And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”
A few years back I had a moment that made me realize who I am, and who I want to be. It was a turning point in every sense of the phrase. That moment happened when I first read this quote. I read it over and over again. I memorized it. Now I say it to myself everyday, because this life of ours is too fragile. Therefore, I’m trying to live as free a life as possible. You know, doing what you want, when you want, and however you want. And almost everyone I come across says the same thing- “Dave, you’re being unrealistic.” I understand where they are coming from. There are certain societal constructs that will prevent me from achieving exactly what I want, when I want, and however I want. But does this mean I shouldn’t try? What’s the point if we all don’t try to achieve this ultimate freedom.
I suffer from eleutheromania, which is an intense and irresistible desire for freedom. Instead of having a focused career, I am focused on freedom. And for me, one of the ways I feel I can achieve this ultimate goal is to take risks, and travel the world. That makes sense to me, that sounds real. Exploring, and experiencing everything this planet has to offer seems like the realest thing I can do as a human. Freedom is becoming a global citizen, and learning about how life exists on every corner of the earth.
So why must I wait. Why must I wait until I have reached some level of monetary wealth. Why must I work through my entire youth, in order to achieve a level of freedom much later on in my life. I am not going to risk the energy and vigor I currently possess, and assume it’s going to be with me when I’m 65 years old. That’s the most dangerous risk for me. Backpacking across land and sea. Catching boats, busses, tuk-tuks, trains, and planes to somewhere far away and exotic. These things require the energy and vigor of my youth. I can’t trek through the jungles of Thailand and Vietnam when I’m 65 and have a bad hip. I can’t climb mountains in Nepal when I’m 75 with arthritic knees. I can’t roam the deserts in Africa when I’m 80 and have high blood pressure.
Well heck, maybe if I keep my body in tip top shape, I might be able to do all of those things. The thing is, I really don’t want to. When I’m young I want to explore and when I get old, I just want to tell stories. I’m gonna make a lot of you happy, and not interfere with your rat race. Instead, I’m gonna slip away and kick it with monks in the Himalayas. Maybe I’ll work my way down into the Amazon, and learn the ancient rituals of lost tribes. I will definitely be sitting at a little plastic table and chairs on a street corner somewhere, eating and drinking with locals.
Nothing in life is guaranteed. I can’t control the uncontrollables in our universe, like cancer and black holes. But I know for damn sure I am going to control my own life, and the decisions I make. I am not going to risk this one chance I have to experience the world by waiting around and grinding. Money is a thing. A job is a distraction. The whole world is out there, and ready for us. Now is the time to explore.