Just kidding. I know exactly what I’m doing.
Being drawn to something outside of the traditional set of cultural expectations and norms is okay. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Take a look at what you want to do and ask yourself these questions: “Will this make me happy? Is the effect on myself and others generally positive? What do I need to do to make this happen? How long approximately will it take?” Then create a plan and do it! Throughout high school and college, I had a very strict plan. I was to finish my undergraduate in psychology in three years, then go straight to graduate school in a PhD program in Clinical Psychology, and ultimately open up my own practice specializing in MFT and eating disorders. My plans to travel the world were going to wait until I had established my career. While many would suggest that is the more responsible and normal thing to do, I started realizing I didn’t feel it would make me happy and effective to do things quite that way anymore. In the second semester of my second year of college, I decided I wanted to study abroad in Australia during the first semester of my last year. I thought to myself “Do I want to focus my energy soaking up education and life in Australia or spend it stressing about taking the GRE and grad school essays while there? Grad school can wait because I will be a much more effective and happier human being taking in this new world I am in.” I spent a significant amount of time thinking about this plan change, I went through with it, and I survived!
I then got a job (psych related!) to fill in the gap year between grad school so I can plan for grad school in that time. Plans changed when I didn’t do well on the GRE both times I took it, and I would not have a strong enough application I’d be satisfied with if I applied anyway. Okay, second plan change, grad school will have to wait another year. Due to significant issues that I will not waste time discussing, I felt it was best to leave that job I was so excited about initially. I started tutoring, which I love, and that got me thinking “Wow, I can put away a significant amount of money for grad school now.” Then I went to Peru for two weeks as a humanitarian clown with Patch Adams and colleagues. As I am writing a week and a half after returning from the trip, I am still processing everything I experienced and learned and have yet to be able to put that into words. So stay tuned for that. Anyway, I met someone there who bought a one way ticket to Iquitos because he was planning on staying for an undecided amount of time before moving on to the next country which was also undecided at that time. He had the means to travel around central and south America like that, and it got me thinking about how that is exactly how I have wanted to travel. I always thought it was a ridiculous plan, but now not so much. I sat down and really thought about it and I realized this could work! I can do it! No, I WILL do it!
I have constantly been talking about how I want to travel the world and go everywhere. So why not do just that? Because of our society’s norm of going to school then more school then work and then retire to Florida if you live long enough and have the means to do that. That has never appealed to me. Life is too short to succumb to society’s expectations and pressures from others, including family members if that is the case. It is my life, and although I am only twenty-two, I feel I am old enough, mature enough, and experienced enough to be able to figure out how to do what I want to do, and to also recognize if something is just not feasible. I do what I can to make things feasible before deciding it won’t work, however. I am also able to make sure what I want is positive for me and others and not be influenced or pressured into negative behaviors. Sure, I enjoy wine and beer (if it’s good), but getting wasted doesn’t appeal to me. When travelling, yes, I will drink but only one maybe two in order to experience the beer and wine of the place I am travelling in. Cocktails might happen if it’s a staple of that culture, and as I desire to learn and experience everything I can about as many cultures as possible, I will take part in that activity, (for cultural learning of course haha). I am actually really excited about participating in ayahuasca ceremony, which is a ceremony in which you drink a hallucinogenic substance and things go from there. That is a cultural experience so it gets put into a different category in my mind.
Anyway, the past few weeks have consisted of me printing out blank maps of every continent, country, region (which ever allows everything to fit onto one page with a large enough size to see the names of places). From there I go through each continent, country, state, region, and island and write down everything I want to do and experience when I am there. I am taking into consideration the highly recommended touristy attractions but keeping a keen eye out for any opportunity to blend with the native culture and locals. Every single place in the world is separated by potential trip in which I can go to as many places in that region as possible with an undecided time limit. What Marco was doing in South America is what I want to do everywhere. Having everything written out will allow me to look and see how much money is required to do everything I want to do, and then I will know how much time I will need to save up said money, and then go! Antarctica will be about $20,000 to do what I want to do there (3 weeks), unless I find a better deal within the next year, but I am okay with that. I have a target and now I am going to make it happen, and possibly will even be able to put in a couple smaller trips here and there. I have a two week winter break with the tutoring company that I refuse to waste at home, so I’m going to ICELAND!