Live a Chosen Life
Ok, so I’m assuming that you’ve read Part 1 of this series and you’re getting ready to hit the road. Well, for most us this isn’t the case, you are more than likely stuck in limbo. I mean, it sounds really cool or maybe it’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing. Traveling the world or just exploring your own country extensively is quite the cool concept. But it is no cure for all of your life problems, and in particular reading an article about the mindset of turning travel into a way of life won’t fix your indecisive nature. I believe that indecisiveness is the reason that most people never go anywhere in their life. Being too scared to take the first step in any direction seems like the most likely reason why people don’t live a chosen meaningful life. All I am doing in this virtual book made of pixels on your screen, put together by a program on your computer, sent across the world by a web of electrical waves, stored on a server in some code that not many people in the world could decipher without years of training, is attempting to motivate you to live a chosen life.
You Have Options... You just don't know it yet
A big part of living a chosen life is knowing about all of the options available to you. Maybe you are one of the lucky few that has found your passion and has an understanding of how the world works in all of its many nuances of economy, tradition, and family values. Well I didn’t, and I still don’t, but I’m learning everyday. I’m attempting on my own accord to let the world teach me about itself so that I can free myself of my cultural prejudices and judgements, unbiased of the filter that is somebody else’s experience. Do you see what I am getting at here? Don’t trust or wait for the world to teach you what you need to know rather go out and find it, because you probably won’t ever find it otherwise. Now don’t get me wrong, if everybody just upped and flew across the world there would be pure disaster. What culture would there be left to experience? There needs to be ambassadors of these cultural explorers, people to feed the traditional foods, and tell the stories of their history.
Calling All Explorers
I’m calling to action those people who have felt something calling in their heart ever since they can remember. I’m talking about that feeling that you just can’t shake no matter how many travel blogs or history books you read. Those people who demand to know why instead of what, but society always seems to be holding something back. I could go on forever about my early motivations for travel, but if you’re reading this I think you get the point. And if you’re reading this you know I’m talking to you or you know of somebody just like me. (Please direct them here immediately). Now for all of you that this doesn’t call to, let me save you a little time and go ahead and tell you that most of what you’ve been told about the world is a lie. The first and largest lie is that the world is a dangerous place, but I don’t think most of the non-truth is purposeful rather perpetuated by fear mongoling that is purposeful. Stop believing that bull shit right now. I’m sure you could bring up many statistics from places all over the world showing that it is statistically more dangerous than your home. But statistics are just numbers that change all the time. And maybe one should avoid certain areas of the world that are having a particularly hard time with political or societal issues, but honestly people are having issues everywhere and considering what you’re planning on getting out of travel this could be perfect for you. The world is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people coming from all different relative points and circumstances that are mostly just trying to get by. Yes I could have my camera stolen by one of these Nicaraguan boys who is just trying to end his hunger or secure a place to stay for his family. No, it’s not right for them to rob me, but is it right for the largest populous of wealthy individuals to hoard wealth while many people all over the world wake up everyday hungry and without basic needs like water and health care? As I write this, the gentleman on the bus hands me back over 600 Cordobas, equivalent to 21 dollars that I over paid him for a 2 dollar bus ride because I misunderstood his language in his country and wasn’t paying attention. This is likely his weekly wage and the amount I make in one hour in the states as a Bartender. I rest my case. Thank you beautiful world for your gift of experiential truth.
Still On the Couch?
Now what was I talking about? Oh yea, how to get your indecisive scared bum off the couch. “But where will I go?” Most people dream of going to a different country, maybe one that is cheaper than their own so that they can stretch their money out. But traveling within your own country, developed or not, is very respectful and rewarding as well. In fact, I highly recommend traveling in and around your home country extensively at some point, as this gives you a great perspective of experiential knowledge to share with others along your travels. That is if your into that sort of thing. You know giving back as much you take. Because you should be. Now however you decide to explore the world, the most important part is doing it. Not talking about it…
Get Out There.. Thumb It!
For most people, this is the hardest part. For some of us, it’ll be as easy as sticking your thumb out on the side of the road and starting your trip. And this is the easiest most vulnerable way of taking off, but could be the most challenging and rewarding way of doing it. I recently met a guy that traveled the United States with no money for six months and there are many out there like him. No, he wasn’t a hobo, rather a beautiful human being putting his good energy out there and receiving it ten fold back. Shout-out Sharkey! Mindy and I started our travels in October with a combination of all the techniques listed above and below, with 1,200 miles being hitchhiked all through Canada and Montana (Chosen Inconvenience). No car does not give you an excuse to stay.
Buy a Plane Ticket
The step up for getting out of the door is getting online and buying a one-way plane ticket to somewhere, or anywhere really. Nobody can tell you no and with enough research, you can find a really cool country or state to fly to for $50-$200. It might take a few hours of research or your dream destination might be doing a sale as we speak, but you won’t know unless you look. Mindy and I flew to Nicaragua for $175 a piece. This is the equivalent to wet dream thrift store shopping, where you find treasures hidden amoungst all the stuff on the shelf (cough cough sorry Grandma). It can mean less meaningful or less purposeful travel, as you didn’t pick your destination as much as its cheap airfare picked you, but the point is to motivate you to save the money and get your butt out on the road. Plus, you should chose to make everyday of your life meaningful and purposeful and not travel to live an angelic life. Now most people look at me crazy when I say just buy a plane ticket and figure the rest out after. But I’m dead serious. What better motivation to save for an amazing experience traveling than money already invested. And don’t buy the insurance. I know it might be tempting, but not buying the return insurance is your insurance to getting your butt off the couch and achieving your dreams.
Get a Seasonal Job
Now this is the “safest” way of hitting the road and exactly how my initial travels snowballed into what they are now, and it all started with a google search. I’ll give you a little bit of a back story. After 5 full-time semesters at Louisiana State University, studying mechanical engineering, working full-time, one failed class (Thermodynamics) that I was failing again, and 6 months of broken-hearted attachment to my high school sweetheart, I walked into the enrollment office and dropped out of school. If I failed Thermodynamics again I wouldn’t be able to be an engineer major anymore, and with the loss of my scholarship the previous semester due to this failed class my funds were dry, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford the next semester. Loans and financial aid were unavailable to me because of the legal tie the state of Louisiana puts on adults under 24 seeking financial aid to their parents income level. I couldn’t return to school if I wanted to for at least a few semesters or longer as I would need to save the money for this. Plus, I truly needed to put full focus on my studies and stop working while finishing school. I was at an all time low. I had done everything right for the correct recipe of success. I was a great boyfriend, hardly, if ever, drank or partied, did zero drugs, studied hard, was a burden to no one, and somehow my world had come crashing down around me. I took my canoe and camping gear and took the only escape I knew at the time. On the second day of my three day escape sitting next to the fire, I came to the conclusion that I had either been duped or something wasn’t right and I needed to figure out which one it was. But I needed a different angle. One of my dreams since seeing one of the many documentaries about Yellowstone National Park, was to visit this park. But how? I was broke. Well then why don’t I just work there? It seemed kind of crazy, as I was thinking you needed to work for the park service to land a job like that, but I was wrong. On the second page of a google search that read “work in a national park”, Yellowstonejobs.com came up. Xanterra is a concessionary of many parks around the country and this was the site for restaurant, hotel, and retail staff for Yellowstone National Park. Bingo. I filled out the application, hit send, and honestly forgot about it. 6 weeks later a package arrived at my door and I was in. Money was no longer a problem because I had a job to go to. They had a cafeteria on site that would prepare me 3 meals a day. And the best part was they were giving me housing within YNP for $100 a month! I felt like I hit the jackpot and I did. After 4 months of working there I learned a lot about the culture and vast network of seasonal jobs that are available all over the world. These seasonal jobs have allowed for me to continue my travels and save money, while staying put just long enough to get grounded again and make lifelong connections with like minded individuals.
The Conclusion That Has No End
That was the start to my travels and it’s crazy to think I’ve been more or less traveling all over the west side of the States, with a few stints abroad, for seven years. I have lived out of a camper all up and down the 101 of northern Cali and Oregon, lived out of a van down by the river, raft guiding whitewater for a number of years every summer, and contrary to what Chris Farley says… these where some of the best times of my life. Worked as a server/bartender in a restaurant in a number of scenarios, and one in particular that gave me a ski pass to all of Vail Resorts locations. I had no money at the time. so I lived out of my vehicle and got nearly 100 days on the mountain learning to snowboard. Now I don’t mean for this to sound like an ego trip, I’m just trying to show you that there are many ways to work seasonally around the world. Currently, I am doing surf photography in Nicaragua, selling photos to pro’s and just normal Joe’s doing surf lessons. A more informative and detailed article about seasonal work to come, as the possibilities and combinations are endless. But let’s not forget about the point of this article. Get your butt off the couch, hitch a ride, buy a plane ticket, or get a job, because whatever it takes to make those decisions to live your life, will create momentum that will at least give you access to what you thought was inaccessible to you. You should have no excuse now. More than likely you’ll use all of these techniques at some point and will develop ones of your own. I would love to hear about your own take of this, but tell me when I pick you up on the side of the road with that thumb out, or around a campfire, or late night at a hostel in a foreign country… Otherwise you haven’t gotten your butt off the couch.
Don’t forget to click around and read our other blog posts as they are sure to stimulate your third eye…