Essays

Writing about things.

What Is ‘Journey Without Maps'?

Two years ago today I dropped out of law school on the first day of spring semester. It didn’t have to be this way. My grades were good, I loved my classmates, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the law. But something was wrong.

I was unhappy. I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that there was something else I should be doing with my life. Something that, if I stayed the course and paid my way through three years of school, would be lost and gone to me forever.

So I dropped out. I told my parents, told my friends, and then signed the paperwork. I remember the feeling afterwards so well. It was as if I had irreversibly altered my own little corner of the universe. A branch of existence had been cut off, and a new, entirely different one, was to grow in its place.

This wasn’t a Robert Frost poem - there were no divergent paths in the woods. I had made the decision, based on instinct alone, to break off and blaze a path where there was none. The high I felt, knowing that my life had changed forever, was unforgettable. It was like jumping off a cliff and finding out you could fly.

And so the motto - Journey Without Maps - was inspired. First penned almost a century ago to describe an excursion into the African rainforest, the motto reminds me of that decision I made two years ago.

Whether it’s money, family, or the desire for approval, we all deal with outside pressures that trick us into thinking we need to live a certain way. They keep us from quitting this job, or taking that one. They shame us into dressing a certain way or driving a certain car. They scare us into staying put.

The truth is that it’s impossible for us to be happy by following a set path, because deep down each of us is a true original. There’s never been anyone like you before, and there will never be again. Your reason to exist is to blaze a new path, and inspire the people around you in the process.

Never let anyone convince you, or worse yet convince yourself, that it’s too late to do something new. To change careers. To move to a new city or a new country. To end up with someone that makes you happy. Forget about what people before you have done, or what a “sensible” person would do. That’s irrelevant to you and what will make you happy. 

In the end we only get one shot at this - one shot to live the life we want. So when you're kept up too many nights in a row by that voice telling you the time is now, just listen.

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