Just over a year ago, I left everything I knew to go after the unknown.
I had been living and working in New York City for over two years. During that time I had found success as defined by almost everyone that I knew—a company car, healthy salary and bonus compensation, my own apartment and lots of flexibility.
The only problem with this was that I wasn’t fulfilled or satisfied—regardless of what those closest to me thought. I can only describe it like this: something deep inside of me was stirring for something more and this fact, to put it poetically, left my soul unquenched. If this is what my trajectory of life was supposed to look like, then I knew I would never be happy.
What I did know was that for me, something drastic had to take place. I needed to challenge myself and I needed to learn a few things they don’t teach you in school. So, after much research, planning and thought, I called my manager out of the blue to let her know that I was done. I told her that I wasn’t going to a competitor or a new industry. Rather, I was headed to the Americas below us with everything I needed in a backpack. The must needed change was happening.
In one week I quit my job, got out of my lease, packed up all my belongings and moved home.
In another week I unpacked and repacked only the essentials into a 65L bag and was on a plane with my girlfriend to our first leg of the journey. In two weeks time I had gone from a comfortable life in New York to one that would be constantly changing in a brand new country.
I lived more in the four months of traveling than I had in the past two and a half years. It’s not to say that I didn’t have an enjoyable, happy and good life in New York City, because I did. I’m grateful for it all and I am now much more aware of how fortunate I was to have what I had. However, I believe that as nice as a good life can be, there is something better and something greater for each and every one of us. I know this with utmost certainty.
How do you find this for yourself? My self-learned conclusion, as simply and clichéd as I can put it:
“You have to get uncomfortable. You have to step outside of the comfort of your own life and be willing to shake up your routine, ask hard questions and believe in yourself more than you believe in what others think is best for you.“
What I experienced, learned and felt during those four months gave me a lifetime’s worth of stories and memories. It also shook me out and gave me a new perspective on life. I became much closer with my creative side and started expressing feelings through poetry.
Poetry is beautiful and I see it everywhere—in music, in art, in nature and in words. I wrote this piece to describe what life is to me. Often times we want to push the hard times, the challenges and the struggles to the back of our mind and keep the good up front. But when we look back on the positive changes we’ve made in ourselves, we’ll often see that it happened as a result of something tough we had to endure.
I speak of the journey of life and how similar it can be for all of us.
Most of us think life is dramatically different from one person to the next but I see a lot of similarities. The roller coaster of life happens to all of us and we are all on a quest to find something. Toward the end of the poem I point out what I believe so many seek, whether they know it or not.
What defines your life and what is that you seek? How can you live a great life? These are questions I try to ask myself and while it took a big change in my own life to answer them, I don’t believe that is necessary for everyone. The small changes are what add up and contribute to the biggest difference.
In the wise words of Lao Tzu:
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
a collection of memories
scattered over time
our favorite ones
are first in line
but those that are in last
are those that shape our minds
the heartbreak and the crying
the fighting and the trying
we face adversity and survive
we come from nothing and thrive
the series of events which take place
the highs and lows that we all face
fill into our mold and form our shape
we change pace and direction
some walk alone, some find affection
when it’s all said and done
who wins? Who had the most fun?
what truly matters most
will vary depending on the host
but deep down we all know
the during the course of our show
we want to find truth from above
and here on earth, we want to find love.
Author: Peter Jones
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Image: Author’s own