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The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem.

Lately, I’ve been playing a crapload of mental tug-of-war.

Seriously.  Both sides of my brain must be like… amazingly buff right now.  In fact, if I could figure out a way to box and market this game, I’d probably be a bajillionaire.  And if I were a bajillionaire, I wouldn’t be playing mental tug-of-war.  At least not this particular game.

The thing is, I’m sure I’m not unique when it comes to what, exactly, is gnawing on both sides of my mind.  It’s money.

There, I said it.

Do you feel dirty now?

For some reason it seems like talking about money (without offering up a this-is-the-plan-that-will-get-you-out-of-debt-for-GOOD solution) is a huge faux pas.  It makes people uncomfortable.  They feel inadequate if they have little and guilty if they have a lot.

There is no doubt in my mind that you need money to be happy.  Tiny Tim was a perfectly delightful, high-spirited little boy, but he would have died if it weren’t for Scrooge’s money, and then he definitely wouldn’t have been happy.  Not one little bit.

I’m not saying you need a lot of money — just enough to provide your basic needs, a sense of security, and possibly for indulging in a passion.  And it’s that passion in particular that brings the happiness.

And please.  Don’t confuse “passion” for “stuff.”

So this tug-of-war game I’ve been playing goes like this:  I know I’ve been wanting to make travel — regular travel — a major part of my life.  The problem is, even though nearly every dream and drive I’ve had since childhood has pointed me in that direction with everything short of flashing neon arrows, it didn’t even really occur to me to try to do something about it until 2 years ago.

So I did what any rational, level-headed, Type A person would do:  I quit my job and did a work exchange in Costa Rica for 2 months.

(Needless to say, I am not level-headed or Type A.  And rational?  Try rash.)

Okay, in retrospect I see the problem.  This type of highly emotional quarter-life crisis decision-making was not sustainable in the least.  And worse, it whet my wanderlust with a fierceness.  While I wouldn’t trade the experience or the friends I made for anything, it’s fair to say that I now wish I’d thought beyond the trip.  That I’d made a plan.  And, most important, that I’d taken the time to save a significant amount of cash from my previous job before kissing that paycheck goodbye.

The thing is, when you hear those amazing stories about people who make a dramatic life change and their lives suddenly turn out all joyous and magical and completely figured out, they don’t tell you how much planning and preparation were involved before the deed was done.  Or, how much money.  All I heard was, “Go for it!  Live your dream!  Everything will fall into place!”

Well.  Those people probably weren’t making $800 per month student loan payments.

And now my mind’s at it again.

There’s the dreamer side that says spread your wings and FLY.  OPTIMISM will carry you through.  Who needs food when you have NAIVETY on your side?

And of course, the practical side that says I should do boring things like plan and calculate and save money.

Hence, the tug-of-war.  Not to mention the fact that the quickest way for me to save money right now would be to get a second job, likely as a waitress once again, which would take me away from Justin and the pups.  Just so I can… travel away from Justin and the pups?  No, thank you.  I will have my cake and eat it too, if you please.

So.  Which do you think is right?

a) Hard work and discipline is the best and most effective way to get what you want in this world.  Stay strong, make a plan, have patience, and eventually you will reach your goals!

b) There are no guarantees when it comes to Tomorrow, and nothing can stop you when it comes to the Power of Positive Thinking. Send good vibes into the Universe and keep plowing ahead, and roadblocks will tumble as you go!

I know which one I want to believe.

But, in reality, I’m guessing we need a whole lot of both.

Lucias Art on Etsy (first saw on



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Kat Richter

Goodness I hear ya, Katie! (As always…lol!) I feel like studying abroad has done permanent damage (as in I’ll always want to go back and frankly the thought of running off the Costa Rica right now sounds pretty damn appealing) but I know you’ll figure it out, one way or another. And I like today’s inspirational photo thingamajig :) Which reminds me: in the wake of all this single bridezilla nonsense I have a crazy idea to run by you… I’ll fb you.


Nope — big timers like you need to stay near New York. ;)


This is my daily dilemma right here. However. You are still under 30 aren’t you? Have you looked into working holiday visas? I’m pretty sure Americans can get UK or Australia at least, and probably some other places. The thing with those is you can work while you travel, so you don’t need to have as much money to do them.


I’m barely undeer 30 — kind of at that point where it’s no longer “cute” to run around trying to “find myself.” :) You’re right, though, I should look into a work visa — but I’m still not sure what kind of work I’d do if/when I get somewhere.


One of the articles I wrote for my site is called the Power of Dreams it about this person that made the news and was interviewed on ABC 20/20 by achieving his dream in a very unconventional and non traditional way. It just shows that anything is possible for someone with an open mind and a true desire to achieve them.

Your right you do need A and B in a sense Although most people think that A means working at a traditional 9-5 treadmill. I personally believe that the is the way to make “someone else” rich their goals. If you follow that line of thought further is the answer you come to is only way to get financially secure in life is to work for yourself.

I am currently working on taking my own advice and from reading your blog for a while now I know you are smart and creative enough to eventually you will find your own path and answers and wish you the best on that quest.


Thank you for the motivating words, as usual. :) I think you’ll get there too!

Barb Lewis

oh Katie, that boxing match isn’t reserved for the young! I am getting ready (at twice your age) to embark on a year long trip trying to follow the path taken as a child 49 years ago. You see my mother, 3 of her friends and I went on a camping trip summer of 63 that forever changed me. Mindful it may have been sleeping on the ground (no air mattresses then) in sleeping bags that may have caused damage to my mind,, but I have for the last49 years wanted to recreate that trip. Unfortunately all the adults present then are gone, but I still have vivid memories of some of the places we visited.

What brought this on, my illness and going on disability. Income dropped over 60% but, if I play my cards right it will be just enough to get a small vintage camper and hit the road. Wish me luck, I’ll let you know how it goes………needless to say I say go for it!



I love this. And I’m SO, so happy to hear that you’re going to go for it! It won’t be easy, but most of the worthwhile things in this life never are. ;)

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