After 230 consecutive days traveling around the world I returned back home to take a three month break and in that short period of time I was asked the same question by what feels like hundreds of people.  The conversation typically started out with, “It’s good to see you. How was your trip?” but by the end of our chat without fail, the same question would always arise, how do you do it?

How are you able to travel around the world?

This is the same exact question I used to ask established travel bloggers such as Nomadic Matt or Adventurous Kate while sitting in my cubicle only two short years ago as I felt trapped and completely lost.  I thought – how in the world do these people do it?  They must have a trust fund.  They must not have student loans.  They must have something that I don’t.

But I was looking in all the wrong places.  The funny thing is, I didn’t even know how I was able to do it until after I returned back home.  In fact, it just hit me tonight as I sat down to write this article.  The way that I am able to travel the world is very simple.  It’s because it is the one thing that,

I am willing to struggle through at all cost.

All these years I was trying to figure out what would bring me happiness by foolishly looking at the reward at the end of each road.  It was so easy to fantasize about the end result while ignoring the treacherous path necessary to get me there.  It took me 8 months and 25 countries to realize it but I can see clearly now that,

Our struggles determine our success.

As a kid and even into my college years I always imagined that one day I would be the CEO of a major corporation.  My imagination drew a corner office overlooking manhattan, equipped with a mini bar, pool table, personal secretary and a closet full of exquisite suits.  It just looked fun.  So why am I no longer aspiring to be the next CEO of Pepsi?

Because I wasn’t willing to suffer through the 70 hour work weeks or climb my way up the corporate ladder any further with my lifeless and blistered fingers.  I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my precious time and energy for a short lived end result.  Simply put, the risk was not worth the reward; at least not for me it wasn’t.  It’s so blatantly obvious to me now that I didn’t really want any of those things at all.

What we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to get us those good feelings. -Mark Manson

Everybody wants to find their soulmate with the instant click of a button because we lack the necessary patience while stumbling on the path to true love.  Overcoming rejection, dealing with sexual frustration, the hours spent staring at your phone waiting for that text message or online dating match.  It’s all part of the game of love and you can’t win if you aren’t willing to play.

Some people want children but aren’t willing to accept the gigantic responsibility that comes with it.  They love the idea of posting baby photos online and envision all the precious moments when the baby is happy and smiling.  However they dismiss the moments when the baby is wide awake crying at 3 AM for the seventieth night in a row.  I imagine it to be the most beautiful and rewarding gift in the world but to some people for whatever reason; the cost doesn’t outweigh the benefit which is why we have babies being put up for adoption every day.

If you want to lose weight then you have to want to want the early mornings, the sweat and the unbearable fatigue.  If you want to sail across the ocean then you have to want the storm, the crashing waves and the lonely nights at sea.

The real reason I am able to travel around the world is because I am willing to suffer through the 20 hour bus rides driven by manic Vietnamese drug dealers, the sleepless nights in 10 bed dorm room hostels, the 13 hour overnight train rides through Egypt being the only foreigner on board, the struggle of constantly being challenged with foreign languages, the moments of frustration and fatigue when all I want is a comfortable place to sleep for a few hours, the bed bugs in Vienna, the food poisoning in Thailand and the feeling of not knowing where I am going to be tomorrow.

the reason I am able to travel the world

It ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. -Rocky Balboa

To me, the benefit far outweighs the cost associated with traveling the world.  My 5 Best Travel Moments such as the time when I saw the Pyramids in Egypt without a single other soul in site.  Or the moment I witnessed the most captivating sunset of my life at what felt like the edge of the earth in Greece.  These moments, even if they are only a split second, are the kind of moments that I am willing to do whatever it takes to make happen again and again.

If you’ve never experienced that euphoric feeling then I urge you, I beg you; listen to that little voice that has been giving you subtle hints all these years and go fulfill your dream.  Find whatever it is you are willing to suffer through at all costs then drop the excuses holding you back.  It’s not going to be easy but I can guarantee you that your heart will fill up with pure joy.

I am willing to bet that most of us already know what will bring us unfiltered happiness but for whatever reason, we choose a different path.  This is done because we aren’t willing to struggle, suffer and endure any pain along the way to make it a reality.

Now it’s time for you to decide.

What do you want in life so much that you are willing to struggle through at all costs?

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