If someone had told me a year ago that by spring of 2014, I would have quit my job and flew away to lands far, far away to explore the world with a man who I was not married to… I would have nervously laughed (and then ran away to get away from the crazy).
I’m not that girl. I like security. I like roots. I like knowing that I can develop some strange disease and be covered by health insurance. I was saving up for a house, even if I had no idea where I wanted to put down roots.
Even today, as I’m selling my possessions and a couple thousand bucks poorer in plane tickets, it’s hard to believe that this is really happening. I still can’t believe that traveling is a choice that I get to make. It feels so surreal that I stumbled into this life, where dreams that never was manifested themselves as my new reality.
And I am SO beyond excited, bewildered, anxious, and everything in between.
But if I’m being perfectly honest, there’s also plenty of doubt.
Growing up in America means being raised on a steady diet of the great American dream: climbing the career ladder, house in the suburbs, and a comfortable retirement after a lifetime of solid 401k contributions. That and combined with a hardcore, old-fashioned set of Chinese values that honor education, hard work, and earning a good living above all (to the point of self-sacrificing happiness) makes breaking out of the societal mold a pretty scary thing to do.
Everything I was raised with tells me that I can’t. That traveling is an impossible dream. That quitting a job is a risk not worth taking. That the way to live a respectable life is through hard work. As much as I wish it didn’t, it causes me to doubt my choices.
I’m worried about things that I most likely don’t even need to be doubtful about… things like not liking the nomadic lifestyle, D and I breaking apart while abroad, running out of money (I am very lucky that D’s e-commerce business will provide a steady flow of income for our travels).
But what if any of those things do happen? Where would life take me then?
Most of all, I’m scared of ending up right back where I started.
It’ll be all ok, I can tell myself over and over. If life abroad doesn’t work out, I can always come back and find a job again. After all, I will always have my work experience to fall back on. But my heart doesn’t want to settle on that backup plan either. The last thing I want is going off to pursue my own happiness, only to come back and fall right back into a cycle of passionless work, dread, and monotony. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate failure?
But even through all this doubt, there are a few things I am absolutely sure about:
1. I want to be happy.
2. I would travel to the ends of the earth with D.
3. I don’t want to live a life of regrets.
So I’m forging ahead. I’m shoving my doubts to the darkest corners of my mind (and maybe in time, they will cease to exist). I’m moving onwards to discover what’s on the other side of fear.
Life is about taking risks. Big, crazy risks that just might lead to your happiness. And once in a lifetime comes along something so special that is absolutely worthwhile to risk leaving everything you have ever known to pursue. I don’t have all the answers for all the “what-ifs”, but I don’t need to have everything figured out (or have backup plans for my backup plans). I’m choosing to take a huge leap of faith, no safety harness attached. :)
Disclaimer: None of the images are mine.