Italy and Syria have been added to the "Nationalities I've Met" page, bringing the total to 27!
Although the majority of my friends and family supported my decision to jump ship and travel the world, a few initially dissuaded me. The face of adversity can be a tough one to grapple with; in fact, there will almost always be obstacles standing in the way of you following your dreams.
I say this not to be pessimistic; in fact, I want to make this point to show that true optimism usually wins out. Optimism has nothing to do with fighting against your opposition. In fact, the more you struggle, the farther you move away from success. By fighting opposition, you may end up harming yourself and those around you. No, the true way to follow your dream, is to understand why some people try to dissuade excitement and positive thinking.
On the surface, love appears to be the motivation. You want to do something that appears dangerous to your friend or family member. They're only being concerned as they should be, right? Well, that's rarely the case, and even when it is, love is only half the reason.
The real reason is fear. And not necessarily fear of losing you. More times than not, the fear is more about them than it is about you. When you challenge one's perceived idea of what can and cannot be done, it makes the person very uncomfortable. You see, people have ideas of normality and safety, which can often be overly restrictive. Sticking to such ideals may pay the bills. They may even give you a cozy house. What they will not do, however, is allow you to realize your full potential. Potential can be maxed out when one realizes that he or she has very few limitations in life. Sure, everyone has some limitations to deal with, and they are important to be aware of. The limitations I'm referring to, however, are mental constructs - certain norms that are usually followed without question. I'm talking about a herd mentality, one that keeps you alive and healthy, but does not enable you to live!
People are afraid when you chase your dreams, because it makes them feel insecure about themselves. Perhaps they have disdain because of some missed opportunities, or are too scared to go after their own heart's desire.
You should feel no anger toward such people - only compassion. Nothing you say will change someone's mind. The only thing you should do is remain steadfast in your goal, and keep a forward-thinking attitude. Sometimes, optimism is infectious. Most reasonable people will eventually embrace you when they see the passion in your eyes. We can only hope that most "debbie downers" discover their own untapped potential, and follow their dreams. However, until then, you cannot let them bring you down. Life is yours to live, and you should never heed the advice of those who do not mean well.
The world awaits. You need only step outside the box.
My name is Yonah Paley. I quit my job in the United States to travel. I also write music and do photography. As I backpack across the world, I share stories, philosophy, and travel tips.