Hello my dear reader, can you believe 2014 is already over? I sure can’t!!! It was only one year ago when I chose this path of constant travel and I haven’t looked back ever since.
Back in 2013 I had a personal crisis as I was trying to find the answer to this question: What is the key to a successful life?
These days, everybody seems to have an opinion about what you should do. You should climb the corporate ladder, you should finish your Masters’ degree, you should find the right girl, you should start your family, you should save for the future, you should buy a house, you should buy a car, you should buy insurance, you should follow the dream.
To them, I ask: What dream?
Ever since we were born, society has molded us into believing that we can do whatever we set our minds and hearts to…as long as it fits their set criteria for a conventional life. Yes, Timmy, you can be the best photographer in the world if you work hard enough. No, Timmy, you cannot be a war photographer in the Middle-East, remember that family always comes first! Do you see the big contradiction?
I would like to believe that the last few decades have changed the way in which success is measured and yet, the previous generations will always try to mold you into having a conventional life. If it worked for them, it shall work for you, right? I don’t doubt their good intentions and yet, telling someone exactly what they should do in order to be successful is one of the worst things that can be said.
Society, friends and family will always tell you to follow THE dream. It gets worse when you’re an adult and your childhood friends start to get married, raise children and of course, attain enormous debts and responsibilities. Topics of conversation soon shift to interrogations about “When you will settle down?”, “What’s your savings plan?” and my favorite: “How can you afford to travel that much?”.
The snarky in me is always tempted to ask them if they’re really happy with their jobs or if they just do them to pay the (ever-increasing) debts. But trust me, you should never ask what can be clearly seen. Instead of fitting the mold, how about following your dream?
The importance of following your dream
The problem with following other people’s dreams is that it limits you in terms of what you want to accomplish. And yes, I totally understand why people would decide to follow the dream instead of following theirs: It’s easy and convenient.
A stable job means you’ll always have the monetary means to survive, material items bought by borrowing money from the bank means that you’ll have the status that society deems to be worthy in order to climb up the ladder, savings are a guarantee that you won’t have to struggle that much should a tragedy arise. The dream they follow is not one of passion, it is one of convenience. And it works.
But ask yourself: What if money didn’t matter? What if society’s opinion didn’t matter? What would you like to do then? Did you become a Wall-Street trader because you love finances or did you do it because of the money? Are you really following your heart’s passion? Weren’t you the same idealistic kid who wanted to help people by becoming a non-profit lawyer? What happened in-between?
I get it, there’s a huge pressure looming over you. You’re stressed out because of all of your commitments and responsibilities but trust me, you don’t have to be.
The key to living a stress-free life
When I was studying abroad in France, I was a complete enigma to French and foreign students alike: “How in hell does Raphael manages to travel and party all the time and still get some of the best grades?”. Some started to invent stories about bribery and cheat-sheets since my answer didn’t satisfy their curiosity at all: “There’s no secret, I just found out that the less I worry about something, the better I get at it”.
To this day, I’m sure that they still don’t believe how I got a perfect score in a finance exam without long hours of study. In fact, my lack of sleep on the day of the exam was due to a hangover from a friend’s birthday party! How crazy is that?
I believe that this mantra applies to all stages of life. Enjoy what you do and never worry about the results. If you’re happy doing what you love, life will provide for a way. It might sound hippy but hey, it has really worked out for me and I’m sure it’ll work out for you too. Believe in yourself and most importantly, believe in what you do.
Take the leap and follow your dream today
I know a lot of people who would love to travel but they’re stuck (or at least, they believe they are) in their daily jobs: “I wish I could spend three months in Europe but I only have 2 weeks of vacation time and I cannot just quit my job” “But…you told me you hated your job” “Yes, but it pays the bills…”
To that, my best suggestion is for you to follow your dream. Do you dream about stability or adventure? Do you dream about cubicles or wanderlust? Do you dream about suits or trekking? And no, don’t get my wrong: It is possible to have a dream that includes both stability and travel, my point is that you’ll be happier if you follow your OWN destiny instead of adjusting it to other people’s expectations.
Knowing your dream is half the battle, now it’s time to follow it. Are you ready to take the leap with me? :)