I have been talking to a lot of people in my online community lately about taking adventures and starting next chapters in their journey. Whether it be a big step on the career path or a short hop for a personal adventure, this topic is recurring. And, I get a lot… A LOT of questions about how I had the courage to take the leap to chase this crochet dream. My answer is always the same: for me, it's always been easy … Truthfully, even when it is hard. I don't mind taking the risk to chase my dreams. I DO mind being stuck in a place of "what if". I always say I would rather have memories than regrets.
It really comes down to this: I am less afraid of failing than I am of not trying. It's a mindset. It's being curious about what's next rather than what if.
It's knowing that no matter what, I will always find a way to bounce back so why not just try and make my dreams my reality?
So in light of these conversations, I have decided to share the story of how I learned to surf, lived in Australia for and changed my whole life just by taking that leap of faith, trusting God, trusting my gut and not being afraid to fail. Though it is travel and exploration, it's very similar to the same thought process that I used when I quit my job and chased this crochet dream.
Let's start at the beginning:
I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf. To be out there, riding waves and develop a personal relationship with the ocean seemed like a calling to me. Maybe it is because I am a true Pisces that I am naturally at one with the ocean. Growing up, I had to settle for lakes, but the salt water always seemed to be calling me by name.
Another problem was that being a city kid, I had never learned to swim and never needed to. When I was a teenager, I moved to Miami from New York City and one of the first things I did was park myself within steps of the ocean and then: I taught myself how to swim. I spent hours upon hours at the beach teaching myself to swim.
There were many close calls but I have never felt more at home than when I was in the Ocean. And, even though the Atlantic is a mild ocean without waves, I knew it would someday lead to surfing so I persisted.
Fast forward several years and I had landed a wonderful gig as Prop Master for a show that took me around the world. And when the first leg of the tour was done, where it landed me was Brisbane, Australia.
This was one of those moments. One of those JUST DO IT moments. Just jump off and take the leap. I felt it in my blood.
Instead of boarding my flight back to the USA, I took a bus for an hour ride towards the coastline to a place called Surfers Paradise. (How could I not?! The name of the city itself called to me.)
At the bus depot, I grabbed a few pamphlets of places to stay, surf schools and such and went on my way backpack and suitcase in tow. I found a wonderful place to stay and a new friend, Belinda who ran a backpackers hostel. I traded room & board for taking the overnight shift in the front office. (and considering I just quit my job to stay in a country on the other side of the world this was a huge SCORE!)
I took a stroll to the beach and got a job at a beach café (where I later learned how to be a short order cook which is HUGE because my kitchen is only used to store beverages and make coffee). And, I met a new lifelong friend Sandra who introduced me to her friend Cheyne Horan.
So there it was, total immersion: I had new friends and a new home and felt an overwhelming sense of purpose and joy within 48-72 hours of arriving. I knew I was where I was supposed to be.
My dream was not only coming true, it was way beyond what I could imagine. I didn’t know who Cheyne was. To me, he was just a nice fella on the beach in Paradise offering to teach me how to surf. I only found out days and many lessons later, that he is a world class surfer. Seriously – talk about wow factor and serendipitous!
Everyday I would meet Cheyne on the beach and he would give me surf lessons. It was brutal. It took a while but eventually (after weeks of trying) I was up and running and out riding waves. Sure, they were small mini waves in the beginning and laughable to some onlookers. But I didn't have a care in the world because I was doing it. I WAS SURFING!
It didn't last for eternity, but the seed was eternally planted within me.
Several months later, for family reasons, I returned to the States and resumed my crazy life, career and work travel schedule. But I brought back the memories of one of the happiest times of my life when I took a risk, went the other direction and chased my dream on a beach learning to walk on water.
That entire experience would never have happened if I didn't take that risk of leaving my job, turning the other way from my flight and taking a bus to a place I have never been.
In life, in our careers, in everything - things may not be perfect and things may not work out as planned. Knowing and accepting that makes it easier to take the risk. Because even though things may not work out as planned, they DO work out! We have to believe we are resilient and will bounce back when they don't.
We have to take that leap to find out what's out there and in this case, it was walking on water and creating some of the best memories of my life. I encourage you whether it's travel, work, career, moving… ANYTHING… be a risk taker. Be an explorer. Make memories.