It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living – Eckhart Tolle
Hitchhiking With Shaun
It was another sunny day at the side of the road. I like hitchhiking on days like this, and I wasn’t waiting long until I saw a hippie VW, swerve into the shoulder 100 yards down the road.
Like an giddy kid, I grabbed my stuff and ran towards the van. As I got closer to the van, a middle aged man wearing a bright yellow t shirt jumped out of the car.
As I got closer, he shouted “I’ve never seen someone so keen for a ride. Pop your stuff in the trunk dude.”
This hitchhike turned out to be one of my most memorable. Shaun was living out of his VW, hopping from state to state, down the West coast of USA, whilst working on ranches and chasing waves to surf.
Shaun and I skipped the small talk, and got into a great discussion about life. He told me that he used to be a very successful investment banker, but although he was making good money, he never had a passion for banking, and for 10 years felt trapped and deeply depressed. He felt like he was sacrificing the best of years of his life, and just before his 30th birthday decided to take the plunge into the unknown and radically change his life.
He sold his flat all his belongings, bought a VW and a new surfboard, and for the next couple of years he would live out of his van adventuring from place to place, living the adventure he’d dreamed of since a kid.
Shaun’s story really touched me, and for the rest of this article I want to explore one of the topics we discussed that stuck with me.
The Health, Time, Resources Predicament
I was an hour or so into the drive on the beautiful 101 highway, when Shaun said a few things that will stick with me for the rest of my lifes.
With one hand on the steering wheel, he looked at me and said:
“Look Daniel, here’s the predicament of life…
When we’re young and in our 20s we have the time and health, but not the resources. We hustle and struggle to get by.
When we get to our 40s we have the health and resources, but not the time. We spend a lot of time at work searching for that next promotion.
When we get into our 60s, we have the time and resources, but not the health. We spend our earlier years working so hard and sacrifice our health to the extent that we can’t do anything when we’re old.
Luckily I had the breakthrough and discovered before my 30th birthday that there would never be perfect alignment in life, or the right moment to do the things I had always wished to do.
At some point you’ve got to bite the bullet, say fuck it, and make that sacrifice, otherwise you’ll always find an excuse not to do what you’re truly destined to do.”
You’ve Got To Make A Sacrifice
We live in a society that sells us the story that freedom of health, time and resources is something we attain somewhere down the line.
We work tirelessly in our earlier years to set up security and structure for that picture in our heads of that illusive dream life.
And once we finally arrive at the position of security and structure (if we ever do), it’s often too late to do the things we had desired to do because we’ve sacrificed our health in the process, and forgot to live life at all.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you want to do the things you’ve always wished of then you must accept that something has to give.
There has to be sacrifice.
Accept that with all of your heart.
Whether it’s time, health or resources, an imbalance between the constructs will always exist.
Instead of trying to work towards that illusive perfect scenario, let yourself go and walk forwards into the uncertainty.
It will be scary. Things will go wrong. You will experience testing times. You might even pivot back to your previous life.
But that’s ok, because at least you know, and don’t have to live with the regret of not trying at all.
Of course, the way Shaun put it was an overly simplistic depiction of life, but it really did make me realise the importance of not delaying the future for the “right” moment, and instead, biting the bullet and deciding to make some well thought out sacrifices in order to live life.
We must accept that we are not immortal, and that over time our health is going to diminish, making it increasingly difficult for us to do the things we really want to do.
With this in mind, whether you’re 20, 40 or 65, there’s still time, so let go of your future by reminding yourself that the best time to act on your dreams is now.
All the best, and thanks for reading,
Daniel Beaumont, March 1st 2016
About the Author
Hello everyone, I’m Dan – a 28-year-old social entrepreneur and writer from the north of England, living in Bucharest, Romania. I’m currently writing my first book about my 4-year journey around the world seeking wisdom and life-lessons from everyday people I met hitchhiking and Couchsurfing.
I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.
I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.
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