When the alarm rang at 5 in the morning, I noticed I was already awake and counting down the minutes before I woke the girls up and got started on our once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
The girls were 9 and 12 at the time, and later this morning we’d be boarding the plane taking us to India, where we planned to spend the next six months: travelling, exploring, facing fears, and taking in all that this magical place has to offer. Culture, people, spirituality. Anything that made us learn was good.
We had started planning a few months before that day in early Jan 2020. We had all the jabs. I took them out of school and arranged a battery of online tutors to fulfil the necessary learning. The girls were excited, also nervous. The younger one wrote me a note saying she was really looking forward to it all but was a little scared of the possibility of getting eaten by a passing tiger. The older one was happy to miss school.
Going to India was a brave move. It came as a reminder of something I used to believe and then forgot for a while. I used to have a mantra that said: ‘if you’re scared, then do it!’. I had coined this mantra many years before, when I realised my life was dictated by fears and ‘not doing’, and when I realised that not only did I not know who I was after my recent divorce, but I was really scared to find out.
Back then, I decided ‘yes’ was the answer, and so I did my diving course, raised money for charity and went on a challenge of a lifetime (climbing the foothills of the Himalayas). I did a ‘teaching English as a foreign language course, took the Trans-Siberian to Mongolia where I stayed, and taught for one beautiful year. I then went travelling and finished it all off with a Master’s degree, a real win for someone who never even attempted a first degree!
Saying ‘yes’ to anything that scared me showed me I had so much more in me than I had given myself credit for! I’ve learnt that I could put money where my mouth was and see things through that others couldn’t. More importantly, these ‘others’ were ones I used to believe were better than me, and now I saw I was off-chart with how brave I was. Brave in the sense of saying ‘no’ to fear. Not in the sense of fighting off tigers…
The years passed, and I had my two beautiful daughters, and although they were everything to me, I felt the fear coming back. I knew that I needed to do something for me, but also show my girls that we can do more. The trip to India was challenging on so many levels, but it was also one of the best.
So long comfort zone, and super nice to re-meet you inner wisdom and courage!