I truly believe that following our dreams is they key to happiness, even if it’s scary. My dreams scare me, but they make me so happy too. In this post I talk about my travel dreams, my fears and how I’ve taken the most difficult decisions of my life.
Travel dreams and fears
I truly believe that following our dreams is the key to happiness.
And here is a confession: my travel dreams scare me.
They scare me because my dreams are completely different from what I had imagined my life to be. I don’t dream of a house, job, husband and kids. No. I dream of travels, long travels.
When I heard about the Erasmus scholarships I immediately though “I want this”. I was still in high school and had no idea what I would study in the university, but I was already dreaming to live abroad. I entered university and during the third year I got a scholarship to study two years in Sweden. So cool, so happy, so excited!
When I realized what I was about to do fears arrived. I was scared of leaving my city, of being far, of the language, of the weather, of everything. I didn’t feel ready. I asked the person in charge of the scholarships if I could postpone it and go one year later. He said no.
“If you give up this year, next year we won’t give you any scholarship, because you’re not trustworthy.”
Now or never.
I chose now.
A few years later, when I was living in France, I got another Dream. A Dream like this, in capital letters. I wanted to travel long term, a trip so long that from the beginning I wouldn’t see the end. A year-long round the world trip. But the idea terrified me. How would a year off affect my career? How would I come back to my life after that experience? What if I didn’t fit anymore? And how could I ever go alone?
I ignored my dream for many years. I put it in a box and kept it well hidden. Meanwhile I was studying, working, living a life which wasn’t the one of my dreams, but safe and comfortable. And I fantasized meeting a guy who would take me to travel the world.
Obviously I never met such a guy, and my travel dream didn’t stay in the box. It grew and grew until I lost its control. One day while I was reading a travel book I broke down. I cried and cried. That wasn’t the life of my dreams. That guy would never appear. I would have to follow my dreams alone.
Alone or never.
Now or never.
Never. That word again. Never is a huge word, powerful, overwhelming. So overwhelming that it scared me even more than all my fears together.
Decisions that make us happy
Between my dreams and my fears I was about to explode. So I visited a personal and profesional coach to help me take a decision.
The key is to feel in line with yourself, what you think, what you feel and what you do. She helped me realize that travel has always been part of my life, part of myself, and I couldn’t ignore it.
She also gave me an exercise to do at home: to write, in two columns, the pros and cons of traveling alone for a year. For each con, search a mitigation solution and think if it was something I was willing to accept. It was a good exercise. At least it helped me to see that there were more pros than cons, and that I could live with those cons.
If you’ve been reading my blog you know what happened next. I applied for a sabbatical leave at work, I left my apartment, bought a backpack and did a round the world trip, alone, for a year.
It’s still difficult to describe in short what I lived in that trip. It was very intense and I learnt a lot about the world, about life and about myself. I was happy and my doubts about my career and future vanished. My vision of life and work had changed, so those questions had no longer any meaning.
At the end of the trip I had to take another difficult decision: to go back to my job or not. To go back to a safe and stable life, or start a life of adventure and uncertainty.
I knew what I wanted: I wanted to live traveling. I wanted to keep exploring the world. Traveling has helped me a lot in terms of personal growth, and I wanted to keep learning and growing. But I was so terrified that I felt dizzy, it was like jumping from a plane without knowing if I had a parachute or not.
In spite of the terror I felt, that time I didn’t do the pros and cons exercise. I just listened to myself. When I thought about going back to my job I felt anxiety, a lot of anxiety. I had had anxiety problems in the past so I knew it was a signal of my body. So I quit my job.
In order to live traveling I would need an online job. To become a digital nomad. So for one year I studied online business, blogging, social networks and online teaching.
New year, new projects: my plans for 2017
My big objective for this year is to achieve my new dream: to start living as a digital nomad, working on my blog and teaching Spanish online. Spanish to Travel is my new project, in which I want to help travelers to learn Spanish so they can have a better experience in Spanish speaking countries.
I still have many fears.
I’m scared of not being able to combine work and travel, scared of internet not being fast enough for skype lessons. I’m scared of not finding students and not being able to sustain myself. I’m scared of failing.
But again, it’s now or never. We’re never ready to go out of our comfort zone and try new things. And anyway, what is the worst that can happen? Coming back? Many times we get paralyzed by fear when the problem is not the end of the world.
So I’m leaving. I’m going to Asia with a one way ticket.
I’ll start in Malasia. After that, there is no plan. I’d like to visit the countries I don’t know yet, as Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam, but I’ll let the trip flow by itself.
Wherever that might be, I’ll be following my dream.
Since I follow my dreams I feel much happier.
Ideas to take difficult decisions
- What would you do if it was now or never?
- Listen to your body. Is it sending a signal?
- Write, in two columns, the pros and cons. For each con, search a mitigation action. Is it something you’re willing to accept?
- What’s the worst that might happen? Is it that bad?
Do you have dreams that scare you? How do you take difficult decisions? You can tell me in the comments
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