My fear can kick my other fear’s ass

by Kim on January 22, 2012 · 73 comments

Why does this photo make me giggle?  Flickr creative commons by TheMalt.  

I have big and small fears about quitting my job to travel.  I worry about money, about health insurance.  I worry that I won’t be able to make a living doing what I love and that I’ll have to go back to a cubicle.   I worry, to a lesser extent, about our safety.  These are little puppy dog fears, they bark and nip at my ankles, but they’re easily kicked aside.  (No people, I don’t really kick animals.  I don’t even eat them).

But then there is this one great fear that I have, it runs through my head before I go to sleep at night and pops up at unexpected times, causing my heart to flip-flop at the thought of it:

What if the idea of following my dreams is better than the reality of it?

What if the wanting is better than the having?  

There is a quote by none other than that ferocious beast Winnie the Pooh that’s really been scaring the crap out of me lately:

“‘Well’, said Pooh, ‘what I like best’, and then he had to stop and think.  Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” 

Scary, huh?

It seems silly that this is the thing that keeps me up at night and not other, more rational, concerns.  Malaria? Natural disasters?  Getting robbed of all of my possessions?  Meh.  Being mauled to death by grizzly bears?  Okay, yes, that one keeps me up at night too.

I have spent almost all of my free time for two years planning this big adventure.  When I’m not working on the trip I’m working on the blog.  When I’m not working on the blog I’m taking notes for other writing projects, I’m plotting my future, I’m visualizing the kind of life that I want to lead and figuring out how to get there.  I am all in.  

I know that the process is part of the fun, and it has been fun.  Scrimping, saving, sacrificing- it all makes each milestone we reach sweeter.  The anticipation builds and builds and – that’s the part that I’m afraid of.  That I’ve built this next chapter so high that it can’t possibly live up to my expectations.

I know that there is only one way to find out if this fear is real or unfounded and that’s to live it.  Soon, so soon, I will.  

For others that have been in my shoes, I would love to hear your take on this topic.  Did you fear that the idea of living your dream was better than actually living it?  Has it been?  

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{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Torre – Fearful Adventurer January 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Tucker Bradford has some great advice here: http://forgeover.com/articles/2010/10/29/lowered-expectations

… on lowering your expectations. I think it’s a great life philosophy.

Plus, there’s nothing wrong with that moment of joy before eating the honey, because that is all part of the honey-eating experience.

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Kim January 22, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Thanks Torre, I liked the article. Very interesting perspective. I am, however, going to hope for more than one moment of bliss in every one to two weeks of living. In fact, I’d say I have more than that now, so hopefully those numbers will even go up when I’m traveling and writing more. On a side note, because you are a writer, is writing draining OR WHAT? I’ve been working on my next blog post, which is a very personal story, and I’m so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open. Damn. Still amazed by you and others that have written whole books.

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Tucker January 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Kim, To clarify, I extole the virtues of lowering expectations not because I want to have less joy, but because I have found that I actually enjoy things more when I haven’t built them up so much. In that article I describe a dew moments of bliss, but the rest of the vacation was great too. Also, bliss is subjective, for me it’s the few moments in of ones lifetime that stand out in memories forever and warm the very cockles of ones soul when recalled.

As it turns out I have a new perspective on this 3 months into our traveling life. I can honestly say that I couldn’t have built this experience up enough. You just won’t believe how awesome it is to have your big decisions for the day be, “so, should we go to a new country/harbor/beach today or just have a leisurely brunch?”

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Kim January 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Hi Tucker,

That makes sense, and I thank you for stopping.

It’s also a thrill to hear that you couldn’t have built your experience up enough. That phrase is like gold to me!

My your days continue to be so wonderful :)

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Kim January 24, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I thank you for stopping BY. Where’s my damn editor?

Ashley January 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm

In the weeks before we left I kept going back and forth between insane excitement, and the idea that we’d made an enormous mistake. I was really worried that we wouldn’t get along, that we wouldn’t like the places we’ve chosen to visit, that it would be harder than we thought to figure it all out.

We are nearly 3 months in, and honestly, life could not get better (unless we had millions of dollars and could do this forever, and perhaps in a bit more luxury). There are days where it’s hard. There are places we haven’t loved. We have definitely had some words between us. BUT, there are places of such extreme beauty, moments of total joy, and every day we wake up thinking “We don’t have to go to work! We can do anything we want! We have the best life ever!”

It really is great, especially when you know that if you aren’t digging one place so much, well, just move on. There will be day to day hassles, things that annoy you, rules and systems you will encounter that are absurd…but overall it is just so great. I can’t believe I wasted so much time worrying.

And, if it ends up not being for you, then you can always do something else.

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Kim January 22, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Oh yes, I also worry that we won’t like the places we’ve chosen to visit. Sigh. I am a worrier, no way of getting around it, so thank you for sharing your story and letting me know that it has lived up to your expectations. I am going to remember this, too: “I can’t believe I wasted so much time worrying.”

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Carmel January 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Not that becoming a personal trainer was necessarily following my dream, although people told me that’s what I was doing, but it was much like the experience you’re about to embark on and the one we’ll eventually take. It’s a huge risk. It’s leaving your comfort zone. It’s going to be scary. And there’s zero guarantee that it’s going to turn out to be what you want. However, having gone down that path before, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change my decisions. It was a very worthwhile experience and I’m a different, even better, person because of it.

You don’t know what the future holds and it sounds like that’s a very new experience for you. But I have a feeling, once you get used to it, you’ll wonder why you ever doubted you’d be anything but a success.

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Kim January 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Well, I’m actually working on my next blog post that explains a little bit about the last time in my life when I didn’t know what the future held. The difference between that time and this time was that I had no expectations nor did I really care! This time around, I’ve put a lot on the line and I’m working towards my dream. There’s so much weight involved, so much pressure, and of course, this time it matters to me, because it’s what I really want. But, like you said, if it turns out to me different than I expected I am also allowed to change what I really want.

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Tracy January 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm

That Pooh quote is probably one of my favorite quotes of all time, it just explains that feeling so perfectly. I know I’ve never done anything as big as traveling the world, but I definitely felt that same feeling you have before I left for college, before I moved 2000 miles away from all of my family, before I left for Thailand. There’s always going to be a fear of being disappointed, you can’t stop that fear, you just have to know that nothing is going to be worse than never giving it a shot at all.

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Kim January 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Damn, you are right on the money. Why didn’t I think of that? “nothing is going to be worse than never giving it a shot at all.”

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renee schauer January 22, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Kim…I read this and then was reading “The Happiness Project” tonight and the third chapter section called “Enjoy Now” addresses exactly what you talk about here…I think you would enjoy this book…I am not all the way through, but feel like it addresses a lot of the principles that you are interested in…you might check it out. Easy read and available on Kindle! :) will likely be our february chicklits book!

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Kim January 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Renee, I am actually reading it right now! I’m about 85% of the way through (odd to say % instead of pages– damn Kindle) and the book is part of what sparked my thinking of these things. I’m trying to incorporate some of what she says about the joy of NOW, though I’m clearly failing most of the time.

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renee schauer January 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I fail constantly on this…with three small children and a fulltime job, I have to constantly remind myself that I AM living my dream…it’s just that truly doing what you want to do is hard! I would be bored out of my mind if it was easy though! Have you seen the huffington post Don’t Carpe Diem recently…speaks to this feeling, but from aspect of kids…but has similar parallels!

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Kim January 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm

It’s so true! Doing what you want to do is much harder than just letting things happen to you! I’m going to google that huffington post article and read it. Thanks :)

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Gillian @OneGiantStep January 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm

It does live up to the dream, not because I loved traveling or even loved where we traveled to, but because I loved that I actually did it. That was, by far, the best part. That I took that dream, wrung every possible worry out of it, and did it anyway.

Now I worry that the ante has been upped. Because it’s not like I’ve come home and have just settled down again. I still want more and I worry like crazy that, no matter what we do, that I’ll want more. That like an adrenaline junkie (which I also am) I’ll keep pushing for more, for harder, for longer. I said to Jason yesterday that I like the idea of moving to China for a period of time, fully realizing that we might hate it, but of having done it anyway. I mean, really, who wants to do that!?!

Another great post Kim – I can’t wait to read next weeks!

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Kim January 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Gillian, you are one of my favorite wise women!

I completely understand that feeling of always wanting more. I also have a fear that I will always want more, I tried to address a little bit of that feeling in my post about why I’m quitting my job to travel. I wonder, will I ever be content? Will I ever really want to be?

And, yeah, no one wants to move to China! The stories I read, from Christine at Almost Fearless and Unbrave Girl… you’re crazy :) (and i mean that in the kindest way XO)

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Gosbert January 22, 2012 at 11:13 pm

The need to want more is fascinating. Motivating in some aspects but creating a shadow of sorts. Perhaps it always leaves us in the future, plotting, scheming and thinking ahead. All skills which are needed in life, but often make us miss those key moments/lessons of right now.

Kim, I love reading your blog because the battle between the future you want and right now is present in every post. Contentment is vital and maybe that doesn’t lie in the ‘doing’ of anything but an acceptance of where we are now.

Kim, I’m rooting for you – not long to go!

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Thank you for rooting for me- it means a lot to me.

Yes, acceptance of where I am now, I know it is an important thing. It is so hard for me to draw the line between accepting where I am without accepting it so much that I become stagnate. I just can’t imagine a point in time when I won’t want more. Even if I reach my ultimate goal, to write for a living, won’t I want to create more things? Generate more ideas? Reach more people? Ahhhh. Sometimes I get frustrated because I want to do three lifetime’s full of things.

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Gillian @OneGiantStep January 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm

It’s interesting b/c many travellers point to those with houses, and mortgages, and kids, and jobs with derision and an attitude of ‘how can that be enough?’, whereas I look at them and wish for that kind of contentment and satisfaction. I mean, really, isn’t that what we all really want? Happiness, contentment with life, satisfaction that we’ve done all we want? It doesn’t matter how you get there – just that you arrive.

Rhonda January 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Hey guys,
I do understand your fear..having been there before but one thing you need to remember is that even if you do come back to the cubicle at some point (as I did) that doesn’t mean that you can’t then plan & plot and leave again. Life is a continuing journey…not just a one time event. Even though we’re in worse shape financially than we were before our RTW we would NEVER change a single moment. The trip changed us forever and is now shaping how we want to continue on our life path. Only a couple more months and you’ll be of following your dream and that, alone, will make it all worth it!
Rhonda

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Hi Rhonda,

Yes, it’s true, even if I go back to the cubicle it isn’t the end of the world and we can plot our next step from there. Still, since I want to write for a living, my dream is to completely switch careers. I think of this journey as two-fold: traveling and taking a shot at writing… there’s a lot on the line. But, you guys are an inspiration that you can come back and go again, or do whatever you please.

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Rhonda January 24, 2012 at 11:43 am

oh, I have great faith you will change careers and live your dream… we will too, we’ve just delayed it for a short time! Go Kim!

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Kim January 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Thanks Rhonda :) I know a thing or two about getting delayed! I know I always quote my favorite quotes (I’ve got a whole book of them!) but I’m thinking right now of one quote in particular: “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

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tunimaal January 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Hi I didn’t fear that living my dream will be better than just dreaming it at firts. I was suppose to go and travel for only one year (Hong-Kong, Macau, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA)… But then I really loved it and couldn’t stop it (Mexcio, Morocco, Japan) and now it’s been 2 years and 2 months since I started my trip and I don’t want to stop. I am currently looking for new ways of travels and new ways of making money to keep enjoying mè trip… The thing I am afraid of now is that I will to go back to real life one day (work, make a familly, ..) but I think I will not do it in France (I am originally from France) because I realised that I prefer to live in another country

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Wow, two years and two months!!!! I can definitely see that my fear could go in the opposite direction once we are on the road and I will be afraid that we’ll have to stop! I guess the truth is that we NEVER know what will happen tomorrow, even though when we are in a normal routine we like to think that we have an idea.

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Jenny January 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I can sooo understand your feeling. I have the exact same, and I worry a lot over whether it ill be good for the kids too. but in the end I think it is like the picture at the end of this blog post: http://www.lifehealthwellness.com/2011/05/breaking-out-of-your-comfort-zone.html :-)

And I have to go to where the magic happens. If I don’t like it, I can go back. If I don’t go, I will always wonder what could have been.

Good luck to you! I am sure you will be satisfied and happy just because you ARE actually doing what so many people don’t – you are following your dream, whether it ends up being your true dream or not.

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I love that graphic! I also love the name of your website: dreamersbehinddesks.com. Perfect!

Good luck to you as well and I hope it reaches and surpasses your expectations too.

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Jana January 23, 2012 at 1:34 am

If you haven’t already, you have to watch Disney’s “Tangled”. This scene, especially: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ5_XEZ4mn8

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I have not watched it but I will. Thank you for the recommendation, Jana.

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I watched it! That’s uncanny!! Love it, thank you for sharing :)

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Bama January 23, 2012 at 1:45 am

Kim, I’m feeling it right now. Months ago I was confident that I want to pursue my dream and quit my job this year. But as the job-quitting thing gets closer every day, I started to feel a little bit anxious. A lot of what-ifs in my mind. But then I believe that there are chances and opportunities lie ahead of me. I shouldn’t be scared. There will be ways. Hopefully.

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Haha, I had to giggle at that “hopefully” at the end! Bama, let’s just say that I understand exactly how you feel. I know that things will work out, even if they don’t work out the way that I envision them to. It’s like that old saying “I may not have gone where I intended to go but I ended up where I’m supposed to be” (or something along those lines). Much luck to you.

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Bama January 24, 2012 at 6:00 am

Hey Kim, I’ve never heard of that old saying before. But it is so well-said. Thanks!

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Sarahsomewhere January 23, 2012 at 6:40 am

A fantastic, thought provoking post Kim! Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to ‘succeed’? I can identify so much with your feelings of idea vs reality, but like you, I am past the point of no return now! I thought to myself the other day,”Okay, I’m doing this now, I may as well be positive about it.” A little fear is healthy, and as you know, I’ve had plenty, but entertaining that negative naysayer in my head is just so bloody exhausting! I’m over it!
Here’s to living one day at a time, there’s no fast forward and no rewind, so we might as well enjoy every minute, and I have no doubt that your outer journey will align with your inner one and bring you untold joy and happiness. X

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Sarah, once again wise words from you. I do think that my fears will be calmed once I’m finally on that plane.

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Patricia GW January 23, 2012 at 8:46 am

That Winnie the Pooh quote sums it up so well. You get to enjoy BOTH the feeling of preparing for your dream and living the dream itself. Don’t worry about being disappointed; the only disappointment would be if you didn’t fulfill your dream at all.

I spent months staring at photos of an apartment in Paris I booked for the summer. I planned and prepared and double-checked everything until finally, finally I was living in that little studette. I got to live my dream…. and it beats the idea of living it 100 fold!

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm

YESSSSS!!!! So glad. Such a good story. Also, I loooove Paris. We are also planning an apartment there, it is very, very high on our list.

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DH January 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

I’m 62 now and I have had many dreams that I went for. I’ve learned that nothing ever turns out exactly as I dream it. Some adventures tuned out far better, some worse. But the beauty of it all lies in the doing. It is in the taking of the risk and attempting the dream that magic happens and you are changed. We have no control over how things will ultimately turn out, no matter how much we plan and worry. But just because one dream doesn’t turn out to our liking doesn’t mean that there aren’t more dreams for us to try. I don’t regret any of my dreams that didn’t turn out well. I only regret the dreams I ignored due to fear. Also, a dream lived that doesn’t seem to be going well can be changed, mid journey, for better results. Once on the journey, we are free to turn around, go different directions etc. We don’t have to stay stuck in our original expectations. That way all dreams are open-ended and can satisfy us. The point is to keep dreaming, keep taking risks, but remain flexible.

I always experience doubt and fear before trying something new. The secret for me is just doing it anyway. I have two favorite quotes that I re-read when feeling that fear:

“Courage, which is no more than the management of fear, must be practiced.”
James Bremmer

“It is better to live one day as a tiger than a hundred as a sheep.”
Author Unknown

No matter what happens on your trip, I don’t think you will ever regret doing it.

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

This is beautiful: “It is in the taking of the risk and attempting the dream that magic happens and you are changed.” I’m writing that down.

I feel like I just had one of Oprah’s aha moments. There will always be dreams. There will be a dream after this dream that I haven’t even dreamed up yet. And there will always be dreams because I am a dreamer, simple as that.

I love your quotes too, so thank you for sharing them. I’m going to write those down as well.

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Isabelle January 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Don’t think in terms of expectations. Your trip will be your trip, that’s it, and it will be worth it even if it doesn’t turn out the way you expected it. 20 years ago, I left for a 6 months trip to Australia, I was barely 20 years old. I had lots of expectations and most of them were not met. BUT it made me know myself better, even though it was difficult!, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without this experience. It was a very eye-opening trip and I think I needed that to be able to accept myself for who I was (and not trying to be somebody I wasn’t). Yes, it was difficult, yes I didn’t have as much fun as I expected, no I wasn’t as adventurous as I thought. But still, I had a great time, saw awesome places and grew up! So don’t think about expectations. Just live your trip and take the good and the bad. Whatever happens, you will be a better person afterwards.

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Your story reminds me of a quote:

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike, and all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. we find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us” – John Steinback

Thanks for your comment. It’s true that one reason I want to travel is to grow as a person and that will happen in the good and bad. It’s just so hard to kill the expectations though.

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Isabelle January 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Thanks for the quote, it really fits with what I think! That being said, I understand it’s not easy to let go of expectations. I have them too each time I embark on a trip… (and that’s often!)

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Yes, but I think that I will *attempt* to change my expectations. I know I will have them but if, perhaps, I stop thinking about this as my one!big!shot!at!making!it!happen and take a broader look, I might be able to take some pressure off. So, not lowering expectations, just looking at them from a different angle. Anyway, damn, life’s always exciting, huh? Thanks for your perspective :) It really does help to bounce these thoughts and fears off of you amazing people out in the world.

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Isabelle January 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I think one very important thing is to tell yourself that if it’s not as you expected, it doesn’t mean you failed. It just means that other things happened along the way, things that you could not foresee and therefore had not control over. It’s important to have goals, and I applaud you for trying to change your life for the better, but it’s good to remember that goals change along the way as well. No point in being disappointed or feeling bad, it’s just life happening. (Again, I truly think this but it doesn’t mean I’m super good at doing it myself!).

Jacques Charest January 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Hi kim,
I just saw a comment you made on http://www.joelrunyon.com/two3/the-impossible-list
Kim says:
January 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm
” Right now I’m saving up to quit my job and travel the world for at least a year, leaving (hopefully) January 2012. Good luck on the upcoming marathon. I’ve run five of them, but nothing feels better than crossing the finish line of your first.”

When i realize its was a year ago, i just wonder if you had made it. You did!
Awesome. I wish you the best.
Happy 2012 :-)

Jacques

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I did! Or, at least, I almost have!! Long story short we sold our house (a good thing) but at a loss (a less good thing) so it set our budget back. Now, we’ll be leaving in May- 4 months away and come hell or high water it is happening. It’s been a crazy, wild ride.

Thanks for stopping by and happy 2012 to you as well :)

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Christy January 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

Funny. I’ve been thinking along the same lines lately. It scares me a little to think that one day I will wake up and say, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” Meaning, I don’t like my passion anymore. I guess that is part of the fear of creating a living out of your passions. It may take some of the fun out of it. But.. like you and other commenters have said, I would be bored out of my mind if I just worked an easy job and let life happen to me. So it’s much better than the alternative. :)

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Kim January 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Yes, agreed Christy. It really is the ultimate fear, for me at least, going for the *one thing* that you’ve always wanted. What if you don’t like it? What if it isn’t as you imagined? It’s true that the only thing to really be afraid of is never going after it in the first place. But, yeah, just something I’ve been thinking of lately. Thanks for your input :)

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Hannah January 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Sometimes I think fear can be a gift. The most amazing parts of my life have all been borne out of fear in one way or another, and I continue to be both terrified and thrilled by my dreams for the future. One thing I am certain of, is that fear at least keeps things interesting! If it wasn’t scary, would you want to do it as much? There is no doubt in my mind Kim, that your future is going to be dazzling, and the only thing you should really be afraid of losing your fear altogether. You are going places my friend, literally and figuratively, and I am honored to be able to watch your progression and share adventures with you xxx

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Kim January 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm

“I continue to be both terrified and thrilled by my dreams for the future.” Amen, Hannah. And thank you for your support. Seriously, I am awed every day that you and these other amazing people comment on this blog and provide insight and ideas that lead me thinking in new directions. This whole thing has truly changed my life. No matter how scared and full of fear I am, I am also always thankful.

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Kimberley Lee January 24, 2012 at 11:25 pm

If you’re wanting something, you’ll be encouraged to get it. “Want” is really strong. I would say. That’s the proof that we’re human.

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Kim January 25, 2012 at 6:32 pm

My “want” is pretty damn strong, that’s for sure!

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Kristin M January 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I’ve had that thought sneak into my mind for a few things I’ve had planned in the near future, and it kind of freaks me out when it happens. Lately, I’ve been trying to fight that off by thinking that, even if it’s nothing like I imagined, it will still be a fantastic adventure and I know I’ll have an amazing time.

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Kim January 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Hi Kristin, I do the same kind of thinking and you are RIGHT. Even if it doesn’t turn out like we imagine (and I’m sure it probably won’t…) it will still be amazing.

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Andi January 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm

This is maybe slightly off subject, but the biggest thing I’ve learned about following your dreams is that it’s always worth it. It doesn’t matter what the end result is because it’s not about the end result. Even when things seem to be going poorly, you’re still living your life.
This is maybe a silly example, but I can remember a tour where we had a tire blow out on the highway in the middle of… Nebraska? A couple of us had to hitch to the next exit, we had to stay in some flea bitten motel and wait til the next morning to get a new tire, etc etc. But it turned into a really fun time, and remains a very fond, vivid memory.
I can almost guarantee that following your dream won’t be exactly what you expect. I think it will be better. And it will be better in ways that you’ll never expect.

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Kim January 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Hi Andi, thanks for your thoughts. You are so right, it isn’t about what the end result is, it’s about the journey and it’s about the good and bad and it’s about living every day doing what is important to you. I sit in my cubicle and I work and even in the days when that was what I wanted (or, at least, convinced myself I wanted) I knew I was living a sort of half-life, you know? But when you are working towards what you love to do there’s really no such thing as a bad day.

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Shweta January 26, 2012 at 2:03 am

I took a huge leap in 2005, which has been my dream come true and the best decision of my life! (Story here: http://almostfearless.com/2011/06/05/from-brussels-with-love/) But I did go through a year of intense doubt and preparation of all the worst-case scenarios I could think of.
Overall my impression has been that when deep and I mean way-deep-down gut tells you that this is the right thing for you, you should go for it!!! Once you start living it, you just love it. And when you do go through life’s misfortunes, you rarely think of them as that. They just become milestones and memories that make you smarter and stronger about your decision!

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Kim January 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. I remember reading it on Almost Fearless. Congrats for taking the huge leap. I love to hear success stories of those who followed their dreams (truth be told, I’ve never heard a story that wasn’t a success story).

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Chad January 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Kim,

I might be off target, but part of what I gather from your refreshingly candid article is this: You’ve invested so much of yourselves into this dream, you’re wondering if it’s going to be worth it, right? Is all that “…scrimping, saving, sacrificing…” going to result in an experience that warrants the efforts thus far?

No, it won’t. It will exceed them.

When that stranger in Ecuador smiles at you and makes you feel welcome…when a seemingly impossible situation resolves itself magically…when you’re walking along blissfully in a place so gorgeous that you find no separation between you and that place…these will be the justifying moments that form the foundation of all that is to come.

Prepare as best you can, then take a deep breath, smile and JUMP!

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Kim January 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Chad, you aren’t on target at all, you’ve pretty much got it exactly right. Well, except, I know that it will be worth it. I *know* that. But will it be what I dream it to be? The answer is probably no. It won’t be what I dream it to be. It will be what it is and perhaps that will be more than I could ever dream it to be.

I love that you say “prepare as best you can, then take a deep breath, smile and JUMP!” I love it because I have a vague idea in my head of a tattoo I’d like (surprisingly because I’m not what you would call a “tattoo person”) but the vision in my head is very similar to this line you just wrote.

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Marisa January 31, 2012 at 9:24 am

I absolutely love this. I recently decided to take a volunteer teaching position in Tanzania starting in June, and as I’m busy hyping up my recent decision to friends and family…my biggest fear is arriving there and coming to the conclusion that I made the wrong choice. Of course, that won’t be the case (fingers crossed), but the fear plagues me nonetheless.

I look forward to following your preparations as I simultaneously make mine!

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Kim January 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Congrats on taking a teaching position in Tanzania- what an experience you’ll have! I think our fear has got to be natural, right? I mean, whenever you do something you’ve never done before there’s always a chance that it will be horrible (but it won’t be!) so it must be natural to worry. From most of the responses to this post I like to think that it will be BETTER than we imagine (odds seem to be in our favor, anyway). Good luck with your preparations and with your journey!!

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Bethany ~ twoOregonians February 20, 2012 at 7:41 am

Hey Kim, this post has been stuck in my mind since I first read it (on an iPhone, with a terrible connection!)…and I’ve been meaning to make my way back and comment ever since… I wondered so much, too, about what it would be like to step over that line between the dream and the doing, especially after so many years of making plans and projections and advocating for this unconventional adventure each time Ted and I made big life decisions.

I know just the quote you mean from Pooh (oh, how I love that silly old bear!). The idea of living the dream has not been better than actually living it…but yes, that expectation and anticipation has its own sort of sweetness, indeed.

As experiences on our trip shift from plan to activity to memory, I try to enjoy them in each stage, and relax as they settle into the shape and form of reality…

Enjoy the romance of the planning, and enjoy the true love of the trip. If your heart is securely rooted all along the way, you’ll have everything it takes to conquer fears and soak up joy!

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Kim February 20, 2012 at 10:36 am

Thanks Bethany. You two have been such an inspiration because you travel in the way that I hope Brian and I will travel- with your heart and eyes wide open. I can tell you are really in it for the experience of learning about the world, and everything has a deep meaning to you. I’m so glad you shared this with me, it does help to ease my fears a bit. Love to you from Oregon!

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Klaus Kommoss May 23, 2012 at 10:40 pm

The anticipation is an idea, something the mind generates. What you feel before the honey touches the tongue is an imagined sensation, I’m tempted to say, a fake experience. Dealing with honey this is not really a problem, fake or real, both can be great. However, when it comes to life decisions I think it matters: Dreams are dreams, reality is very, very different. Dreams may be nice, but what the body tells you is true.

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Kim May 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

Dreams and reality are definitely different. And then there are memories which are a mixture of dreams and the reality of what happened. I love it all: the dreams, the reality, and the memory of what I retain.

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Tanned June 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

i lived my dream for a year when i was travelling and i feared to come back to my old life but now it’s a bit different when you have a lot of project! You don’t fear anything!

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Kim June 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I can only imagine what it will be like to come back… I’m still getting used to the going. It’s all a part of the journey.

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Kim January 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I will keep this all in mind. More than anything, I’m just excited to see what the future holds, even though there is fear of the unknown more than anything I’m just so damn excited. I couldn’t always say that and I’m happy I can say it now. I think if I can continue to say that in the future then I’ll know I’m doing something right.

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Kim January 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Gillian,

Do you think you can be happy and discontent? Because I think I’m both. No matter what I always know how lucky I am, but I still always want more (hence, the discontentment). But, at the same time, I feel BLESSED to be able to want more. See what I mean?

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