Looking back, what I remember the most about my life in the cubicle was the utter boredom. Back before I started traveling, I worked in hospital administration: first in inpatient assistance (I was the guy that greeted patient families when they came onto the units) and then in the administration office of the surgery department. There were five people in my office (all older than me), and I spent most of my days on MySpace and Friendster or reading the news. (When I came back from my first trip in 2008 and returned to the world of hospital administration, it was the boredom and large amount of downtime that led me to create my website.)
Back then, every day felt the same — and I felt stale and uninspired.
“What am I doing wrong?” I would wonder. “After all, I work, go to the gym, go out on the weekends, and have good friends and hobbies. Isn’t this the dream?”
But something was missing. A piece of the puzzle wasn’t there. I felt like the guy from the movie Office Space. My mother used to say it was because I was in a job I didn’t love. Once I found a passion, “work would be more than work.”
It turned out she was right.
But I don’t buy into the idea that “you can find your passion” by sitting down with a pen and paper and thinking, “OK, I’m going to write down my passion and just do that.”
I think you stumble onto your passion.
You go out and live life and then realize: “this is the thing that lights my fire the most.”
Years ago, I knew a girl in Thailand whose uncle fell terribly ill. He was in the hospital in Bangkok, and we were all unsure if he would make it. My friend, a former marketing manager from NYC, realized while she was caring for her uncle that that was what she was passionate about. When her trip was over, instead of going back to her old job, she went to school to become a nurse.
My friend Matt recently got into gardening. He and his wife love growing their own food. With every new season, he finds himself more drawn to farming issues, land use, and gardening, and less interested in his law practice. So much so that, after his wife finishes her doctorate, they are looking for a town for her to teach in where they can buy a farm and he can become a farmer.
The same happened to me. Once I started traveling, I found out that what I wanted to live for was travel. That was my passion.
When I first started traveling, everyone thought I was crazy for giving up on the American dream. But I had discovered that the American dream didn’t fit in with me. I was a circle trying to fit into a square hole. While there are many people who are fine with office work from 9 to 5, I realized am not one of those people.
It’s when we start living our life that we find the stuff we love doing.
If you are unhappy or daydream your life away but want amazing things, you have to make a change. You have to get out there.
You can’t win the game of life if you don’t play it.
Sitting at home watching Netflix isn’t going to change anything. You won’t lose weight if you don’t work out. You won’t meet people if you stay at home. You won’t find your mate if you never go on a date. You’ll never know if you can do more if you don’t push yourself.
Life happens outside your door. And it is something you have to participate in!
The day I quit my job was the day I moved closer to living the life I wanted. When I started my blog, I took another step forward.
Every day I take one more step — from reading 10 minutes longer, to cooking dinner, to signing up for archery classes (the Hunger Games are coming), to biting the bullet and booking that cheap flight I found.
My life isn’t going to change unless I make it happen.
Neither will yours.
And then once you stumble upon what it is you love, pursue it with vigor……because there’s nothing worse than a wasted dream!