Here are some fun questions for you!
What is the most spontaneous, craziest thing you have done?
What is the most craziest thing you would like to do?
Have you ever missed a flight…intentionally?
Can you think of a time when you wanted to just shout out two (often harsh) words and get on the next plane out of your current existence?
Can you imagine the freedom of doing this?
Do you know that YOU CAN do this when you want and it will not mean that you are a selfish person or that you are running away from your problems but simply someone who loves themselves enough!
I am sure you have heard it before, “You can’t love others if you do not love yourself”. So when I lost myself in giving others more than I gave to myself I knew it was time to do what I had to do.
Lets be realistic for a second
Just to be clear, I am not encouraging anyone to run away from their problems or from difficult situations and definitely not suggesting this is a solution to those situations. Bear in mind most of this is from my own personal experience and life journey. I am also not wanting to encourage those who have responsibilities such as children or the elderly to abandon them and be off! Although as a daughter of a magnificent carer even in these circumstances if you have a loving and supportive family or community you could organise a mini break for yourself. A break without a need to call anyone, organise anything. Just be with yourself or whoever you choose. Alternatively, if you want to travel for a long period of time with your family there are many families who do!
The people I am talking to now are the people who are single or with no major responsibilities. Although, I should point out that I met many beautiful, strong women who had boyfriends and with their love, trust and support had taken months out to reconnect with themselves and explore the world. I found this amazing and extremely strong for both themselves and their partners!
An uninspired life
I want to talk to you! Those of you who are feeling it in your gut that this is what you are meant to be doing. You are longing for it. It is the sort of people I met after I quit teaching permanently.
In each school that I visited as a cover teacher I met so many teachers who looked at me with desperate eyes asking me countless questions about how I escaped.
Escape seems harsh, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, I understood what they meant. Teaching can be overwhelming and if you are not in the right school with like minded people to support you it could drag you down. Knowing that you have a mortgage, children and financial responsibilities make the word ‘escape’ applicable here because you want a solution to your current situation and literally want to be removed from the ongoing struggle you feel you are in. Even with the responsibility of bringing up a family I have seen people change careers and their way of life.
My point is that as a fellow human who has convinced herself that she understands suffering (I get my dramatic statements from my family…we are Greek!) and as someone who is dedicated to personal development and spiritual growth I am encouraging others to not be afraid and take a leap of faith in the direction they feel is more true to them. This may or may not include travelling.
When is the right time? Only you know the answer to this. For me it was clear. I was tired of my life. I was no longer inspired. Everything around me became too familiar and predictable. There was a clear road ahead of me that made me excited and I just took steps towards it. It became very simple after a long road of struggle, soul searching, despair and conversations with loved ones.
Seeing the world with my own eyes
As you will see this journey was about taking myself out of the western world and transporting myself to another way of life. Being able to finally observe the world and other peoples life. It gave me a chance to just be. Be in silence, in chaos if I chose it and living a more humble and simple life that required little money, long bus journeys and removing the obscene worries I use to have of image, clothing, spending money in places that were far too expensive and at times being completely shallow (funnily enough this did not completely leave me).
It was about getting back to basics. For a few years prior I stopped watching TV especially the news. I was fed up with someone else telling me about the world (which was mainly negative) or watching other people live their life while I stared at the TV like someone in a trance, being fed a viewpoint or belief that was not mine. I wanted to really LIVE and witness another way of life with my own eyes and make my own judgements about it. My intention is to do this in as many places as I can.
Not getting back on the plane to Singapore was me following my instincts. It was as if I had something so much more powerful than me approving of this decision. I knew I was backed up. I knew I would be protected. It became a deeply personal and spiritual decision for me.
I had removed all the physical blocks that were in my way and I had found myself with a huge amount of space, time and opportunity. I am not sure if ultimate freedom can ever exist in this world because whether we like to believe it or not our lives are controlled to a certain extent. However, because my intention was to simply be a traveller and because I had some savings I felt so privileged to give myself freedom even for a little while. It was not like a holiday which is controlled by its deadlines. I did not need to be anywhere but where I was. I had no return ticket and no real clue if and when I would return to London. That in itself was exciting and enabled me to live in the present moment. That was the only moment I knew about and that I cared to know about. I did not need to see anyone, be with anyone, help anyone, give my time to anyone other than myself. I also refrained from telling my family where I was all the time. My main contacts were my mum and my best friend who only knew if I was going to another country. If I knew I would be volcano trekking for a few days I would pre-warn them that there would be no contact. This was just in case the worst happened.
When you travel alone you can connect to yourself without any distractions. You do not need to confirm with anyone where you are going, how much you should spend, where to eat out etc. You can choose to connect with other travellers when and if you want to and for whatever time you want this to last. You simply do your thing. So, how wonderful it was to get bored because I was boring, to be active because I wanted to, to talk to strangers because I could, to observe others, to laugh at myself, to decide last minute to go on a jungle trek, to battle with my fears alone and how amazing was it that I realised I had no fears of being alone because really we never are alone (I will touch on this another time). I realised how funny I was (to me of course) and how I enjoyed my own company. It was wonderful to witness the support I received from other travellers and see love in so many peoples hearts. These people did not know me. I realised how special we all are and that when we have to we will be there for one another without expecting anything in return.
It also confirmed to me the woman that I was and that everything I had written about in my posts on personal development (check www.happylightcoaching.com or The Happiness Club at Psychologies Life Labs I started in Singapore with my friends for some of these past posts) or what I had spoken to my clients about was a deeply ingrained belief and way of life for me. It was evidence for myself and something I needed confirming.
I knew this fearlessness had really strengthened because of the hell I went through. The hell I speak of is the internal one we have. The internal struggle of our minds. Mentally and emotionally I was pushed so far across my own threshold and I knew that being alone was and felt so much better than being in the company of people who had no clue how to be loving. I found something the late Robin Williams was quoted saying which sums it up nicely.
“I use to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel alone.”
Off to Bali!
By the time I was ready to go to Bali I knew I had to put myself first. I could feel freedom slowly creep in and knew that I was exactly where I had always wanted to be: abroad and an opportunity to travel around with no worries. Despite my love for many people back home and the responsibility this brings I knew that nothing was more inspiring and more needed for my soul in that moment than to travel alone.
I like to think of it as a modern day pilgrimage that had no plan, no real goal but simply believing I was guided, being given surprises, magical moments and insights of loving oneself enough which has made me reconnect back to the woman I am and to those that I love.
Stay tuned for my next blog post where you finally get to see our adventures in Bali and my personal insights!
Much love! x