Sometimes I feel like a bit of a fraud. Over the years, I’ve had many people tell me that I’m ‘brave’ and that they could never do what I do – the ‘do’ here being packing up my life and moving countries, travelling long-term or quitting my 9-5 for a freelance career. This ‘brave’ label troubles me somewhat, mainly because I really don’t think there’s anything brave about what I do (in my opinion, there are people doing far, far braver things than this), but also because I know what goes on behind the scenes.
Make no mistake – I’m crippled by fear from time-to-time.
The Truth Behind The Social Media Updates
Sure, the Facebook shares and Instagram photos may make it all look effortless and carefree, but it isn’t. I’m not exactly the most laid back of people, so I make all of this possible by planning things as carefully as I can, always ensuring I have a backup plan, and then feeling that damn fear and going ahead and doing whatever it is I want to do.
I was crippled by fear before I booked my ticket to Dubai eight years ago. I was crippled by fear just before I quit my stable, well-paid job for dreams of freelancing while I travelled the world. I was crippled by fear before I made the decision to stay in Dubai and pursue a relationship with a man who I had just met. I was crippled by fear when two years later the aforementioned man and I decided to then leave Dubai for good together.
Had I been the kind of person who makes decisions on a whim, I’d understand this fear a little bit more. After all, everything we do in life is a risk, especially moves that aren’t calculated. But I had plans in all these situations, as well as backup plans. If Dubai didn’t work out, I would have headed home and reexplored my options. Had the freelancing thing not worked out, I would have gone back to Dubai and got another job. Had the relationship not worked, I would have hit the road again. Had my ex and I not enjoyed our time on the road together, we would have settled down somewhere.
For the record, none of these things happened. All the decisions I made were the right ones at the time and I have zero regrets. In fact, to date, I’ve had the time of my life – bad times and all.
Feeling It, But Going For Gold Anyway
So back to fear and why I feel like a bit of a fraud. I guess I’d like you to know that I procrastinate. A lot. I question myself and my decisions. A lot. I think about all the things that could go wrong. A lot. All of this goes on in the background – and then I post a photo of myself saying “I’VE BOOKED” and it all looks incredibly awesome, when the reality is, my heart is probably still pounding and I’m busy saying silent prayers every night (okay, that last bit is an exaggeration).
I guess the only difference between me and people who don’t go for what they want is that I feel all of this – I really feel it in my chest, all the anxiety and fear and self-doubt – but I stare it in the face and then go ahead and do what I want to do anyway.
Yes, it’s easier for me – I don’t have kids, a mortgage, debt etc. And yes, I have an incredibly supportive family that will always be there for me. But I do believe that even if I had more obstacles, I’d find a way to overcome them. After all, I’ve had my own mountains to climb over the years and none of it has stopped me. It’s just the person I am – I never want to have any regrets, so I always follow my heart.
And thanks to that, I have a head full of experiences and a heart full of joy when I think of the things I’ve done.
I’m Off Again!
The reason I’m mentioning all this is that yesterday I finally booked my Airbnb for March. I had been procrastinating over this for more than a month even though I knew I just had to spend time in a certain city early in 2016. And despite already knowing in my heart that I want to do this right now, I became paralysed with fear, and it was making me ill. I couldn’t concentrate on my work properly because I kept thinking about how I was never going to book and go. I also had anxiety, which is never fun to live with.
Yesterday, I’d had enough of it. So I opened the Airbnb tab, and booked a place I had already been pre-approved for for almost a week.
And guess what? I feel lighter already. I’ve made the decision, and despite the fact I have my concerns about being totally solo again, I know it was the right thing to do. Making that first step forward was the scary part, and I have faith that the rest will fall into place the way it always does (and even if it doesn’t, there will always be alternatives. There’s really no such thing as failure – only lessons).
My point being: if you have a plan, a backup plan, and you’ve thought something through – feel that damn fear and do it anyway. You’ll feel better for it.
Time to start planning my trip!
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