I named this blog Inspiring Adventures because I wanted to help people see that anything is possible if you want it bad enough and are willing to do what it takes to get it. Failure is ok and when we fail we learn. I’ve never learned anything from doing things perfectly. So far all of my posts have been about some race that I’ve done because that’s where my focus has been for the last year. This one is completely different!
Traveling is something I’ve always seen myself doing. Even as a kid I never saw myself in one place but let’s be honest traveling can be intimidating. So many things to consider: money —usually the biggest one for me— language barriers, cultural differences, safety, where, when and traveling alone vs with a friend or partner. I haven’t done any solo traveling before and have always relied on the safety net of a friend.
About 8 months ago a friend told me she was leaving New Zealand and moving to France with her french husband. They had a NZ wedding before they left and would also have a French wedding. With big changes to my life and with minimal strings holding me back I thought I would LOVE to travel to Europe. Having not really left NZ for the past 8 years I wanted this to be big. A party in France seemed like a great reason to finally make it happen. I settled on four and a half months from mid-September until the end of January. When I booked the flights and started making plans in May it felt like ages away but it is amazing how time flies.
Now, of course, there is no way that I can support myself for this length of time with no job or source of income and seeing I’m over 30 a work visa was off the table. I was turned onto a website called Workaway, which connects travelers with people who need help doing various jobs in exchange for room and board. I created an account and profile listing my skills and what I was looking to do over specific dates. After a few Skype interviews, for both sides to suss each other out and make sure that it will be a good fit. I found a couple of families in France and Italy, where I will mostly help teach the children english.
So I have a plan: arrive in Paris, Danielle will come meet me after a few days, head to the wedding, fly back to Canada to see my family (this will require a whole other blog), do the workaway thing, then one and half months of no plans.
So back to the Inspiring Adventures part, now that all sounded very simple didn’t it. Let’s talk reality! The physical side of leaving was all pretty easy, emotionally it was more of a challenge. I’m not a super touchy, feely emotional sort of person which is something I’m working on hence the blog. I made an effort to catch up with the people most important to me before I left, I know I’m only going for four months but I also only came to NZ for 6 months, and ended up staying.
My flights looked like this: Queenstown to Auckland 1:40 – 2-hour layover – Auckland to Hong Kong 9 hours – 4-hour layover – Hong Kong to Paris 11 Hours arriving at 7am. For the sake of making my life easy, I decided to take a taxi to my AirBnB accommodation in Joinville du Point. This is when it all hit me, I’m alone! Alone on the other side of the world in a non-english speaking country with no safety net. I had prepared myself for this feeling and the tired, jet lagged, irrational moment when all I wanted to do was curl up into a little ball and go home. No amount of logical thinking was going to persuade me otherwise. I questioned myself, what was I thinking? I don’t even like being alone at home why would I think this would be a good idea? Four months is such a long time why didn’t I just book a trip to some resort like a normal person? I talked to my friends in NZ, who said all the right things, get some sleep and eat some food, go for a walk, I knew all of these things would help but my brain was still freaking out.
I’ve felt this feeling before: when I first moved to Alberta, the first time I traveled overseas and those moments where I thought “I can’t do this” have turned into some of the best decisions of my life. Of course, day 2 was better I woke up, made a plan, got outside and went for a walk and at the end of the day I felt like a completely different person and ready to take on this path I’ve set into motion.
The past year has been the toughest of my life so far. It has also been one of the most rewarding. I have pushed myself to the edge physically and emotionally making me realise I can do anything I put my mind and heart to. I feel like I have failed so miserably, and I question myself every day have I made the right choices? Is this really what I want? I have been judged by people who I thought were my friends and believe me, I have really learned who my true friends are. The whole time I have been writing this blog I’ve been wondering what people will think about me and I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t care! This is me take it or leave it and I’m proud of myself for having the courage to put myself out there, take risks and fail. My new favourite quote: “I would rather live life on the brink of failure than on the comfort of assured success!”
So what is your adventure? What do you want out of life? Failure is not the scary part, it’s not trying at all!