“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
I have found time and time again that making a powerful decision, and being committed to it, attracts the right things and people to help make it a reality.
But it’s a difficult concept for most people to embrace. Often we are taught to be “practical” which goes against this idea.
In late November, my family and I returned from a 14,000 mile, 28 state road trip in our Dream Machine.
We took FIVE months to explore the great United States. We camped out and visited friends and family. We paddled boarded and surfed rivers, lakes and oceans.
All the while, we ran our business out of a little black file box.
On paper, it was a crazy, even stupid, thing to do. We are not wealthy. We are small business owners. We need to keep the cash flowing.
But it turned out to be the best thing for our business, and our lives.
Last February when we had our annual tax meeting, our accountant looked over our 2011 financials. Knowing that we take time every year to travel, she said sternly, “I strongly recommend that you two don’t take a big trip this year.”
Drew and I glanced at each other from across the room. Together, we burst out laughing. Just a week before, we had decided to take our big trip.
We knew it was frivolous, and nuts, to think that we could leave town for five months and still pay our mortgage, studio rent and keep our business going while on the road.
But we wanted a big adventure and to spend quality time with family in South Carolina. And we wanted our 11 year old son to have an amazing experience. And we didn’t want to wait until we were too old to do it.
A funny thing happens when you make a decision. Things fall into place. Opportunities pop up. People call for your services. When one commits, providence moves.
And that’s exactly what happened. What started as a blank slate, not knowing where business would come from while traveling, ended up with numerous opportunities that paid for everything.
Business started to come to us after making an announcement to family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, that we would be there in the summer.
Lulu’s Cafe, a downtown Myrtle Beach, South Carolina restaurant, hired Drew to paint a 61 foot mural.
We arranged for Aerial 7 to hire us to give a painting workshop at Backcountry.com headquarters in Park City, Utah.
Then another Myrtle Beach restaurant hired Drew to paint a mural.
Furman University in Greenville hired us to give a 4-day workshop and a lecture.
And along the way, Drew got several painting commissions.
I continued my artist consulting the entire trip, and I even closed a licensing deal over the phone while staring at the carved presidents at Mount Rushmore!
On our drive back home in November, Art Mundo in Fort Pierce, Florida had us give a painting workshop. Oh, and there was one more mural painting in Cocoa Beach before driving back West.
We lived more in five months than most people do in a lifetime.
The experiences were amazing; things like watching wild buffalo run in South Dakota;
Standup paddling Salmon River rapids in the Sawtooth Mountains;
Hiking around Devil’s Tower in ninety degree weather;
Surfing waves in Lake Michigan;
Exploring water caves in Lake Superior on our paddleboards.
I even got to meet my Twitter friend the “famous artist Nemo” and his artist wife Hannah, whom we spent a couple of days with in Texas.
The life-changing lesson that I learned from this experience, now that I look back, is this:
Leap, and the net will appear.
Back in the spring, as we were packing up and getting ready for our trip, I got a call from my accountant. It was terrible news. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
She is in her late forties and had always done all the right things; saved her money, avoided the frivolous. She had dreams of taking her big vacation later, when she was older. Now she might not have that chance.
It confirmed for me that we made the right decision. There is no better time to do the things you dream of doing. The time is now.
This year, go explore your world! You don’t have to go for as long as we did, but, make a plan to do something that you have always wanted. I promise you won’t regret it.
The creativity that comes from exploration cannot be had from reading a book or watching a video.
And if you want to learn how we have arranged our lives to be able to take big trips every year, I explain it in detail in this post: How to Live a Life of Travel.
What’s your next adventure? Please share in the comments!
PS: Here’s a map of our zig-zag route across country and back!