As I flip through one of the four airplane magazines from the seat pocket in front of me, I catch myself staring at a tropical beach photo -- you know, the one's you see in travel magazines that have a dozen or so straw umbrellas hovering over lounge chairs, nestled on a beautiful sandy beach overlooking a blue-green ocean.
Suddenly, I realize that I now have the freedom to go to those places. I no longer have to dream about them like everybody else.
It was an exhilarating feeling of absolute adventure -- sort of like what you feel on day one of a two-week vacation, only amplified to encompass an entire lifetime.
I'm writing this post from a WiFi lounge in London's Heathrow airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Bangalore, India. A few short months ago, I never could have imagined myself being here in London.
Now here I am, sitting among dozens of fellow travelers -- some traveling for work, some for pleasure, and perhaps even some nomadic travelers like myself, headed to an unfamiliar place on a mission to rediscover themselves.
The twenty-three hour journey to India is giving me plenty of time to think about the impact this lifestyle change is going to have on my life. Every time I look around the airport and realize that I'm not traveling for work or vacation like most of the people around me, I get this twisted feeling in my stomach when I realize that this freedom is my life now.
The entire world is knocking at my door and nothing can stop me from greeting it.
I'm living the dream I've had since I was thirteen.
I'm a world traveling, nomadic explorer!
When you've got a calling -- when every ounce of your existence is telling you to do something -- there comes a point where you can no longer ignore it. I reached that point where I simply couldn't put this off any longer. Holding it back -- holding it all inside -- was beginning to destroy me. It felt as though my entire life was being slowly extinguished.
But the transition up to this point wasn't easy.
I left a secure job with great coworkers, got rid of my only means of transportation, and reduced my physical possessions further than I thought possible. With no travel experience outside the United States, I'm now on my way to the opposite side of the planet toting just a single backpack and the clothes on my back.
The most difficult part of this transition, however, has been the emotional impact its had on those I love. Nobody likes to intentionally inflict pain on others -- even if it's indirect and will result in your own eventual happiness. It still feels wrong.
When I have tough decisions to make -- when I'm feeling certain conflicts inside -- I don't resort to emotional decisions. I rely on what my morals and my instincts tell me is right and wrong. Sometimes things work out for the better. Sometimes they don't. But whatever happens, I always know that my actions were based on decisions that were made by being true to myself; by being honest with myself.
Being honest and true to myself is very important to me.
What good are we as human beings if we cannot even be honest and true to ourselves? If we cannot even trust our own instinct or listen to our inner calling, what right do we have to exist?
There's only one person who's going to change your life for the better. There's only one person who is really going to make you happy. There's only one person who will make you free.
That person is you.
You cannot rely or depend on anyone but yourself. You have to trust yourself to handle any situation that gets thrown at you. You will handle it. You might make the wrong choices and you might fail miserably, but you'll handle it. And when you come out the other side, you will have learned something. You will have grown. You will have improved.
You have to be ready to accept failure. You have to accept that you don't know a damn thing.
The only way you're going to learn is by failing. Over and over and over. Accept that and suddenly you have no limits. Suddenly there is nothing stopping you from doing what you love. Suddenly the impossible seems doable. Suddenly life has more meaning. Suddenly you are the owner of your happiness.
Travel Update: Be sure to check out The Plan: 6 Months, 3 Countries, and $3,000.