Taking a Leap of Faith
I have decided to finally take the leap into the unknown. Ever since I started traveling, I have dreamed of open ended traveling; a trip with no particular end date. I’ve met many people doing this, and I have always been envious. What would it be like to just put yourself out there and see what happens?
Ever since I was little, I’ve been “on-track”. I received pretty good grades in high school as well as college. I worked internships during summers to get business experience. And I secured a full-time job starting soon after college graduation. I took a year off of work to travel, but I still had the commitment of coming back to my job. Now I will be going into unknown territory. I am leaving my job.
To many, this won’t sound like much. Leaving a job is pretty common. But to me, it’s scary. Being on this well-paved path has made my life very secure. I’ve never known anything else. My salary will be cut 100%, and I am leaving my plans open ended. Ultimately, I want to find work that I feel passionate about, that energizes me, and gives me a feeling of purpose. I still don’t know what that is. However, I know what I do like to do for fun. I love to travel. And I love adventures. Using this piece of knowledge, I have crafted my short-term plan (which is subject to change).
“What are you going to do? Where are you going?”
I’ve answered this question many times, and I love the variety of peoples’ reactions. Some people think it’s great. Some people think it’s insane. It may be both. But here goes…
First of all, I will be moving back home to Illinois for about a month and a half. I’ll be catching up with family and friends, getting LASIK surgery, and have a few projects including working on this blog. In the middle of May, I’ll set out on a solo cycling trip out to the northwest. I’ve tentatively mapped out the ride and the main stops include Badlands National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland. I plan to finish this in about 3 months, or around mid-August. After this, I plan to kayak the Mississippi River. I’ll head up to Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and then finish in New Orleans. I’m planning another 3 months for this, so that’ll have me finishing in late-November. I’ll be home for Christmas, and then I plan to move to Bangkok, Thailand, in January to get the CELTA certificate to teach English as a foreign language. From there, it becomes more unknown. Maybe I’ll teach in Thailand, or South Korea, or Japan.
I’m excited. All this is my current plan, which I am happy to say can change very quickly. If my knee holds up and I don’t want to stop cycling, maybe I keep going up to Alaska and hold off the kayak trip. Maybe I find a cool non-profit to work for in Central America and decide to hold off on going to Thailand. The flexibility is one of my favorite parts of this whole way of life.
“Aren’t you nervous?”
Naturally, I also get feelings of doubt. I’m leaving a salary, benefits, and a good job (on paper, at least). I’m leaving this security to do something that most people would never even consider doing. I’m leaving a very good standard of living to go live in a tent for 6 months. I sometimes wonder what is wrong with me. But then I remember that I’m not what most people would call “normal”, so why should I live a “normal” life?
It’s time to get off of this track and see what else is out there. There is no telling how the rest of this year will unfold, and much less the next few years. I’m okay with that. It’s time to embrace the unknown and give it all I’ve got.
Image courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net