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How far would you go to have a game changing life experience?
This is my reflection of the month and maybe you can help me answer this one.
Table of Contents: Changing your life through travel
The paralysis of fear is always accompanied by self-doubt.
Very recently, I grappled with booking a trip to Greece and Turkey. My target was TBEX, a travel blogging conference, where I’d meet more of the travel industry, work to network and expand my blog business and meet my community.
However, I haven’t had a financially hot year (…pretty broke-ass, actually) and I wondered if taking a trip, half-way across the globe was a smart idea. We’re talking $1,500 for a plane ticket alone … definitely nothing to sneeze at.
Also, there’s a reason I’ve avoided traveling to Europe and it has to do with where the American dollar sits next to the Euro! Was it possible to foot the scary bill, then find ways to hobo on the cheap by camping or crashing with other travelers? Could I figure out how to navigate these countries quickly, safely and easily, because oh, I forgot to mention, the conference is in… a week (well, after this posting, much less than that)!
Okay, but it’s not like this is an entirely new story to me. I’ve done last-minute trips before.
Being freelance, I try to keep my schedule open for work until the last-minute. But when deadline came to book this flight, I was in restless turmoil. I kept several flight search tabs open for five+ days! I was stressed. Depressed. I felt a deep dread. A dark cloud of sickness drew over me like an black cape. Was it my intuition trying to tell me something? Were my travel angels signaling a loud alert, like the few, but fortunate Twin Towers employees, who did to not show at work on 9/11? For the first time in a while, I couldn’t tell. My fears seemed to warble everything.
I was buying camera equipment to lift my freelance career up and then, returning it all out of guilt. They were extra expenditures I shouldn’t be looking at, I thought. I wanted to sleep this decision away. TBEX suddenly no longer felt exciting. The business potential I prayed for began evaporating. I didn’t get any conference press tours to soften my trip planning with an itinerary, transportation or expenses and I wasn’t getting networking appointments with companies I felt I needed to meet for video work. Nope, I didn’t want to go. I wanted to set up residence on the couch, with a huge remote control, glued into my hands and binge watch Korean dramas until the depression went away. Actually, that was looking like a pretty inspired plan.
My family was… discouraging. Everyone roots for me to stay home, babysit my parents, the new puppy and live a quietly safe spinster’s life chained under a rock or hidden in the belltower of invisible shame like Quasimodo. Thus, the topic of family responsibilities and Turkey’s political tensions with ISIS immediately sprang forth.
..And then I got to reading about the oh-so-saavy pickpockets of Greece (shhh.. don’t tell my family that too; I’m already battling the Trojan Horse)! That didn’t help my confidence either.
With all this, I couldn’t tell if I simply lost my muse to travel or if the cost of “my travel risks” (expenses, responsibilities and “imagined” crime) suffocated it.
And then it happened…
Okay, not that… the haircut happened afterwards.
Do what scares you most.
To cut to the chase, I forced myself to book the trip. In fact, I almost literally, twisted my arm to act on it, as if it were some sort of punishing torture technique.
This is where you shake your head and tell me I’m stupid. Maybe you’re right. …Touche!
But what ifs are a waste of life! So is waiting under a rock for life to begin and opportunity to happen. In fact, nothing will willingly enter a hermit’s cave or a swamp marsh, unless you paint neon road signs to get there and tout it as some cool, off-beat bucketlist attraction!
Life needs movement …to let new, strange and foreign things in. We need to experience things we ordinarily wouldn’t to experience change for the better.
Game changers: Changing your life through travel
You can still feel stuck in life, if you’re juggling multiple avenues, but gaining only small results. Okay, seemingly “big“, but small results… the kind where everyone imagines it’s bigger, but it’s only barely keeping you alive so you can starve.
Yes, to outsiders, I’ve made a lot of seemingly monumentally glitzy things happen for my life this year, like shooting for NatGeo (oops, I didn’t say that) and CBS, getting some acting gigs or being flown out to New York for a travel host callback with the Travel Channel, etc.… I’ll gamble with my life in ways most folks wouldn’t, because I’m addicted to action, movement, change and being inspired.
… And I’m terrified of losing my edge, spark, youth, laughter and creative muse. I’m terrified of being stuck in an office where the only thing that moves is my pencil against paper and an A.C. circulating used air. Sorry, that’s never quite been my thing… fish to air, bird in water kinda thing. So, I wouldn’t exactly call my decisions “options”.
A friend of mine told me I should feel grateful for making any gains at all. But would you feel grateful, if you worked non-stop hard –sacrificing any form of social life– to budge a heavy boulder, only to gain 1/16th of movement? …Uh, …thank… you?
(Just code name me Sissyphus.)
Whatever it is I’m doing (and I actually juggle more than that friend will ever fathom …), it’s not enough to get me through the narrow and steep gorge I must cross to gain a healthy lifestyle. And face it, at my age (and the fact I’m female), not many folks really wants to see you succeed your true worth, for fear they’ll regret choices they didn’t make in their life or you’ll be happier than them.
My old methods and approach to things are not working for me. Simple. I need a game changer and forcing myself to buy this plane ticket felt like an investment in that possibility.
Dare to be different.
It’s not always about “actions” or “doing.”
Sometimes, it’s you that needs to change and the tiniest, subtlest changes can have profound effects.
But troubleshooting that isn’t easy. Afterall, I like myself fine! So that’s where travel helps. It exposes us to elements of unpredictability, serendipity and finding a natural Zen with life. Those are things society strips us of!
Like my favorite Audrey Hepburn films, Sabrina and Roman Holiday, I always felt we need game changing life experiences to open our eyes and help us switch tracks. Travel can do that for you and solo travel only accelerates that.
…Or maybe all it takes is a new haircut!
(I just got a haircut and even though I didn’t chop it as drastically as it looks in the photos, it’s already made a difference!).
I’m guessing that a different version of GRRR is necessary to tackle that next step I need to take in life. So I’ll be traveling through Greece and Turkey for a month.
I’m willing to gamble on myself to try.