“You can’t succeed in life without a degree” I read this today on Instagram and I thought to myself that whoever wrote it had a lot to “learn”. Then I found the above quote and thought how much the universe provides. Education can be found everywhere it is a lifelong adventure journey of discovery and investigation. To truly be “educated” it is essential to start to seek out and acknowledge teachers and learning experiences. To be able to do this you need to train your mind.
Think about the people you meet and the conversations you have. What are you taking away from those conversation? Are you actively asking questions and exploring their opinions and ideas? Are you even open to other people’s thoughts, opinions and ideas? Are you “trying on” what you learn to see if they may fit you or improve you?
Travelling is a great learning experience and now that I am travelling “on the cheap” my learning experience have certainly quadrupled. Not only am I learning from the people and experiences I encounter, I am also being pushed out of my middle-class comfort zone so I am learning heaps about myself. I love this aspect of my journey.
David and I are currently doing some volunteering work at a small BnB (The Flying Fox) on the Whanganui River in New Zealand. This place is virtually off the grid. Kelly & Jane (The proprietors) live the ethos of the place and it is true magical. They have solar power, the toilet systems are either compost or long drop, they grow most of their own produce, they hunt for food, they are both artisan and sell their art to provide extra income for the goods they can’t grow or hunt. We spent 3 weeks with these gorgeous people and learnt so much. Every day it was something new. Not only skills we can take with us but the property gives you space to think and explore your own thoughts. These are people that have decided to live differently to what would be considered “normal”. It’s not an easy life, their days are full of looking after guest, fixing things, general upkeep of the ground…mowing the lawn alone takes 2 people 3 hours. But they are so happy and giving of their skills and knowledge. I have enjoyed exploring their beliefs and values and their way of life. I have learnt so much about myself
I have also enjoyed listening to why people are doing Te Araroa and how they are walking. Some people are determined to walk every single step regardless of how hard or boring it is. Others will skip the boring bits, others will only do sections of the walk. David and I intended to walk the trail in its entirety when we started, but our thinking has changed along the way. We have had experiences that have made us reassess what it is we want to achieve. We have spoken to people and questioned their motivation, each time taking away some lesson. So, we are now crafting a journey that suits us. Is this cheating? Is it compromising? No. David and I have had many conversations on this topic and we like to think that is learning as we go. Learning what we like, what we don’t like, getting clear on what we are trying to achieve, what we want to experience and what we really want to feel. We both have an idea of who we want to be, but how we will achieve that is flexible. So, each morning we get up with an open mind and heart and ask the universe to provide the teachers and experiences that will help us achieve our goal. So, I leave you with 3 questions:
Are you open to learning?
Do you set yourself up daily, to learn?
When & where do you do your most learning?
I would really love to hear from you
I believe the number one reason why people don’t reach their goals is actually having a goal. What!!! You scream That doesn’t make sense. Just stay with me a minute and I will explain. As a Coach, I am a huge advocate of goal setting and dreaming big. I tell my clients feel yourself doing and being what it is you want. Imagine how your life will be different, imagine how you will be different. And without exception they all get excited and start writing out what they imagine life would be like when they have achieved their goal. I then get them to write down what they have to do to achieve this. They then put together a timeframe of when each thing needs to be done…..and for a few weeks everything goes really well, they are ticking of the to do list. Then a few things start to slip and before long the goal is forgotten buried under all this “action” stuff. The excitement has waned and it all gets too hard. Sound Familiar?
How do we stop this from happening? One sentence….. whatever you want is a journey not a destination. Albert Einstein famously said, “the mind that created the problem can’t solve the problem”. Meaning the person, you are today can’t possibly fit into your vision of the future. So, what does that mean, simple it means you have to learn and adapt along the pathway to where you want to be. You have to “experience “the journey to recognise the destination. For goals to work, and they do work, you have to enjoy and celebrate the lessons along the way.
Take for example someone wanting to drop 10kg. They imagine themselves at their goal weight, wearing the clothes they want, getting lots of attention, feeling sexy and confident.
Along the way what are some of the changes in them they have to recognise and celebrate?
However, these both become a drag and are easy to throw in the to-hard basket if the focus is only on the end goal, it is to abstract. To succeed the focus has to be on keeping the excitement alive by celebrating the small subtle changes that is the journey,
Long distance trekking is exactly the same. The goal is to finish the trek and I see many blogs that are all about finishing the journey. But are they missing the point? What about the subtle changes along the way, what about all the “mini” experiences on track, what about the amazing starlight nights, what about all the crazies you meet, what about the way you have learnt to encourage yourself to be softer. These are all success points, all integral to achievement of your goal
So yes, goals are important to success in anything in life, and yes, they should be big bold hairy audacious and shitting my britches……… however don’t get so caught up in reaching the end that you rush the journey. A famous man once said stop and smell the roses. Well I say reward yourself daily.
Linger for that extra wine with a new-found friend, stay up all night and watch the stars.
You only walk this world once, walk it in gold lame sneaker, singing bohemian rhapsody at the top of your lungs walking beside the crazy man who sees leprechauns. And when you reach your goal you will realise that it too was not a destination but the stepping to an even greater adventure.
People’s reaction to our journey varies from bewilderment to envy to disbelief. How can two people just pack up and take off with no plan, no end destination, no end date and really not a lot of financial resources.
Well…pretty bloody easily really! You just have to decide how you want to live your life. For us that answer was full of adventure and a life rich in experiences. However, it also means no nice house, no expensive cars, very little disposable income, definitely no security, sometimes it will mean nowhere to sleep and worst only two pairs of undies.
Now what I have stated is a simplistic overview leaving out details such as we do have a strict budget, we have a plan to do volunteering work for room and board and we do have a little savings in case of a disaster, but the reality of this new life is that it is a risk, a huge risk.
So, what really is our “why”? Both David and I enjoy a high degree of freedom from family and lifestyle and we both have a sense of “There is more to life than what we are currently doing”. We have both lived reasonably well and have accumulated the traditional trapping of what society would deem “success”. Yet both of us feel unfulfilled and unsatisfied with what we have achieved. So, it’s time to try something new.
Are we extraordinary or mighty courageous? No. Like you we are just two very ordinary people. But we both have a strong passion to live life with no ‘what if’…
A hobo is someone who does not have a house or job and who moves from place to place, as of November 4th, 2017 that is us. Everything we own packs up into a backpack. Our home (a light-weight tent) our bed (a blow-up mattress and sleeping bag) our stove (a 1 pot burner) and all our clothes (currently 2 pairs of knickers, 2 bras, 2shirts, 2 pants that convert to shorts, a fleece jacket and a down jacket for cold weather long johns and merino wool top to sleep in, 4 pairs of socks a rain jacket and 1 pair of walking shoes and 1 pair of camp shoes)
What is it we hope to achieve? Nothing really, except a sense of self and an appreciation for what is important. I read somewhere “Life is simple, just not easy” and fell in love with the honesty of this. Take walking the world….most people are capable of walking so it is easy, however it gets hard when you start a long distance journey and you have to get up day after day and walk 20-30 km. Simple not easy. Walking gives you time to question everything and pull it apart and examine. I have pondered is this is why history is filled with people who go on long pilgrimages and during their journey they discover themselves and the importance of living a good life.
So we set of with stars in our eyes, hope in our heart and adventure in our veins.
From inception of this journey David and I have had the belief that the Universe was giving us signs that this was what we were meant to do. From meeting people that had done the walks we wanted to do, to getting great airfares when we needed to fly. Everything has just dropped into place. Then BANG one of the accommodation bookings we had made suddenly cancelled our booking for no reason.
WOW what is this!!! Is this the Universe reneging on our plan? Inside my head the devil’s voice of doubt suddenly grew very loud…. “Fool, see this is just a hair brain scheme”, “I told you that you couldn’t make this work”, “What makes you think you’re special”. Yes, the spiral of fear and doubt got a really good hold of me Spiral, Spiral, Spiral… I was in a cold sweat doubting everything from my ability, how I was going to survive to my sanity.
Then the universe stepped in again and into my mind flashed a neon sign that had this quote, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, not even the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change” Charles Darwin.
And again, I thanked the Universe for it’s amazing insight. It would be unrealistic to believe that the type of adventure we are about to embark on will always go smoothly and to plan. The mere description of calling it an adventure would indicate many unknowns……but we will adapt. We will learn not to bank on certain sequences of events. We will learn that the magic will be found in the journey not the destination. We will learn to trust each other and our inner wisdom and the deep grounded belief we both have that this is what we are meant to do, we will adapt or we will return to a normal life and we will die a slow and lingering extinction (Figuratively speaking. “With great risk comes great rewards” Dalai Lama.
Love the growth. The change in me is happening before I put my first step on the track. MAGIC!!. Nelson Mandela said “that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”.
This photo is of David and I early in the morning of our 28th day on the Camino. We were on the way up a mountain to the Cruz de Ferro in Spain. It was the day that changed my future.
The Cruz de Ferro or Iron Cross sits at the highest point of the Camino de Santiago between Manjarin and Foncebardon. Pilgrims for centuries have been placing stones at the base of the cross signifying leaving their sins behind and preparing to be reborn on the last leg of the Camino. Today it has a much broader meaning symbolising a problem or issue one wants to leave behind, leaving behind something you no longer want to be burdened with.
I had read about this ritual before starting the pilgrimage and thought long and hard about what I needed to leave behind. But it wasn’t until I was standing at the base of the cross, on this foggy morning, did I really understand the significance. As I got down on my knees and placed my stone onto the pile I prayed to the Universe that I had the strength and wisdom to leave behind anything that would not serve me in the future. But more than that I asked the Universe to help me. Help me remember the lessons I had learnt on the Camino and to take them back into my everyday life.
Walking the Camino you have plenty of time to get inside your own head and sort out all the shit that has been accumulating over the years, the regrets, the beliefs that held you back, the irrational fears, the harmful behaviours that have become in ground into your being and the list goes on. As I sat at the base of Cruz de Ferro all this went through my head and as I placed my stone onto the pile, I knew my life would never be the same again. I had learnt lessons that I would never allow to disappear from my consciousness. Some of those lessons I would like to share with you.
Buen Camino my friends
In her 1972 hit song Janis Joplin sings about …..“freedom, is just another word for nothing left to loose” . Is Janis saying we are only free if we have nothing to loose, that friends, money, relationships are an encumbrance? I personally believe freedom is a mindset, something you have to establish internally. It’s about creating that internal peace and stability so even when the world outside is trying to tie you down or cage your spirit, you have the strength and courage to be your own person.
What does freedom mean to you?
For me freedom is about being at peace with myself and who I am, it means minimizing my internal conflict, having more self belief and resilience, loving myself more and accepting what is, so creating less stress.
7 Simple Steps Towards Freedom
As I approach 50 I see things very differently than I did when I was in my 20’s. Life was such a fast past thing and I was arrogant enough to think the world revolved around me. Now I don’t have any regrets about my life but there are a few things I wish I could have told myself that would have made life just that little bit easier. Here a just a few Life is for living now: Waiting to be thinner richer smarter so you can be happier is a recipe for disaster. Life is lived in the now. Lean to love right now, appreciate everything you have, take time to notice the little things. Be Silly more often Life is short have fun learn to laugh at life at yourself, don’t take things so seriously, don’t worry what other people think those that really love you will love your silliness. Failure is the key to your long-term success. If you avoid trying things just encase you don’t get it right, you will never have what you want, try and try again it’s called Flearning learning through failure. Learn from your failures and move on. Money doesn’t buy happiness, experiences give you happiness. Don’t put too much value on material things pleasure and great memories come from experiences and connecting with people, not from how many houses you own. Stay 21. Your chronological age doesn’t define who you are. If you think you’re to young or to old isn’t the issue the issue is you have to think you can. Health has to be a priority being healthy is the corner stone to success and I don’t just mean physically. Look after your body, and your emotional and spiritual health. Travel, Travel, Travel it expand your experiences, it teaches you about people and cultures and its an adventure with stimulates your mind Don’t be a smarty pants you don’t know everything, you have 1 mouth 2 ears listen more than you talk. Love sometimes hurts but don’t close yourself off to it. The pain passes and leaves behind some amazing memories. Take chances be certain in yourself that you can handle anything and then go out and take some risk, some will fail some will fly, revel and rejoice the successes, learn from the failures Your part of nature so your either green and growing or ripe and rotting. Embrace change. Connect with people both emotionally and physically. Cuddles help heal, it relieves stress and improves the immune system. Connection with community delays old age dementia and heart disease your stronger than you think. When things get tough know you have the strength to get through it. Going through hard times makes you a better human; be grateful. Express gratitude whenever you can, concentrate on what you have rather than what you don’t, this will increase your happiness and improve your well-being. Listen to your gut. Use your intuition to your best advantage, if it doesn’t feel right, keep investigating. Don’t mix up the voice in your head with the voice in your heart. Pay Attention to detail, its the little things that make a difference. Pay attention to the small everyday things and celebrate them and life will be more fulfilling. LEARN ,TEACH ,LEARN ,TEACH never give up the quest for knowledge but more importantly pass your knowledge on share it around. Good Relationship are always morphing your partner, your friends and you change with time be aware of the changes and adapt the relationship to encompass these changes. Just do it. There are no shortcuts in life, if you want something you will need to work for it. That doesn’t mean any fun, do what you love and do it well and when you achieve what it is you want you will have a sense of accomplishment. Let it go. Don’t carry baggage with you. Anything that has happened in your past that causes you pain, just let it go, carry it around will never make it better or different. Honour you yourself by being honest, reliable and kind to yourself and others Don’t leave room for regret Live everyday to its fullest, don’t waste them live like there is no tomorrow LOVE LOVE LOVE give love freely, be loving, share love express it seek it out.
It is 6am on Tuesday the 1st November 2005 4 weeks before my 40th birthday and I woke up and my head exploded with one thought…. Is this it! Is this as good as life gets? Boy did that one thought rock the foundations of my life: because I instantly knew the answer! I knew I wasn’t playing the game at full speed. The big question was, “why wasn’t I”. Look, I‘m not saying my life was miserable, far from it. I was approaching 40 reasonably happily married for 22 years, I had a gorgeous teenage daughter who was doing ok I had a reasonably successful career running hotels and resorts. Yet, I still had this nagging feeling that there should be more.
Up until that morning I had never thought about what ‘more’ was, but on this morning don’t ask me why the flood gates sprang open and out came a deluge of questions; if I was happy why was I overweight, why was I constantly tired, why was I always finding fault in everything and everyone, what would make me happy, what did being happy mean, what was wrong with my current situation that didn’t make me happy? Was there more? Or was I just being greedy and the questions went on and on and on.
I very quickly realized I needed help, so I did what any sane or maybe not so sane person would do and I ran away. I told my husband that I wanted out of the marriage and I packed my bags and headed north to Ayers Rock. And there started the hardest three years of my life. I left Melbourne NYE 2006.
So what changed?…… I did, or more to the point how I thought changed. I realised that the only thing that would make me happy long term where those things that I enjoyed doing, that gave me energy, that lit me up from the inside. I heard from a one of these ‘self help gurus’…”you have to follow your passion – your purpose” well I thought I w as doing that. I love the hospitality industry and I loved people and I loved looking after people. So why wasn’t I blissfully happy? One simple thing was, I was following a safe and steady road that kept money in my wallet, not the cutting edge exciting things I dreamed up in my head. Exciting adventures that may not have kept food on the table!
So slowly but surely I have started to follow my passion, now there has been some wrong turns and bumps in the road but the more I trust the universe and give without expecting to receive the more my passion and purpose becomes clearer. I learnt to listen and believe in myself. Here are some of the things I learnt: