Today, I was surprised to learn that a woman who heard my story through a mutual friend mentioned me in a story on Huffington Post. Her piece entitled “What if you were Brave?” is live on the site.
I’m always glad when someone finds inspiration in my family’s story. I don’t know Sonia personally (though I hope I’ll get to know her better ) and had no idea she was going to include us in this piece.
When she alerted me to it a few hours ago on our GlobetrottingMama Facebook page, I was honoured. I love that she thought enough of our journey to hold us up in this way.
But as I said to her when telling her I’d like to respond to the piece here on Globetrotting Mama: I’m not Brave.
I didn’t rush into a burning building to rescue anyone or lay my life on the line.
This is not some kind of false modesty.
I feel I need to be clear on this because I think seeing my story as an act of bravery, allows people to find an excuse for why they can never take a leap of faith in search of happiness.
There is a common misconception that big life changes require incredible acts of bravery. Many people seem to think that those who choose to live their lives according to their own rules, do so because they are fearless.
The truth is that the group of dream chasers to which I happily belong really isn’t that different from anyone who sits at home dreaming about doing the same.
The line between those who hold back from living the life of their dreams and those who don’t is thin, frail and completely surmountable.
I’m scared of a lot of things: Rodents, bad weather, winter driving, scary movies, kindergarteners…
I’m afraid of disappointing people, losing my family and not living up to my own expectations for this life.
And I was afraid many times on our trip around the world.
There was the time we lost my son at a water park in Dubai. There was the time a bomb went off down the road from our hotel in Delhi.
I was scared pretty much every time we got to the border of a country that we had heard was dangerous. We second-guessed ourselves all the time.
What pushed us forward past those fears every time was the same: We knew, without a doubt, to the core of our beings, why we were doing this.
We wanted our kids to grow up thinking globally. We wanted them to understand that our actions here at home have reactions around the world; that we, as a species, are more alike than different; that the world holds wonders that are incredible to behold.
We wanted to live our lives without regret and to have our children see us doing that. We wanted being happy to be a priority, spending time together as a family to trump everything else and to eventually get to the end of our lives knowing that we’d lived the lives we’d wanted.
We wanted to replace a media obsessed social culture with one where first hand experiences defined our family’s truth.
From the reaction our story has had over the years, I’m guessing that a lot of you want that too.
For us, standing at a customs desk heading into Colombia flanked my military garb wearing, machine gun toting soldiers, or finding our way in a country where we had no language to rely on was worth it – if those goals were being met.
What would make it worth it for you?
You don’t have to travel around the world, or walk away from your life at home to face your fears.
And even if you do so it probably won’t make you brave.
It may, however, make you happy.
For us, that is enough.