Disclaimer: the first part of this is so painfully arrogant and boastful that it’ll sicken you BUT if you survive it you’ll be rewarded. Handsomely. With gold medallions. And drugs.
…I’m a 23-year-old Cambridge guy. I have £5000 in savings. I’ve just finished three years of a degree I actually enjoyed. I’ve seen four continents, my fifth approaching in a matter of days. I’ve lived in the Amazon Rainforest. I’ve seen more of America than even the most patriotic American. I’m reasonably good-looking (or at least not ugly), I’m smart and talented – fuck off, I warned you I was going to be arrogant – and I have some of the best friends in the world. I have a promising future ahead of me.
Now, some people have said I’m lucky. Truth be told, I fall into that trap myself from time to time. Only ten minutes ago I had to stop myself from writing “I hope so” to a comment about further travel on my Facebook. But no, it’s not about hope. If I want to travel more I have to make it happen. It won’t just come to me. It doesn’t just come to anyone, apart from the children of gypsies and nomads and let’s face it, they have other issues to worry about.
Admittedly, in terms of things outside of my control, I have been blessed. I was raised well – pinky finger raised whenever you drink your tea, thank you very much you common filth – but I’m not royalty and I haven’t inherited millions. I have to earn my money. What I haven’t earned has been given to me as part of a student loan I have to pay back.
I’ve had to be proactive about what I’ve wanted. My entire outlook on life – that we should enjoy it, you know – can be traced back to a few days I had at my old job, when I realised there’s more to life than working full-time in a shitty job to spend your weekends depressing yourself with the realisation that it’ll soon be Monday again. That’s not a way to live.
I’m not saying you should all ditch your day jobs and hitch-hike to the Himalayas. That’s not realistic. Life isn’t that easy. Well, you can try doing that if you want. Good luck to you, but do me a favour while you’re about it, will you? Can you keep a journal or something? The world needs to hear about people with balls the size of yours.
What I’m saying is, no matter your circumstances you don’t have to settle for what you think is expected of you. Maybe you don’t want to travel. Maybe you spend your nights dreaming about killing your ex-wife. If that’s what you really, really want out of life – and you’ve thought long and hard about it – you need to take the first step. I’m not sure what that would be – researching poisons? Making an enquiry with your local pot-dealer about getting into drug-dealing so you can afford to have a hit taken out on her? I’m no expert.
Like they say, taking that first step is the hardest. Actually, not always the hardest, just the most difficult to get round to. There’s always some other chore – recycling those bottles, catching up with Game of Thrones, sending another spiteful text to the girl who fucked you over three years ago – but if you do make that step the next one is easier, the one after that even easier, and then before you know it, you’re at the airport wondering if you haven’t made a terrible, terrible mistake.
I know that’s how I feel. In a week’s time I’ll be somewhere in Israel; I’m not yet sure where in the country I’ll be, let alone where I’ll be staying. I don’t get too nervous about visiting strange countries any more because I’ve become used to it. I know what to expect and what not to. It’s a wonderful thing, travel.
I hope all of you, every single one of you, is jealous. No, wait, that’s not true. For everyone who knows what it’s like to seize what you want, I hope you’re not jealous. I hope you think of me and nod and smile and think, ‘Yeah, I know that feeling. Good for him.’ For everyone who sits at home night after night wondering what’s out there and asking themselves why their lives are fucking awful, I hope you guys all get incredibly jealous. I hope you get sick with envy. In fact I hope you literally vomit with jealousy.
But most of all, I hope you get some idea what it is you’re missing.
tl;dr – if you want something, fucking make an effort to take it already.