What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

My month-long adventure throughout Myanmar testing myself with no alcohol or meat, over 115 hours of mediation (blog post to come about this experience), connecting with locals on treks to villages, getting lost in the forest, making use of hostel beds as my yoga mat, attempting to speak Burmese, escaping the rain in pagodas, trying to overcome sleep deprivation from too many bumpy train rides, night buses and boat rides, meeting up with old friends and reconnecting with new and so much more came to an end last week. During my time in Myanmar I started and finished reading Sheryl Sandbergs’s book “Lean In.” I’m about 4 years late to the game but better late than never. She quotes in her book one her favorite reads, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Easier to answer but not as easy to put into fruition.

It’s interesting to meet people traveling who are doing what they want to do because they aren’t afraid to take the risk. I’ve met so many Europeans who deferred college for a year after graduating university to travel. To take time to think about what they want to study before they jump into university. I met a guy from Connecticut who negotiated with his work to let him take 10 weeks off because he just wanted to travel. He wasn’t scared to tell his work this is what he needed to do. None of his friends or family wanted to travel with him but he wasn’t afraid. I met a girl in the back of a tuk tuk that told her job she was leaving to travel for a year and they told her that a job would be waiting for her when she came back. I met a couple with 2 kids from the US who were traveling Southeast Asia with their kids for the foreseen future and homeschooling their kids along the way. All these people took leaps to do what they wanted to do because they weren’t afraid. Some of them even ended up with a job at the end of their travels! It’s refreshing to see so many people living big, without so much fear, taking leaps of faith and trusting in their gut.

To answer Sheryl’s question she poses in her book… I’d probably be doing exactly what I’m doing right now and a lot more. In my decision to quit my job, leave an amazing city, good paying job, friends and family and move my stuff back home and hop on a plane to travel the world, I’ve thrown a lot of fear out the window. I can see now that I used to be afraid to go after what I wanted in my life. I was and will continue to be the only one truly holding myself back though. I consistently doubted my intuition, my gut and my heart. I told myself that I didn’t have the money, I needed to save for the future, I’d never be able to get another job and I would lose touch with all my friends and family. I was just doubting myself in a decision to leave to do what I really wanted to do.

If you want something you have to take that first step. I’m not encouraging going after any and every “cool” opportunity that presents itself but if it’s “calling” I think you know. I woke up one morning with this burning sensation in my chest and I knew I had to leave NYC to experience what the world had to offer. Some people didn’t encourage me. Some people told me it wasn’t a good choice. I cried a few times trying to explain my motive in quitting my job but I knew standing on the sidelines, humbling myself to less than I was capable of and waiting for opportunities to show up at my door wasn’t doing myself or anyone else any good. I just wanted to travel and I made it work. I write this not to preach but just to encourage others to pose this question to themselves. I’ve seen myself and other people take the leap to live more this way and the universe has supported us!

I realize that traveling without income isn’t sustainable but it’s my start to living a life trusting in my gut and testing my full potential. I wanted to see more, experience more and I saw the money I spend traveling as an investment in myself. I’m not talking to COO’s and CFO’s anymore learning about their businesses but I spend more time than I ever used to talking to people of all cultures, religions, backgrounds, stigma’s, etc. I spent the past month without drinking, meat and meditating for over 115 hours. I can’t put a monetary value on that those experiences but I’m confident in the significance they’ve had inside me. The travels will never just account to some mass of photos that my grandkids can remember me by.

Maybe for you the investment, the risk or the fearless adventure you want isn’t traveling the world. Maybe it’s buying a domain name for that online business you’ve been thinking about for a while. Whatever it is I encourage you to stop doubting yourself. Go out there and do you! For now I’m off to Australia with a working holiday visa to travel and start working some! If anyone’s interested in traveling in Myanmar below are some pictures to inspire you … Always reach out if you want any suggestions! Also, I’m happy to help/encourage anyone that wants to know more about the Australia visa application!

Downtown Yangon, Myanmar Sunset
Market along side the circular train Yangon, Myanmar
Padoga Yangon, Myanmar
Park Yangon, Myanmar
Bus Station Yangon, Myanmar
Pagodas Bagan, Myanmar
Sunset Bagon, Myanmar
Sunset Bagan, Myanmar
Sunset Bagan, Myanmar
Bagan, Myanmar
Afternoon by the river Bagan, Myanmar
Hike Kalaw, Myanmar
Cow Kalaw, Myanmar
View from Pagoda Kalaw, Myanmar
Villages on Water Inle Lake, Myanmar
Market Inle Lake, Myanmar
Tea Leaf Salad with Rice
10 Day Vipassana Meditation Course Yangon, Myanmar

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