Making It Happen
How do you eat an elephant?
You don’t. That’s all kinds of wrong. But were you to engage in the metaphor, you’d do so one bite at a time. I reckon if you’re determined enough to take on such a task, you are on a worthy track of carpe-ing the diem. And that’s a noble characteristic of any traveler.
Because our experiences in life or on the road will only ever be what we make of them.
Committing to travel is no small decision. In so doing, you open yourself up to the influence of those completely different than yourself. In a sense, you are inviting significant change into your world, an admitted fear by many and unavoidable constant for all.
The only way to combat that fear of the unknown is to go for it. Make it happen. Take the step in front of you.
I recall first dreaming about travel. Then those dreams took on a bit of skin when we obtained visas and flights. When we touched down on foreign soil they were the footprints of a new life in a new world. It’s been several years since those first inklings of wanderlust and I’m a different person now. A better person, I’d like to think. But none of it would have happened if I hadn’t taken initiative to make it happen. We must be intentional about pursuing our heart’s desires, otherwise mediocrity will triumph over seizing every time.
I won’t lie to you and tell you it’s easy though. It does take work. You have to make phone calls and send emails and give money and register with organizations and settle accounts and think ahead. But if it’s what you want, those things will hardly keep you from being obedient to its allure. In fact, holding a higher pursuit in mind can be a powerful motivation for us to endure temporary unpleasantness in order to obtain the substance of our hope.
The question we must return to is this: what needs to be done today in order to take another step towards that end?
It’s our daily way of grabbing a fork and chewing.
What is it you really want out of life? In what ways are you acting to pursue those desires?
Sometime in the last two years, I’ve noticed a shift in my perspective. I’ve started taking note of where I’m headed, breaking down my goals into practical steps of attainment. In essence, I’ve stopped waiting for others to tell me how life is supposed to look. I now believe life is bound simply by our creativity and willingness to work to how that plays.
If you’re waiting for permission to go after your dreams, consider the permission granted. Not just from some lowly writer like me, either. By everyone else counting on you to live fully alive so that you can make the most significant mark for good possible. If we wait for others to tell us what life looks like, we’ll end up pursuing “happiness” down all the wrong rabbit holes only to find someone else’s idea of happiness there.
We’ll miss out on the life made for us and call it business as usual.
It’s far too easy to let our days slip into routines of survival and the maintenance of our comforts and pleasures. Where words like discovery, risk, betterment, growth, and fulfillment get watered down to ideas we read about in books or on blogs instead of lived realities. Whatever is keeping us from taking hold of life in its fullest capacity, I pray we can summon the courage to sacrifice what is good for the better which waits.
Owning Our Experiences
After the third breakdown in my campervan trip across New Zealand, I was over it. Weeks went by with me worried that it would happen again in a place where I would be stranded beyond help. I was unsettled. I was on edge. And somewhere in the midst of it all, I realized my experiences were being stolen from me because I was consumed by failed expectations.
This isn’t how it was supposed to go.
Been there? You know that bit? What are our options here? What are we left with?
One day I decided to not let the unknown get under my skin. My perceptions of “bad” or “good” circumstances were replaced by a receptivity and a trust that whatever happened, it was not only unchangeable, but a possibility for me to learn something. I took ownership of my choices and their consequences; my fate and lot. Doing so has freed me from being paralyzed by worry, doubt, and fear. Sure they linger in some form or another, but I am no slave to them.
With awareness, discipline, and wise mentors, we can stop blaming or mourning our experiences. We can grow from them instead and in time, learn to appreciate not just the days where all goes our way, but also those which test and push us beyond our limits.
Once I turn my eyes from my engine light to the mountains, the ocean, and the trees, my world brightens as my heart embraces peace. And for this moment, it is enough.
For this moment, I choose to seize the day.
Travel and all her beauty, her gifts, her surprises, don’t just happen. We must make it so. Whatever our goals, whatever our desires for this life, whatever has been placed in our hearts to pursue, whatever gifts and talents given us, it’s on us to take initiative, to give ourselves permission, and to own our experiences. Otherwise, we’ll never make it past an unsatisfied version of normalcy.
A normalcy without metaphoric elephants.
And honestly, what kind of life is that?