I did it again.
For the second time in the past six years I’ve sold or donated most of my possessions to go on a travel adventure.
I don’t have a home, car, or espresso machine. I gave all my 9-to-5 dress shirts to a second-hand store. My three main assets are a laptop, camera, and pair of RayBans. The rest of my life is meticulously organized into two backpacks.
I left Montreal a couple weeks ago. After a visit with friends in Victoria, British Columbia, I’m now in Portland, Oregon and renting a Mother-In-Law suite for one month. After Portland, I’ll be in Austin, Texas for one month. Finally, I’ll spend a month in Puerto Escondido, Mexico before returning to Canada and spending Christmas in Thunder Bay.
This is my second time folding up shop and hitting the open road. The first time I hit the ‘Reset’ button I set off on a round the world trip that lasted over two years.
You might be wondering, “Well, if you’ve done this before, why does it qualify as one of your Year of Fear challenges?”
Fair question. Selling all my stuff, living minimally, and traveling alone should be old hat by now. But it’s not. I’m on the edge of my seat and anxious as hell.
Sure, I’m excited to travel and build my business at the same time. I can’t wait to make new friends, learn new things, and have a great story to tell in the end.
But I’m scared, too.
I’m scared of the unknown. I’m scared that I have a fear of commitment and that going minimal and traveling is another way of avoiding and escaping. I’m scared that I’m getting older and should be getting serious about “settling” since that’s what everyone else says is “normal.”
Even though I’ve sold everything and lived out of a backpack before, it doesn’t minimize the fear I’m feeling.
It’s funny. I started my Year of Fear with the slogan, “Overcoming fear, one challenge at a time.” I think I’d like to change that. The slogan should be, “Understanding fear, one challenge at a time” instead.
I don’t think life is about overcoming fear as much as it’s about understanding it. It’s about feeling the fear, being aware of its presence, and doing whatever scares you anyway.
Fear doesn’t go away when we take on big challenges in life. When we change jobs, start new relationships, or have a second/third/fourth child, do we feel any less anxious and afraid than the previous times? No.
But is that really a bad thing? Fear and a healthy amount of anxiety keep us on our toes. They help us to expect the unexpected and prepare for the worst. We’re alert, aware, and ready for the challenges that will inevitably come our way.
So yes, I’m feeling the fear even though I’ve lived as a homeless traveler before.
This next challenge is my biggest this year. I’m traveling to new cities in foreign countries where I won’t know anyone for the next three months while trying to build my business at the same time. It’s going to be hard. I’m fully aware that there will be many lonely days and nights. I know I’ll hit roadblocks. I’ll miss the hell out of my friends and family.
But the fear also makes me feel alive. It’s pushing me to get out of my comfort zone, every day. If I want to meet people, learn, and have memorable experiences, I have to go out and make it happen.
I’m super excited and scared shitless…sounds like a recipe for success to me.