Today, I was thinking about all the people in my life that never thought I'd make it this far in Peru. Some of them were people close to me -- so it was surprising! My original goal was to be in Peru for 9 months, and, now, I am at eleven months with a job that pays me to travel.
Never let naysayers dissuade you from your dreams or let them fill you with doubts.
Go after your dreams feverishly, for they are yours, and yours alone.
My hero is Anthony Bourdain. He is one of the reasons I went after this path. I don't have a cursory desire to travel the world on a long-term basis, it is in the marrow of my bones.
One day, my best friend (at the time) said to me, "But you are no Anthony Bourdain! He's a best-selling author and a renowned chef!" That really hurt my feelings even though I knew it was true. What I found really funny about that comment is that the person honestly thought I didn't know that Anthony Bourdain is more talented than me. That he was making some kind of revelatory statement about the universe. Almost EVERYONE is less talented than that man at hosting television. If people let that stop them, nobody would attempt to host a TV show! Some would argue that quite a few people on the Travel Channel are less talented than him. Do you think they care? I bet they don't.
I had one person on Facebook -- who doesn't even know me by the way -- go off on a tirade about how ridiculous my dream is. I found that odd. I'd stack my happiness against that guy's happiness any day of the week. I know that person thought they were just helping me avoid a life of foolishness. But they have no idea what's in my heart. What makes me tick. I look at his life and feel no envy whatsoever. But I also don't know him. And that's my point.
Fancy homes don't fill me with envy. American Express Black cards don't fill me with envy. If I were to feel envy at all, which I rarely do, it would be for people who are doing very little that they don't want or have to do.
Four years ago, a friend of mine was trying to hook me up with a job hosting a small show about the many splendors of New York City. It would have required me to walk the streets of Manhattan and interview people on the fly. Realizing that I had no experience in this arena, I immediately did two things. I signed up for an improv comedy class in Los Angeles and I started doing stand up comedy. That was terrifying. One night, the guy that went up on stage after me was a well-known actor. Those are the kind of people you are competing against for jobs. They've already made it. All the way. And they are still honing their craft every night! I don't find that daunting. I find it inspiring.
Shortly after that, I signed up with a reputable commercial talent agency in Los Angeles. I auditioned in those stark, white rooms day after day and began the process of deconstructing the bare-bones two-minute performance necessary to obtain TV commercial work. I ended up on set in a KFC commercial with famed music director Joseph Kahn after two months without so much as a call back. It's certainly not the height of achievement in performance, but I did it! And I was proud.
The haters are real. Don't run. Hone your skills!
You have to prepare. People will heckle you because of the fear and discontent in their life. People will insult you because they had a bad day. Or maybe their life sucks despite the picture they assiduously paint every day. And training can help with this. I always find it funny when these people throw barbs at me as if these were things I hadn't considered. Oh? Is it risky to travel the world with no money and no steady job? Why...I hadn't thought of that! You, sir, are truly brilliant! I shall immediately reconsider everything I have put effort into for the last 5 years because of your insight! Thank you for saving me from my own dreams! That was a close one!
I'm not saying it's impossible to regret decisions you make in your life, even though they are heartfelt. What I'm saying is that the things people truly regret on their deathbed are the things they felt they should have done, but didn't.
Your 401K might not protect you from losing almost everything you imagined. Your friends and family won't necessarily do that either. Life has no guarantees except death and taxes. The only thing you can do in this life is face your fears about what you must do with courage. It's not about denying fear. Embrace it! Feel the fear and do what you feel you must do anyway.
In fact, a large part of the reason why I embarked on this path is to speak to an audience of people in their 40's (and beyond) that believe it's too late. The people who believe it's too late to follow their dreams that may be way outside of the box. My audience is not 20 year olds. You could go to prison at 20 and still recover. But many people in their 40's feel they must live within the confines of a cookie cutter dream that isn't even theirs. That dream was sold to them.
It is my dream to reach out to older people who feel trapped as I did. It is NEVER too late to pursue your dreams. Never. We might only have one shot at this. And soon, very soon, in terms of civilization, we will all be in the ground. This is not a sad fact. Embrace it! Do everything you want to do and never quit. Oftentimes, the journey is the destination.
Is the love of your life on a bus in Cambodia right now? They might be!
Is the idea that will take hold of your heart and soul in a cafe in Bali? It might be!
If you feel that there is something profoundly wrong with your life, there are many ways to seek help outside of a couch talking about your mother. The gurus! I am moved by them. I seek them out. And I cherish their mission.
Whatever your dream is, don't quit. You have probably thought about it a lot more than the people who will try to fill you with doubts.
Believe in yourself.
I believe in you!
Scott in Peru.