Things I’ve learned from traveling

My name is Graham and I am no longer a product of society.

I’m not even sure where I fit in anymore.

My parents continually remind me that they’re proud of me. Proud of what? I’m become a disconnected hippie with a desire to do anything but follow the rules. I have no formal job. No money. No significant other. Their next set of grandchildren may very well be adopted. Or make-believe.

I’ve forgotten how to be normal. And I’m quite proud of that fact. Because life is too short to be normal.

I awoke this morning and found myself in Bali. And so I ran along the beach. As I ran, I found myself reflecting on 5 very specific thoughts.

1. Happiness is relative. And unimportant.

The most common piece of advice I receive from people is the ever-popular “do what makes you happy.”

No.

Who cares if you’re happy? Happiness is fleeting. I know you feel great today because that girl you like sent you a flirty text. Or because you just got promoted. Or because you finally went to the gym. But I know for a fact that when you wake up to cloudy skies tomorrow, you’re going to start complaining again.

Quit trying to be so happy and just be. Find something a little more absolute to derive your so-called happiness from. Put yourself in a position where the world cannot drag you down.

2. Life is short.

I’m 27 years old. Not married. Not a father. Not employed by any acceptable means. Not a homeowner. Barely a pants-owner.

But know this: I’m joyful, grateful, and excited to be alive every single day. Life is too short to not do what you want every single day. And if what you want isn’t aligning with traits like honesty, humility, generosity, and selflessness, then I pray you find a new well to fish your desires out of.

3. The world is small.

“I’ve always wanted to see the pyramids. What a feat of architecture!”

So go see them. Open Google Maps, notice they’re on the same planet as you, get on a plane, and go. This week. Go.

“I want to see Machu Picchu before they close it down to the public.”

That’s great! Here are the steps you need to follow to make this happen: Get on a plane. And go.

“I wish I could live in this place or that place for a year. Just to see what it’s like.”

For the love of all that is holy, go! I promise if you keep making choices out of fear and responsibility, you will die full of regrets with a very average amount of money in your bank account.

There is nowhere you cannot fly in less than a single day. Take advantage of that fact.

Go.

4. People are lost.

I’ve met countless people who are sleeping their way around the world.

I’m met countless people who are in love with money.

I’ve met countless people who have no idea who they are.

It doesn’t matter who I meet on this journey. If I’m able to get them talking, I quickly discover they’re just as lost as me. And you. And everyone.

Humans need to be rescued.

5. I’m spoiled rotten.

I have every opportunity in this life. I have a financial safety net called my family. I have a physical safety net called my health. I have a logical safety net called my education. I have a spiritual safety net called my faith. As much as I claim to live on the edge, I know I cannot hit rock bottom. I cannot be left behind.

And as such, I am spoiled.

If I run out of money, I know people who will fly me home. And employ me.

If I grow terribly ill, I know I have insurance that will likely pay for the cure.

If I have no place to live when I return home, I know I have family and friends who will take me in.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve any of this. I don’t know why I live in the lap of luxury while some of my friends are unsure of where their next meal will come from.

Give up your pursuit of happiness and simply be content where you are.

Accept that life is fleeting and live each day without regret.

Realize how connected this world is and go explore it. Start small. Turn your cell phone off this weekend and drive to the mountains. Camp. Ski. Sing. Smile.

Understand that nobody is absolutely sure what they’re doing on this good, green planet, and accept them as the searching soul they are. And work through this life together.

Be grateful for the opportunities you’ve been given. You didn’t get to where you are today alone. There have been numerous people who have helped you along the way. Thank them. Today.

My name is Graham and I am a product of the compassionate people around me.