I've recently embarked on a round the world trip - my Soul Vacation, as I call it. Here's why I'm quitting my job and leaving everything to go explore a bunch of places I've never been to.
To Break the Habit of Buying Stuff I Don’t Need
I’ve gotten into the habit of, ‘I like it, I buy it.’ I even stopped paying attention to prices, which led to the fateful day in which I got home and realized I had purchased tortillas at Whole Foods for $9.99. Tortillas. For ten dollars. On the road, I’m forced to schlep everything I’ve got on my back, so I only buy things I really, really like and for which I’m willing to potentially get a backache. But it’s bigger than the backache: I’m conditioning myself to spend my money on experiences instead of things. That’s the stuff I’ll gladly schlep with me everywhere until I die.
To Learn New Things
To learn that people are mostly good. To give surfing a try. To do stuff I’ve never done that puts me outside my comfort zone. The collective experiences will either age the shit out of me or keep me forever young. Either way, I get to keep ‘em forever. I’ll gamble.
To Be Young Before I Look Old
I’m turning thirty-one in a month, guys. Lucky for me, people usually estimate 27...but that ain’t going to last forever. I've spoken with more than one older-than-I traveler who said it's lonely on the road for them, because they are often avoided by wary and likely immature young fellow travelers, and found it difficult to make friends. I like to think I can still pass as one of the ‘them’ in a group of drunk 25-year olds for a night just enough so they treat me as one of their own. Most of all, I don’t want to waste my youth and put off for my retirement what I want to do now.
To Fall in Love
What would a round the world journey be without a few broken hearts along the way? Falling in love is crazy fun, and I intend to feel heartbreak more than once when I have to push off for the next city and leave someone awesome behind.
To Be Alone
The other night I walked by a bar with a super fun live band playing and people dancing. So I went in, and after a few minutes of awkward internal debate, I started dancing. By myself. And I had the best freaking time.
Doing something solo is a huge confidence booster for me. It reminds me that I like me, and I’m a badass. It’s not easy, but it’s absolutely worth it. Want to give it a try? I believe there are three levels to solo dining badassery:
Level one: sit in the back and bury your face in your phone. It’s okay - this is your first time and you’ve got to ease into it. Level two: dine al fresco on the front patio, but bring a book and be fabulous. Level three - and this one isn’t for the weak, but will pay confidence dividends: Dine al fresco on the front patio, solo - no book, no touching your phone - just watching the world go by. Good posture is a key piece of the badass energy you’ll be projecting, so no slouching. Now go take over the world.
To Learn About People
And improve my empathy and understanding in the process. I’m one of the first generations to grow up in the Information Age and the 24-hour news cycle. Images, videos, news - they’re everywhere All. The. Time. I’m afraid I’ve become desensitized to the stuff I see on TV. I’m desperate for the real world. So I’m going out to see it for myself. I believe that people with difficulties appreciate sympathy but really value understanding. They want to be treated as people. So instead of eating everything on my plate to save the starving children of Africa (mom), I’m going to go say what up to people who have less and live differently than I do, and get to know them and their story.
To Do the Thing Now I’ll Regret Forever If I Don’t
You might die tomorrow. You never know. I had it in my head that I’d travel around the world when I retire. But what if I don’t make it? I decided to take control of my life, align with what I feel in my soul, and do this thing now that I’d regret forever if I didn’t. It feels incredible.
What’s the thing you’ll regret if you don’t do? Do that thing.