As someone with ADD I find it incredibly difficult to keep my steam going in one direction, especially when it comes to long(ish) term plans….such as deciding to pack up your life and move to the Bay Islands in five months. I knew right from the start that this would be a challenge for me and so I had to prepare for it.
This is my bedroom mirror where I sit in front of and get ready every single day. I have a 2 lempira bill on the mirror and every morning I force myself to look through my sleepy half-closed eyes at it and remember my mantra for the day: “don’t spend money and don’t get fired”, which is my goal for the next five months. Yeah, I know, looking at about five cents might not help some people but it works for me. Every day when I look at it I think about heading to the kitchen and making breakfast instead of going back to bed for 20 minutes and then spending $6 on a breakfast wrap at Starbucks once I get to work.
This is the beach a few blocks from my house. I know that no matter what, as long as it’s not pissing rain (so the majority of the last few months) that I can always go to the beach, sit by myself, and enjoy the scenery for free while I plan my trip, make a packing list, or schedule my few hours of ‘free’ time. The ocean is my favorite thing in the world, so coming here reminds me of that when I’m feeling worn-down and like I don’t need to go underwater three times a day for a living. This beach recharges my batteries and I always come away with a clear head. When I spend all day in an office with artificial light and air, with printers clanking and people yammering away on phones and someone coming up to my desk every five minutes needing something, and then I spend all night in a noisy, bright, busy gelato shop, a little oasis at the beach is pacifying for my jarred nerves and resets my fire for getting to Honduras.
I’m not really that awesome at being motivated. In a way, the long days and the sore feet and the perpetual lack of sleep is motivating. I am ready for the days where my lifestyle is much more laid-back. The money is a huge motivator, of course – if I don’t have enough, I can’t go. But what’s stopping me from just staying a little longer and working a little more if I decide not to take some shifts just because I’m tired? Finally having a goal that I’m working towards that I actually really truly want.
A big motivator for me is knowing that people don’t think I’ll do it, or don’t think that I can do it. I am always ‘that’ person – the one who doesn’t want to do something but the second you say she can’t then she’s doing it 140% and kicking your ass at it. When I graduated from university and somehow got the idea in my head that I wanted to move to Vancouver, I probably would have flailed out after a few weeks as usual and ended up staying and saying “next year” for every year. However, one quick “why would you move to Vancouver, that’s a terrible idea” from my dad cemented my plans and I ploughed forward at mach speed, packing my life into a minivan and arriving in Vancouver with basically nothing and no plans other than getting a really cool apartment by the beach (which guess what..I did!). I had a rough first six months but now I’ve been out here for 4 years and loved almost every second of it.
So I know a lot of people think leaving a corporate job that pays the bills and moving to a 300-person town on a tiny island in a foreign country is a stupid idea. I’m okay with that. If anything, it gives me a boost. But I’ve made it the last three months with only one thought driving me – I want to go back to Roatan and become a diving instructor and live there, end of story, and the fact that I’m still working so hard towards this just affirms that I’m doing the right thing for myself. Roatan makes me happy. Diving makes me happy. Sitting in a cubicle all day for the rest of my foreseeable future does not. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY RIGHT NOW. And if you’re like me, with no spouse, kids, dog or mortgage to complicate things, then you have very few excuses for not doing what makes you happy. If you have all those things, you have a few excuses but excuses won’t get you far in life or contribute to your happiness. I don’t think it’s easy and it isn’t that fun right now, but I figured out what I want right now in life and I’m going after it full tilt.