When I tell people I’ve decided to take a semester off work to travel they do one of two things:
a) Good for you! That’s going to be great. You only live once. Do it before you have kids. I’ve always wanted to do that. etc.
b) *judgemental look* What? Why would you want to do that? You’re nuts/crazy/ungrateful/selfish etc.
I found the second response really hard at first because I like to please people. I also really agonized over this decision because I felt guilty about leaving my job, I felt guilty about leaving my husband, I was worried about money, etc. so the response of other people was furthering my self doubt as to if I had made the right decision.
I have to say that my #1 supporter with this decision has been Hubby Hobo. He has the most to lose yet he was adamant that I go. Before I even became a teacher I had wanted to take a few months off from my job, school, life, etc. and just go see the world. Hubby Hobo knew this and reminded me to look at the Big Picture. 20 years down the road am I going to remember teaching the Fall Semester of 2014/15 or am I going to remember the time I backpacked around and explored the world?
Often when I have a goal or I need to focus on something I will write it down on a piece of paper and tape it to the ceiling above my bed. I see it every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to sleep. It gives me direction and helps me focus my actions.
I put the word “Big” In a picture frame. Get it? Big Picture, haha. The two words in the top corners are words I repeat to myself a lot. If I was the tattooing type I would get one on each wrist so I could see them everyday. The first word is “Imperfect”. Often we are our own worst critics. A lot of times I judge myself too harshly and I do not handle failure (perceived or real) very well. Imperfect reminds me that I’m not perfect, my life will never be perfect, and those around me are not perfect. If I make a mistake, I simply need to forgive myself and move on. The second word is “Impermanent”. I love this word and it would make a very ironic tattoo! Basically this word reminds me that nothing lasts forever. When things are going really well it is important to remember this word so you enjoy the moment. I also remember this word when I’m feeling down or frustrated. The situation will pass, my mood will pass, this too shall pass. It is all Impermanent.
Since the decision for me to partake in this adventure (made jointly by myself and Hubby Hobo) I have had days where I am super excited and days where I am scared I will miss my routine life. Hubby Hobo is ALWAY there to remind me that this is all Impermanent. In fact, I was going to come home in October to see him for a few weeks, but selflessly, he told me it would be a better use of my time to keep travelling!
Hubby Hobo has provided me with various forms of insight to encourage me to follow through with my dream. He is the one that came up with “Big Picture” as a mantra. He showed me links to videos and articles that helped me put things in perspective and understand where he is coming from in his point of view. And then there were the times where he just said, “GO! Get it done! I don’t want to hear about the time you never took a semester off in 10 years!”
One of my favourite pieces of helpful media Hubby Hobo showed me is a commencement speech by Jim Carrey. I have included a link to the short version (worth the watch!), but basically the line that resonated with me was, “So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect so we never dare to ask the universe for it.” I’ve always known that this travel dream of mine has be something I wanted to do, but I was held back by the fact that it is totally impractical. I mean, we have a mortgage, I’m not going to get pay cheque for half a year, it doesn’t seem practical to leave my safe home and amazing family and friends for some weird, foreign destination … but I was just afraid. Afraid I will be homesick, afraid I’ll be eaten by a shark, afraid I will run out of money in a foreign country, afraid I will be bit by a snake, afraid I will regret my decision, afraid a rabid dog will attack me, afraid someone will steal my passport and I’ll be trapped in some random country forever! …afraid of the unknown. And I was using practicality as an excuse to not follow through with this goal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajMpfPYlHi4
The other piece of wisdom Hubby Hobo passed to me was a Psychology article. Ironically the title of the article is, “The Best Thing you Can do for your Partner… and it won’t cost you a cent.” The article discusses marriage and the writer’s view that he thought a successful relationship involved denying oneself pleasure that wasn’t compatible with their mates and putting their partner’s needs ahead of their own. The article goes on to conclude that it is important to do things for your own happiness, because when you are content you can give more to your relationship. “Taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish; it is the most generous and responsible thing we can do.” Now, I know I am taking this advice to the extreme but Hubby Hobo still thought it applied to our situation. The title is ironic because of the “… it won’t cost you a cent,” part. Hubby Hobo told me to ignore that part of the article. 🙂 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stronger-the-broken-places/201402/the-best-thing-you-can-do-your-partner
So Hubby Hobo, I can’t thank you enough for being my #1 fan and supporter! I’ll wish you were with me everyday but I guess something has to be imperfect. I’ll enjoy every one of those impermanent moments for you.