The One Trip That Changed my Life Forever
September 2018 , Delhi Inida
This photo was taken while I was volunteering in a school located in the slums of Faridabad, Inida
Traveling solo is one of the scariest yet rewarding things you can do for yourself. Ever sense I returned home from my trip volunteering in India my mindset has done a total 360. The funny thing is, I can’t quite put my finger on what it was that changed me. All of a sudden I just have complete confidence in myself like I never could have imagined before. Ever sense my return I have made some HUGE and I mean HUGE life changing decisions. Nothing scares me anymore, nothing intimidates me and I finally feel in control of my destiny.
I remember one night when I was out at a few bars with my friends. This girl came up to me and struck a conversation. Never had I seen this girl before in my life but she bought me a shot and started chatting away while our boyfriends were doing the same. I just remember her asking me “so what do you want to do with your life?” and I said “Well, I really want to travel.” She just looked at me started laughing and said “that’s what everyone says … but what do you REALLY want to do in life?” I didn’t know how to respond to that. I though I just told her, like that was me actually opening up. It’s funny though because I don’t blame her for laughing at me. I feel like the whole “I want to quit my job and travel the world” scenario is just a figment of imagination for most people. It was for me until I decided to actually act on my dream …
That’s the thing about society today is everyone is afraid to act on their dreams. I feel like as young adults we are thrown in so many different directions when we are first starting out. We are supposed to graduate high school, go to college, get an internship, get a job in the real world, get a car payment, a house payment, settle down…and then it’s too late. You have fallen into the trap of the social norms and it’s already gone far enough that you think it’s impossible to get out of that trap and follow your actual dreams and passions. I started falling into that trap until I decided that my experiences are worth much more then a comfortable bi weekly paycheck.
I can count on one hand with a solid memory for each one how many people even my good friends made fun of me when I talked about my plan to work in orphanages in Asia. They would literally laugh in my face and I could never understand why until I came back from my trip to India in September of 2018. I know it seemed a little far fetched, I mean you don’t meet many people in your lifetime that branch off of that social norms path and actually do something impactful in the world.
I can forgive them for laughing at me and doubting me because traveling has helped me learn my true potential in this world, what I am really capable of. It has also helped me to look at the bigger picture. They are laughing because they have no idea what is out there. They have no idea how to have an open mind. I didn’t know how to think like this before my trip either.
If you stumbled across this post there must be an urge inside of you that wants to get out and see the world. Let me tell you something, your friends and family will never have the money to make it work if they don’t have the passion. If you have the passion to travel it is easy for you to make saving the money a priority it’s not as easy for others who don’t feel that same burning passion inside. It’s not very likely you and your friends and family will have a perfectly matching schedule in order to travel. That’s fine you don’t need them if you are anything like me you know that this is what you are meant to do. You may just be having trouble taking action.
For those friends and family who want to make the social norms a priority in their life, let them. I have tried to convince way too many people to stop taking out loans and buying new cars and houses when they could be making memories all over the world. They will not understand. They are not on the same level as you. You need to let that go. Instead of trying to convince them how beneficial traveling is, show them. Prove them wrong.
I was researching different volunteer organizations for months and months as well as researching India and the cheapest plane tickets. I had it all figured out but I still had trouble taking that leap. I had to talk myself into it. Some of the things that helped me were writing everything down that could throw me off and why I shouldn’t worry about those things. I planned out where every single cent of my next few paychecks would go. I made sure my monthly bills would be covered for the duration of my travel. I made sure my dog would be taken care of. I made sure I had all of the money to make the purchase for plane tickets/volunteer fees without it making me broke. I did so many things to talk myself into it. It took me about three years to finally commit. It was scary. There were so many times I found an organization and I got to the page where you put your credit card info in, but I could never hit submit and take that final step. Sometimes you just need to talk yourself through all of the things you are scared about and eventually it will make sense.
I finally made the move. I had a plan in place to catch any possible things that might throw my life off with this big decision to travel solo across the world. CLICK. Tickets were purchased, all volunteer fees were paid. It became so real. I loved every second of the journey up to the final day until my take off. I am one of those people who like to be in control of everything. You might as well just call me Monica Gellar, but that’s what I loved so much about being able to plan all of this myself. There was so much to research, think about, plan, write down it was actually a really fun time getting to plan every detail of this journey.
I’m not going to lie volunteering in a third world developing country is not as glamorous as it sounds or how they present on social media. I was faced with the toughest problems and situations I have ever faced in my life. I wrote a separate blog called My Terrible Experience Traveling to India. I won’t go into detail on the challenges I faced. I will leave it up to you to read my blog about that terrible day. It really was the hardest moments in my 23 years of living. I didn’t notice it at the time while I was going through these tough times but I was becoming fearless, I was gaining that confidence I had lacked my whole life, I was realizing my potential in this world.
All of a sudden my mind feels so open, I feel cleansed, and I can see so much clearer. Again, I can’t quite put my finger on what it was. Maybe it was the challenges I faced traveling to and from India. Maybe it was donating crayons to families living in the slums. Maybe it was being thrown to the wolves and teaching children who don’t speak much english. Maybe it was the girl in my class who couldn’t walk I made smile one day, or being threatened by the taxi driver to be left on the side of the road. It could have been the amazing bond I made with other volunteers from around the world. I don’t know what it was all I know is I am so thankful.
I want so badly for everyone else to see clearly like I do now. I want everyone in the world to realize that you don’t have to be stuck in a life typical people are telling you is right. They are to scared to break free from that life. I can tell just from having a conversation with someone that my mind is so much more open. I don’t mean in any way that I am smarter or have more intelligence at all. I just know that I have no limits. I all of a sudden know i’m capable of anything I want to happen in my life. Even though i’m different I know i’m right. So many people looked at me like I was crazy when I told them I was leaving my job to travel and volunteer.
I worked at a bank call center for over a year. I thought I was destined to work my way up the latter getting a higher salary step by step. I was so set on that being my destiny because it was a plan and the pay was more than good. I was taken care of. I was comfortable. It wasn’t until my mom got me a book for Christmas called Rhinoceros Success that I started to plan my escape from the bank so I could pursue what I know I really want to do in life. I wanted to travel and help those in need. I am well aware of how cheesy I sound but I don’t care anymore. I am going to actually do it! I am going to prove everyone wrong that thinks my dreams are just a cliché. That book fueled the fire underneath me to make another HUGE and SCARY decision … i’m going to quit my job and start my business.
Something I have always struggled with is job interviews. I get all nervous, gittery and I can’t collect my thoughts. Once I came back from India (before I decided to plan my escape from the bank life) I applied for two second level positions in the bank. It’s absolutely crazy because before India I would have been a mess. I would have doubted myself and probably just rambled and gone off topic like in the past ruining the opportunity for myself. Once I came back from India I already knew I was going to get those jobs. I knew I was completely capable and I was so confident that there is no way I can’t convince my interviews how great I am for this position. Guess what, I got both of the jobs I interviewed for. Yup! I wasn’t even surprised at all and this was all due to one solo trip across the world I gained so much confidence. I honestly still feel like I can get any job I apply for now that I know what i’m capable of.
I let multiple people in my family, at the bank, and my friends know that I got the jobs but I turned them down to take a rest and follow a dream of mine. Not one of them said anything like “oh wow, good for you!” They just looked at me and made a face like “seriously?” Why wouldn’t you take one of those jobs do you know how much pay increase you would get?
If you are sitting here reading this post please understand that money will always be around. You can always apply for a job, you can always go back into the 9-5 work life. There will always be an opportunity to work under someone else. You may not always have the opportunity to see the world. Stop being afraid of things that don’t exist. Stop letting other cows in the pasture tear you down and suck you into their life style. YOU ARE A RHINO!
I decided after reading Rhinoceros Success to stop acting like a cow and be a Rhino. I decided to quit my job and start my own business. A business that allows me to work on my own time, for myself and wherever in the world. That was my dream. It’s been a rough ride and I am nowhere near the end but I have no regrets. Cows will say something like this “I want to travel the world and make a difference!” You need to break away from being a cow and be a Rhino and say “I will travel the world and I will make a difference nothing will stop me from accomplishing my dreams.”
If I wouldn’t have made that rational decision to buy that plane ticket. I wouldn’t be sitting here writing about my experience. I wouldn’t have been able to make it to my nieces sixth birthday party because I wasn’t able to have Sundays off. Don’t get sucked into the social norms of living a comfortable life. Make that one solo trip and I promise you, your mind set on life will completely change.
I want to help others take that leap to make their first solo trip happen. Message me with any questions. Follow my journey back to India in May on Instagram @_worldpace_