You and I have something in common. We both have a dream.
For as long as I can remember, my dream has been to travel the world. And also for as long as I can remember, society has told me that uprooting my life to do so would stray me from the path of success. So I settled for the responsible path to adulthood: attend a good college, get a decently paying full-time job, and build a stable, comfortable life.
Fast forward three years post-college, and I've had it with this path. I quit. I'm pausing my career, putting my belongings in storage, moving out of New York City, and leaping into the world with nothing but a carry-on and my integrity. I am doing exactly what I want to do: circumnavigating the globe by couch surfing via my social network to see how far human connection can take me.
Dreaming Is Easy -- The Hard Part Is Jumping
We walk through our lives seeking purpose. How many of us actually find it? More importantly, how many of us muster the courage to ignore our fears, forgo comfort and security, and take a complete leap of faith to pursue a dream? The truth is, going after our dream is terrifying. It is not for the faint of heart. But it is absolutely essential to finding our true purpose in life.
I've spent the past few years forcing myself into the flow of corporate life. I worked for clients that I don't believe in, in an industry that feeds off consumerism and is largely disinterested in pushing society forward. What really lights me up inside -- traveling, connecting with people, and writing about my adventures -- was reserved for the few precious moments I had leftover after work.
Dissatisfaction can be a powerful catalyst for change when we learn to listen to it. "Walk away," it whispered. "There is more." Months trickled by, and the pestering intensified. Before I knew it, I found myself at a standstill: I completely lost interest in my career, had no enthusiasm for the jobs I was interviewing for, and was tired of trying to "make it" in New York City. I was done living without purpose; I needed to drastically change my life.
Sometimes, we reach a point when we are standing on the edge of a cliff, our present life safely tucked beneath our feet. Ahead of us, beyond the edge, is a gaping abyss. We don't know what's on the other side. All we know is: If we jump, life as we know it will change. So we have a choice.
Do we jump?
Paralyzed by our insecurities, we usually don't. The fear of unfamiliarity is just too overpowering. After all, we have responsibilities: bills and debt to pay, a job to show up to, maybe mouths to feed.
When I decided I would leave my old life behind to follow my dream, I was hit with the cold reality of the demands I would have to meet to make it happen: including saving enough money to sustain myself, quitting my job, giving up many of my belongings, accepting instability, and so on. There were infinite reasons why I couldn't do this. Rather than listing why I couldn't, however, I began to ask myself how I could.
Why I Am Taking A Leap Of Faith
Imagine that every single person in your life is a thread. Each one of us has access to dozens, hundreds, perhaps even thousands of threads. As I asked myself how I could jump into the unknown and travel the world, I wondered whether it was possible to weave these threads together to create a safety net of human connection strong enough to support anyone within its folds. If we stood at the edge of that cliff and knew that there was an entire network of people willing to catch us... Would that diminish the fear of taking a leap?
I believe yes. And I plan on testing this theory myself.
That is why I decided to circumnavigate the globe via couch surfing. The caveat is, it has to be through my social network: every person that I stay with must be connected to me somehow. Why? One of the most valuable lessons that travel has taught me is that regardless of who we are or where we come from, we are all intricately connected. I want to challenge myself to see how far human connection can literally take me.
There is another catch -- for every person that pitches in to help me live my dream, I will find a way to help them live theirs. While an act of kindness from an individual may feel small, when scaled across a network of people, these acts can cumulatively change someone's life.
Jump, And The Net Will Appear
I want you to know that I don't have everything figured out. I don't have a trust fund. Sometimes I get scared when I think about what I am doing. I am just like you -- I am someone with a dream.
What I do know, however, is enough: I'm taking back control of how I want my life to shape out, and I'm doing what I'm passionate about. The rest, I'll figure out as I go.
And so, I invite you to follow along on this journey. I will be writing about it in my blog, The Nomad's Oasis, taking photos on Instagram, and vlogging every step of the way. While I'm taking this time to focus on my dream, I hope that I can provide inspiration and guidance to help you with yours.
For the first time in my life, I can say that I truly, wholeheartedly believe in myself. I'm jumping, because I know the net will appear.