Saturday, April 21, 2012

“I want to, but…”

"I want to, but..."

I have asked people to join me on “One Man, One Journey”. Not for my sake, I will do it with or without them, but for their sake. Things aren’t going so great, you feel depressed, trapped, or whatever the reason. Why stay in that situation? Maybe a little change will be good.

The chance to get away from everything may help them see the big picture and open their mind to new things they never thought possible. To go on a journey half way across the world could prove to them and others that they can do anything if they put their mind to it.

I recently read this quote:

"For some, there is a real reason why they can't live their dreams. For most, there are just excuses."

This is so true. I know some people have issues out of their control that keep them from fulfilling all of their dreams. Some people have kids at an early age, get married, lose their job, or have parents they must take care of. However, most just make excuses. Regardless of your situation, you should always follow your dreams.

Maybe some of us just don’t want to fail, don’t want to be disappointed, or maybe just don’t have a clear goal in mind to strive for. In order to succeed the first step is to determine what you want to do in life. For me, it’s travel. I would like to see as much of the world as possible. That may or may not be appealing to you, and that’s ok. I’m not asking you to live my dreams, I’m asking you to live yours.

There is nothing that gets on my nerves more than when someone tries to live someone else’s dreams. Just because your parents or friends have chosen a particular path, doesn’t mean you have to as well. The great thing about life is that you get to choose your own destiny.

As I said before, my goal is to travel. Traveling means leaving your friends, family, and normal life behind. It’s not something you can just decide to do. It takes months of planning, researching, and saving. It costs a lot of money to travel, but I have never let that be an excuse. What good is money if you don’t spend it? And even more, what good is money if you don’t spend it on things that make you happy?

I have always been the type of person that is thinking about the future. For me going to college was a natural step, I never thought any different. As I was exposed to new things I began planning how I was going to use those experiences to my advantage. While in college I started coaching soccer and enjoyed it a lot. I also started substitute teaching, it wasn’t the best, but I could see myself teaching someday. So I decided to put the two together. The whole time I was in college I determined what classes I needed to take, how they would be relevant to what I would be teaching, and how I was going to use it to get a good job.

When I graduated I was fortunate enough to get a head coaching job and teach history. I accomplished my goal. All my planning had paid off. As a teacher I knew I was going to have summers off, so I immediately started thinking how I was going to spend my time. My parents are educators so growing up we always traveled during the summer.

Many teachers work over the summer, some for the extra cash, others because they loved teaching so much, I guess. I didn’t want that, I wanted to be able to travel and expand my world view and bring my personal experiences to the classroom.

Money has never been an issue for me, and hopefully never will. People ask me all the time how I could afford to travel on a teacher’s salary. Easy, I planned. I decided that if I wanted to live my dreams I needed to spend my money wisely, and get the most out of it. So I saved, but more importantly, I started investing. I researched stocks and mutual funds. I have been lucky enough to pick some great stocks, but I have also picked some losers. But that’s life. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. You just have to use it to improve for next time.

We all have tough breaks and situations in life. Some of us let those get us down and we never recover. Some of us use them to our advantage. The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way in which we use them.

In order to accomplish my newest mission in life I have spent countless hours researching proper bikes for such an undertaking as riding from Anchorage to the end of the world in Ushuaia, Argentina. I have looked at necessary camping equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, water purifiers, cooking sets, light weight stoves, and other things I will need.

I’ve spoken with people that have already done this trip and asked them about the route they took, the hardships, the highlights, and the dangers. I have read multiple blogs and news articles. I’ve consistently watched “Dual Survival” “Man, Woman, Wild” and any other shows about surviving in the wild.

I have begun preparations for a website and getting donations and sponsorships. I’ve created fliers to give to businesses to ask for their support. I’ve written my own blog to get the word out to friends, family, and anyone else interested. I mention my intentions to everyone I meet.

It definitely hasn’t been an easy task. But being successful never is. I’ve planned trips for the past 15 years, and each time they get more and more detailed, much more complex, and much more adventurous. This particular trip has so many logistical things that could go wrong that I need to be as prepared as possible. Not having used a bike for transportation in the past has meant that I have had to plan in a much different manner. In addition, the journey will be much longer than anything I have ever done. Many of the places on the route I have been to before, but many others I haven’t.

Due to the distance the changing seasons will be a factor. If I don’t stay on pace and make decent time I could be arriving at a time of year when travel is no longer possible due to heavy rains, snowfall, or heat.

For me the planning is part of the fun. Visualizing what it’s going to be like, what I’m going to see, how I will deal with the changing climate, cultures, surroundings are all things I‘ve had to think about.

On top of everything I have been training at the gym for the past 4 months to build my strength, my endurance, and my mental stamina. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever things get tough, I just remind myself, “For Narnia!” It makes no sense, but it’s a good driving quote.

I don’t want to live my life in a way that society says I should. I want to choose how I live my life. If that means being different, or leaving things behind then that’s what I will do. Nobody likes paying bills, worrying about food, or letting others down. So why do we choose to live that life?

Maybe because I have money saved up I can feel this way, but I think it’s more than that. I think most people are just afraid. Whether it’s because they don’t know what they want out of life, or they don’t plan for the future. Maybe they want to live by the rules society has set forth: go to school, get married, have kids, get a job, die.

Regardless of the reason, it’s time that more people start following their dreams, and not the dreams of others.

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