I AM CONSTANTLY TOLD I AM BRAVE BECAUSE I TRAVEL.
By the time I was 26, I navigated four solo moves abroad. In my late teens, I moved to California for college, upon graduation worked in London, spent a year at acting school in L.A. then moved for 2.5 years to Australia and New Zealand. None of these adventures made me scared or apprehensive living away from the comfort and support of family and friends. I readily embraced the challenge and not once did I ever question my decision. At the time I never thought myself as being brave, as I was simply following my heart and felt the excitement of delving into an adult world. Living abroad was the catalyst that laid the groundwork for my travel life and has led me to where I am today: 58 countries traveled, 6 continents visited and 5 countries lived in.
Following your passion is about having the courage to design your life in how you seat fit. For me, it was entrenched in my being that I knew I had to explore the world and delve into all the possibilities of a travel life: constant learning, complex challenges, consistent freedom. Consequently, my road is not perfectly paved but rather a mix of traffic jams, detours and proceed with caution signs.
Therefore, I understand the curiosity and quizzical nature people have towards my life as it goes against everything society says – after university delve into a 40-year consistent career, settle with a partner, have kids, pay off the mortgage, save for retirement. Except saving for retirement, I have not ticked off any of the other requirements.
Am I brave because I am not bound to a stable job or home life? Am I brave because I once gave up a job with 6 weeks of holiday and an awesome pension? Am I brave because I have gone against societal norms and family influence to lead a life truly for myself?
Creating a blueprint for my happiness and having the courage to stand up to my convictions and values is not only liberating but necessary in order to live a fulfilled life. I understand that travel is normal for me, but not normal for others. When I am told I am brave, maybe it’s because you see my life as something you don’t understand, you pity, you cherish, or you wish you could have had the courage to do.
Therefore, maybe I am brave. Brave to know that my journey is different. Brave to give up the security of living a ‘normal’ life. Brave to follow what truly matters. Brave to have never settled for less than I deserve. If I am brave, please be brave yourself instead of telling me how brave I am.