By: Patricia On: February 03, 2010 In: Amazing!, Journalism, Sailing, Travels, Writing Comments: 4

I hate making “big” announcements.

It seems egotistical to assume something that is big to me might mean the same to others. Usually, it doesn’t.

The two-weeks are in at my work.

Picture 5

Some of you have heard me talking about the SEA Semester program —the one educational opportunity I always regretted not doing while in college.

Starting in mid-February, I’ll be in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, which is near the beautiful Martha’s Vineyard area. I’ll be regressing to my college years, taking classes in all sorts of oceanography and maritime studies related subjects.

Then, I’m heading down to the Caribbean, to continue the semester learning about the finer points of sailing and research in the area. I chose this particular track because that whole area is close to my heart, and Panama shares a lot of the cultural and historical markers of the Caribbean region.

Did I mention I get to learn more about sailing?

And while at my work this doesn’t qualify as a journalism-related sabbatical, I plan to continue doing my own personal brand of journalism, writing about my experiences and posting photos.

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For now, I’ll spare you the details on how this is logistically happening. It just is, and this is why:

I do not want to look back later in life and regret the things I should have done when I was young and carefree.

So far this life, I’ve only regretted the things I never did — the opportunities that flew by without me doing anything.

Blaming money can only go so far before it becomes just another excuse for why I’m idle and frustrated with what I haven’t accomplished. I’m not such a fool to think that money is not important. Money allows you to find happiness in whatever it is you value.

And I’m not such a fool as to not be grateful for all have, and the great opportunities that have come my way.

But I’ve often wondered if the excuses I create are a form of denial to never admit I’m afraid.

In my dreams, I change the world. In reality, I have convinced myself it is impossible because that is easier than doing something. In reality, I’m passionate about very little because being passionate is hard, painful and often disappointing.

It is a work-in-progress to realize you do not want the same things others do, or that while you might, you just do not value them the same.

I suppose that I decided, without really meaning to, that my career would have to wait — be second to adventure for a while. I welcome work in design, whether it’s web design or print graphics, and it has not stopped being my interest to be employed in that field.

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My favorite question so far has been, “so what do you GET out of all this?” And the best response was suggested by a friend — whatever I want.

For the moment, I’m weary of defining success by what I GET in my bank account.

I’m ok with some people thinking that quitting the comfort of my steady income, and going to this program with no tangible financial benefits, is stupid.  To those people I say, I hope you find a shred of inspiration in my stupidity, to appreciate what you truly value, what you love on such a personal level that you have no need to convince others of its worth to you.

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While this ain’t the Oscars, I can’t end this post without thanking those who have supported my crazy. M.M who encouraged the crazy if only for the sake of having a dream; the unfailing Don Wittekind, who can’t get rid of me no matter how many years and miles I go from UNC; Tyler for proofreading my essays; my sailing friends Ginger, Mark and Vance among many others.

And the two people who have been putting up with the crazy from day one — my parents. Thank you for always helping me think through my odd dreams and fancies instead of dishing out crushing disapproval. Above all else in my life, I’ve been the luckiest in having you.

I’ll post here as much as possible for those who are interested, and everybody is welcomed to follow me on this new adventure, as I hope you will.

The next chapter could be better or it could be worst. Either way, I’m confident it’ll be worth the read.

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4 Comments:

  • Michelle
    February 03, 2010

    This is so EXCITING!! You will definitely look back on this moment and be grateful that you made the “crazy” choice…and anyone who says it is stupid is more than likely secretly wishing they had the courage to do the same.

    I’ll subscribe to your life’s RSS feed anytime!!

  • Astelia
    February 03, 2010

    I am eager to read every bit of your new chapter.
    Michelle is right, I’m glad you can disregard money as the means of self worth and do what you truly love regardless of how crazy it may sound to others.
    Take adventure by the horns while you can! don’t let anyone discourage you! 🙂

  • dusty
    February 03, 2010

    sounds awesome!! good luck in your adventure! does this mean no more republic…ever?

  • Michael
    February 03, 2010

    Wow. Well put.

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