2013 is here. Woot! I was going to write a lame post discussing how awesome 2012 was or what my goals are for the next year — in fact, I had it all drafted up and ready to go. Then I realized that 2013 isn’t my year. It’s YOURS.
I’ve been home for the past few weeks with friends and family, doing lots of sledding (see below), and having awkward convos at the bar with people I haven’t seen in years (and by awkward, I mean amazing; I thrive on that shit). Sorry for going a bit AWOL, but it’s been wonderful.
The only part that wasn’t so fun? Repeatedly answering the question “What are you doing with your life?” then getting the response, “You’re so lucky. I wish I could do that.” I’m incredibly lucky, yes. But I’ve also worked hard to focus my life on travel, because it’s the number one thing in my life. I don’t have a boyfriend, I don’t have a dog, but I do have my backpack and lots of good stories.
Hearing I’m lucky isn’t what bothers me, though, since I do feel lucky, and I’m thankful for that. What bothers me is the “I wish I could do that.” Because, I knew that even though I told them, “You can!,” most of them wouldn’t.
It’s all about your priorities. As the brilliant Chris Guillebeau said, “You can have unlimited dreams and goals, but not unlimited priorities.” If you want to travel, you’ve got to commit to it. You may have to skip buying the newest iWhatever as soon as it comes out, you may have to get a second job, or you may have to not buy shots for every person in the bar (still working on that one).
If traveling is your goal, you have to make it your priority.
Too many people think and think and think. It doesn’t matter whether it’s New Year’s resolutions or other personal goals; it’s all the same. They make resolutions, then they don’t act upon them. Another great mind, Corbett Barr, said that “Without a plan of action, goals are just wishes.”
It’s time to make a plan of action. It’s time to turn those travel wishes into achievable goals.
For inspiration, I’d like to introduce my heroes of 2013. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to look very far; they’re two of my best friends, Maggie and someone else (who hasn’t put in his notice yet, so I’m not publishing his name!). I’ve known them since pre-school, and they’ve done a lot of amazing things, but I’ve never been more proud of them than now.
On the phone with Maggie earlier this year, I said “Let’s go on an adventure next year.” Much to my surprise, she simply said, “Yes.” That first step, saying YES, was the hardest one. After doing that, she’s had to get a passport, mentally prepare herself for non-Western bathrooms, and find the perfect pair of hiking boots, but it’s all been easy compared to that first step… And she’ll be joining me in Nicaragua in two months time.
My other friend is doing the same thing. They’ve both saved up money, are quitting their jobs, and told their families (and in one case, received a rape whistle in return). Neither of them has ever traveled abroad before, and they’re not rich. They both work at service organizations and are hoping to get their Masters in Social Work. But they’re coming to volunteer in Nicaragua with me. How cool is that?!
I also can’t forget Sean, who used to be my coach at elementary school soccer camp (and by that, I mean, he used to give me piggy-back rides to the water fountain). He hasn’t been on a plane since 2005, but he and his girlfriend decided to make travel their priority this year. They’ve booked round-trip tickets to Peru in the fall, and I couldn’t be happier for them.
These people are my inspiration, and they should be yours, as well. If they can do it, so can you. They’ve moved from talking and dreaming to ACTION. And they’re going to have experiences that will change their lives.
What’s stopping you?
Quit promising yourself that you’ll travel “someday.”
Make 2013 your year. Take one step TODAY to make travel your priority.
(If you need help figuring out what that step is, here’s your 2013 travel action plan!)