This next journey in my life is a big step for me, it will be very different to my life in Brisbane and I will go without a lot of comforts from home. I have been planning this trip for only 3 months and time has passed so quickly. I had this grand (but vague) idea when I was in Kenya last year and I knew as soon so I had the idea to go back, I had to make it happen. With any great idea it is best to get started right away, while you have the drive, motivation and passion. To commit myself to this new idea I had, which I hadn’t yet figured out the finer details of, I needed to start telling people. I told my Mum first and her reaction was very mild, she has come to expect things like this from me and said she knew I would be going back. Our mothers know us the best I guess, and my heart has been in Africa since before I even went the first time.
The more people I told the more I felt like I couldn’t back out, (how embarrassing would that be!) but it was a good thing, it committed me to doing something I had always dreamed of. This was really going to happen!
The responses I got were something like:
“Oh, you’re brave!”
This was natural, a lot of people I know haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the African content. I can’t blame people for their negative perception, after-all, it is painted by the media and bad news stories, we are never told about the good news. The media doesn’t show us how warm, hospitable and resourceful the African people are. I am not naive, I know I have to be careful and stay safe. Of course I wasn’t going to purposely put myself in danger, of course I would stay safe but I was too excited to have that as my first priority right now. I didn’t like this negative response. I had to remind it was just people showing they care and worrying about me. I just don’t think that way, everyone is different though.
The next thing people would ask is
“What are you going to do after?”
“Will you keep your job?”
“Do you think you will find a handsome African husband?”
Honestly, I don’t feel like I can plan that yet. I don’t know what is going to happen after this journey, I don’t know who I will be or what I will want but I don’t think that really matters yet. I do know that this will be a once in a lifetime experience and will change me and my life, so all I can do is wait and see what my next journey will hold. We are always changing and what I want now might not be what I want later. Maybe I will use my time in Kenya to consider what’s next. My dream would be to continue to help people, having that purpose is what makes me happy and as long as I am happy that’s what matters.
I was speaking to a friend just last week about how my plans were going and she said that she is in awe of me, but why? I think that’s crazy! Anyone can do what they want if they want it bad enough. Anything is possible if you work to make it happen. Push through the excuses and the barriers that you believe are there, they are invisible! Everything takes time and hard work but you can really prove a lot to yourself if you can stay driven.
This same friend is also very passionate about traveling and has traveled extensively and I know she understands what I am doing, and why. She told me she feels burdened by ‘what she should be doing’. Us travelers always have these moments, seeing what our friends and families are doing with their lives. We are conditioned by society to think we need great careers, to buy a house and settle down with a family. Would a true traveler give up their passion for that life that is supposedly ‘what they should be doing’ though? Hmm maybe eventually. To me the real key is what makes YOU happy. If you are happy with having success, happy having a family and happy owning a home then that is fantastic! Congratulations! We all have different goals and reaching them can make you happy.
No matter what it is that makes you happy, that is most important and you should never give it up for anything! Follow that burning passion for whatever it is that lights your soul and gives you that warmth inside. We all need to feel whole and happy and that picture is different for each of us and it can change. For me right now my happiness is traveling and making a difference to people less fortunate than me.
Whatever it is, choose HAPPY!