Airplane taking off at sunset
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Indulging In Passion

he roar of the engine had announced his arrival before he met with me to pick me up and head on down to see the New York Mets take on the Atlanta Braves in the home opener at Turner Field — I mockingly call the stadium turn your stomach — for the start of the fiftieth year of major league baseball played in Atlanta.

There it was, bathed in a color known as Velocity Yellow, growling away was his passion: he just recently purchased a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible in the latest styling. The tint coat paint gleamed in the sun, the top down, the car hungrily ready to eat up the streets — dare anyone even consider attempting to outrun it.

He sat confidently in the cockpit — you cannot just call it a driver’s seat — in the car, fully loaded with every gadget and toy at his disposal. “I am disappointed,” I said as I walked up to the car. “All I see is your Hyundai. Where is your new Corvette?”

I will spare you his reaction to my comment.

“Does it have a beer cooler?” I jokingly asked as entered the car, cradled in the leather seat which was low to the ground.

“Nope,” he replied. “Got no use for one.”

What was left of the hair on my head — and other parts of my body — was about 500 feet behind us by the time he said the word use as he put the pedal to the metal, cornered the corner and gunned the car up the road with the wind swirling above us. My body parts all caught back up with me when that car stopped on a dime from whatever miles per hour to zero.

I could tell he was having the time of his life. He was indulging in a passion of his — a passion, he revealed to me, that he had since he was a boy: he always wanted to own a Corvette.

“An intense desire or enthusiasm for something” is how the Oxford Dictionaries defines the word passion — although sometimes a passion of one person cannot be fully understood by another person.

There are people — in some ways, myself included — who would not understand a passion to own a Corvette. It is a car. It gets you from point A to point B. And it is expensive to maintain. Major expensive to maintain.

“Driving a Corvette is not simply riding in a car,” he explained to me. “It is an experience.”

I could not argue with that. Being a passenger in that car was an experience all by itself. Driving it — well — I could only imagine what that meant to him. For him, it is more than an experience. It is his passion — and I could tell that it was worth every single last penny to him.

I have expressed in the past that travel is my passion. It always has been my passion. It probably always will be my passion — and I enjoy indulging in it.

There are people who do not understand my passion, either. For example, my father would say to me that he had no desire to travel internationally when there was so much to see in the United States.

I suppose my father was technically correct; but I had always thought that that line of thinking was rather narrow when pertaining to travel. For me, travel offers more of an experience and an education than anything else of which I can think — documentaries, books, classrooms — and there are an endless number of places around the world from which one can never truly experience or learn in the United States.

Then again, there are people who would be satisfied to simply visit Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and “travel around the world” at the international pavilions at Epcot. After having done that some years ago, I can safely say that it would be an understatement to say that that experience cannot even come close to comparing to actually traveling internationally — despite not having to spend hours or days aboard airplanes…

…but travel is my passion and not the passion of many of those people who visit Epcot. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose…

…which leads me to another passion of my friend — albeit less than that of a Corvette — and that is going to a stadium to see a Major League Baseball game. While I do not mind watching a baseball game once in a while — and I do enjoy attending one with my friend — I do not understand how people can be so passionate about it.

I looked in the program of the game and noticed something interesting: not one player from the New York Mets or the Atlanta Braves were from New York or Atlanta. Some were not even from the United States. Why would anyone want to root for one team or the other? Just because the name of their home city is attached to the name of their team?

Moreover, why would anyone root for a bunch of men playing a game — each one of them earning millions of dollars a year to do so? “You are preaching to the choir,” said my friend — who in a former life was once a teacher earning a low salary. The idea that more of a value is placed on baseball players than teachers and other people who arguably contribute more to society can be mind-boggling and ludicrous…

…and not everyone in Cobb County — located northwest of Atlanta — is thrilled with the Atlanta Braves moving to a new stadium there in 2017. Why would anyone want to subsidize an entity which earns billions of dollars in revenue with their tax dollars — especially if they may not buy the argument that the revenue generated for Cobb County as a result of the new stadium might increase and perhaps eventually lower taxes for residents of that county?

I find it incredible that enough people are passionate about baseball — and sports in general — where they are willing to pay a significant amount of money to support them. You could easily spend $50.00 to attend one baseball game — and that may or may not include an official program, food, beverages and parking. You rarely ever get to meet any of the players themselves…

…but there are those who will argue that attending a baseball game is an experience — and that perhaps fuels their passion.

I would disagree with that, as I would rather be a part of the action than be a spectator. Traveling is being a part of the action for me — hence, fueling my passion for it. Not everyone understands that; and I am fine with that.

Indulging in passion is something which I believe is important because I am happy as a result. Ideally, everyone would be able to indulge in their passions; but there is usually a reason not to do so: it costs money. There is not enough time. It would require too much effort. I have a family to raise.

In many cases, those are really excuses and not actual reasons. Summer Hull of Mommy Points, Angelina Aucello of Just Another Points Traveler, and Sarah of The Road Warriorette are all expecting additional children to their families. Gary Leff of View From The Wing has had a full-time job as chief financial officer for a university research center for years while juggling such entities as Milepoint and the Freddie Awards. They — as well as numerous other people whom I can cite, including myself — all can easily conjure reasons and excuses why they cannot or should not travel…

…but they still do anyway.

As a certified executive coach, people often reveal to me things that they wish they could be doing — passions in which they would like to indulge — but cannot. When I ask them why, I get the aforementioned reasons and excuses. When I ask questions such as “can you make more time?” or “what is stopping you?” — usually more detailed than that; but I am simply citing examples — they usually look at me with faces enveloped in incredulity and respond “I don’t know. Why can’t I?!?”

The looks on their faces then start to reflect the possibilities which swirl through their minds at what they can do if they really wanted to — and they can. And they do.

Perhaps it means giving up watching one of their favorite television programs and picking up that saxophone, playing songs and even writing music — or booking that airline ticket and heading off to a land far away for a week or two.

As one major manufacturer of running shoes used as an advertising slogan, “just do it” — and it can be done without shirking responsibilities.

Life is too short to keep putting off indulging in what you consider your passion. If you have read this article and can personally relate to it, I urge you to please figure out how you can set aside time to indulge in your passion — even if other people cannot comprehend it…

…and if you are interested in me assisting with you indulging in and realizing your passion, please let me know in the Comments section below.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Hi Brian
    came across your article as I was sitting at my laptop debating the pros and cons of “indulging my passion for travel” and just going ahead and booking an expensive (at any rate for me) family holiday in June. So I have both the good angel and bad angel sitting on my shoulders arguing both points of view and unfortunately both seem valid 🙁 The good angel tells me that it isn’t wise to blow up what would be essentially almost 6 months earnings on a 8 day holiday and that I should be saving or investing that money etc. etc. while the bad fairy tells me “that you only live once and that it’s important to create memories and that I should just do it and that it’s only money and I can always make it again, but this time will never come back” right now both arguments seem equally strong…let’s see who wins out !

    1. That is a tough call, Manisha.

      I am not sure what you consider expensive nor do I know where you are based; but if you are diligent, persistent and patient enough, there are ways to lower the costs of indulging in your passion to travel but without breaking the bank. The special offers are typically not as plentiful or as good as they used to be in years past; but they can still be found. Most helpful is to visit a country where products and services are inexpensive and the currency exchange rate is in your favor. South Africa is one of a number of examples of countries which can fall into that category.

      You also have to ask yourself what is your idea of an eight-day holiday. If it includes experiences that you and your family otherwise would never do, it might be that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can be worth that one splurge. If it means lounging on a beach for eight days, shop around for the countries with the best deals.

      Another item to consider is flexibility, which I realize can be a challenge with children. If taking a holiday in June is too expensive, consider a different time of year. Sometimes the time of year when you take your holiday can be the difference between an expensive holiday versus an affordable one.

      The best scenario, of course, is to take that holiday and still either save or invest some money — diversification in a sense.

      If you give more details of what you are thinking, Manisha, I will attempt to assist you — and readers of The Gate might give their advice as well, as they are incredible knowledgable.

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