I was standing in an airplane aisle, with a backpack on my back, and suddenly panic set in. I thought, “What the hell am I doing?! I can’t do this. What was I thinking?!” I turned to exit the plane, and saw a stream of people boarding the plane behind me. To exit, I’d have to push through the line to get off, and face my friends who supported me on this excursion.
Realizing that I’d built up to this moment for months, and said goodbye to my friend at the gate, my pride kept me from reversing course and walking out. I was committed. So I sat.
I had always wanted to travel the world to far away exotic lands. But I didn’t know that I could actually DO it. People didn’t do that. Or so I thought until I met someone in college who had. Tom had backpacked India for several months. When I asked him how on earth he had managed to do something so impossible, he said simply, “I bought a plane ticket and a guide book.” This was my lifelong dream and that’s all it took?!
“What about money?” I asked.
“You can travel India pretty cheaply”, he said.
He explained about hostels and the range of hotel costs, along with the range of costs for food and travel within the country.
Since I was young and my standards were low, I figured I could keep these costs down.
I mentally went though it and realized that I could actually do this. All I needed was someone to simply explain to me that I could.
And being young and single with no kids – this was the time to do it.
I saved my money over the next few months.
And then the big day arrived. My friend took me to the airport for my three-month India backpacking adventure. I said goodbye, boarded the plane, and then had a mini panic attack. But since my pride won out, I pulled it together and simply found my seat and sat.
And that 3 months turned into almost six, during which I met Mother Teresa, trekked the Himalayas, did a camel trek in the desert, taught English to a Tibetan Buddhist monk, traveled the Himalayas on the back of a Royal Enfield, and met amazing people (some of whom I’m still in touch with today).
I’ve gone on to have many more adventures, now even with my family along. But it took that first one to show me know I could do it. And for that it took someone to tell me that I could.
This doesn’t apply to grand travel adventures only.
This applies to any area of life.
Let this be your inspiration. Your permission to go follow your dream.
What dream do you simply need permission to follow?
Go do that thing.