Okay so first things first – this post isn’t just for those itching to break out of the cubicle, grab their backpack, and spend all their savings on finding themselves. It’s about honoring what’s right for you and believing in your dreams and passions enough to take a huge chance on yourself.
It’s not about blindly walking away from all responsibilities to live life with no plan.
It’s about the opposite really.
It’s about asking yourself the hard questions – who are you? Who do you want to be? How can you push yourself out of your comfort zone to get there? How can you honor your God-given gifts and share them with the world?
For us, these questions led us to realize that the lives we were living a year ago were far from the kind of life we wanted to live. Far from the desires that God has put in our hearts.
After years of saving and months and months of planning, we took a huge plunge: we quit our jobs, moved out of our apartments in NYC, and set off for the adventure of a lifetime.
Today marks the one year anniversary of our backpacking trip to South and Central America. It’s honestly a bit crazy to think that it’s already been a year since we left. What’s even crazier is to reflect on this past year and see just how much of an impact our travels had on our lives.
Personally, I think there are few things that can put life into perspective as much as travel. It forces you to step away from all the distractions in our lives, to push yourself far outside your comfort zone (a 28 hour bus ride through Argentina and Brazil will do the trick..), and to really think about the kind of life you want to live.
Before we traveled, I thought we were crazy. Everyone I knew was knee-deep in their first Big Girl/Boy job with no sign of stopping. Everyone was looking for the best job, the best apartment, the best paycheck, and the best party.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing innately wrong with working your butt off and wanting these things. For many, this is where they find their value and hold their happiness. Or it’s just part of being a normal twenty-something in a big city.
It just wasn’t for us. And there’s nothing that will make you question your life and values more than looking around and feeling like you’re the only one who feels the way you do. I consider myself beyond lucky to have found Peter – for I truly don’t know if I would’ve had the guts to make these kinds of moves on my own.
(Actually, that’s a lie – I don’t believe it was luck, and I don’t believe in coincidences. I know the only reason that Pete and I found each other and built this crazy life together is because of God’s will, but that’s a story for another time..)
Long story short: Finding one other person who was asking the same questions and looking for the same kind of answers allowed us to take that chance and go after something that, in the simplest terms, felt right in our hearts. It wasn’t until we stepped outside of our capitalized-crazy, American culture that we realized just how many people are looking for more in their lives – and how normal that is. In so many other cultures, not only is it acceptable to take time for yourself to travel and pursue new adventures, it’s encouraged. It’s valued.
There’s many, many people on this planet that know you can learn far more about yourself and the world around you through travel than you can through education or work.
Traveling opens your eyes to experiences and questions that you never knew you had. It transformed the way we looked at ourselves and how we wanted to run a business.
It gave us a new life.
And while I’m sure there are many out there who think it’s bonkers to quit your job and spend your hard-earned savings on a few months of travel, I have to say that it is by far the best money I have EVER invested.
I don’t consider it spent; I consider it invested. We invested in ourselves – our experiences, our dreams, our faith, our relationship, and our future.
So today, I want to ask you how you can invest in yourself.
Maybe you are itching for the same things we were. Maybe you’re not. Maybe you want a new start, or a new hobby, or a new environment. Maybe you want to take a new class or hire a life coach. Maybe you want to learn a new language or start your own company. Whatever it is for you – do it. And do it now.
I promise you, a year will fly by, and something that once seemed like the hardest thing to start will become the easiest, most natural transition.
You just have to start by asking yourself the hard questions, reflecting on the space between where you are and where you want to be, and make the conscious decision to start investing in yourself.
What does that mean for you? How will you invest in yourself this year? We’d love to start a conversation about this – let us know in the comments!