Are you starting something new? Going through a major overhaul in your life? Perhaps you are putting the feelers out; tentatively testing the waters to see how people will react to your new idea.
The past four months have been some of the most challenging, exhausting, exciting, terrifying and emotional times of my life. Because I have changed path and have been intent on starting something new. Just to keep life interesting.
I’m a bit of a nutter like that.
Starting Something New. What It Looked Like For Us
In November 2017, having spent the previous two years regularly practising self-love and eventually releasing my own needs rather than everyone else’s, my husband (Brian) and I decided to throw caution to the wind and do what, for the past twenty years, we had always dreamed of doing. We cashed in our life savings, left everything behind and took our teenagers backpacking around the world for a year.
As you do.
This is something we had talked about since my kids were both babies. When they were cute and looked at us with adoring eyes. Before they had learned to say w-i-f-i.
The Excuses Not To
But, as every year passed, whenever the subject came up in conversation (which was almost all the time) we casually brushed it off and came up with excuses as to why we couldn’t possibly go.
Because that’s what people do when they have too much on their plate and feel too scared to take the leap.
We didn’t have the money; we were building a house; Brian’s business was just starting to take off; the kids were in a drama play and couldn’t leave; we only had three years left on the mortgage. You get the picture.
The Leap Into The Unknown
These string of excuses went on and on, year after year, until finally, while on a family camping weekend, sitting in some free bubbling hot pools in New Zealand, we said: ‘That’s it. Enough. We’re doing it. We’re taking the leap.’
I remember that night well. It was gorgeous. There was lots of wine.
Me, babbling on with excitement about where we could go and what we would do.
Brian, giddy with hope, almost wetting his pants at the thought that he could quit his job and have more than two weeks off without having to mow the grass.
For almost ten months we plotted and planned our escape. We found someone to rent the house, sold anything that we could lay our hands on and worked out ways of spending the least amount of money while at the same time having the biggest experience.
But those months weren’t without a good deal of worry. Starting something new never is.
I would lie awake in the deep of the night worrying about whether we were doing the right thing. Along with the stomach-churning fear of spending the kid’s inheritance on this trip came some other very real looking fears.
What if we were kidnapped and held for ransom in a cave?
What if we got ill?
What if the kids were bitten by wild monkeys and I only had a tube of Savlon in my bag?
Lots and lots of worries. And guess what? NOT ONE of those worries ever happened.
Pity really. We paid $500 for those rabies injections.
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The Experience. The Good And What Followed.
So, off we went on our adventure. 12 months, 4 continents, 21 countries and… It. Was. Wonderful.
If you are thinking of traveling longterm with your kids, DO NOT hesitate. Do it. Right now. It’s the BEST.
All of those fears and doubts that you have about taking kids travelling? Ignore them. They never amount to anything.
Back to the story.
Twelve months of pure bliss and excitement, a family of four learning new things about the world and about each other.
Eating foods that we had only ever seen on Youtube videos, meeting new people and squatting lots of mosquitoes. Living out the dream that we had talked about for so many years.
But then we came home.
We knew that the money would only last so long, and we were clean out.
Going home was hard. Very hard. But I have whined about this in previous posts so I won’t bore you, just know that coming home is one of the downfalls of longterm travel. The one that nobody warns you about.
You have to put on a brave face for the kids who are happy to be home but deep inside you want to kick and scream and cry like a spoiled brat.
You want to put your travel knickers on your head and sit in the supermarket carpark and cry.
Being Brave & Starting Something New. What You Will Learn
When you take a leap into the world outside of that little square box, be it traveling the world as a family, emigrating, starting a new business, a different job, standing up for yourself, working from home for six months with your new baby; WHATEVER change looks like, you are BRAVE.
And when you are brave – even just a little bit brave – you will realise that can do anything you want to do.
Bravery opens new doors and presents different opportunities.
Being brave allows you to start new things in your life.
I backpacked the world with my family for a year. That was brave.
In doing so, I discovered a whole new set of things about myself: I love adventure; I love pushing myself to the limits; I find writing incredibly relaxing and I love showing people that things that seem impossible are in fact very, very possible.
Plus, I love seeing how many days I can get out of one pair of knickers.
Try it. Not the knickers part – the being courageous part.
Show a little bravery.
Take a teeny tiny step towards what it is you want to do and watch how you feel. Being brave is like that Galaxy bar that sits in the pull-down compartment of the fridge. You think you’ll only take a little nibble then end up devouring the whole bar. Being brave is very addictive.
What Does Being Brave Look Like For YOU?
Let me share with you what being brave looks like for others.
I am very lucky to get lots of emails from readers of this blog who share with me their dreams and plans for the future. Sometimes, they ask my opinion on whether or not they are doing the right thing.
My answer to them? DO IT!!
Here is a list of very courageous, out of the box and extraordinary things that people (who I feel honoured to know) are doing right now:
- A woman from the US who has three high school age children convinced her husband to take a job in Australia so that she could fulfil her need to travel and explore. The family did a house swap and are now living in Australia for five months. The girls are in school (loving their new adventure) and she and her husband are having a ball!
- A guy from the UK. His wife doesn’t share his passion for packing up and heading around Europe for a year, so, he made a clever compromise: he arranged with work that he takes two extended periods of leave throughout the year instead of a week here and there and the family are now going camping in Europe this summer for two months.
- A friend of mine who is currently battling with breast cancer. She shaved every bit of her hair off before she started her treatment and told the world that she was ready to fight. Brave.
- A lady and her daughter are taking off to Italy for a month – alone. Her husband isn’t interested in travel and neither is her eldest son, so, they are going together. Brave.
- A lady who has a fear of germs is putting her big girl pants on and is heading off to Asia for three weeks. It is a place she has always dreamed of but her fear has always stopped her. The tickets are booked and she is going in two weeks. Brave.
- A woman who has always dyed her hair has decided to stop and let her hair go naturally grey. As any woman of a certain age knows, this is no easy task. Brave. Brave and beautiful.
- After years of teaching and becoming more and more unhappy, a woman in her late forties has decided that she will resign and follow her dream to work with food. She can no longer face that feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach when she gets up to go to work in the morning. Brave.
What is it that you want to do? What do you long to try? What is it that requires you to put your brave pants on?
Think about what made you tick before the mortgage and the kids. In the days prior to your job and the Neff cooker with the induction boost button.
What is it you want to do?
I know what I want to do. I want to start an online business so that I can travel and support my family at the same time.
And that’s scary.
Because I only just learned where the hashtag key is on the keyboard and my spelling is atrocious.
But, I’m doing it anyway. Trying my hardest. Because if I don’t, I know I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. And nobody likes a bitter, twisted old pensioner.
What is your need? Find it. Recognise it. Own it.
Starting something new, inviting change into your life is exciting but not always easy. You need to show courage.
But know this.
Bravery and courage are addictive. Once you dip your toe into the waters you will find that you can swim a long, long way. Even without your armbands.
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What Is It That Is Stopping You From Starting Something New?
The deep-rooted dread of being poor is what stops most people from doing the very thing they dream of doing.
That, and running out of bicarbonate of soda when your husband has indigestion.
For the past four months, with not one single penny coming into our house, I have woken up more times than I care to remember with knots in my stomach. These knots are usually accompanied by a voice in my head that says:
‘What are you doing you idiot?’ (My inner voice is a very rude woman and not very nice actually.)
‘Brian could go back to his trade. Return to gas fitting and earn more than enough to keep us all every week. All of this worry is unnecessary. You are disrupting the family. You are stupid. You are selfish. AND you blocked the waste disposal with that sweetcorn husk’.
Nice isn’t she?
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Fear Of Being Judged
Starting a new phase in your life is challenging, you need courage. You need to believe in yourself even when other people don’t.
Standing up to the doom and gloomers with your idea isn’t easy. But remember this.
None really cares about what you are doing with your life. Not really.
Well-meaning friends and family might feign interest, but, when push comes to push, all people care about is what’s going on in their own life. And how much you paid for your second hand Chrysler.
That fear of pleasing everyone? Forget about it. Don’t bother. you are setting yourself an impossible task. Spend the same amount of energy and lavish it onto yourself instead. Here are some self-love exercises to get you on your way.
And that guy in the cafe that says to you “still haven’t got a job mate?’
Tell him to eff off.
What fear Will Tell You
- You’re too old.
- You’re too fat and unfit.
- Your mortgage is too big.
- You haven’t even got your own house.
- You have kids.
- Your kids are too young
- Your kids are too old
- You’re going grey and only Janine from the hairdressers on the corner knows how to do your roots.
Blah, blah, blah.
There is only one way to deal with the fear of starting something new. And that’s head on.
Grey roots and all.
Next time you are faced with those late night sweats and that whispering voice of doubt, try this:
What To Do When Fear Strikes You
- Next time you are putting your dream of starting something new to the back of the list because of fear, ask yourself this.
- What are you scared of the most? What terrifies the life out of you? Is it being alone? Getting ill? Ending up broke? Homeless? How about this one,(one of my favourites): you are terrified of making a HUGE parenting mistake and your kids will hate you for the rest of their lives?
- Now. Think back to when you last had similar feelings to these. Think of as many of these times as you can. Instances when you have been out of your mind with worry. Write them all down. All of the things that in the past have caused you to worry and fret. Every single one.
- Keep your pen in your hand and write down what happened next. What was the outcome? What did you do? Did you die? Were you on the streets? How was it? Am I right in thinking that it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as you thought? That you came up with a solution? And did that solution open a door to somewhere that would have otherwise been closed to you? And it all turned out well in the end? Well?
You can do it, my friend. Let’s get on with it. Keep going. Whatever you are dreaming about, starting something new, big or small, know that I am here going through the exact same feelings as you are.
Fear and me? We’re like that.
Comment below and let me know what it is you are starting, or planning, or dreaming of. And when we are both sitting in our rocking chairs, with clean knickers on, behaving like fulfilled, happy pensioners we will remember this time and we will smile.