Thursday, July 30, 2015

Not all who wander are lost, but some are.

As I sit in a bangkok cafe stealing wifi and attempting to order as little as possible I have a brief moment to reflect on the last year abroad. When I left for Australia in August of 2014 I was expecting to enter into a journey that would have life changing repercussions. 12 months later I've found I am essentially the same person, with slightly broadened horizons, and a bunch of free couches to crash on across Europe when I finally make it over there. Back in February I wrote an article for Elite Daily that somehow garnered over 3 million views and over 300,000 likes and shares. Since then I have yet to come close to anything even nearly as successful, but I have realized a few things about myself and my writing. First and foremost, it's something I need to start doing on a more regular basis. Even the articles I've written that haven't gotten 300 shares, let alone 300,000 have been important. I've received offers from two different blogs to be a contributing author, but "contributing" doesn't pay the bills, it's simply a way to get your work out there. If I want to start getting paid like an author, I need to start treating it like what it could potentially be, a job. I need to start cultivating my brand and my mission statement, and most importantly I need to pull my head out of my ass, and realize that I'm not 18 anymore. Many people I've talked to who have been inspired by my writing all seem to share a similar belief, that simply by escaping the daily monotony of a normal 9-5, they can change themselves. What I've come to realize is that though taking a leap of faith and creating a change is definitely the first step, it's also simply just that, a step. There's a famous quote that goes something like, "The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step" while this is true, what they failed to mention is that first step must be followed by countless more steps in order to actually reach your desired destination. I feel like many of us, "Millenials" feel simply by challenging normality we can create a change in ourselves, unfortunately this is not the case. 

Of the many people I've met on my year long journey so far, I would say the vast majority to varying degrees, simply have no idea what we want from life, but just accepting this fact is not enough. Tonight I will be taking a bus down the coast of Thailand then a ferry to get to the island of Koh Phangan to start a month long yoga retreat. My hope is that a month of seclusion and a focus on something like yoga, can help center me and solidify my journey towards creating a new identity. However, much like with my journey to Australia, I know now that I simply believed doing something different would create the change I was so looking for. I realize now however, that simply taking a journey is not enough. My year sabatical was meant to broaden my world view, and in many ways it has, but it many ways it has simply been a year long digression back to my 18-year old self. This time however, instead of being a crazy "Frat Lord" I was tossed into a sea of indecisive 18-30 years old hippies. The scenery had changed drastically, but it was still basically one long keg party, that lead to a social broadening of horizons but no real introspection. So what have I learned, what's the point of this diatribe? I guess really it's partly about being honest with myself and partly to be used as a warning and a message to anyone who sees friends traveling and thinks it would be so liberating and cool to do the same. The truth is traveling alone is not simply enough to cause a paradigm shift in consciousness, you have to be proactive in your change, and the truth is up to the point I have not been doing that. I expected more out of myself and my experience, and I didn't put in the work to make it happen, I simply coasted by. But now I will try and start holding myself accountable. I stil don't know what I want out of life, but I now have an idea of at least what I'm good at, and what kind of success I could potentially have if I put in the work. I want to come to a time where EVERY article and story I write has 3 million views or more. Where people are inspired by my journey and I can offer advice to those seeking to make a real change in themselves. So it's time to start holding myself accountable, to start taking chances and not being afraid to fail. I have no set plan yet but I have an idea of getting myself grounded and creating a life for myself that allows me to work to live, not live to work. If you're thinking that traveling might be for you, to break the monotony of daily life, then I implore you to try it, but don't take for granted the personal work you will have to do as well. I've had the opportunity to meet some great people and cultivate some amazing friendships, but if I could do it all again there's a lot I would do differently. For those of you that feel lost know that there is a way to make a change, but it's not as simpe as moving somewhere new. A systemic change to your life can be a good kickstart in the right direction, but it's going to take a lot of personal work to create a real life change. It's true that not all who wander are lost, but many of us who wander, have no idea where the fuck we're going. My advice would be try to be the former not the later.