Taran is a friend and frequent floater here at The Floatation Centre. Recently he set off to backpack all over the Americas and we wanted to provide a platform for him to share his adventure (and to make sure he is safe!). You’ll be able to follow his on his Facebook page as well!
In two weeks I will be setting off to backpack all over the Americas, heading first to the west coast of Canada, then down the west coast of the US, continuing through Mexico, the rest of Central America and, eventually, South America. Peru is my ultimate goal, but I may go further depending on the situation. I could also very well not make it that far; who knows if I’ll even make it to BC? You see, the thing is, I’m doing this with little to no money and little to no planning. Let me back up a bit.
It was June of last year. I was in a funk. We’ve all been there. I was a musician who had been “chasing the dream” in Halifax for the past five years. I had enjoyed the many fruits of my labour, like recording an EP in Cleveland, Ohio and an upcoming tour to Ontario. That said, I no longer wanted to be pursuing music the way I had been. I was burnt out. Members of my bands were leaving and I had lost my fire. When you no longer want to wind up where you’re going, and you don’t know where else to go, what do you do? I was spending much time reflecting and contemplating my life. I knew I needed a break from music, but at the same time, life seemed meaningless without it. Everything I was doing seemed trivial in the long run. What was I to do? Go back to school? Throw myself into some job I couldn’t care less about? Force myself back into my bands against my own will? I didn’t like any of these options, so I stayed patient as best I could, hoping something would reveal itself. Then one day, it did.
One night, on a long walk from Fairview to Dartmouth in the wee hours of the morning, I was mulling things over as usual. Bouncing my options back and forth, I was still in that mental rut; walking well-worn paths in my mind. I thought about how much I loved just aimlessly wandering around the city. No real place to be, no time limits, no commitments. Just me, myself and I, free to explore and detour to my heart’s content, just going with the flow. “I wish I could just do this,” I thought. Then it hit me. Like a Mack truck. Like a Mack truck with a load of bricks behind it.
Why don’t I just do that? Go backpacking! What’s stopping you? I, of course, pictured Europe right away and was dismayed at the money and planning that would have to go into it. At that point, then the second Mack truck hit. Just do it here! You have a whole half of the world under your feet right now! Just leave from here! I burst into laughter. It was so plain and stupid simple, so simple I almost missed it.
One needs a goal in life to head towards, or else it all feels somehow empty. Is this part of a human’s natural convictions? Have I been conditioned to be this way by my culture? Whatever the case, and it is the case, this drive can always be used constructively. One would do well to remember, however, that plans for the future are of no use to someone who is incapable of living in the present.
I continued home, armed with a new direction, something new to aim for. I felt I’d come back to life, as if waking from a deep sleep.
When it came to planning, I figured I would need a solid year to sever my ties and commitments here on the east coast, as well as get things ready to go. I didn’t want to plan too much, so I left my timetable wide open and aside from a little cash and some gear, all I have set before me is a vague direction to head in. Now, after a long year, I am finally poised to set out.
If there is one thing I have learned in life thus far, it is this: if there is something you want to do, something you feel deep in your bones that you want to do with your life, the very thought of which sends chills of excitement down your spine, you can do it. Regardless of money, location, families, jobs, or whatever your situation might be, you can do it. I would say even that you must do it. There is always a way to make your dreams happen. Don’t take no for an answer, especially from yourself, so believe in that self! Stop making excuses for why you can’t do this, or that, or be happy, or whatever. You have more power than you can imagine. I’ll be damned if my life isn’t an example of this. So go! Chase down your dreams. Now is the only time to do this. Now is the only thing we ever really have at all.
“You can have excuses or results, not both.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger