Paul and I have talked at length about many things and how we want to live our lives – these words of affirmation by Woodrow Wilson sum up our dreams, hopes and values …
”You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
We dared to dream of taking time to travel, to learn, to explore and to consider another way of living…but it has not been an easy decision to make, nor an easy goal to pursue.
‘Unexpected’ is how I’ve come to think of the obstacles we’ve faced in preparing for our journey… obstacles just aren’t unexpected anymore…they’re just a natural part of any journey.
I’m learning about being brave as the past 6 months have been both frightening and challenging. Paul has beautifully encouraged me that “brave is what you feel after you’ve overcome a challenge and fear is just what you feel before you’ve begun…”
Obstacle one came dressed as opportunity. Unexpectedly I was head hunted and offered an insanely awesome career opportunity. This threw Paul and I into a whirlpool of emotions as our travel plans were still incubating at the time and it made “oh so much sense” to keep building our careers and earning greater Aussie dollars. I welcomed the affirmation this career step would bring, yet longed for affirmation that came from within, was more meaningful and lasting. Through this period I learned that Paul’s support has no conditions and my values became so crystal clear when faced with conflicting opportunities. I chose to risk, to pursue our dream, I chose us and our travels. The rollercoaster of uncertainty and fear that I’d just dented my professional reputation, does still linger but I’m sure with time I’ll be richer for the decision to back myself. Making decisions is challenging at the best of times but I learnt an invaluable technique when I trained as a business coach – when faced with a decision simply ask yourself: “Will this take me towards what I really want and value or away from it?” Decisions made simple…
Obstacle two came one evening when Paul suddenly clutched at his heart, which had started racing. He was deathly pale and sweat broke out across his brow. Days later friends joked that I had that effect on him and asked lewd details of what we were doing at the time (which was eating dinner at the airport!) Paul now jokes about “the night Maryna abandoned me at the hospital” but it was the best place for both him and me. Through this period I learned that Paul laughs despite adversity and that nurses are drawn to him and his infectious humour, checking his ‘vitals’ way too often. We were reminded of our vulnerability and health as simply a gift to be grateful for. All turned out well and it was soon clear that neither airport food nor Caitlin’s departure to London could break Paul’s heart.
Obstacle three started with “C”. Calling Paul to tell him I had just been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma was frightening because I had no idea at the time, beyond the doctor’s assurances that it was easily treatable with surgery and that I would be okay. With three months left ‘till our intended departure, it was a race to find a surgeon, eventually two who could surgically remove, reconstruct and repair. Through this period I learned about patience, about asking for help and gratitude. For Paul’s support, my health, the timing of the diagnosis and the positive outcome.
Obstacle four…yes it seemed insane that there was more…came as a hail storm. Six weeks from our departure it smashed its way through Sydney and rendered our car a write off along with thousands of others. Again we were grateful, it could have been worse as Paul and I were riding our motorcycles at the time – it did confirm that our helmets do indeed work! Having no car for our final weeks has eased us into our new lifestyle of walking or riding, and planning everything according to the weather.
Aussie champion of courageous living, Margie Warrell so eloquently describes just how it was that we were able to overcome all unexpected obstacles: “Indeed, only when you know your ‘why’ will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.”
Obstacles are part of any life course. Indeed they’ve shaped our resolve, sharpened our vision and given us such affirmation about the journey we’re on…