Lessons from a year of adventure
Do you dream of quitting work, leaving your responsibilities behind and running off to an exotic location for a wild adventure? Well that’s exactly what I did this time last year. Here are a few of the lessons I learned along the way.
I didn’t plan for my adventure to last a whole year. It just sort of… unfolded, naturally. My original plan was to take a couple of months away from London life (and rent), plug in my laptop and do my regular job as a freelance writer from a beach in India. I booked a return flight to get me home in time for Christmas. I had no idea that six months later I would be in the mountains of Nepal, tapping away at the first draft of a memoir that had almost miraculously spilled out of me during my time in India. Call it my own Eat, Pray, Love moment (I’m trying not to judge myself for typing that right now).
Here’s a bit of what I discovered…
1. The best things in life happen by accident
Yes it’s very comforting to think that everything is in our own control. But come on, it’s just not. We can plan and we can try to make everything as secure as possible but do you know what, when you pull the safety net away you’ll discover that actually, you’re ok. I didn’t know what would happen. There’s a time for planning and there’s a time for letting life unfold naturally. Trust yourself.
2. When you let something go, you make room for something new
I won’t lie, disappearing off to a mountain with shitty wifi meant I lost a few clients. Did I get upset about it? Hell no! I was too enthralled in learning meditation at a Zen Buddhist centre in Tamil Nadu or swimming in the ocean in Kerala. There are always consequences to deal and that’s why being conscious and owning our choices is so important – it means you don’t have to worry about the future and can instead enjoy the present moment. I’m working extra hard now to work with new clients (and I’m learning new skills along the way). Face the challenge with courage and confidence.
3. There’s nothing like the feeling of independence when you travel solo (except the glow from the support of friends and family along the way)
I have a very supportive family. We’re not cash rich, but we make up for it by catching each other when we stumble. I couldn’t have done any of it without the support of my friends – the ones who stored my stuff in their loft – and family, who sat on Skype and read out hundreds of receipts as I attempted to fill out my tax return from a beach in Goa. I am eternally grateful.
4. Money comes, money goes – don’t let it control you
Money is a fact of life. I choose to see it a friend rather than a foe. I took a huge risk a few years ago by leaving my “steady” job and going freelance. My dream had always been to be able to write on the road and, eventually, that risk paid off. Of course my bank balance suffered a bit and I don’t have kids or a mortgage so it was far easier for me. I know it’s not always an option for everyone, but if you have the desire to shake up your life and see what else is out there, you’ll move mountains to make it happen. Trust me, it’s worth every sacrifice along the way.
I’m pretty sure the biggest rewards from this experience are still to come to be seen. I’ve come home bursting with ideas about the kind of life I want, and the energy to make them a reality.
Watch this space to see what I get up to next.