I realize that grasping the concept of leaving work so one can travel (or otherwise engage in whatever your dream activity is) is not easy. There is always that little bit of doubt at the back of your head. That little bit of uncertainty that pokes you like a splinter underneath the skin. Work is this only thing that provides some hope for the future, right? One should be glad if they still have work to go to. Yet I’m preaching here about early retirement and quitting work to travel. How can this possibly work for an average person?
The very first and very important thing to realize is that I do not say one should quit work. Quitting work is simply what I did and the reasons behind my thinking are described in this journal/blog. One should live their life to the fullest and should do things they want to do. When your life is fulfilling, enjoyable and exciting, when you lay in bed at the end of the day and feel like saying: “What an awesome day it was today, I truly had hell of a time…” then you are likely doing it right. Remember, you only have limited time to spend on this Earth. Sooner or later, your time will be up and your journey on this planet will end. It is possible to have virtually unlimited supply of everything else, but never of time. You will not be here for unlimited length of time and you will not be able-bodied during all of your time here. It only makes sense that you use as much of it for things you enjoy as possible.
You know the ages old saying that “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you always got“. And you will always feel what you always felt. You yourself have to be the change you want to see in your own life. It starts with you, because it’s your life. Sometimes the change may seem intimidating, because it requires one to step away from the safety of their homes, or take a step to the side from well established path that goes straight ahead and everyone walks on it. Change bears risks with it, because it can go either way, but hey… If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you always got.
I applied the “If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done…” principle to myself. I had a good job that’s pretty hard to get and is a clear keeper. I was making enough money to get by and occasionally go for a few with my buddies. I was able to buy myself latest fashion, go see latest movies or indulge in a massage. It seemed like a fairly steady life yet deep inside I felt that there must be more to life than this. However, this feeling did not surface until I resumed traveling. I was faced with the ultimate challenge:
- Continue going to work. I have a steady and secure job that pays all my bills and leaves me some extra. If there is better life than this, I will never experience it, because all I will have known is work. There will be no surprises in my life as I know exactly what tomorrow brings – yet another day at work. But at the same time I know I am taken care of and don’t have much to worry about.
- Take the risk and quit work. I don’t know where this path leads, as it could go both up and down. My life will be one daring adventure and every day will be different. I don’t know the odds, but I will do what I believe in my heart I was meant to do.
I was content where I was at the moment, but I still believed that there was more to life and that I deserved it. I knew that in order to personally mature and feel better about my life as a whole, I’d need to change the way I do things, change the way I make decisions, change the way I live life. It’s pretty simple – If you keep your foot on first base, you will never steal second. And if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always have what you always got. What I got was just enough to get me by. I was a ship in safe harbor. But as John A. Shedd said – this is not what ships are for.
A risk of failure accompanies every change. But if you look at all the great achievers this world has known, you will notice similar pattern in their lives – they have all achieved great things by taking risks. By trying something different. By deviating from predetermined path followed my majority. You can either be safe and good, or you can take a chance and be great. It’s the way to knowing the world and knowing yourself. One does not discover new oceans without losing sight of the shore as one does not find out how far they can go unless they risk going too far.
Wayne Gretzky once said: “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Yes, change requires risk-taking and risk-taking is ultimately prone to failure. If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t call it risk-taking, would they? However, even if you ultimately fail but you do it pursuing your dreams, you will have lived a much more fulfilling life than those who have put their dreams on a shelf for fear of failure.