A Decision to Travel

The spring of 2011 found me graduated from one of the world’s top universities with a well-paying job at a respected company awaiting me  - the first stop on a charter bus route to a stable and promising career. Friends congratulated me and I, in turn, came to convince myself that this was the right path. After all, it was well paved and clearly signposted – work hard, learn as much as I can for a few years, then reassess my options a little further down the road. Practical, logical – a methodical approach to life, a route that would undoubtedly please my parents.

Perhaps unsurprisingly however, I found this troubling. 23, barely past 20, it said. Barely past 20 – my heart whispered, forcibly, almost with a sense of urgency. Are the twenties not an age of dreams? An age of brazen romanticism coupled with idealistic vitality? An age where growth takes astronomical proportions, and where youthful courage can just as easily be interpreted as outright stupidity, even insanity? Are they not an age where possibilities are infinite, where ideas are perpetually explosive and where the curious soul hungers for more than it is prepared to handle?

Yet half a year in a cubicle instead saw me demotivated, frustrated over a growing complacency with scraping along the border of satisfactory, and ultimately, depressed. If anything my tormented mind served to underscore the blatant misalignment of my actions with that of my ambitions, and dreams.

Life is short, and the only moment is now. You are who you choose to be – a chalkboard for others to etch out their expectations and ideals on or a tapestry woven of your own imagination, continuously unfurling itself across the sky. For me, travel had always been the experience in life that I found the most liberalising – each destination a challenge to step beyond the borders of familiarity and comfort; a dare to unabashedly embrace the multifaceted phenomenon we call life. And frankly, the road is an unbearably exhilarating place. So I decided to travel. I resigned from my job, sold all of my belongings and wrote a letter home asking my parents to forgive my recklessness and promising them that I would return home soon.

It was a distressing decision with distressing implications. What if I can’t find a job after I stop traveling? What if this is bad for my career? What if I run out of money? What if I get sick? What if I never see my friends again? What if,… what if this isn’t the right decision after all?

In the impenetrable uncertainty, I sought solace in the words of pioneers before me:

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

A flame was kindled and it illuminated, if but momentarily, the night.

After all, how do you hope to contribute to the lives of people around the world, if you never take the time to understand how they live? How do you hope to bring about social change, without seeing the societies you hope to change? How do you hope to inspire others, without first finding your own inspiration? How do you fulfill the promise of a dream, other than by going out and chasing it?

4 thoughts on “A Decision to Travel

  1. Pingback: Quote Picture: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus : Quotesome

  2. Yvonne

    Hi there,
    I was just blog hopping and saw this.. It made me think about my direction in where I want to go to in life.
    I have been asking myself that since I started studying part time again whilst working full time in a monotoned office job working 830-5PM mondays to fridays.
    How did you find direction in what you wanted to do? Did you always wanted to know that you wanted to travel? What if I have no idea what I want out of life? I’m 22 yet I feel like I have no direction going forward.
    It’s enlightening to see that someone, has actually taken the steps to drop their careers and go travelling.. I don’t know if I will ever have that courage to ever do so.. so well done! :)

    Reply
    1. wyclin Post author

      I knew I wanted to travel. It was something I had saved up for by working throughout university and I wanted to do it after I graduated, but when the time came, I somehow let myself be persuaded that I shouldn’t. I’m not travelling any more but it’s helped me gain a lot of perspective on where I really want to be headed. It’s difficult, but you really have to just ignore all other factors, think hard and ask yourself, “What do I really want to do with this one life?”. And then work towards it :)

      Reply
  3. Yvonne

    Thanks for your reply :) I’m finishing my first unit of my postgrad degree next month where I will be on a pursuit to find what I really want to do after it’s done and dusted! Until then, if I do find what I have to and want to do in life after subtracting all the various factors in life.. I’m sure I will get the feeling of self-empowerment :)

    Reply

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