This spring break has definitely been noteworthy. I currently find myself in Bucharest, Romania, and it has been quite the journey.
I spent the last two days in the ER of a hospital in Athens.
It was part of our Greece trip that the accident occurred. The itinerary was going just as planned until… Mykonos.
My classmate, Summer, had some issues with her quad one night as it stalled going up the hill that led to our hotel. She hopped off and attempted to stop it from rolling down the hill.
Unfortunately, it was really close to the wall and it smashed her hand. It was a stressful time as we were out of our comfort zones and stuck in a foreign hospital.
All that aside, we’ve persevered to continue the rest of our trip and found ourselves in Bucharest where we landed in one of the most phenomenal hostels I’ve ever experienced.
It is called the Podstel Doors Hostel. It’s owned by four gentlemen but run by three of them: Jason, Sam, and Daniel. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason.
From the minor interactions I had with Jason when he checked us in that first night, I knew he had a lot to teach me. His tranquil demeanor meshed extremely well with the Zen ambience of the hostel.
He was a walking contradiction as he seemed almost too free spirited yet highly logical. The stories of his travels would soon reveal the complexity of his character.
Jason had lived in the states and was attending university. He faced the same dilemma that a lot of millennials are presented with today.
“I started my studies for no good reason just because society told me that’s what was good… People around me were doing it… but, I never really had a good personal reason for doing it… the point came where I had to start going into debt… I had worked a couple jobs and my parent’s college fund for me was running out… or change something.”
As I love to say, I fear debt like the plague. Jason felt something similar to me as he was faced with the same issue a decade ago.
But, that’s not the bigger picture.
It was more of being sure that the debt was personally worth it. It was defying societal pressures of what is a constructed norm and doing what fits right with who you are as an individual.
To Jason, that meant finding that “Why?” factor in his life and pursuing it full force. If he realized it was a burning passion for education that fulfilled him, he would have thought differently about student debt.
A decade ago, at the age of 18, he made the pivotal decision to pack a backpack and buy a one-way ticket to Switzerland.
How in the world did he gain the courage to take such a leap?
Clarity of your purpose is everything.
“I wrote down two lists… one of them was what my life looks like right now and the other was what I want my life to look like… My whole life up until that point was sort of going through the motions and I felt deeply dissatisfied with that. And then I wrote another list of things that could possibly transform my life into more of the things that I want… and travelling was at the top of the list and that’s how I started traveling.”
Jason clarified his “Why?” and took off with it. He truly followed his heart as he was finally pursuing something he was passionate about.
He loved human connection, language acquisition, and the ability to reinvent himself without the societal pressures.
“I knew this wasn’t a choice for me… it wasn’t like a thing that I think should do or might be able to do… This was a must for me because of this deep dissatisfaction that I identified only after writing these lists out. I felt something was wrong for years before I even wrote these lists.”
He stresses the clarity that comes with writing out these lists could potentially bring you.
It’s as easy as one… two… three
- What isn’t okay in your life?
- What would you like your life to look like?
- What would get you to the things in the second list?
He stresses that materializing your own personalized needs, wants, and goals to achieve those wants will bring an immense amount of benefits.
It is that burning passion that follows with figuring out clearly what you were meant to pursue that allowed him to jump with both feet in, towards any obstacle life threw at him.
You stop thinking about all the reasons that’ll hold you back, and you just do it. It’s that intrinsic motivator that pushes you past the point that most rational people would give up at.
It doesn’t make sense. It’s not logic.
If it was logic, it would be teachable to the masses. Passion would be easily transferable to anyone that had an eager ear to listen.
This is not the case.
Purpose is personally tailored to the individual. Our strengths, weaknesses, interests, temperaments, and experiences all differ significantly.
However, the thing that concerned me most, as a young individual with an impressionable mind, was the potential excess of passions.
I am passionately curious about almost everything. This leads to me some of the most interesting conversations but it can also lead me to investing too much time into hobbies that I probably shouldn’t.
Jason’s answer was simple.
“The easiest way is to think about it in negative terms. Think of it in terms of… if you didn’t do this and if this didn’t happen… would you be devastated? Would you be devastated when you died or got older?”
There are a few things in life that we cannot even fathom not accomplishing. Maybe we haven’t given it much thought so those things are unclear.
Jason urges us to see the bigger and clearer picture of our lives so we don’t have to look back through our graying years and wish that we had lived differently.
There’s no place better than today to initiate growth.
If you’d like to connect with Jason a bit more here’s his personal website: