A little background
I’d dreamt of traveling the world since I was a child. While I traveled as much as possible in the US and Canada (before passports were required to enter Canada), I found myself at 43 wondering if I’d ever be an American abroad.
For decades into my adulthood, green stuff–or rather the lack thereof!– prevented me from wandering too far from home. Other reasons traveling seemed completely inaccessible included having sole financial custody for three children, fixing up a 100 year old home and working entrepreneur’s hours on a business struggling to break even.
You get the point. Most adults I know are pretty familiar with the “it’s always something” cycle. You know the one? That uncanny insatiable monster that senses when hopes are high and seemingly appears out of nowhere to hungrily devour your dreams whole?
So, I was stuck in that loop when I saw the flyer that changed everything (which I wouldn’t have even seen if it wasn’t for the skincare product that changed everything before the flyer. But that’s a story for another day!).
Have you noticed that when you’re really ready for a change, things happen fast? One day, I saw a flyer for a women’s personal and professional development training and was reminded that my then business coach had highly recommended a similar training (led by another woman). Just days later, while meeting with a local business owner, I discovered that she and some mutual friends were going to a training in Ireland that Summer, co-facilitated by the same woman my business coach had recommended. The dates worked for me, I spoke with both women leading the workshop and committed to getting there.
A few thoughts about commitment
Saying I was committed was significantly easier than ponying up large sums of cash to prove my commitment.
Eventually, excruciatingly, I learned two things: Commitment is not for the faint of heart! & Every great journey begins with commitment!
Life is sneaky like that. I thought I was making a simple logical decision–thrifty even!–to sign up for a beneficial growth opportunity AND finally see one of the countries of my heritage. In reality, I had said “yes” to myself in a completely new way. The self-sabotage process began almost immediately and corresponded directly to legitimate challenges.
Unforeseen expenses arose.
My original funding plan fell through.
My business didn’t bring in the numbers I’d anticipated.
Home improvement projects morphed in every imaginable way.
I’d like to say that I soared above the challenges, but the truth is I wavered every time a new road block appeared. It was the first time I’d traveled anywhere alone in over 20 years and my first passport-required trip.
Journey inward if you dare
It seems silly now looking back but I even contacted the facilitators to tell them that I had made an enormous mistake. Each payment was harder, not easier as I’d naively expected, because between payments I was wrestling with my inner belief demons.
Initially, it was fairly predictable inner critic self doubts:
Is this really the best time for you to do this?
How do you KNOW this will be worth your time and money?
What will people think about you leaving your kids home so long without you?
Do you know any other mom who does anything like this? Why aren’t you like other moms?
Then the self doubts progressed into self judgments:
See, your mother was right, you DO think the world revolves around you.
I’m spending money that could be used for so many more important things.
I’m a terrible mother to miss the beginning of my kids’ and partner’s school year.
I’m sabotaging my business.
And then the inner belief demons stirred from their comfortable lair, rose from the depths of my pre-cognitive and child psyche, spewing messages that had consumed and driven my life since childhood:
There isn’t enough.
I’m not enough.
I’m selfish to pursue what I want and need.
Others deserve these resources/this experience more than I do.
People said, “You’re so lucky!”.
I didn’t feel lucky; I felt I’d fought for and earned every minute and every dollar of that trip.
But I did feel exceptionally lucky to have supportive people in my life. Specifically, I feltl grateful for years of pruning relationships (from toxic at worst to draining at best) in order to nurture mutually energizing relationships with truly extraordinary humans.
On that particular trip, getting from here to there required an inner journey and most of the turbulence took place pre-flight. Turns out the course was well worth the investment, as was I. And the extra weeks traveling solo in Ireland and Scotland were absolutely priceless.
It’s been just over 2 years since that first trip. Since then, I’ve been to 14 countries and various American states. But I’ll never forget the feeling of being on that plane–Far too excited to sleep, both proud and surprised to be there, and ready (more than ever before) to take flight.