“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, “I’m living someone else’s life”? I have. The realization came as I watched The Motorcycle Diaries, a romanticized version of Che Guevera traveling across South America relying on the kindness of strangers. The movie touched a spark in my soul. It woke me up. At the time I was a broker in the city of London, severely depressed and ready to give up on everything. Sounds melodramatic, I know. But it also happens to be true.
I would stay in my house and when I wasn’t sleeping I was self-medicating. It was a profoundly unsustainable way to live. Despite being surrounded by millions of people I felt completely alone. I had lost all form of human connection and I desperately needed it back. The pain forced me into a decision that would change my life forever.
I quit my job and decided to live by a set of ideals I now call the Way of the Traveler. A set of ideals that first germinated on a hilltop in Nepal but came to life on the rain-slicked streets of London.
What is the Way of the Traveler you may ask? Well, it means something different to each person but for me, it meant giving up on my externally successful life and trying to escape the internal pain I was hiding from others. It became a way of life. I left my house, and my life (including all the pain that came with it. I hoped). I decided I was going to travel the world trying to connect with others face to face. Human connection was going to be my fuel…
What the Way of the Traveler tries to do is to help you determine where your passion truly lies and how to take steps to achieve your dreams. It creates a jumpstart to help you find the courage to live ‘your’ life. The beautiful one waiting for each and every one of us…
Leaving your job and family isn’t the only way to take the first step toward your dreams. What I will say is taking small risks is often the only way to get started. If you want to become a writer you can’t just say, “I’m a writer” and hey presto you become Orwell overnight. You have to be willing to take that first very important step; it’s a risky one, though. It’s admitting you’re not happy with your life. For me acknowledging that I wasn’t happy didn’t change things right away. After many nights of self-pity, I found the courage needed to change.
And you can too.
I fought through the fear and I left for my travels around the world. That trip would spark what would become my life’s goal of traveling while helping others feel empowered and feel seen; Viscerally seen by another human being until we find the strength to see ourselves.
So often we try to convince ourselves that we’re not good enough to dream, let alone work toward achieving our dreams. I’m here to tell you if this is what you think you are mistaken. If no one believes in you, know that this Englishman does. He may not know who you are, but he believes in your right to live magnificently. Truly magnificently.
But there is a cost to living fully. And that cost is that people may not like your choices. They may not like your newfound magnificence that shines as brightly as the brightest star. That’s the risk you take… Are you in? Or are you going to go back to the sadness and the boredom? The beauty of this life is that ultimately you get to choose.
The Way of the Traveler asks that you allow yourself to determine what your wildest dreams are. Do you want to become a doctor, an actor, or a world traveler? Nothing starts until you take that first leap into the unknown! It sounds cliché to say this but I’ve met so many people who once they move past the mental block of negativity that’s stopping them begin to soar. Magnificently.
What are 3 things big or small you could do today to start realizing your dreams? Maybe it’s going back to school, or writing one page of your screenplay a night. Whatever it is unless you embrace your ability to chase the impossible it will never happen. And then the magnificence that is waiting patiently to shine will be lost. Maybe forever.
Although the Way of the Traveler asks a lot of each of us, there’s no way to do this alone. This means we have to take a realistic look at those around us. When you tell people your wildest dreams, do they laugh and discourage you, or are they supportive and push you? If they don’t support you it may be difficult to completely take them out of your life. But what you can do is not let them get in your way and surround yourself with likeminded people who support your dreams.
I call them accidental heroes! Find them. And keep them close.
When you find your accidental heroes; it will take energy and love to keep them around. If you’re there for each other and share the pain it takes to achieve your goals nothing can stop you. Do you have people like this in your life? Who are they?
Sometimes we will hit setbacks on our way toward happiness. For me, it was ending up right back where I fought so hard to escape, behind a desk (or my slab of wood as I like to call it…). It’s important that during these times we take the time to stop and see the magic. My moment was seeing a homeless chap holding up a sign that read, “Kindness is the best medicine”. This one moment catapulted my next travel adventure of driving a vintage yellow motorbike (with a sidecar) across the globe giving life-changing gifts to unsuspecting good Samaritans. Kindness is a two-way street. It’s not just about receiving kindness it’s also about profoundly giving it away. Like its confetti.
When we find ourselves disconnected from the things and people we value most we need to take a minute to see how far we’ve come. Don’t be deterred by failure. Failing is one of the best learning lessons we can experience. It gives us an opportunity to stop and reflect. The best way to move past failure is to turn it on its head, turn it into a success.
Remember the only reason we failed was because we had the courage to try in the first place. Just ask Winston Churchill, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. about failure. Their lives were filled with roadblocks but more often than not it was their successes that shaped our world. If you can change your perception of what failure is you can face any setback thrown at you.
Following your passion is not easy; you will have days where you want to give-up. Many days. On these days I say reward yourself for all the hard work you’re putting in toward living your greatest life. You deserve it! When I find myself in this state I turn my favorite song on really loud and I dance. I dance and I don’t stop dancing until I feel better. I believe you can tackle anything, just keep your head up and dance.
Grab life by the arm and never stop dancing.
This article was originally published on Pick The Brain.
Part travel memoir, part self-help book, Live, Love, Explore is a guide to finding meaning and adventure in your everyday life and discovering the road you were always meant to walk.