This isn’t my usual post style – I don’t really do the ‘feelings’ kind of writing (except when I’m ‘feeling’ hungover, courtesy of too much tequila), but reading it back, I agree wholeheartedly with what I wrote, and so as not to let any piece of content idle unused, I thought I’d share my musings…
…for which you need to transport yourselves back in time a few weeks to 17 May…(if this were telly I have some lovely, wavy, misty visual to get you there, but you’ll have to use your imagination instead)…
…It’s been and gone. Four weeks of planning. Four weeks of pulling hair, teeth, more hair and…unfortunately, more teeth, but Mexico is finally on the horizon. I say this sat on a flight where Mexico is genuinely in prospect and by the time this day closes I’ll be sat, quesadillas and cerveza in hand.
It’s also been a journey, and one that started a bit more than four weeks ago. I generally take the position that counting things never leads to anything good – weight, age, number of cakes eaten, hours until you meet the morning alarm, words needed to complete an article, but not unsurprisingly this new stint of travel has roused the notion of reminiscence in me.
Look back one year, I’d not long landed in South East Asia, eight months of Latin America under my belt and fresh exploration lying ahead. The year before that I was a lawyer with a more than ample house, material goods aplenty, plans, dreams, a firm pinning of my life to the ground and, yet, an overwhelming desire to leave it all behind in search of something…anything else.
Clearly I’m not the first nor will I be the last likely to take the seemingly brave steps that can take you from dreams to reality, but I rarely seem to write about it…as pointed out to me recently by a friend who, ironically is braver than she knows. Yes, I share the ups and the downs, the experiences, the muddy shoes and the heart stopping sunsets, but not so much on that deeper, relentless hold that has brought me here.
Its not just about travel, there are so many times in our lives where we sit in a quandary over our decisions when our instincts already know the answer, but logic, mortgages, jobs and daily reality are strong opponents. From somebody who has tipped her life out of her designer handbag and found something richer within to those of you who have a deeply unscratched urge to fulfil something as yet not yielded in their life, here are my thoughts:
Listen to what you want
We’re right back to my last 4 weeks before flying to Mexico. A harddrive failure, skipping between sleeping locations, a meeting with the bank manager (always a bad moment), barely hitting work deadlines, dental visits (worse than the bank), juggling seeing friends, family and having to pack. Yes, my to-do list looked as frantic as anyone else’s. The thing is, in situ, the reality of normal life and its demands don’t change. There is always something practical that will intrude on your spare time, the time you might use to pursue your dreams. If you want to add something to your life, whether it is travel, or something else (for me, I grappled with a writing hobby for years while managing the day to day), you have to let your desire push to the front. Mortgages, bills, jobs and perceived reality shout much louder than dreams and desires. If you don’t give the latter a voice and the time, they’ll never be heard. Leave the rest to fend for itself. It will get done as and when urgency requires.
It’s easier than you think…and there’s very little you can’t undo
The hardest decision moving from one style of living to another is the mental decision. We are instinctively adept at deciding, but it our modern day logic that keeps many realities from our doors and to some extend leap before look can be the better method. Yes, cavalier, but consider this – what really can’t be undone? Switch off panic mode and the reality is that there is very little that can’t be undone, whether it is returning to a job, finding somewhere to live and otherwise reinstalling a past version of your life. The bigger concern therefore should be whether you are prepared to spend the rest of your life wondering ‘what if?’. It is a big question…and the rest of your life is a long time to contemplate it.
A friend at university taught me this saying: Don’t regret the things you do. Regret the things you don’t do.
On that note, I’m off to check the boat times for a trip to little-explored Isla Holbox.