Now is the Time to Explore

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.”

-Randy Komisar

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.

Discover the world you know, again.

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

– Bill Bryson

When traveling abroad, something so routine can become something extraordinary.  Whether its shopping, eating, or going to the bathroom, these things can be so different in another part of the world.  Toilets can be replaced with holes in the ground.  Grocery stores get replaced with markets and shopping is replaced with bartering.  Eating in a restaurant can be done anywhere, sure.  But eating on the street, at a little plastic table and chairs can change the way you want to dine forever.  Don’t get too comfortable at home in your normal routine.  Journey to somewhere new and different, and enjoy the same routine in a whole new way.

Explore on.

Travel induces change within yourself

“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”

– Samuel Johnson

From my experience, traveling has been the greatest source of learning I have come across. Putting yourself out there in the world, seeing and doing unfamiliar things, will all have a profound effect on you. Sometimes travel can make you ask yourself “Where has this been my whole life?” and “What have I been missing?” You may find a spot on earth that is truly paradise for you. Other times, travel can take you through unenjoyable scenarios that make you question the human condition and how it unfolds in other parts of the world. Both of these kinds of experiences, the good and the bad, give you a larger perspective on how you live your life upon returning home.

Explore on.