Last Updated: 8/1/20 | August 1st, 2020
Looking back, what I remember the most about cubicle life 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). I worked for one of the doctor’s and there often wasn’t much work so I spent most of my days on MySpace and Friendster or reading the news.
And, 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 a travel blog.
Back then, every day felt the same. 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 American 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, one day, realize: “this thing..this thing I’m doing now…is the thing that lights my fire the most.”
My friend, a former marketing manager from NYC, realized while she was caring for her uncle 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 thing happened to me.
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.
Once I started traveling, I found out that what I lived for was travel.
While there are many people who are fine with office work from 9 to 5, I am not one of those people.
It was only when I got out of my comfort zone and start living life that I found out what lit my fire.
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.
You have to do stuff, have hobbies, and show up to the dance.
Life happens outside your door. 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 to my ideal life — from reading 10 minutes longer, to cooking dinner, to signing up for archery classes (the Hunger Games are coming), to learning how to garden, to joining social clubs, 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.
A lot can happen when you play the game of life.
But you have to play.
Even if you don’t “find your passion”, you’ll find yourself. You’ll find new things to be interested in and new hobbies you love.
So stop daydreaming. Go out. Make the changes you want.
Even if it’s just by reading for five minutes longer each day.
Small ripples eventually grow into big waves.
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My New York Times best-selling paperback guide to world travel will teach you how to master the art of travel so that you’ll get off the beaten path, save money, and have a deeper travel experience. It’s your A to Z planning guide that the BBC called the “bible for budget travelers.”
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.