Travel is little beds and cramped bathrooms. It’s old television sets and slow Internet connections. Travel is extraordinary conversations with ordinary people. It’s waiters, gas station attendants, and housekeepers becoming the most interesting people in the world. It’s churches that are compelling enough to enter. It’s McDonald’s being a luxury. It’s the realization that you may have been born in the wrong country. Travel is a smile that leads to a conversation in broken English. It’s the epiphany that pretty girls smile the same way all over the world. Travel is tipping 10% and being embraced for it. Travel is the same white T-shirt again tomorrow. Travel is accented sex after good wine and too many unfiltered cigarettes. Travel is flowing in the back of a bus with giggly strangers. It’s a street full of bearded backpackers looking down at maps. Travel is wishing for one more bite of whatever that just was. It’s the rediscovery of walking somewhere. It’s sharing a bottle of liquor on an overnight train with a new friend. Travel is ‘Maybe I don’t have to do it that way when I get back home.
They will tell you that you’re crazy. They will shrink away from you because you are too much, too passionate, too intense, too driven, too fixated, too focused, too obsessive. They won’t understand where you got the idea into your head to be this way, they’ll try to change you, they’ll try to temper you, to slow you down, to make you quiet, to distract you, to shut you up.
Don’t let them.
They will call you crazy. Don’t listen to them. Don’t let it get under your skin.
It will be difficult not to. Worthwhile things are often difficult. Having a dream and chasing that dream are two very different things, and these differences separate the leaders from the pack. But that doesn’t make the leaders immune. You’re bound to be just as nervous, just as insecure, just as scared and impressionable, second guessing everything and searching for validation the whole time.
The main difference lies in the fact that you will come to seek the validation from yourself.
And you will learn how to give it to yourself.
(Even more importantly, you will also learn how to accept it.)
And you will learn how to drown out the commentary that doesn’t do you any good. You will learn which voices you ought to listen to, which voices you should ignore, which voices are lying, and which voices actually have your best interest at heart. You will learn that your best interests and your dreams don’t always align, and you will learn that sometimes, when your best interests mean stability and safety and the status quo, the right thing to do is what nobody else would do. The right thing to do, sometimes, is to run as far in the opposite direction as you possibly can.
Because you might be crazy, but you should be. The world needs more crazy. The world needs more passion and more desire and more mania and more outlandish dreams. The world needs people who are willing to put it all on the line, to fall in love too soon, to take a risk and jump and forget about the consequences and really live.
And if people say you’re too crazy for them, that you’re too intense for them, that you need to tone it down to fit into their comfort zone, don’t let them influence you.
Just because they’re not at a place in their lives where they can appreciate that tenacity doesn’t mean that nobody else is, either. Somebody always will be.
And it’s by being crazy and going out on those limbs that you’ll find them.
Besides, those limbs are where you’ll find yourself.