On February 1st, I moved into a one-bedroom apartment in my hometown of Rochester to work on the launch of two new projects, plan the next adventure, catch up on video footage and see about a girl.
This past Sunday marked my 29th birthday, and I found myself in the familiar birthday mindset of being confused and frustrated with my life and where it’s heading.
I decided to sit down and share this state of mind with you in hopes that I would find some comfort within my
I sit alone in my newly rented apartment as 29 slowly sinks in. It’s late on a Sunday night and another birthday has come and gone.
This is the first time that I’ve been home for this occasion in many years, and it makes me realize that things are changing.
Signs of a domesticated traveler are evident as you scan the apartment. A desk sits in one room and a bed occupies another. Nothing more. This is all I own.
Now, I just need to fill the place with things, right? Things that weren’t relevant to me over the past three and a half years – things that I can live without.
I think about the plane tickets I could buy with the couch money. I think about the adventures I could have with the TV money.
But, this is what I want, right? This pause from the road will rejuvenate my passion for travel, give me time to create new videos with massive amounts of archived footage and allow me to focus on generating new revenue streams for more expensive locations like Brazil, Spain and Japan [breathe]… Right?
Let’s be honest, I’m lost.
I have no idea what’s next, and it’s tough to keep moving forward sometimes when you don’t know in which direction you’re heading.
Even as well thought-out as this plan seems, birthdays tend to make me question my choices and discount the accomplishments.
When I returned from Guatemala, I knew I was ready for a change. I was tired of living and traveling alone, and I felt like I had lost some love for the journey. I questioned the point of all this, and I wondered where it was taking me. I was drained from it and felt bad because of it.
On the other side, as any long-term traveler knows, it’s difficult to adjust to life back home. Stimulation and growth inevitably slows and motivation becomes more internal. Your friends and family are the same, but you see things differently. I can’t talk about my travels without feeling like a worldly douche (“This one time, in Greece…”).
So, where do I go from here?
I want to continue doing the things I love, like volunteering in Bolivia with BiblioWorks and working with Kiva in Guatemala, but I also want to start building wealth and maintaining relationships with people at home.
I don’t want to be a lonely vagabond at 50, nor do I want to wonder what if I did more…
Is it possible to have it all? Financial success, world travel, social impact, healthy relationships, personal growth… Is it possible to balance these two worlds?
When I feel lost like this, I try to relate to the great “explorers” and the psychological battles they must have faced when pursuing their dreams…
How many times did Columbus think about turning around? How often did Richard Branson get frustrated with an idea or business? What if Felix Baumgartner let doubt and fear control him?
I wouldn’t put myself in their wheelhouse by any means, but mentally and emotionally, you have to assume that they felt lost and unsure of their direction at some points along the way.
This is an explorer’s dilemma.
What’s the answer?
This lifestyle has been a rollercoaster of emotions and excitement. One day, you feel like you’re on top of the world as advertisers deposit money while you explore ancient ruins. The next day, you’re sleeping in a dirty hostel with $30 to your name and nobody around to confide in.
The only way to overcome the psychological droughts and insecure moments is through absolute perseverance and belief in one’s self. Step by step, the small successes lead to a growing self-confidence.
This was the same when starting a business as it is for travel.
When you decide to step out of your comfort zone and chase your dreams, you’re going to run into obstacles, you’re going to get lost, and it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it or not.
Being lost is a feeling I’ve experienced many times before and one that I hope to have many more times in my life.
I understand that you rarely get lost on a well-traveled trail.
So, as I sit here while the relaxing silence of an empty apartment is plagued by the perpetual commotion in my mind, I find comfort in the idea that it’s up to me to write the next chapter.
I embrace the fact that I don’t know what’s next, exactly, because it tells me that I’m doing something right. I’m creating my own path and writing my own story, even if I don’t know where it will lead this year.
Who’s ready for chapter 29?