“You can do what’s reasonable or you can decide what’s possible.” ~Unknown
When I was in grade school my teacher had us write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. Honestly, at the time I had no idea.
I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to be but I knew I wanted to be doing something important, so I jotted down careers that, in my young mind, equaled success: doctor, lawyer, dolphin trainer, firefighter, astronaut etc.
Then life happened and all of a sudden I was twenty-four, working for the man, and in a serious relationship that seemed to leave me feeling miserable more often than not. Where was that wide-eyed little girl who could have been anything?
I was at the point in my life where I actually had to make a decision about who I wanted to be. I could be a writer and share my wisdom with the world—but wait, what wisdom do I have? I had no great life changing stories or lessons that others could learn from. I was ordinary and borderline boring.
Not wanting to be such a dull person, I felt a sudden thirst for knowledge, but not the kind you get from textbooks. Real world knowledge. I needed to travel.
The rational/reasonable side of my brain told me that I was being ridiculous. I couldn’t travel! I barely made enough to cover my monthly expenses!
The reasonable thing would have been to find a higher paying job so that I could actually save some money for travel. But who was I kidding? A higher paying job just leads to a nicer apartment, finer dining, and twice as many bills.
As luck would have it, a friend of mine was planning a trip to Machu Picchu in the winter and was looking for a travel companion. Without hesitation, I hoped on Expedia.com and before I knew it I had purchased a round trip ticket to Peru.
I found someone to sublet my LA apartment for the month, used vacation days so as to still collect a paycheck, and traveled to Peru, spending the same amount of money as I would have spent on my daily living expenses.
Sometimes it is best to make a spontaneous leap, throwing reason out the window, believing you will land on your two feet.
Think about speeding ticket. Who has money reserved to pay for speeding tickets? No one—but when you get that ticket, somehow you manage to scrape together money to pay the fine, right? Think along those same lines and your trip becomes nothing more than a very large traffic fine (or four, if you decide to travel to Europe).
That being said, I am not advocating being irresponsible. It’s just that where’ there’s a will, there’s usually a way.
In one year I traveled to: San Francisco, Washington DC, Peru, Jamaica, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, London, and Paris. Phew, that’s a mouthful!
I know what you’re thinking; I must be miss moneybags, with wealthy parents or a trust fund. I’m not. I don’t have any financial assistance whatsoever and I made $24,000 this past year.
How did I do it? I made the leap and then was forced to cut out the unnecessary minor luxuries a normal twenty-four year old would have. No $70 bar tabs, no cable TV, a downgraded cell phone plan, cooking at home, packing a lunch—all of these small things add up.
We have all kinds of reasons for why we can’t do things but I think you will find that when you take that sharp turn towards something you really want, you will figure out how to make the rest of your life fall into place.
So do yourself a favor and issue yourself a “life” ticket. You can find a way.
About Jamie Hoang
Jamie Hoang is a Los Angeles based writer, designer, world traveler, tea drinker and lover of the great outdoors. A firm believer in trying everything at least once, she's always learning. Her work can be found at heyjamie.com or tweeting as @heyjamie.