On Taking Risks, Long-Term Travel and Finding your Path in Life

One thing I have wanted to do more of is video. However, video to me is quite scary. It’s easier to me to hide behind words, to cobble together whatever honest filaments of prose I need to build a story. In contrast, video is captured as is and though editing can do a lot (and de-contextualize), the medium remains a lot more daunting to me. Your mannerisms come across, your quirks or your expressions. All of which are fairly scary. Getting up on stage at WDS to talk about travel and finding your path in life was also scary, as it marked the first time I spoke in public to a crowd, and to a crowd of 500 no less! I was a corporate attorney, not a litigator, so I was not accustomed to public speaking in any capacity. And Chris, bless him, only told me this when he asked me to speak – “Be inspiring”.

Oh, is that all?

on long term travel and finding your path in life
Talking about the two giant men who tried to bench-press me on a Trans-Siberian train trip, at WDS

In writing the speech – and as you’ll see as a newbie I wrote it all out – I decided to use my own story and my travels as a basis for my message. Namely, that while it’s worthwhile to follow your dreams, you also need to keep moving along that path even in the face of negativity. It’s not enough to say “I quit my job to travel” and leave it at that – your path (like you) is a work in progress, one that is fraught with challenges. In retrospect, quitting was the easy part. What is difficult, and remains difficult, is the chasm of uncertainty that opens up in front of you the moment you do so. I’ve written about this in some capacity, specifically on the things that long-term travel does not fix, but this is the first time I’ve explained the trajectory in full of why I did what I did, and how.

In telling my story I wanted to make it clear that I wasn’t encouraging people to change their lives in the same way, but rather to use my story as a prism through which they could see their own choices. Or, as I said in the speech “there are always things I could do, so why not risk doing the thing I want to do?”

My keynote on finding your path in life

I’ve gotten quite a few reader emails asking if I would post my WDS speech, so I thought it was high time to do so. It’s 33 minutes long, and I hope you enjoy.


p.s. Yes, I am fully aware that I spelled my own site name wrong in one of the slides. That, my friends, is what you get for doing your Keynote slideshow on a 10-hour layover in Seoul ;)

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