Dating a minor league baseball player is anything but easy. Long road trips, living out of a suitcase and unexpected moves are a way of life. These men give their all for the sport, their passion and wouldn’t have it any other way. They leave their families and friends and live on the road to pursue their dreams. Although this life is certainly not for everyone, I found this passion extremely inspiring, which is exactly what I needed to make my own dreams of travel photography and writing a reality.
Jake has been a professional baseball player for the better part of a decade. He lives his life traveling, pitching and pursuing his major league dream. This kind of life isn’t all sunshine and roses, it takes major dedication and sacrifice, which is something I can relate to.
I found success in the corporate world at an early age. This success, much like Jake’s career, took extreme dedication and sacrifice. I spent the majority of my 20’s building my resume, spending Saturday night’s “logged in” and keeping romance on the sidelines, until I found Jake. He was someone who understood my goals, supported them and was just as busy as I was; it was the perfect match.
We spent the first year of our relationship apart while he was on the road. I traveled to see him as often as I could, but with work and time constraints this proved to be more difficult than either of us had anticipated. During this time, my career was better than ever, I was making great money and I had an apartment that I adored, but something was still missing in my life (other than Jake). I loved my work, but I began questioning whether or not I was living for my own dream, or if I had been hired to build someone else’s. After spending the year watching Jake travel, pursue his passion and experience life in a way most people only dream about, the only thing that kept running through my mind was, “Why COULDN’T I do this? Why couldn’t we ALL do this?”.
The following year I finally made the leap and decided to leave my safe, corporate job and the city I called home to travel the country with Jake, experience the way of baseball life and discover a new path for myself. When we shared our plans, the reactions we got were expected. Most people thought I was crazy to leave such a secure job and couldn’t understand letting go of the financial security. Other’s were intrigued and loved the idea, but could never imagine it for themselves because they didn’t know where to start or how to do it.
The truth of the matter is that most people fear failure and crave security. When you make a decision like this, be prepared for it. Most people spend the majority of life in one place trying to figure out who and what they want to be instead of stepping out into the universe and letting it come to them. What this majority doesn’t understand is that happiness can be a simple formula if you take life into your own hands. I’m here to tell you that anyone can do this by understanding these five things:
1. Set attainable goals, make a budget and stick to the plan.
It’s really that easy. Traveling takes money, yes, but so does living in general. If you’re spending money on rent to stay in one place you could be spending that same money to live wherever you choose, whenever you choose to do it. It’s your choice. You may not be able to pack up and relocate or hit the road tomorrow, but you can set a time frame and budget accordingly. Most importantly, once your plan is made stick to it and your time will come.
2. If you think you don’t have the resources or help, understand that you do, you just have to be open and willing to use them.
The “Six Degrees of Separation” theory, by Frigyes Karinth states that everything and everyone is only six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction. Use this universal resource to your advantage and network. Whether it be using LinkedIn for career opportunities, reconnecting on Facebook with an old friend who lives in the area you want to be in or asking a friend of a friend in your desired career field for tips and advice, networking is the way to go. You would be surprised at the amount of help people are willing to give if you just ask.
3. Your passion, or discovering it, should be your priority.
You have to put your passion, or the journey to discovering it first. This is the most crucial piece of advice I can give you. You should never feel guilty for putting yourself and your dreams first. If you don’t, who will? Take it one day at a time, stay focused and keep moving.
4. Others may not understand, but you can do this without their support.
There are a few common untruth’s you may hear when you make the decision to do this, such as “it’s safer to stay put”, “only the lucky ones make it” or my personal favorite “you’re screwed if it doesn’t work out”. Remember that this is YOUR journey. Not everyone is going to understand where you’re going, and that’s okay; they’re not meant to come along for the ride.
5. Life is much too short to wait or have regrets.
Stop waiting for the perfect time; there will never be a “perfect” time. Stop waiting for tomorrow; tomorrow is never promised to any of us. You’re going to face obstacles and disappointments, it’s a part of life, but the setbacks aren’t what you’re going to remember or regret. When you fall, pick yourself back up and keep moving. That’s what life is all about. In the end, the only regret you’re going to have is letting your dreams be just dreams.
Photo Credit: Jamilyn Photography