In the summer of 2016, I quit my job. It wasn’t what I was passionate about and I felt unfilled.
My fiance and I packed all of our belongings into a 10x10 storage unit and headed north in our ‘98 Subaru Legacy. We spent the summer living out of our car, exploring Canada and the Western US.
It felt wild and adventurous and for the first time in my life, I felt like I was really pursuing my dreams.
But then, our money ran out and we came back to our hometown. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and I took the first job offer that came around. I spent a miserable year and a half feeling sorry for myself. My brave “chase your dreams” philosophy seemed hollow as I worked a 9-5 grind I hated. I was living for 5pm, for the weekends when I could get outside.
Over the course of that year and a half, I began to realize where my true passions lay. I loved the outdoors and was passionate about protecting wild places. I wanted to inspire others to get outside and experience life in the way I did when I had dirt under my feet and blue sky above my head. I wanted to make a difference.
My dream was to make my passion the thing I did for a living. To stop living for the weekend and love what I did every single day.
But the voices in my head were so loud.
You can’t leave your job, it pays well. You aren’t outdoorsy enough to work in that industry. You have no prior experience. Nobody likes their job, that’s why it’s called work.
I was comfortable. I had become complacent. Taking a risk seemed too big and too scary.
But then, I remembered how it felt to quit my job, to make something I had dreamt of as a kid become a reality. How it had felt to set out on the highway with nothing but our car and our dog and a pile of maps.
There will always be reasons not to. Sometime they’ll come from your own brain, sometimes they’ll come from the mouths of others. Sometimes they will threaten to extinguish that flame of passion.
Don't let them.
I took a risk. I put myself out there, I committed myself to chasing my passions.
Now, six months later, I’m working in the outdoor industry. I no longer hate going to work and I feel like I’m making a difference.
I have people tell me all the time that they want to make a difference. That they’re tired of working an unfulfilling 9-5 and that they want to follow their dreams, their passions and do good in the world. Many of those people are like me, passionate about the outdoors, about keeping our wild places wild and pristine. Sound familiar?
What’s your dream? Your passion? Is it changing your career? Is it making a difference? Is it chasing an exciting and scary opportunity?
What’s holding you back? What are those reasons keeping you from taking a risk and just going for it?
There will never be a right time. There will always be reasons, sound and totally sane reasons, that will try to hold you back. But you know what? You will miss 100% of the chances that you don’t take.
You don’t have to be an Instagram influencer to make your dream a reality. You might be just one person, but you have the power to change the world. You just have to take a risk, to push past your reasons and just go for it.
Narrator: This blog was thoughtfully written by Mikaela Ruland. You can find her on Instagram @airundermyheels.