Lots of people, sometimes even strangers, come up to me and ask me, “But how do you do it? Where do you get the money to travel? Aren’t you scared of doing it alone?”
I believe we all have something that we feel passionate about. Some know what it is, some are yet to discover it. As for me…
I’ve always been fascinated by the arts from an early age. However at 16, I very quickly had to decide on a career path. I initially wanted to go for Art and Design or Child Care, but I eventually gave in to the pressures of society, and out of fear of not finding a good job and having a stable income, I went into Banking and Finance. For the sake of financial stability, I gave up what makes my soul happy, and the worst part of it is that doing something that wasn’t ‘me’ left me so demotivated, that even my free time wasn’t invested in any of the things I truly liked.
So I studied, graduated, and then got a good job. I started a savings plan and began to save money. Everyone was so proud! The expected step was for me to get my own property and settle down. I somehow accepted that I was going to have a career in banking, and even though I always cared about delivering a job well done, a sense of passion was always missing. I felt like I had lost the creative child in me.
And then things happened, as always in life. Family, drama, relationships… Observing everyone and everything around me, I realised that the only thing that I can do in this world is to love and respect myself, because ultimately it’s the only thing I’ve got. And through loving myself, you could say I can feel love for everything else around me. And so, the only way to love myself is to do things that make my soul happy – in big ways like pursuing my dreams, or in little ways like small random acts of kindness.
So I then made the decision to change things. To chase dreams no matter how crazy they may seem. To challenge myself and get outside that comfort zone and do the things that I want to do, even if they completely terrify me. I cashed in my savings and I left. I invested in that present moment. I just decided that I was going and I trusted that I would figure it out… whatever it is that I had to figure out.
And I figured out so many things – about myself and the world we’re in. I questioned everything. I wrote lists of things I wanted to do, dreamed big time, explored, wandered – and when the money ran out, I got a job again and I saved more than half of whatever I earned and I managed quite well. Mostly, I stopped buying useless things that I don’t really need and only went out to socialise whenever I really felt like it, and not just because it’s a Saturday night.
I’m not saying that everything’s always rosy and easy, because that would be a lie. I’m not someone who’s naturally fearless and confident, so in everything I do, I have to really push myself past the fears and doubts, and challenge myself. I realise now that I tend to do things before I feel ready to actually undertake them. In reality, it just takes a leap of faith, a risk, a few seconds of courage. Sometimes it’s wonderful and magical and you’re left looking up at the sky saying thank you! And at other times it’s scary, difficult and confusing. But ultimately, what comes out of it is the realisation that you can handle it. Whatever paralysing picture you had in your head, it’s not real; it’s simply a thought. Once you’re faced with a situation, there in that moment, and no matter the outcome, you’ll handle it somehow, and then you realise that you did, even though you thought you couldn’t.
When we do things we love everyday – as little as they may be – it gives us energy, because it’s something that you’re doing because you want to, not because you’re getting money out of it, or because you think you’re expected to do it. Of course, nothing stops being blurry and I don’t think we can ever truly feel completely fulfilled. After all, once we fulfil one dream or overcome one fear, there’s always going to be something new daunting us, because we’re constantly evolving. However, that’s what makes life so interesting and exciting. It’s actually quite frightening to think that someday I’ll feel fulfilled enough to say, “Yep! I’m done. I’ve done it all. I can get on with the rest of my life now.”
A wise friend once asked, “Why would we want to feel so happy to the point where we don’t want to change anything about our lives? Isn’t that what the after-life’s for?” That’s what we hope for, at least.
Let’s keep moving, changing, growing, exploring, risking, dreaming, loving, pursuing! Let’s be alive. I’m not saying that we all should pack our bags and go. I’m just saying, answer to what calls you, do things that you truly enjoy doing, follow your passions. And if you have commitments and you currently can’t afford to go for something full time, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find time for yourself in a day or at least a week to simply do something you love.