Fine. The real prompt is: What difference do you want to make?
That’s either a super easy question or a very challenging one.
Easy answer: I want to inspire people, I want people to love traveling, I want fewer people to feel stuck at their desk jobs.
That’s what I’m supposed to say.
But really, do I even want to make a difference? Isn’t that a bit grandiose for Little Ole Me? Do I mean any of the kind-hearted answers I gave above? If so, why do I only think about myself lately? Seriously, my brain is 30% UK travel plans, 30% which tiny trailer should I move into when I come back from the UK, 30% I don’t have enough money for my desires, and 10% bitching about working every single day. Did you notice how ZERO PERCENT involves anyone else? I can’t focus on making a difference in the world if I’m 100% consumed with myself. It’s just not how things work.
Yesterday I wrote my Elevator Pitch. When people ask what I do, I’m supposed to tell them what excites me, not what my jobs are. I landed on, “I’m a traveling storyteller”. I don’t know if I have the gumption to make such claims to strangers, but that was yesterday’s choice.
Still, it got me thinking, and all that thinking made me angry (tbh it doesn’t take much). When people make small talk with me, they ask where I went to school and what I majored in. University of Minnesota with a degree in Art, double minor in Film Studies and Cultural Studies in Comparative Literature. Then they ask, “What are you going to do with that?” AND I
HATE DISLIKE THEM FOR IT IMMEDIATELY! Why does every Get To Know You session begin with how I’m making a career out of an art degree?
But I’m polite, so I swallow my angst and say, “My art degree wasn’t just about making artwork. It prepared me to be a creative problem solver, and that skill translates to any field.” Which is true. Then I tell them what I really like to do.
I say: I like to travel. That’s what I really want to do with my life.
Then I wait.
They will reply with one of two things.
1. That’s so cool!
2. You have your head in the clouds.
OOOO it makes me mad. To be fair, most #2s sugar-coat their comment with politeness. Like, “Wouldn’t that be nice.” They toss my dream aside because it sounds like a permanent vacation. They don’t know that traveling can be super hard and stressful. I mean, I’ve lived with rats, spiders the size of a child’s hand, showered for a month without soap, and when I go to another country everything I own must fit in my backpack.
But you know what? I do have my head in the clouds. I wish more people did. That’s the difference I want to make.