Psst! Grab the audio here if you don’t have time to read.
It’s 3:30AM here in Tokyo Japan and it’s my birthday. I have lived to see another year and for that I am eternally grateful.
This year has been a life-altering one for me. It turns out, one of the easiest (and hardest) ways to face your fears is to make decisions that scare and intimidate your fears (Who knew?)
When life challenged me to act in the face of fear I rose to the challenge, with quite a bit of theatrics actually, but what’s the fun in acting quietly? Why be docile when you can cause a stir and remind life that you are here for the party?
Alas, I digress.
I am still very fresh on this journey – day 13 to be exact. But here’s what I’ve learned so far, just from making this crazy decision to turn my life upside down until it looks like the life of my dreams.
When you act in faith, life matches your effort (and sometimes supersedes it)
It’s been less than two weeks, and to be honest, sometimes it feels like much longer. There have been mishaps and misunderstandings (which are part and parcel of this journey into the unknown), but what has been remarkable is the way life just always seems to be rooting for me, providing solutions in the exact moments that I need it most.
Like that time I took an Uber out into the middle of nowhere not thinking in advance of the return trip, only to find out I would not be able to get an Uber back to my apartment (travel novice drama). In the midst of my hyperventilating, the gracious driver offered to wait the three hours for me to finish then take me back – no extra charge. Then while he was waiting, a wonderful couple from Thailand introduced themselves and asked me on four separate occasions, “Are you ok to go back into the city?” Now tell me someone somewhere isn’t looking out for me???
Already I have stories of kind strangers who have extended invitations and opened their homes to me. Call it good luck, serendipity, whatever you will. I think of it as life granting me this thing I’ve so boldly asked for and am prepared to work for. At the risk of sounding cheesy, it’s waiting for you to ask (and be prepared to ACT) for what you want too.
It’s OK to feel fear; just do it anyway
When I made the decision to start this journey I knew I wanted to share it with the world. I wanted to share everything I learned with anyone who is interested in undertaking a similar journey (or maybe even a single trip during vacation). I was also scared shitless. What if after one month the whole thing falls apart? What if something goes dreadfully wrong and I fail then I’d have to return home? Could I live that down? Wouldn’t that be embarrassing?
These were valid concerns. Afterall, I could, in fact, fail miserably. And then what? Then I thought of that Erin Hanson quote I love dearly…
“What if I fall?”
“Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”
– Erin Hanson
Vulnerability is strength, not weakness
With social media being what it is, sometimes it can be a challenge figuring out/deciding how much of our lives to really share with the world. Once it’s out there we can’t take it back. Some oversharing may only result in embarrassment, then there are other times where it may well result in disaster.
I am rambling. But all that really is to say, I am scared to do this, to put myself out there, to share the details of this journey because my fragile heart and ego realize that I may in fact fail.
“Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
– Brene Brown
So I am doing it anyway – heart racing, knees shaking. Because to be vulnerable is to be human, and that above all else is my greatest aspiration – to be authentic and to connect with other humans because really, that’s why we’re here.
And I hear the concerns of those who mean me well. “People can be so mean and rude. Why open yourself to that?” Honestly, because there are more people who care what I have to say than there are assholes hellbent on being trolls online. Vulnerability is always risky, but I’m willing to take my chances.
So here’s to all of us (because duh, I’m not doing this alone). Here’s to self-discovery, discovering new countries, cultures, and people, making mistakes, learning and growing.
And happy birthday to me!