Flying Solo + Lessons Learned.
This time last year, I was stepping on a plane bound for LA before catching my connection to Barcelona. Can you believe it’s already been one year? Me either! Little did I know all that was in store for me on my journey.
Below, I share with you the three biggest lessons I learned from my time abroad that you can implement into your life starting now.
Growth lies at the end of your comfort zone.
I now live by the mantra “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Before this trip, I never understood exactly what that saying meant. It wasn’t until I took that gigantic leap of faith, shed all my tears and stepped onto that plane, that I fully recognized what a brave adventure I was embarking on. In all countries, I was challenged to step beyond my fears and embrace uncertainty. From arriving in Barcelona and the culture shock that came with a foreign language to the homeless man that confronted me outside a park one evening, I had the opportunity to cower to fear or see what I was truly made of. I learned the hard way to not drink water from taps, had to get accustomed to throwing toilet paper in the trash, and bought more hand sanitizer than I should ever need in a lifetime. Every person I met or culture I encountered reflected back to me my fears, my uncertainties and, more importantly, my strength. I began to realize I am brave. I am strong. I make bold moves and speak authentically from my heart. I show up in this world ready to play ball, taking on life’s triumphs and tribulations with grit and grace knowing that everything happens FOR me, not TO me. In fact, we’re all in a perpetual state of growth and expansion, learning from past hurts, mistakes, successes and failures. When you finally acknowledge your fears, you’re able to see the boundaries that only you put in place. I encourage you to push those boundaries. Step outside your comfort zone. Try new things and take grand adventures. You’ll learn you are made of magic.
Slow down. Savor the moment.
When I was a kid, I hated nap time. I’d cry and fuss, never wanting to fall asleep. I remember thinking that naps were for babies, and I was most definitely not a baby. Then, I landed in Barcelona where siestas are a real thing! Cafes and restaurants close during late afternoon and early evening only to open back up again around 8 p.m. The same scenario awaited me in Greece. At first, I found this extremely frustrating. However, at some point on the island of Paros, I learned to embrace the slower pace of life. Why was I always rushing everywhere, demanding things be available immediately? I began to notice cultures who slowed down tended to be some of the happiest people I met. As Americans, especially, we tend to rush, rush, rush through life. Always rushing through the morning anticipating a lunch date, then rushing through the afternoon anticipating evening plans. Then we rush through the week because next week isn’t so chaotic. Then, we rush through this month because my birthday is just over 2 months away. Then it’s Christmas, Then New Year’s Day. Slow down, sister. Savor the moment. Be present. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow. None of us is guaranteed 5 minutes from now. Appreciate what you have in the exact moment you have it.
Stop Resisting. Start Trusting.
When you stop resisting change, opportunities you’d never begin to imagine show up for you. I always thought I handled change relatively well. Apparently not. Life gets comfortable when you operate on autopilot. I had a great job working for an amazing company. I was paid well and loved what I did. However, I knew in my heart that I wasn’t fulfilled. For years, I had resisted finding that fulfillment in the travel I desired. My biggest fear leading up to the trip was I’d come back broke and homeless. That’s a pretty extreme fear and an absolutely ridiculous reason for not taking the trip of a lifetime. The truth is, I was scared. I was scared of the change so I resisted the pull to leave for months. I was content with where I was in my career and personal life. I was settling for what was easy. What was known. Here’s the thing….had I not said yes to playing big, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have visited 11 countries in 9 months and met some of the most amazing humans on the planet. Opportunities opened up that I couldn’t even fathom. I wouldn’t have known that one of my best friends would live in Austria and I’d get to visit her in the Alps before spending an unforgettable week with her family. I couldn’t have imagined leaving my mark on Friends Bar in Chiang Mai, playing cards with Kiwis in Pai or sailing through Sydney Harbor with a sweet Canadian. I couldn’t have imagined meeting a friend for yoga in Luxembourg and being given an open invitation to return as a guest teacher to the studio. All of these were beyond the realm of possibilities that my sweet little brain could imagine. But thank God that I said yes. Thank God I quit resisting the urge to go, do, see and grow. It’s easy to resist change, to stay comfortable in your known world and known life - even if you don’t love it. I’m here to tell you that a world exists beyond your wildest dreams. Beyond your imagination. And, it’s beautiful. Yes, I DID come home broke and homeless. I type this as I sit in my bedroom at my parent’s home. But that broke and homeless is wildly different from the fear that was holding me back. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. All you have to do is stop resisting and start trusting.
Life is meant to be lived, sweet friends. Truly living looks different for each of us. I encourage you to take stock of your life right now. Where are you playing small? Where are you holding back, allowing fear to stop you in your tracks? Where are the edges of your comfort zone and what keeps you from going there? Where can you slow down and savor more? What are you resisting and why? Where can you trust more?
One single choice can change your entire life trajectory for the better. Me, I knew I was made for more. And now, I spend a moment every morning in complete gratitude for taking that leap of faith. I hope you take your own leap of faith. You grow. You shift. You evolve. Because you deserve it. Know that I am here to support you on your journey, just as you’ve supported me in mine. Together, we’re going to change the world one single choice at a time.