I’ve always thought of blogs as outlets for attention-seekers to find attention. I tried writing one a few years ago in an attempt to seem more interesting, but no one read it. You can go look at the millions of unread blogs written by people who aren’t listened to enough or are trying to spread some idea they think is important, but to me, it all comes to down to the same thing most other things in life are: A popularity contest.
I know this makes me sound like a bitter loser who didn’t have many friends in school, but it’s actually the opposite. I loved the social aspects of high school. I got to make new friends, see them every day, talk to girls, show my videos at pep assemblies…it was awesome. I’m not saying all this to brag, but to show what I learned from that experience. Popularity is meaningless. It doesn’t matter how well-liked you are or how many Facebook friends you have or how many ‘Like’s’ your photo got. At the end of the day, all that matters is how you feel. But for so many people, popularity is a constant obsession. I was obsessed for years and I didn’t even realize it. Social media is just one (recent) example of the many hoops we jump through every day to be liked by more people.
This is another reason why I’m leaving. I had a “revelation,” or whatever you want to call it, about how I had fallen prone just as much as everyone else has to this ongoing popularity contest we’ve turned life into. This scared the crap out of me and it brought forth radical change in my perspective.
In fact, when I first thought of fleeing the country to Scotland, I had this fantasy of not telling anyone I was leaving except for whoever was going to be giving me a ride to the airport. I honestly didn’t want anyone to know for several reasons. One was that I didn’t want people to think of this as me seeking attention. I also didn’t want anyone to guilt trip me for leaving. But mostly, I didn’t want people to treat me any differently than how they would if I wasn’t about to exit their lives. It would just feel fake, you know?
So, obviously, a travel blog wasn’t even on my list of things to consider when it came to this journey. But one day, I realized how unfair keeping it a secret was to the ones who care about me and I decided to start telling people that I was leaving. I told my friends, my family, my work, and lastly, Facebook. I started getting feedback from people and the response was much more positive than I expected. People kept telling me how I was living their dream and that I had to keep in touch so they could “live vicariously through me.” The first couple times I heard this, I was flattered, but after a while, it started getting depressing. I began responding to this by saying, “Well you could do it if you wanted to. What’s stopping you?” I didn’t understand. The excuses I got most frequently were, “Well I have a girlfriend,” “What will I do with my cat?” “I’ve got kids,” “I’m still paying my mortgage,” or, “I’ve got this thing I said I’d do.”
Honestly, I can think of a million reasons for me not to go, but if your number one dream is something attainable, why would you waste your time doing anything but that? Until you make the decision to do it right now, it’s not going to happen. Most of these reasons for putting off your dream are just excuses you’ve made up that would have easy solutions if you would teach yourself to let go of what’s holding you back. However, I understand that I’m not under the same obligations some other people are so I don’t know what to say about your kids. That’s when people started telling me to write a blog.
I probably told over a dozen people that I wasn’t going to do that because of the reasons I stated above. But when my closest friends were telling me to do it, it made me think. I’ve been passionate about storytelling my whole life. Even when I was a little kid, I would put on shows with my little sister and make my Dad or Granddad videotape it. When I was 9, my parents bought me a camera for Christmas and I made movies constantly with my friends. I did this through the rest of elementary school, middle school, high school, then studied Film Production at Oklahoma City University. I guess it’s pretty obvious that I love telling stories and it’s something I want to do for the rest of my life.
I planned on bringing a camera anyway, and if everyone’s asking me to share my own story with them, then by golly, I’m gonna do it! So that’s why I’m starting a travel blog. Not to give life advice, share travel tips, or brag about all the places I’ve been, but to share my story with whoever wants to hear it. “A Story Adrift,” if you will. I just hope that it does more than entertain you. I want it to show you that your dream isn’t impossible. I hope it inspires you to stop making excuses, but instead, make the decision to follow your dream right now. Not next year, not tomorrow, not later this afternoon.