Packing the family up and moving overseas for a year was an idea that became a desire, and one that consumed many thinking moments. These moments were only in the conversation of wishes and dreams, because wishes and dreams meant there is no real attachment, no real possibility of failure or hurt.
Like with most decisions that stretch our comfort zone or questions our boundaries of normality - fear is the first advisor to sit at the table. He walks the hallways of our mind, carrying a suitcase full of questions to keep the conversation in realm of wishes and dreams, and the status quo of life unchanged.
How can you simply pack everything up and leave?
What about your mortgage?
You have two cars on finance, how will you pay for them?
How will you fund this adventure?
What will you do with all your stuff?
What will your friends and family think?
Is this really the best for your daughter?
Are you being selfish?
What about your career?
We asked ourselves these questions whenever we thought about our family adventure, and as the weeks went by fear gradually reached out his arm and asked us to place our desire into the too hard basket he was holding.
We were hungry for adventure, change and disruption, so we resisted the ease of giving up and pushed through. When we make the intimidating, yet simple decision to not give up, alternatives and solutions make themselves known.
Making the decision to pack the family up and move overseas for a year, wasn’t as daunting as it sounds when we stopped answering our fear based questions and started asking just one question;
What is the worst that could happen?
And we grabbed the pen and paper and listed our answers to this question;
Work coming through Inga’s design business (www.inklingdesign.com.au) slows down and we can’t afford to be overseas.
One of us becomes seriously sick while we are travelling and we need to return home.
We can’t find a tenant to rent our home in Australia.
When we come home Mike wont be able to find a new job.
Andy won’t enjoy herself as she may not have the opportunity to socialise that often with other children.
By asking the question, what is the worst that could happen, we brought our fears out of the dark shadows of our thoughts and into the light of realisation. We realised that these fears weren’t as enormous as we were making them out to be, and by bringing them into our awareness, we could assess their likelihood and look at potential solutions.
Work coming through Inga’s design business (www.inklingdesign.com.au) slows down and we can’t afford to be overseas: The business has been growing year on year for the past five years, why would it start changing now? We are going over there with some savings and if need be we can always just come home.
One of us becomes seriously sick while we are travelling and we need to return home: The likelihood of this happening is minimal. Yes Andy has anaphylaxis to tree nuts, but we have managed that for three years without an issue. We will also have travel insurance in case of an emergency.
We can’t find a tenant to rent our home in Australia: This was a big concern, as we knew we couldn’t fund the adventure while paying off our mortgage as well. However, as we had brought this fear based question to the conversation and acknowledged it, we were able to take action early. Four months before we were departing, we invited a local real estate agent to look at our home. She gave her assessment and even if we needed to drop the rent by $50/week it would still be achievable. And if there was any major drama while we were away, we could just come home.
When we come home Mike wont be able to find a new job: Oddly enough, this wasn’t a major concern. I wasn’t enjoying my current workplace and wanted to leave - so I would be in the same position as I am in now, needing to look for work. The plan however, is to not need to look for work on our return, rather to grow Inga’s company and investigate other endeavours.
Andy won’t enjoy herself as she may not have the opportunity to socialise that often with other children: This was a concern, as we knew Andy would miss her little friends. We thought of other strategies that would enable her to have more contact with children – story time at the local library, group activity like ski school. Her interaction with children might decrease, however we determined that this would be outweighed by the experience she would receive from an adventure like this.
We quickly realised that these fears were self-imposed, they were barriers we were erecting, and only because we wanted to do something new and different. When we haven’t walked the path before we become apprehensive. It is this hesitation that hinders discovery of the new and different.
What is the worst that could happen? These seven little words would change our course and put wind in our sails - we were moving and we had momentum. The idea wasn’t just a desire any more, it was a possibility, and we had the determination to make it happen, because fear was no longer at the helm. We started to find answers to questions, and found comfort in not needing to have all the answers just yet.
We eventually only had one answer to the question, what is the worst that could happen? And that was to not go, to let fear win and keep living a life that pushes the difficultness of change and growth to tomorrow.
Adventure isn’t knowing the way, it’s finding it: live immediately.