Perspectives From A Timid Traveler: Part 1
Not all of us are born adventurers. Some of us, myself included, are natural nesters who feel best with roots, and are fulfilled in building a home, a family, a career, and having hobbies. I seldom felt the need to ‘take a break’ from my life or adventure outside of it because I enjoyed my routines, the sanctuary I had built in my home, the sense of purpose I got from my work and the love I surrounded myself by. I was content to just exist in that bubble forever had it not been for my husbands free spirit and wandering heart which had opposite needs.
Where I thrived with my deep roots and routine, my husband felt stifled, bored, tethered down, and restless. Where I felt secure within the walls of my life, he felt trapped. You may think this would be a recipe for an emotional or interpersonal impasse between us with such differing needs but fortunately for us we see differing needs as opportunities to grow together, not apart. We struck a deal. We would put roots down long enough to raise our daughter (my beautiful step-daughter whom I became a mother to when she was nine years old) and then we would go abroad so my husband could get his need for adventure fulfilled. A decade came and went and although we were delayed by some of my health issues, the time had finally come.
Once we took the leap, sold all our belongings, launched our daughter into adulthood, and left for Europe, I knew there was no going back. Adventure was happening, whether I was ready or not. We decided early on in our travels that we didn’t want the traditional expat experience of hunkering down for a year in one place. Especially with my ongoing health issues we wanted to make our time away count. We had given ourselves a two year timeline and would re-evaluate our next steps; see as much of the world as possible. We decided on a nomadic experience where we would plan (or not) as we bounce around when we want, where we want and how we want.
For my free-spirited, wanderlust, intrepid traveling husband, this has been the life he has always wanted and dreamed of. For me… well, let’s just say the first 6-8 months were incredibly rough. I battled some depression, serious homesickness, anxiety, and weight gain (yes, eating my emotions, and a lot of pastries in Europe and the UK). Then, somewhere along the way it dawned on me that being an adventurer, although not a natural tendency for me, required certain personality characteristics, mindsets/perspectives, and even skills.
When I started to ask myself what made my husband and I so different in how we were viewing our current traveling experiences I began to see them- these cluster of traits, characteristics, and skills, all (or at least some) of which I realized I could learn, develop, and nurture within myself. Kind of like wanting to learn to play an instrument. I may not have the natural talent or ability but with practice and hard work, I can still learn to play. With this new mindset, I began to cultivate my sense of adventure, and you know what? It’s working. Want to know how I’ve done it? Stay tuned for Part 2 to learn about the steps I’ve taken to become the adventurer I am today!