For as long as I can remember, I longed for a sense of spontaneity and adventure. I relished in far off stories of traveling friends. I longed for wide open roads, dirt paths, beaches and mountains. “So why not go?” they would ask me. “Why not just take off?” I’d roll my eyes. I had a million reasons why I could not leave reality in the dust of my vagabond boots. I was in college, bound and determined to finish in one try. I was working 2-3 jobs to pay my way through college leaving little resources for extracurricular activities. Often times, I ate only frozen packages of vegetables my mom would so graciously stock in my freezer when the grocery store was having a good sale. I could barely pay for the gas in my tank that I relied on to get me to work, let alone travel across the country. It just didn’t seem like an option. So I waited. I waited until my senior year of college and made the decision. If I wanted a lifestyle of travel and adventure; I’d have to create it for myself.
And that is exactly what I have done.
Sometimes, I still doubt myself. On long winter days, cooped up in my apartment, I get restless. I start to believe that I am boring and lonely. I daydream of the places I haven’t been yet and the things I have yet to accomplish.
The other night, I lay in bed thumbing through Facebook. My friend’s pictures of vacations and mountains and rock climbing scrolled past on an endless conveyer of hopeful longing. “They’re so cool. I wish I could do those things.” I felt myself thinking.
What a ridiculous concept. “I have done those things.” I opened my own Facebook page and encountered years’ worth of travel and adventure. I saw pictures of myself on the highest mountain peak in Australia. I saw myself snowshoeing through gusts of icy wind. I was snorkeling and jumping into waterholes and standing on the Eifel Tower. I was eating coconuts straight off the tree and tasting Chianti wine and looking over the water at a humpback whale.
I could go on, but I don’t mean to brag. I mean to inspire. Fireflies Aren’t Meant to Live in Jars is the mantra of my life. It is the mantra of this blog. For years, I was trapped in a glass jar of self-doubt and fear. I watched through the glass as others allowed their lives to be encompassed by joy. I watched through the glass as my friends discovered new opportunities and experienced happiness and freedom.
Once I gained the courage to step out of my jar, the first gulp of fresh air was so invigorating it made my head spin. I was giddy with excitement, yet also terrified as I drove away from the only life that had ever been available to me, in search of…
In search of the unknown.
In search of happiness.
I am happy now. I have a balance of security and adventure. I step outside my comfort zone when I’m feeling inspired. I continue to create a lifestyle of travel and adventure for myself. When I fall into a trance of boredom and self-doubt, I remind myself of my adventures, large and small. I remind myself of the jar that once held me captive. I take a breath of fresh air and smile.
Fireflies Aren’t Meant to Live in Jars