My Best Advice: Stay Scrappy

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Stay Scrappy

Stay Scrappy


  1. consisting of disorganized, untidy, or incomplete parts.
    “scrappy lecture notes piled up unread”
  2. NORTH AMERICAN informal
    determined, argumentative, or pugnacious.
    “he played the part of a scrappy detective”

I’ve always liked the idea of a signature sign-off phrase. Something like, “Stay class, San Diego!” from Anchorman, but, you know, mine.

I’ve read a few articles lately about grit, getting gritty, and what gritty means. I like all of the concepts – mental toughness, determination, stick-to-it-iveness, but the word “grit” just doesn’t resonate with me for some reason.

A word that does is scrappy.

Get scrappy

This doesn’t mean combative or mean, but it does mean to stop letting people push you around – something that took me a long time to really understand. It means to stand up for yourself, and it means to live life with a certain willingness to make it through any situation. But how do you get it?

Like anything, you can teach yourself. It’s nothing more complex or simple than a mindset. It’s giving meaning to a word and then resolving to embody the meaning of that word. It’s imbuing intention into your actions. And it’s putting new actions into places to replace old actions – forming a new habit loop.

In the travel industry, and with regard to our shared passion for travel, it means so much more than that, though. Our common thread here – why you’re here, why I’m here – is travel. Being scrappy with regard to travel is a step beyond “go go go.” You must go to a place when you can, but when you get there, you must remain open to change. If you’re not changing, you’re not progressing. Progress, learning… it’s all change. A little bit every day.

Scrappy in this regard – what I consider it – is having the gumption to look out for yourself, to put yourself into situations that require real critical thinking, and to come out fighting (in a good way) on the other end. It’s prioritizing your travel goals and doing what it takes to check off items off your list.

Stay scrappy

Buy those mistake fares, burn those (Sky)miles, and be willing to rearrange your schedule to suit your decisions. With us, it’s choosing to put travel first, to make career and lifestyle decisions because of it, even to design everything around the intention to travel as much as possible. Those are bold choices, and anything bold will have naysayers. But us scrappy folk know when to listen and when to press on. That is an inherent quality of scrappiness.

  • It’s staying playful and exploring with a sense of wonder.
  • It’s having your own style of approaching new opportunities.
  • It’s staying cool when plans change.
  • It’s also being a little feisty and being willing to test new waters (like manufactured spending).

I love Urban Dictionary’s definition:

“Someone or something that appears dwarfed by a challenge, but more than compensates for seeming inadequacies through will, persistence and heart.”

Bottom line

I’m trying to focus on the positive connotations of the word “scrappy” and meditate on it a little. I’ve often come here to work out my ideas about travel, and this is another one that I’d like to continue working on.

However, even in what feels like a semi-formed state, it’s something that I do consider to be “my best advice”. And dissecting semantics is always such a personal thing, anyway. But whatever the word means to you, do that and be that. Or, if you need to, like me, find a word that has meaning for you. And then embody that word. For me, “scrappy” meant more than “grit.” And when I’m in a situation (that I put myself in) that requires a hard decision, diamond-hard toughness, or calling on my inner strength in a really big way, it’s become my mantra to myself.

So I’ll sign off with that: stay scrappy. And as always, thank you so much for reading.

Do you have a word or phrase that keeps you focused? Do you feel like travel pushes your boundaries as a person (and isn’t it great)?

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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