Ever since I first decided I wanted to sell up, ship out and travel the world indefinitely, I have dreamed big and made plans. Where I was going to go, what I was going to do, how much money I was going to save, how much extra work I would need to take on to save this money… I made lists, determined budgets and scheduled every moment of my life in my red Moleskine diary. It was beautifully packaged madness.
I set goal posts.
I reached them.
I edged them further back.
I reached them.
I edged them further back…
Was I chasing a dream or testing myself?
Be kind and rewind
Two weeks ago I hit a wall. I realised I no longer knew what to do with all my plans, targets and goals; how to reach them – or harder yet – how to let them go. I felt as though I had slowly been climbing my way up to the top of a giant tree, and now there I was, stuck at the top with no idea how to get down again.
I felt completely isolated out on this wavering limb, afraid, confused and unhappy.
So, unsure of how to begin my descent back down to ground level, I shut down and embarked on a period of self-imposed isolation. I couldn’t face my computer; my blog has remained stagnant, I have ignored emails, comments and tweets.
I gave myself
I slept, ate, rested… relaxed. I started and finished a book – something I haven’t done in a very long time. I spent time with old friends and made new ones, and reaquainted myself with a once treasured pastime of mine; dolce far niente or the joy of doing nothing. Gradually I began to feel my way down through the branches.
It has been a painful climb, but I feel as though finally I am back down on terra firma.
A man’s own self is his friend.
A man’s own self is his foe.
– Bhagavad Gita
I am beginning to understand myself in ways I have previously either been oblivious to, or simply chosen to overlook. Though I am proud of my ability to set a goal and give 110% of myself in pursuit of it, I am learning now that it doesn’t always have to be this way. Sometimes I need to allow myself to put down the map, and enjoy getting lost in the unknown. Because after all, regardless of how many plans I might make, that is still how my future largely remains; unknown.
I forgot how utterly delicious that idea is to comprehend.
As a die-hard dreamer, planner and doer, this shift in thinking won’t come easy, but we already know how determined I am, so I know that no matter how long it takes, sure enough, the change will come.
It’s the journey, not the destination
When I first launched this blog, I had no question in my mind as to its identity; it was a travel blog. As a woman with a wealth of travel experience both behind and in front of me, it was the obvious niche to settle amongst.
Then the edges began to get blurry. My posts have become less about travel, and more about life, and I began to worry… Would people still want to read my story if it wasn’t completely about my experiences as a traveller?
But then I smiled as I realised; we are all travellers in one way or another. We are all on a journey, and whether I am at home in England, living in India or hiking through the jungles of Borneo, that journey continues. I don’t need to buy a ticket for it, I was born with one. We all were. And that is a story worth sharing.
I recently read a beautiful and poignant post by an incredibly inspiring young woman, Patricia. She is working her way through university and will graduate 100% debt free before embarking on a new life in Japan and beyond. She wrote one sentence that I have embraced as a mantra of late: “I just need to accept myself, flaws and all.”
Patricia helped me realise that I don’t need to push myself to meet goals, standards, criteria or expectations. I just need to let myself go… and allow myself to enjoy the journey that I am on.
And so, this is a journey blog.
I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I do know that I will give in to the process and allow myself to discover new things, both in the world, and within myself.
There are no more goal posts, targets, budgets or 84 hour work weeks.
I have no idea what lies ahead.
The journey continues…