By Emily Landsiedel
There is nothing quite like the feeling of setting a big goal for yourself and achieving it; picking something that almost feels insurmountable when originally thought up, working your butt off to attain it, and actually making it happen. It is one of the most invigorating and freeing feelings I have ever experienced. When you attain a goal like this, it shatters all the walls of expectation you’ve built around yourself – what you’ve convinced yourself you’re supposed to do, what you can accomplish, how you’re supposed to act. It finally wakes you up to the fact that you really are more powerful than you think and in control of your life. For the first time, you truly internalize the mindset that you can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do- the only thing stopping you is you. Prior to planning this world trip, that saying was just another cliché to me. I thought I understood it and was living by its advice, but it wasn’t until Peter and I decided to quit our jobs and actually get on track to travel the world that I saw those words for what they really mean. The vast majority of people walk around thinking they are freely making their own decisions and doing what they choose, unaware of how many boundaries they’ve actually built around their capabilities and dreams.
Before Peter and I decided to go on our world trip, I felt sort of stuck in my life. I was proud of my accomplishments and enjoyed my job, but I knew there were dreams I yearned for that I wasn’t fulfilling. I have a friend from college who is a photographer that travels around the world taking pictures and mountain guiding (Ben Adkinson Photography). I would see his photos on Facebook and long for a life like his. I remember once he posted about how people need to be spending their time living and exploring instead of worrying about their 8-5 jobs. I remember reading that and thinking, “Yeah, I want to do that so much, but I’m not a mountaineer. I can’t do that. Plus, I have a husband who also has a career. We can’t drop everything. It’s not that easy.” What I didn’t realize was that I was censoring my abilities. We COULD do that; we just didn’t give ourselves the opportunity to dream so big and see it as an actual possibility.
You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. There is a whole world of possibilities out there, and the only way you can attain them is if you allow yourself to see them in the first place. I remember after I realized that I can attain any goal I set my mind to and am willing to work hard for, I began seeing challenges from a whole new perspective. Instead of thinking, “It would be fun to be a pilot.” I was saying, “I could be a pilot.” Or instead of saying, “I want to write a book,” I was saying, “I will write a book.” When you stop thinking of your goals as wishful thinking that you hope to get to one day, and instead as realities that you are actively on the path to achieving, you will feel empowered and confident in a way you never knew was possible.
So if you’re reading this blog and thinking to yourself, “I’d like to do that, but I can’t because of x,y,z.” Stop thinking that way and say to yourself, “I can do that if I do x,y,z.” There are plenty of how-to guides for people who want to travel the world with kids, find jobs abroad, travel with their significant other, or travel solo. If you can dream it, someone’s done it and explained how to accomplish it. Achieving your goals is possible; you just have to make them a possibility.
Honestly, if travel isn’t your dream, that’s fine. Apply this thinking to whatever is your dream. You will feel happier, more fulfilled, and more accomplished, and you won’t have to burden yourself with regret. Working hard and struggling for something is so much more fun than being lazy or afraid anyway. It sounds scary and overwhelming in the beginning, but take my word for it, it’s worth it in the end.
If you want to be more inspired, I highly recommend you watch the video “Everybody Dies but not Everybody Lives” by Prince Ea. It summarizes the point I’m trying to make perfectly. Now stop wishing and start working to fulfill your dreams!