This post has been hanging over my head for two weeks now. Sure, getting to this point wasn’t exactly a cakewalk. Buying the domain name, installing Genesis, buying and installing a theme, figuring out my way through WordPress, installing plug-ins. It was all a bit more time-consuming than I had imagined. It was like trying to learn a foreign language in two days.
But here I am, aware that I can no longer push this off any longer. I wanted to start a blog, so here it goes.
It all came to me one night not too long ago. I had just finished doing my before-bed reading (one of my New Years Resolutions) when I decided to take a quick look through Instagram. I love IG. I hardly follow anyone I actually know in person, that is what Facebook is for. Instead, I follow strangers who live in all different parts of the country and all over the world. I live vicariously through these strangers’ pictures.
While scrolling through my feed on this particular evening, I came across a portrait of a woman named Allison Vesterfelt. She was 26, living a comfortable life with a comfortable job that she enjoyed when she was asked by a friend, “What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?” She said she would drive across the country to all 50 states and write a book about it. “Why not?” her friend asked. After a lot of “what ifs” and theoretical planning, her friend eventually convinced her to do it. They quit their jobs, sold everything they owned, and traveled around the country together. She wrote a book called Packing Light, which I purchased on Amazon that night and finished right before starting this blog. In the book she asks us the same thing her friend had asked her: What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money? And then: What’s keeping you from doing this?
My answer was easy. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I would travel, too. But probably around Europe and Asia. But taking it a step further, I would want to write a book as well. I never took this thought seriously until that very moment. Why not?
So, what is stopping me from doing this? Lack of money, for one. But what else? I think what is really stopping me is this idea I have for the way my life is supposed to go. The traditional route you’re “supposed” to take in life. If I quit my job, picked up and ran off to Europe for a year or two, I would be completely changing my course. It would throw everything off. I would have a gap in my resume. I would lose out on potential raises, which would hurt me in the long run due to compounding. I would be spending all my savings rather than saving! What about paying off my loans?
But then I asked myself, why can’t I do this and then get back “on track”? Or even better, end up finding the thing I really want to do in life? Almost nothing is holding me back. All I need is a bit more money. How could I do that while unemployed and spending money to travel? But then again, when am I ever going to be able to do this again? Probably never.These are the things I contemplated while sitting in my bed that night.
My head was buzzing. I could hardly sit still. When I woke up, I was so restless my hands were shaking. I was so sure I could just get up and leave everything behind that very moment. I didn’t even need to have everything figured out because I would figure it out as I went. I would make it work.
But before turning to my boss and saying, “Hey, it’s been a great 6 months, but I quit.” I re-evaluated my plan. I decided I needed to make more money in order to save more money. That weekend, I went to the nearest sports pub and got myself a part time job as a waitress without any waitressing experience. Next, I decided I wanted to write a book about my travels, about everything leading up to this point in my life and everything I gained from this experience. So, I decided I will start a project on Kickstarter.com when I am close enough to the trip. In the meantime, I decided to start a blog in order to find my voice, to become comfortable with sharing my inner most thoughts with others (not a forte of mine).
So, for now, I’m Samantha McGowan, full-time Marketing Coordinator for a small company in Maryland and part-time waitress at a local sports pub. I work 70 hours a week and save every extra penny I earn. In my free time I read in coffee shops, take my roommate’s dogs to the dog park, and (a recent addition) blog.
Isn’t it funny how things kind of just have a way of working out? One of the Christmas gifts from my dad was a book entitled, “90 Days to Your Novel”. He told me, “You have a story, Sam. You just need help getting it on paper.” I looked at him, shocked. He could not have possibly known that I had recently started dreaming about writing a book. But then again, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. He has always known me better than I know myself. I told him, “I just don’t have an ending yet.” I told him I didn’t have a point to my story yet other than to chronicle being blind sided and broken hearted after a failed five year relationship . But what if I were to take off and discover myself and realize I wasn’t happy on the traditional and accepted route anymore? What if I wanted more out of life than a 9 to 5 desk job? That would be a good story, right?
The excitement and restlessness is running through me, unable to be tamed today. I could do this. I should do this. And I will. For me.