It’s quite easy to say the words, “I want to…”. But we all know that actually starting “that whatever” is the hardest step to take. A little over six months ago, I got the courage to utter the words, “I want to quit my job and just travel for a year”. The anticipation grew, the challenges mounted, gut wrenching decisions were made, tasks completed, hard goodbyes were said and planning turned into reality. Check in time had come on that one way plane ticket I purchased many months before.
As I landed in Madrid not quite a week ago, and made my way to my hotel, I felt like I was watching a dream. Not the ecstatic, fairytale “my dream came true” scenario but a mystical, somewhat foggy reality. I had actually walked away from my marriage, from my career and from my precious daughter to pursue this new endeavor. I wasn’t necessarily overwhelmed with grief but I wasn’t grinning from ear to ear either. And you know what I did, I slept. I took a three-hour nap as soon as I got to my hotel, showered and drank an excessive amount of water. The next morning, I got up and went for an exhilarating run, came back to the hotel, showered and took another 3 hour nap. I traversed around the city, sampling delicious foods and wines but made my way back to my hotel in hopes of sleeping most of the night.
While I was planning this grand adventure, I wasn’t sleeping that well. This first week abroad has made me realize that this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. As two of my friends are training for Ironman events next month in France and I witness the dedication to their training they are undertaking, I’m reminded that I’m training for a long haul event as well – life!
This journey is not about the stamps from countries that will soon fill my passport, the masterpieces that I will see in museums, breathtaking cathedrals that I visit that line the streets in so many cities across the world. It is about whether I am willing and open to experiencing these adventures with honesty and integrity for myself. That I can have the courage to explore myself as deeply as I explore a city. It is embracing learning to strike up conversations with strangers that speak in languages I don’t understand. Even feeling comfortable enough to ask someone to take my picture. Can I melt away the walls I have built around myself that falsely make me feel safe? Will I embrace slowing down when my brain tells me there is more I should see and do?
If taking much-needed periods of rest and mid-day naps this first week is any indication, the slowing down has commenced. The canvas has been primed and as I finish this first week of travel, I am recognizing that my courage and strength to not only utter those words but to live out that reality will profoundly shape me in ways I could not have imagined. I am embracing each day as it comes.
“Lo que está para ti, nadie te lo quita.” – Anonymous
What is meant to be for you, nobody can take away.