Ashamed it’s been so long since I’ve written; proving that The Bahamas is a time warp. That’s where I’ve spent the last year, living with my best friend and his Bahamian girlfriend, trying to make some good poker money and save up for my next adventure. Not quite even knowing what it would entail, I figured South America to be next on the docket.
Shortly, before my most recent post (December), I had the privilege of reconnecting with a girl in one of the most unbelievable ways. Because of 10+ variables that decided to shift, Abby and I fatefully ran into each other in Minneapolis’s famous SkyWay. She, on her way to work, and me, on my way to breakfast with my brother.
I had gone to college with her and we actually graduated right next to each other from the U of M – Twin Cities. A month into seeing this girl, she expresses a desire to teach English abroad in Thailand. BINK!!! “That’s my next adventure!” I realize. So from early February, after deciding that we wanted to commit, we’ve been getting all our ducks in a row. Abby quit her respected position at a well-paying law firm, moved out 4 months later, sold her things, transferred her lease, and relinquished her beloved cat, Guthrie (aka “Gu3”), to her mother. Along with a host of other affairs she get straightened out, she made the leap. Remember this, as all of the things I write and share about our adventures, it started with her “leap”.
While you might feel that this is background information, it’s really leading to my punch line: This girl’s amazing. For those who’ve dabbled in my blog, I make countless references and urges to my readers to analyze their life and see if what you’re doing in life is what you REALLY want out of life. Of those, several express interest in traveling the world as well. Many people make comments to the effect of, “you’re so lucky,” “I wish I could travel the world,” to “I don’t have the money to do it,” or “what about my car?”
One thing that I’ve come to find out is that these reactions often mask a deeper fear; that of the unknown, or indeterminable future. I’ll help illustrate.
“you’re so lucky” – the only lucky element I’ve had is choosing online poker as a means of income. It forced me out of the country and, more or less, resulted in nomadic tendencies (visa restrictions, weather concerns, etc.)
“I wish I could travel the world” – I’m not going to flat out say, “You can!” It just may not be in the cards, so to speak. But if you want to, it’s possible to find a way. Your fate might be predetermined, in your mind, but it’s more a function of seized opportunities and series of reactions.
“I don’t have the money” – No one is asking you to pony up the money today. Set up a financial plan or budget to allow you enough money for flight(s), accommodations, food. A lot of people don’t realize that you can travel on a budget that is smaller than the one you currently have (ie meals in Thailand are 80 cents, rent 200 or hostels less than 10/night).
“What about my car?” – There are several options for you, if this is the case. You can sell it (what you lose on the investment, you’ll gain in independence and freedom, gas money, parking, maintenance. Trust me, it’ll save you money). Perhaps end your lease early or transfer it to someone (there are resources online where you can pay someone a certain amount to legally continue your lease, absolving you of further responsibility to it. It’s funny how much a car can enslave a human being. I’ve been car-free for 3 years now, and rarely find myself upset about my loss of transportation independence.
I’ll forever say, “there’s always a solution.” It may not be easy, but there’s always another way to look at or approach life’s decisions. You don’t have to drop everything at this very moment, and book a one-way flight to Rio. These preparations, as I’ve said, have been in the works for 6 months.
So I sit here, in a hotel room in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, getting ready for a 4-week teacher training program; proud, because a.) I am spending a year in Asia with one of my best friends and most influential people I’ve met, and b.) I have definitive proof that for these past few years, I haven’t been blowing smoke up your ass. If you want to find a way to make something happen, spare yourself the pity party and/or excuses, and make it happen. You have more control over your life than you think.
Until then, do yourself a favor, and find a way to buy a one-way ticket somewhere. A passport, VISA, and internet can get you anywhere and anything you’ll end up needing. And remember, you’ll never encounter a situation that merits the type of anxiety you may expect.