So, 7 years later here is my fragile deer.


It’s tattooed on the back of my arm to remind me that I can grow my strength, face my fears.

In 7 years I have discovered the real me.

The person that lives off of being outside; hiking, camping, farming, just being outside.

I have moved to a city where I know no one, joined groups like the Hash House Harriers (Google it, there’s one in every city all over the world!), I have driven 48 of the 50 states alone, and traveled to two countries by myself.

Well to sum it up: I have been and spent time in 49 of the 50 states (missing Alaska); I have been to Canada, Mexico, Britain, France, Span, Italy, Australia, Brazil and Indonesia. And in every instance I have been so afraid. I’m currently living in Australia, hitching rides with strangers around the country.

Actually, at this exact moment, I’m in Bali with some friends I made on one of the rides I hitched from Perth to Darwin.

For me, life is short and I want to see and be able to say I have been everywhere.

Sometimes I’m a box checker, just checking off that list as I visit places.

I live by the motto, you always regret not doing, you’ll never regret doing. I throw my fears about money, loneliness and stress to the wind and say just do it.

And in the end I never regret it.

But things aren’t perfect, they never are. I have depression and anxiety and they rob me of happiness anywhere that I go. But there are times when I’m in a new place and I find myself looking at something beautiful and I can just feel that that is what life is supposed to be.

I’ll end this with a recent story:

I was living basically on the street, or in other words a tent in the bush, in Darwin at this place called Mindil Beach where all the backpackers with cars go to hang out. I had made friends with these two guys, one French and one Italian. On this particular evening they pointed to this satellite tower that could be seen in the distance and said we’re going to climb that for sunset.

I am very afraid of heights. I have a habit of getting dizzy and not being able to breathe when I am above 5 feet. But I smiled and said yes.

I found myself at the base of this abandoned tower looking up at what seemed like endless rungs of a small metal ladder. I told the boys that I may cry, but I’m going to do it.

I clutched on to the first rungs and started my ascent.

I grabbed that ladder so hard as I climbed higher that my hands were bright red. My heart pounded, I was shaking and could barely breathe.

I made it to the first level and thought “No more.”

I stood on the little grated balcony and gripped the side railings for dear life. I was maybe about 20 ft. off the ground. I told the boys that I don’t think I’m making it to the top and they should just continue on without me.

So they gave me reassuring hugs and continued. And I sat there breathing, starting to calm down and I thought come on, that wasn’t so bad.

I could hear the boys above me hollering about the view and this eagles nest that was next to the ladder. I had to keep going. So I sucked it up and within minutes found myself on the top, hugging my friend, looking at the view and smiling. I had conquered one of my long holding fears. I watched the sunset over Darwin, with my new perspective of the city and I felt so alive and happy that I had pushed myself.

On the way down I stopped next to the eagles nest and spied this string sitting in the middle. I took it and stuck it in my pocket. I now wear that bracelet around my wrist and every time I look at it I feel strong and happy.

I’m a conqueror, and everyday I disprove the Fragile Deer.


Email us about how you’re living differently if you’d like to be a part of this series! We’re keeping a spot open for you:



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Without Boxes equips individuals with the resources necessary to turn obstacles into opportunities. Subscribe below to receive our podcast, project updates, and information on the resources available we make available for you as we continue to grow our cause.