The following post started in my head as an inspirational story. As it should be. But then it suddenly got up and went its own way… That is the nature (and beauty) of writing, I suppose.
What were you doing with your life in your early twenties? Or even thirties/forties/fifties for that matter?.. A few days ago I came across an article about a 24-year-old who has spent the last five years of his life travelling. James Asquith is, apparently, the youngest person ever to have travelled the entire world, all 196 countries of it. Impressive as that is, what struck me was not the number, but the fact that somebody does what they are passionate about here and now, wholeheartedly. Isn’t that great? How many people can actually say they are living their dream? How many even know what their passion is?
The more I thought about the story, the more convinced I became that I wanted to share it here. So, I thought I would see what more information I can find about James Asquith online. That is when I came across all the comments. And was honestly surprised. Not in a nice way. I suppose I should not have been – internet comments are seldom goodwilled. Some where calling the man smug, others moaning about the unfairness of him travelling while they can’t. But don’t we all complain that there’s never any good news in the media? I know I often despair with all the violence and hurt that seems to surround us in our modern lives. I don’t know about elsewhere in the world, but here in Ireland all you find in the daily newspapers seems to be crime, corruption, tragic accidents, neglect, and budget cuts on every page. Here, for once, is a short story on somebody who is getting the most from their life, doing what matters to them. Somebody who does not wait for some precarious ‘later’, does not limit himself by what society (or internet commenters) think he should do. Someone who puts to practice the ever so true cliché of ‘live your life to the full’. I found it truly inspirational.
So why the negative comments, then? Do we really care about other people’s money so much that nothing else matters? Do we actually secretly hate happy people and good news? I hope not. Or is it the fact that this kind of story – of somebody actually living their life – reminds us that we are not? Is this the kindergarten bully tactics to silence those who intimidate us, who turn up the volume on that tiny voice of conscience whispering in our ear, ‘Is this really the life you want? Why don’t you pursue what truly matters?’
So, we don’t have the £125,000 to travel the world. (It does not look like James Asquith had the full amount ready before he set out on his travel route, either.) The point is we DO have only one life. And the only time to live it IS now. No, I do not think that we should get anything and everything we want in life. Nor do I believe that positive thinking is enough to bring anything into existence. Some dreams may be harder to achieve than others. However, none of them will happen if you just sit on your bum and shuffle excuses why you cannot make things happen. And somebody showing by their own example that life CAN be taken by the horns here and now if you decide so, is surely a good thing, isn’t it?
I know this whole story served as a reminder for me to pursue the things that ignite my heart.
P.S. Here’s more info and a few pictures from James Asquith’s travels:
- British traveller, 24, spends £125k on becoming the the youngest person to visit every country in the world (thisismoney.co.uk)
P.P.S. Just wanted to remind everybody that you can still leave a comment here about the letter you sent or received to be in with a chance to receive an actual paper postcard from Ireland 😉