lost, for a little while

the ‘drop everything and go’ checklist
March 11, 2011, 11:52 am
Filed under: advice, rant

Cubicle, or this? No contest.

On my last day of work, I went around the office saying goodbye to people, and when I told them what I’d be doing next, I heard a lot of the same response:

“I wish I could do that.”

But you know what? The path from wishing to doing isn’t really that long. My biggest obstacles have been fear (of judgment, of failure, of the unknown) and impatience (Can I go now? Can I go now?). The rest was pretty straightforward. Here’s how I’m able to drop everything and go:

  • Secure finances. I am not, and probably never will be, rich. But through a combination of frugal living (embarrassingly so, at times), obsessive saving, hard work, and ridiculous luck, I’m not drowning in debt. Some would argue that you only live once and that alone makes following a dream worth it, despite financial obligations. I’m not one of those people. But once you get to the point where you’re poor, but out of the red? Go for it.
  • Job freedom. For me, also known as “unemployment.” My job wasn’t doing it for me, and ultimately, it became a matter of pros and cons. If I don’t love what I’m doing and I’m not going to die without a paycheck for a few months, is it worth choosing job stability over a dream trip? For me, it wasn’t.
  • Social support. My friends have been awesome throughout this whole process, forgoing the logical “Have you gone insane?” lectures and readily hopping aboard the Crazy Train. They’ve talked me through my second-, third-, and fourth-thoughts about this trip, and have offered up couches and floors all over the country (this is key). Without them, there’s no way I’d be doing this.
  • Lack of Relationship Responsibilities. Who would have thought that all these years of being single finally paid off? While I have no sweetie for Valentine’s Day, I also have no boy-toy holding me back from wandering where I please. And at 24, I’m still not a Baby Mama. High five!
  • (Relatively) cool parental units. Once we got past the blatant disapproval and over-worrying, my parents have been pretty cool about this. As in, they’re letting me crash at home until I leave and haven’t threatened to disown me. They’re still not crazy about this road trip, but…baby steps, people.
  • A childlike sense of wonder. No, really. Some people have absolutely no interest in driving long stretches, living out of a suitcase, and hopping from place to place (hi, mom!). Me? I can’t help but focus, instead, on the things to see, learn, and experience. My goal is to let this outweigh any bumps in the road that come my way, because seriously? How cool was life when you were six? Answer: like, way cool.

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