What Are You Waiting For?
That baby face kid in the photo; yep that's me, 20 odd years ago. The girl holding me was probably what was my first crush. She was a French exchange student who lived with my parents for a year. Who knew that even then I would have developed such a liking to other cultures. As a kid, I was somewhat of a dreamer and adventurer. After episodes of MacGyver and the A-Team I would take my little black truck to the back of our house and jerry-rig every room of the house. I would often write about these and other adventurous exploits. One of which involved Michael Jordan and a game of horse in my backyard in which I won and he had to buy me a bottle of coke. If I would've known then, what I knew now. Though I'm only in my twenties, I've found myself at a few crossroads in life. Similar to Robert Frost's poem, except instead of taking the road less traveled, I just stand there and stare at the trails, deciding neither to take the trail, nor to turn back. A new full-time job, an impending divorce and living in a new place, once again has me standing at those crossroads. Except now, I've chosen to go.
There's been a lot lately about at what point to take the jump and follow your dreams, whether dreams of writing, traveling the world or much more. The questions I have to ask is what are you waiting for? Are we truly ready for anything we undertake. Are we ever truly ready to fall in love? To take a promotion? To have kids? To move across the country? If you're waiting for that "aha" moment, then you'll still be waiting for it on your deathbed. There comes a time when you take a few steps back, crouch down, get a running head start and dive in.
C.S. Lewis in one of his classic stories says: "Make your choice, adventurous stranger. Strike the bell and bide the danger. Or wonder 'til it drives you mad, What would have followed, if you had." I've made my choice to strike the bell. Where will it lead me? That I don't know? Maybe to the beach, maybe to traveling the world, maybe location independence. I don't know.
I began by talking about my childhood. Now I'm ending talking about my childhood. I'm following my childhood passions of exploring and writing. Whatever I do and wherever I go, be assured that it will involve both traveling and writing about it. I've spent years dabbling in different things that never quite did it for me. Now as I've become a travel writer, I honestly can't imagine myself doing anything else.
So what about you? Are you stuck in an endless cycle of the mundane? Randy Pausch in his Last Lecture, shortly before his death stated: "Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people"
So what are you waiting for? Everyone has brick walls, it's just a matter of whether not we want something badly enough to overcome them. For a long time, mine was most significantly debt and money. Now that it's almost wiped away, I'm almost at that point where I make that final dive. Dive into the unknown, but a dive nonetheless. Because as Lewis said, I don't want to wonder madly what would have followed. I hope you have the people in your life that support and enable you as I have in my life. If not, then seek out those people, and in doing so, they may just find you.
Yes this is cheesy and cliche I know. Thanks for reading. Welcome to The Traveling Philosopher.