Decision

Posted by Michael Coen

From seat 31H of a 747 en route to Gatwick, England

September 22, 2016

You know those click-baity articles that pop up in your social media with headliners like 10 Ways to Make Money While Traveling the World? I hate those things. I don't know if it’s skepticism or jealousy but each time I read an article like that, I always finish it thinking, “Well, that’s not realistic.” Or maybe even worse, “I don't have enough time to make that happen.”

It was 6 years ago when I caught the travel bug. I studied abroad in Seville, Spain, bounced around Western Europe, and then returned to Portland, Oregon after 6 months of absolute childlike freedom. As if travel was a new drug I had discovered, the return home led to a period of deep introspection. You might even call it depression, although it was probably just reverse culture shock. Either way, it was very real.  

I remember acknowledging how much I had changed in such a short amount of time, only to find life back home exactly the way I left it; as if I had pressed ‘pause’ in Portland, went to Europe for 6 months, then came back and hit ‘resume’. I underwent the most drastic transformation of my life since puberty and yet, everyone in my home town seemed exactly the same. This scared the shit out of me, so I swore to my naive self that I would leave the country at least once a year. But then life happened.

 Tabs and I exploring the Pacific Northwest this past summer.

Tabs and I exploring the Pacific Northwest this past summer.

A career took over, routines set in, complacency grew and before I knew it, the 26-year-old Michael was now a major disappointment to that 21-year-old vagabonding dreamer. This little epiphany led to quitting my job, pursuing a hobby as a career, booking a one way ticket to Europe with my girlfriend, Tabs and eventually procuring two sponsors to help pay for our travels.

 The decision to travel is just that; a decision. And depending on your state in life, it can be a difficult one. Of course, a lot happened during the time leading up to my abandonment of the corporate life to pursue travel videography. (i.e. a couple trips to Burning Man (emphasis on the word ‘trip’), some heavy therapy sessions, and meeting the love of my life were all instrumental to this little quarter-life crisis.)

 Burning Man 2015

Burning Man 2015

But the most important point of this entire entry is that doing what you love starts with a decision. There’s always a reason to put it off, whether it’s travel, photography, music, cooking, teaching or whatever the hell floats your boat. It’s never a good time! It’s so easy to talk about doing it but never get around to doing it. Even after we booked our one way ticket, the extrinsic pressures relentlessly tried to give us reasons why we should delay our journey. But in our minds, the decision was already made.

For at least 3 months, Tabitha and I will road trip throughout Europe, laughing, fighting, growing creatively, challenging ourselves, and hopefully producing great content for our awesome sponsors along the way. When it’s all said and done, I might even end up writing an article titled How I Made Money While Traveling the World.