I’ve been stuck in a rut lately. My job is not fulfilling and it seems to be dragging my spirit down. It’s not that I have a terrible job or that I’m overwhelmed or anything like that. It’s actually a pretty good job and I think I’m very good at it. It’s just that I think I should be doing more. I should be helping more people, affecting more lives, and impacting the world in a more meaningful way.
So after two years of keeping my nose to the grindstone and helping my employers make a boatload of money, I’ve finally started to poke my head out of this little mouse hole to see what other opportunities are out there. There are two ways to look at the job market: 1. There aren’t any good jobs available. Hiring managers are offering low salaries and expecting decades of experience; or 2. There are some amazing opportunities to do important work. It’s up to me to convince these hiring managers that I’m the best and only choice they have and that I’m worth paying for.
I’ve decided that I’m going to go with the second option and bring my passion for life to the job market. And so I woke up this morning with a renewed sense of urgency. I woke up early and headed straight for the gym. After a good workout I decided to do a little house work. I re-potted my Bonsai tree, washed dishes, vacuumed the floor, cooked lunch, and then washed dishes again. Not too shabby for a Saturday morning.
I rewarded myself with a little down time. I logged onto Facebook to catch up on the day’s news. And what do you know? I came across a blog post that helped me understand why I’ve been down lately. “Why You Should Travel Young” by Jeff Goins is an impassioned plea to young people to travel early and often. Goins writes:
Traveling will change you like little else can. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you. You will begin to understand that the world is both very large and very small. You will have a new found respect for pain and suffering, having seen that two-thirds of humanity struggle to simply get a meal each day.
Goins writes with an intensity and staunchness that helps remind me of one of my key personal motivations. Life is not about where you work, how much money you make, or what your career trajectory looks like. Life is about the impact you have on other people through the time and energy you give to those around you. And what better way to have an impact on the world than to actually get out there and see the world?
I’ve been plotting my moves around the world for years. In fact, I started this blog a couple years ago in order to help motivate me to put those plans into action. I started strong last year with trips to the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Panama. I also visited a number of major American cities for the first time including San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore.
This year, I’ve got trips planned to Puerto Rico and Canada. I’m also intending to visit Atlanta, Denver, and Cheyenne. And that’s just for starters.
So what part of the world are you planning to explore? How will you make your mark? And what’s the hold up? Jeff Goins pretty well knocked down the typical excuses of cost, work, and relationships. However, I’d like to expand on his argument against these lame “I’ll travel later in life” excuses.
1. Traveling is just too expensive for me right now!
We all make choices every day about where we spend our cash. It’s certainly true that some people have more cash to make choices with and therefore have an easier time making those choices. However, the fact remains that we all spend some money on needs and some money on wants. If you are the ultra-disciplined exception who happens to live in a tent, grow your own food, only wear second hand clothes, and don’t own any sort of electronic gadget, then this point doesn’t apply to you. For the rest of us, we probably choose to spend at least some of our cash on wants such as cable television, restaurants, jewelry and fashion, cell phones, mid- to high-end automobiles, etc, etc, etc.
How difficult would it be to draw up a budget and divert at least some of that discretionary spending toward travel, however modest your next trip may be? There are tons of free online resources to help you plan to travel on a budget. Start here, here, or here.
2. My work won’t allow me to get away and see the world!
Your work will still be there if you take a few days off here or there. No one says you have to take a six-months sabbatical to explore the Himalayas. Why not plan an extended weekend and find a cheap train ticket to the nearest destination you’ve never before visited? Granted if you have children this may not be as easy as I make it sound. It’s just that it’s not impossible. As my former professor Marshall Ganz says: “Hope is the belief in the probability of the possible rather than the necessity of the probable.”
3. I’m married/in a relationship and I just don’t think now is a good time!
Are you kidding me? Okay, I understand that relationships are complicated. I get that. That doesn’t change the fact that blaming your significant other for your reluctance to travel now is nothing more than an excuse. It may be possible that the best thing for your relationship might be to build a stronger bond through meaningful travel. You won’t know if you don’t try.
So why not? Stop thinking about it and just do it! Now is the time to go see the world.