Two minor things happened today: a friend posted something on Pinterest and I Skyped with my cousin. While these are small things that happened during my day, they have made me think a lot. To give you an idea of what sparked my thoughts here is the blog post I read from Pinterest - "Do Yourself a Favor and Buy That Damn Plane Ticket Already". My cousin (who I haven't seen in years) commented on the post and we proceeded to Skype for close to two hours.
While I don't see her as often as I'd like to, I do love talking to her. It amazes me that someone in my huge family of crazies has the same viewpoints and priorities in life as me. We didn't grow up together because we have a big age gap and we also lived far from each other...and yet something in our DNA made us similar (science is cool).
Traveling and food both play a big part in our lives - whether it's working in the food industry, wanting to eat our way through America, or our love for travel and meeting new people. We talked about what events in our lives have led us to where we are now and what kind of people we've become. And like the blog post, we are two people that are not ok putting off our adventures until we retire, have the money or the time (although those things would be incredibly helpful).
It's made me think about how lucky I was to have such a cool upbringing and a great support system my whole life. I'm a big believer in that who you surround yourself with is who you will become and you're consistently changing and adapting as a person depending on that environment.
My mom raised me with the philosophy that if we have the money let's do it! She'd take us on vacations whenever she got the chance - on a budget or not! We'd hit the ground running when we got to [insert location here], have a large breakfast, a mid day treat, and a big dinner! We'd stay at hotels that met our needs and we saw everything there was to see - even if that meant seeing all of Paris in 3 days! These vacations not only gave me travel fever, but they also taught me that if there was something I wanted to do there was no time like the present. Carpe diem!
Growing up, my dad would play the "What would you do if you got $1 million dollars" game. I always said travel the world. Being the business man he is, he'd shake his head and go on for a half hour about how I should invest it in something and put it in the bank to grow interest. While this may be what a normal person looking to have a stable life would do, I am not that person. I can't sit around waiting for my retirement or wait for when I have an endless amount of money to travel with - I have to do it, and I have to do it now because in reality who knows what will happen tomorrow. Right now I have the energy, the enthusiasm, and the flexibility in my life to go out and have an adventure. (But I promise when I go home I'll start investing some money...maybe).
I've given up on excuses in life - you're never going to have 10 weeks of vacation time (unless, of course, you're my mother) and you're never going to have an endless supply of cash...and if you're lucky enough to have one, you most likely don't have the other. So when is this magical time in your life going to appear? What's holding you back now?
Last week I came up with my bucket list of things I want to do before I die. It might seem cliche, but at this point in my life there are things I want to accomplish that are in my control. I don't think you can "live with no regrets"...everyone's going to have regrets about something at one point or another and I want to be able to say I have a minimal amount because I took advantage of what I could, when I could. Sitting at a desk at work dreaming about one day doing "xyz" isn't making that dream happen any faster.
I know most people at home don't understand why I'd leave the comforts of home to come live in a "third world" country and I don't expect them to. To be honest sometimes I don't know what I was thinking...but I'm glad I made the leap. At home I picture myself living in a great apartment in NYC somewhere - I couldn't possibly live outside of a city, those people do nothing with their lives. But when I'm traveling, it's when I realize that the "quality" of life at home is more based on "quantity". At home I'd want the best apartment with a ridiculous amount of shoes in my closet, but traveling has shown me that I could post up anywhere on the planet and be pretty content without much. Some days I don't have running water and some days there's too much water - on the floor. I don't own a car and don't have enough money to shop for new clothes all the time but I'm happier.
I have more time to do things I love than I ever have before. My commute is about 3 1/2 minutes to work in the morning. I work 20 hours a week and my weekends are spent on the most beautiful beaches in the world. Yea, I really wish I was home...
I'm happy I came to that realization early in life before I had a steady career, a husband, or kids. I'm happy that I've dreamt about living in another country and have made it happen...twice! And I'm happy that I've found my passion in life and haven't been too much of a coward (or procrastinator) to pursue it. I'm just happy...and I don't know how many people can say that nowadays since we pretty much live to work in America.
So thank you Pinterest and Skype for slapping me in the face once again and making me appreciate what I have done for myself.
#1 - Do your thang.