Timing, it seems, is everything. Finding the perfect flight deal, when to launch a new product, getting that “lucky break.” Good actors have good timing; comedy is really truth delivered in the right way at precisely the right time.
But in life, there is rarely that window of the perfect time, and when it does exist it’s (more often than not) entirely unpredictable.
Which means waiting for that green light from the universe is futile.
Writers write. Painters paint. Designers design.
Whatever it is that you do (or more importantly aspire to do), listen to Nike:
Just do it.
Ok, I’ll go first.
For my entire adult life I’ve talked about travel, planned trips, read books about far off lands. But a few months ago I realized that I hadn’t traveled since I moved to NYC seven years ago. I mean I’d done a few road trips and take a few domestic flights, but the days of studying in Europe (twice) and performing for a year in Japan were well behind me.
Oh I had plenty of excuses. Perhaps the biggest two sound familiar to you:
Money and time.
More precisely, a lack of money and time.
If these excuses are holding you back, I have a solution:
Find the money. Find the time.
Hint: Neither of these options like to volunteer themselves. It’s a pain in the ass to find them, but if you look hard enough, they are there.
Ok, so back to my travel conundrum. Here’s a look at how I’m taking matters into my own hands (and how you can too!)
Quickly brainstorm your options
Long-term travel was not happening. But when I sat myself down and thought about why I love to travel (and the fact that I love the whole process of traveling, airport security lines and all) I finally realized that there was more than one way to do it. I’m fortunate that I have a job (as a double for an actress on a television show) that I can take a day or two off here and there (without pay, of course). I also occasionally have a day or two off here and there due to the actress’s work schedule. (Also without pay and without a tremendous amount of advance warning). While taking a significant amount of time off wouldn’t be advisable, I do have the ability to take quick trips without much consequence. Wouldn’t I rather have a weekend in Paris than none at all? Yes. Absolutely. Sign me up
So that’s what I decided to do
As soon as I discovered my new time frame for my travels I began looking for a cheap flight to a city in the US where I knew a few people. The next thing I knew, I was spending a long weekend in Phoenix, Arizona.
A few days after I returned from Phoenix, I found out I had a four-day weekend the following week and lo and behold train trips to Montreal from NYC were absurdly cheap. Guess what? I’ve never been to Canada! So I booked a ticket. Immediately.
Once you start doing what you’ve always really wanted to do, it’s near impossible to stop.
So this month I’m off to Chicago and Costa Rica. Next month is Madrid and Maine. December’s plans are in the works but you can bet I’ll be taking advantage of my holiday vacation (and then some).
Neither frequent flyer miles nor a winning lottery ticket magically appeared on this journey. I’m paying for these trips with the money I’m earning from my job. I’m working on accruing miles so that I can continue to take trips in the future. So although I knew nothing about playing the traveler rewards game at the onset, I took the plunge and just started. I’ll have enough miles for a bigger trip come January. All that’s not to say that I’ve played the game perfectly. I’ve missed out on plenty of flyer miles offers due to ignorance, and I’ve been teaching myself how to use an SLR camera as I go as part of the project, resulting in some positively wretched photography and video footage.
You can learn as you go. But if you wait until you have all the “knowledge” you need to “succeed” you will either: A. Discover that information will have changed by the time you’re ready to use it B. Become discouraged by all the talk without action and become bitter and/or “over it” or C. Realize how daunting your dream is (and it should be otherwise you’d have done it already) and throw in the towel.
I’d much rather make a few mistakes because it means I’m taking action instead of waiting for someone else to tell me how they did the thing I’m trying to do. Carpe diem and all that.
Set (Specific) Goals
I’m still working on what the big picture plan is for this new venture I’m taking (there’s more involved to these trips, but I’m waiting to unveil that information until I’m fully able to articulate them myself), but in the meantime I knew I needed some sort of structure or plan. That’s when I decided my trips would be bi-monthly, a minimum of 36 hours and every other trip had to be international. So while I’m still figuring out what the point of it all is, I’m making forward progress and actively doing the parts that I’m most passionate about: traveling and meeting awesome people.
We are never guaranteed a tomorrow so every day should bring some form of joy to your heart. By taking steps now towards our dreams we are actively participating in them. Living the dream should be more fulfilling than just dreaming it. If not, it may be time to evaluate whether that’s the one you want to follow.
What are you putting off for tomorrow (or a hundred tomorrows) that you could do today?
There’s no time like the present.
Just do it.