When I was a child, I would spends countless evening hours lying on the floor with encyclopedias open and spread out on the carpet around me. No. I was not a child prodigy genius studiously inspecting the world of academia.
Like most children, I was imaginative and curious. I was creating a world for myself through the colorful pages of pictures. I was dreaming myself into adventures in far-off landscapes and blending myself into the beautiful cultures of humanity. This is a trait I never quite grew out of.
For numerous reasons in my young adulthood, I felt as though I was stuck within the country roads of my hometown. I was born there. I grew up there. I went to college there. And in the midst of those college years, financially broke and emotionally drained, I met a friend named Jay.
Jay had a life that I envied. A life that involved traveling, adventure, and living in the moment. He would rehash his latest exploration, and I would state, “I wish I could do something like that.” He would always reply, “You can. You just have to do it. Why not?”
Why not? Because I have to finish my degree. Because I have to work to pay my tuition in order to finish my degree. Because I have enough money for two days of gas. Maybe. That’s why not.
Jay and I fell out of touch soon after we met, but his words have always stuck with me.
“You just have to do it.”
As I interviewed for an internship on the other side of the country…
As I bought my first backpack…
As I drove to North Carolina with all my belongings packed in my car…(read more)
As I boarded the plane to Europe and Alaska and Australia…
As I hiked the trails, climbed the mountains, slept under the stars…
I thought to myself, “I just have to do it. Why not?”
Today, I have a job and a life. I have obligations and commitments. But I also have my priorities. Traveling makes me happy. Adventures and new experiences make me happy. Far-off landscapes, beautiful cultures, imagination and curiosity make me happy. So I make them a priority.
Why not? I just have to do it.