Throwback Thursday – Shit, Why Am I Doing This Again? (Panic Post from My First Backpacking Journey)
I just found a gem that I think you’ll enjoy.
Going through some of my old online accounts I stumbled across the blog I (briefly) kept for my first backpacking journey – a mostly solo 4-month foray through Europe after I had quit my first job out of college.
This post portrays the initial panic I felt about leaving my life at home and the assurance of the ultimate realization that I was doing the right thing. Always funny to look back on these things as they remind you of how far you’ve (hopefully) come.
And now without further adieu, here enters 22-year-old Chris…
Shit, why am I doing this again?
That’s the feeling I had this morning.
**And let me preface that the mindset of the author of this post is a stark contrast to the confident, spontaneous world-dominator of the above post…but as you’ll read below, I think its all a necessary part of the experience.**
My last day of work is tomorrow, my room is filled with my subleaser’s belongings and as I look at the calender I find myself 18 days away from take-off. Whew, ok everybody take a deep breath.
I can only assume this is a feeling similar to what Richard the Lionheart felt when he began trekking across Europe and Asia on his famous Crusade to the Holy Land. I’m sure we shared the sort of “Wow, this felt a lot different on paper” feeling as our plans actually started to take shape.
I suppose its my more sensible side (one that I’ve successfully suppressed over the past 3 months) bursting forth and causing me to question my decision to leave..but here are some of the thoughts that have been racing through my mind as of late:
- “You spent way more money than you thought preparing for this trip, what if you run out of money much earlier than you thought and have to come back after a month? People won’t be saying the trip was so cool anymore will they??”
- “Your laptop and car are both old and dying, what happens when you come back to the US with no money and don’t have either?”
- “You will be living with your parents when you get home. You are a loser” (no offense to anyone doing this, its a great money-saving strategy and I love my parents dearly, Hi Mom and Dad!)
- “You ruined your career in sports and will now have to start working the Taco Bell night shift and serve greasy tacos (which are so tasty) to your drunk friends at 2AM”
I could go on but I hope you get the gist. I’ve been questioning everything I thought was the perfect path for me and to be honest, its this questioning that has the potential to ruin the trip.
But as I inched dangerously close to leaving the country in this mindset, 2 figures stepped in and returned the shine and importance my one-way ticket once held.
The first, and most important, was my dad. He slipped me a note written on a little notecard which read:
“Christopher – You are now officially under way with the “Great Adventure”! It will be fabulous and will, no doubt, help formulate who you are and how you look at the world.”
The second was, Tim Ferriss, author of one of my favorite books (FHWW) and someone who truly lives life to its maximum potential every single day. He posted the THIS ARTICLE on his Facebook page. I suggest each of you read it fully for it is truly one of the most well-written, inspiring pieces of literature I have ever laid eyes on. Here is the first line:
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves.”
It seems I had forgotten why I was going on this trip in the first place. I had let myself be consumed by trivial little things when the whole point of this thing was to let that stuff go because when you think about it, none of that stuff really matters. I mean sure, not having a car when I get back would suck but I’ll put it this way, I’d rather have hiked across the Austrian alps and biked up the Croatian coast and have no car than spend my time driving around in my car at home wondering, “I wonder what biking up the Croatian coast would have been like?”
So I guess figuring out what really matters in your life and making sure you strive to achieve it is often absolutely terrifying, but I’m betting the result will be more than worth it.