What it Costs

There are few days when I don’t consider myself the luckiest person in the world. I’ve managed to pull together enough personal resources and relationships to do many amazing things in some of the most beautiful places in the world. But anyone living life in pursuit of dreams knows that there’s a price to be paid. Relative to personal happiness money has very little value. But we still have to come up with the cash to meet the mortgage, cover the utilities, make a car payment and buy groceries.

For those who have a spouse or children to support the obligations of family are even more critical. The price of household expenses aside there’s also the very high cost of time spent away from home and the burden of moments missed in our loved ones’ lives that can never be reclaimed.

Often when people ask “How did you get such cool job?” I’m typically stuck for an answer. It’s hard to say how anyone winds up on this particular career path. Sometimes struggling to make ends meet between paid writing or reporting gigs as a freelance journalist I sometimes think I’d be better off getting a “real job” punching a time clock in a cubical back home. But all I have do is think about that next assignment somewhere in the future and I manage to set those feelings aside and come up with a new project,hopefully a little better than the last.

But when I’m asked what I charge for my work I sometimes feel just as stuck for answer. When you love what you do and after sacrificing so much to do it every day it’s hard to put a pricetag on your passion. My friend artist and adventurer Jeremy Collins put it beautifully in a recent post on Facebook. “What does it cost to follow your dreams?” he wrote. “It costs everything you have.”

Along with a poignant essay he posted a brilliant drawing to illustrate his thoughts. I have the pleasure of sharing both here on the Joy Trip Project. And thanks to the support of my followers and sponsors I was able to pay him for his work. ~JEM

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What it Costs
Words and Image by Jeremy Collins

A common question I get about what I do whether it’s the making and selling of art, or the planning and realizing of international remote adventures is “What Does it Cost”?

The question assumes I can answer like a travel agent, accountant, or gallery owner, each of which I am not.

“What does it cost” is a personal investment question. We inquire because we wonder if we HAVE what it COSTS to acquire what we find desirable. “What does it cost?” asks the question- how can I get that?

But asking a dreamer “what does it cost” is like asking a mother “how much do you love your child?”.

They LOVE with what they HAVE. To follow dreams, the same is true. It COSTS what you HAVE.

Yet… “What it costs” cannot simply be defined in dollars and cents.

The costs are not analyzed in well gridded spread sheets, or displayed in logically organized receipts neatly arranged in small manila envelopes with the red string closure.

What does it cost [to follow dreams]?

It costs long nights at your desk alone, with doubt creeping in the shadows.
It costs awkward conversations about our worst ideas just to get it out.
It costs time. Heartache.
It costs money, yes, it’s true. Lots of it- money hard earned and quickly burned.
It can cost a relationship.
It costs patience. Failure.
Following my dreams has cost me many nights of sleep, sacrificed to a staring contest with the ceiling.
It costs weight loss. Weight gain. Muscle loss, Muscle gain.
Confidence loss, confidence gain.Sadness. Joy.
It costs risk, over and over, with the stakes growing higher and higher.
It costs time with my wife. My children. Myself.
It costs constant effort and belief.
It costs adaptation. Rejection.
It costs skin, sweat, and blood.
It costs starting.
It costs STARTING OVER.
It costs years and years and miles and miles.
It’s cost me 9 vehicles in 20 years.
Pain.
Discomfort.
Late fees.
It costs honesty with others.With myself.
It costs minutes, and days, and a lifetime.

So, what does it cost to follow your dreams?

It costs everything you have.

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Jeremy Collins living the dream

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The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to the generous support of MAKO Surgical Corp. Ask your doctor if you’re a candidate for MAKOPlasty.

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Author:James

I'm a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

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