We all have our nomad heroes. Jack Kerouac, Christopher McCandless, Amelia Earhart, the old man from Up, etc.
Their lives and work inspire you, and you aim to land in their shoes.
Hashtag life goals.
How? You work, and work, and then you work in pursuit of your dreams. Meanwhile, thanks to our social media culture, the results of that effort get shared far and wide.
For example, if you leverage your travel adventures into some kind of business or personal creative project, your words, pictures, and other work are slathered across the internet in one form or another. Your life and work start to run together so much that you're never sure when you are on or off the clock.
As online business relies so much on clicks, views, and impressions, it’s basically your job to broadcast what you’re doing.
One problem: most people only see one side of this equation –– the glamorous one, where you're taking selfies near some famed work of architecture or looking out at a beautiful landscape as if you are thinking deeply about the meaning of life.
Due to this distorted lens, something strange starts to happen. Friends, near and far flung, family members, and complete strangers start to see and analyze you. Then, they give you and your life labels and commentary that you never saw coming.
Some of which is critical, and patently unfair. Harsh comments can be a complete buzzkill when you're trying to do something weird and great.
So, how to deal with criticism that can bring you down?
An example from my life
Even before I started culling my travels and adventures into a purposeful online platform, I received comments on my pictures or private messages from friends asking how on earth I managed to travel so much, or who told me I had an Elite Daily Life, whatever that means.
Such commentaries always threw me off. What? How? Who, me?
I just like to go places, and I find a way to do it. Simple. I’ve woven nomadism into my lifestyle and goals.
Since graduating from college, I’ve lived and traveled in many places, within and outside the US. These moves have often been driven by work decisions, but since I love travel, I’ve always made sure to integrate that into whatever I’ve done.
Along the way, people have seen the social media version of my life, which as we know, is nothing close reality.
Whether I’ve always realized it or not, people’s perceptions of my life have formed, sometimes erroneously. Some have asked me if I actually have a job, or if I’m being funded by my family. Others assume I’m on perpetual vacation. If I’m a betting lady, some scoff and say I’m running away from reality (to other people that are not me).
And if we’re being honest, most don’t give a flying f•ck what I’m doing with my life.
However, if your journey is anything like mine, you will encounter such frustrating opinions along the way. You know, the ones that try to somehow discredit the strange and wonderful life that you’ve built.
Why haters aren't terrible people
As annoyed as I’d like to get with such people, can you blame them? The ugly sides of life don’t often make it to the wider world.
People don’t see the late nights and early mornings that you spend toiling away at your computer or workspace.
They don’t witness you busting your ass to work multiple jobs in order to sustain your lifestyle.
They don’t notice the abject loneliness that is absent from social media posts.
They completely miss the blood, sweat, and tears that you pour into your business to make it a reality.
They skip ahead and assume –– that you’re somehow loftily living this life of luxury, likely on someone else’s dime. It’s just based on a lot of not knowing what happens behind the curtain.
In addition, it’s an excuse to feel better about not doing whatever it is you’re doing.
Now, before you tell me that that sounds huffy and elitist, let me make one thing very clear: no one lifestyle is better than the other. What is right for you is not right for everyone.
But, when people see others –– especially their peers –– flourishing, and accomplishing goals that they themselves once had and perhaps abandoned, their reactions go one of two ways:
Which one do you think happens more frequently?
In my experience, people’s reactions tend to be the big E’s: envy and excuses.
“Wow, that’s so great! I wish I could do something like that, but…”
Then the why-not’s begin.
Take control of your reaction
You have a couple choices at that moment: you can let it slide or challenge them with facts.
You can let that person wallow in their woe is me emotions, or you can tell them the truth.
World travel, entrepreneurship, fame, financial success, or whatever it is that you are chasing, comes with a huge price tag: typically, big sacrifices of time, money, and social life, and insane amounts of work to get there.
Unless you are indeed a trust fund baby riding out gifted wealth to the land of success, you deserve to feel proud of what you’ve accomplished, regardless of any detractions or unfair comments you might receive; you've worked for what you have.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what other people think about how you got to where you are.
You know the truth. Your life is what you have created. You –– no one else.
One of my favorite images I’ve ever found on the internet is this one of Pizza Cat riding on Taco Turtle. It’s ridiculous, amazing, and so true. I like to look at it now and then as a reminder to keep my head down and continue working toward my goals.
There will always be the comments section of life. But you don’t have to live there.
Just keep hustling until you are someone’s hero.
Let's change the world.
Who wrote this?
Gina Edwards, Impact Explorer founder and lover of all pun jokes, making a positive change in the world, Stephen Colbert, Jif Peanut Butter, and staying inside on rainy days. Order may vary.