Dreams are a dicey business. There are those who’ll never dream big enough to live an adventurous life.
And that’s just fine — for them. Not everyone is going to have big dreams. Not everyone can set risk aside and say they’re going after it anyhow. It takes courage to follow your heart, wherever that leads.
The Tragedy of “No”
It’s taken me many months to convince people this was my dream. Some people believed me early on when I told them selling everything to travel for five years was my big dream. I’ll always remember who they were and how much I needed them to tell me it was achievable — and amazing.
It’s easy to say shutting down naysayers is critical but god help you if you haven’t got some of the can-do crowd around when you need that bit of encouragement to make the jump from having the dream to turning it to a reality.
Naysayers are dreamkillers. They’re murderers of hope. They’re people I pity all day long because they don’t know the possibility if they just say yes and go for it. They’re people I pity because I, too, was once controlled by the word “no.”
People Who Tried to Shut Me Down
The naysayers, the ones who aren’t dreamers, are the ones who found nothing but problems with my plans. “What if you get robbed? What if you get attacked? What if you get lonely?”
Probably the same thing that happens if all those things take place when I’m at home.
Whether it was health care, my back problems, my former finance problems, my lack of language skills — there were multitudes of negatives for others to glom onto and challenge me over, as if the whole of life was designed to keep me tethered to this once province, this one place.
As if no one before me has thrown off the shackles of place and set off to find adventure wherever their dream could lead them.
How I Fought the Big Bad Nay
Education is essentially the best weapon you have. If I get robbed, I’ll be insured. If I get sick, I’ll be insured. Then I use the example of my friend Jason Baker who got a blood infection in Fiji and was flown back home, then once he was well, they flew him to Australia.
For me, it’s been in learning examples of others, listening to my friends who have done these things, and researching the hell out of places I want to go.
When you can give these answers, for some people, a lightbulb goes on and you can see they understand that all the challenges are able to be overcome. For others, they’ll still not believe you.
I’ve empowered myself to have answers for all the “what ifs,” and when I can’t tell you what the answer is, I simply know from a small, strong voice inside myself, that I’ll figure that out if it comes my way. That’s called resourcefulness and it’s the most important thing to pack along with you.
The Interweb Connection
It’s not like the days when folks like Jack London made the trek from San Francisco to the Yukon, with no way to hear from friends or family, no way to reach out. Just gone for months or years on end, an occasional card or letter trickling in from the post.
Today, you’re as connected as can be so long as you have some battery juice. Today’s traveller is most empowered when they have two backup battery sources for their phone. In trouble? Reach out. Me, I have 6,000 virtual friends on Twitter, 500 actual-ish friends on Facebook, and another 1,000 on Instagram. To you, they’re numbers. To me, they’re a lifeline.
The first time I ever heard about Twitter, really, was back in 2007 or so when a couple travellers in Turkey or some place got arrested for no good reason and one of them sent a quick “Arrested, help” tweet out, which mobilized their entire network to help figure out what the hell was going on.
I haven’t even landed in Croatia and I already have 10 connections on the ground there. How many more does my extended network have? How about in Spain?
Travellers are not alone anymore. It’s a big world and a big web. Help is out there, too.
Just Another Chapter
So many people have the inability to see life as a series of adventures. For them, it’s a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, all working toward some rote conclusion.
Me, my life is a series of chapters. Some big, some small, all leading in some way to my eventual end. They all build into a part of who I am, what I will experience.
Danger will find me whether I am home or abroad. At least when I’m abroad I’ll seldom have the complacency that helps danger find us more easily. Misfortune needs no address or nationality. Adversity is a human condition without borders. Strife is universal.
I’m not running away from these things. I can’t escape them. You can’t, either. Staying home is no guarantee either — it’s just less daring. Literally half of my most serious injuries happened inside my home, not in some adventurous moment outside. Complacency, my friends, it’s a killer no matter where you are.
I guarantee you, I’ll have sticky moments abroad. I’ll find a way through them too. That’s because I know that quality to be true of myself, and that’s the only thing I can bank on when I’m travelling. It’s the only thing I can bank on even here at home.
At least my moments of difficulty will occur when I am surrounded with incredible, beautiful, inspiring places which remind me of why I’m on the road, and why it’s worth the price, even in this less-than-convenient moment I might be facing.
Got people telling you it can’t be done? They might be telling the truth for them. But you ain’t them.
I know who I am. And I got this.
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