The jumping off point

“But there comes a time, when no matter how much you’ve planned, or how much money you’ve saved, you will need to make the leap.”

I was talking to some friends at dinner a few weeks ago about leaving the life of traditional employment and a fixed address for one of material simplicity and freedom.

I don’t often talk about this stuff with dinner companions, but this one night the conversation had gone that way so I was happy to share my experiences of making the leap to the life I dreamed of.

Whilst sometimes it seems like every man and his dog (yes, sometimes they have dogs! And children!) is leaving their job for life on the road, it is still the exception rather than the norm. I still get a few raised eye brows and inquisitive looks when I tell people about what we do, and in general terms how we do it.

But our life has become pretty normal to us now. Normal includes waking up to mornings of exercise, coffee and conversation, followed by work we enjoy and time spent on things which inspire and invigorate us.

Yet just days ago, we found ourselves in the grips of severe self-doubt and fear yet again, as we embarked on the next stage of our adventure.

I’m not sure if it was the US customs officer’s suspicious questioning as he flicked through my well-worn passport, or shelling out an extra $300 for insurance on our hire car, or the motel room by the San Francisco airport which looked like the perfect place for a criminal hide-out, but as we arrived in the good ole’ US of A to pursue Tyrhone’s flying dream, we were both in the grips of severe negativity and fear reminiscent of the start of our journey two years ago.

Because even though we made the leap once, twice, ten times, it doesn’t mean we’re not scared of making more. We are not immune to financial or emotional insecurity (especially when it involves Tyrhone learning to fly a rather expensive flying machine). Rather, I am learning that doing anything for the first time, especially something which seems kind of crazy and is counter-intuitive to our physical, emotional and psychological preservation (see the flying machine point, above) is really freaking scarey.

The difference now, is that I am learning this is normal.

I’m learning that the fear is part of my evolutionary biology which wants me to survive long enough to bear many, many children but is not really concerned with much more than that.

But I am more than that. And life can be much, much more than that, but it’s up to me to find out how much more.

When biological and cultural conditioning was pulling at my fear strings in that criminal-haven of a motel the other night, I realised I had two options. Give in to the negative voice of doom and gloom, or enjoy the ride, because I was supporting the person I love in living his dream.

The truth was, we’d already leaped. My brain just takes a little longer to catch up with reality. So I had to give my brain a little pep-talk, to let go of the ledge and allow gravity to take it’s course.

Because this is happening, the only question is, how many claw marks do you need to leave in order to let go?

It’s the jumping off point; that point of intense discomfort which requires action. The action you take decides what sort of life you will have.

Because no matter how much I’ve planned, discussed or prayed, I will never know what the outcome will be.

There just comes a time when you have to decide whether to jump, or to stay where you are.

We jumped with our hearts. For the love of a dream and each other and the life we are creating. Really, Tyrhone jumped and I waved pom-poms like a cheerleader, because everyone needs one of those sometimes.

Tyrhone began his paramotor training today.

I’ll keep you posted.

A sign, literally.

Another sign, hopefully.

Pre-flight check: boots: check, gloves: check, Clif bar: check.

Our ‘dry run’ out to the ranch yesterday.

“Highway to the danger zone…” was actually playing.

Sneaky first day of school shot.

Subscribe via email for more updates and follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


The jumping off point — 17 Comments

    • Hey Lauren, yes I think any big change induces a lot of fear. What if I make the wrong choice? What if this or that happens? When actually, there is rarely a situation that we can’t handle or which we end up learning something valuable from. Why can’t we just KNOW this and save ourselves the hassle?! :-)

  1. The desire to travel kind of ebbs and flows, don’t you think? If I stay somewhere a long time, I eventually feel compelled to move, make progress, go out and conquer things. And then I start moving again and I move, move, move, and suddenly I find myself feeling tired and worn-out and I want to stay somewhere a while and dig my toes into the foundation of a place. I swear this pattern will repeat itself to infinity, and every time we pick up to move again, I’m filled with questions about whether this is the place we should come back to live in. And then I remember that no matter how great a place is, eventually we’ll be compelled to move on. So, yes, I do believe what you are feeling is normal. Now is your time to move :-) And good luck to you and Tyrhone. That is one brave mission. I’ll be following! -Tasha
    Tasha | Turf to Surf recently posted..How to fight off big, hairy robbers in the Australian OutbackMy Profile

    • TOTALLY. Two months ago I couldn’t see myself leaving Playa to travel, and now, I’m chomping at the bit. Like you say, in a month I’ll probably hit a wall and be like, “I need to be still.” At least I know I’m not the only one! I guess having the freedom to allow ourselves to have these different phases is what it is all about.

  2. Sarah I LOVE this!

    Fear makes life so exciting. Obviously not all types of fear, but when you step into the unknown and challenge yourself and realise you can do it! The adrenaline buzz and the sense of achievement are worth the fear. Life would be very mundane without it.

    I’m really enjoying following you and the bearded one in this :-)
    Rob recently posted..Off the grid housesit in pictures – Xcalak, MexicoMy Profile

    • Yes, as much as I hate it at the time, my fear has taught me SO much. It’s been the biggest catalyst of change in my life. In 2009, Tyrhone suggested we do the Everest base camp trek in Nepal. I was horrified, and terrified. People like ME didn’t do things like THAT. I did it, of course, and it was brilliant (even though I got violent food poisoning on the second day). I can now see how doing something which was so foreign to me at the time has opened so many doors since.

  3. I’m so glad you said that. I STILL get scared of each new move we make, each new country we visit. Sometimes I think about how badly I want to go back to India and then I realize… I’m scared. It won’t stop me, but it’s funny that I’m scared even though I’ve already been there and loved it. You’re right, that fear is normal.
    Kim recently posted..30 lessons from three years of bloggingMy Profile

  4. Welcome to California! Sorry to hear it was a less than ideal entrance… hopefully I can show you around some cool spots in the City that leave a better impression than a dodgy motel :)

    I’ll echo what others are saying here as well… I can so relate to that fear and worry that shows up before a big (or even not so big) change! I can’t believe that I still spend so much time and energy worrying when I know that it’ll all turn out okay and/or there’ll be a good lesson learned along the way!

    Can’t wait to see more Tyrhone in action updates!
    Sam recently posted..Mexico: That epic travel moment (and its significance)My Profile

    • Ha! It was fine, the cloud of negativity overshadowed the whole experience :-) I hope so too! We are at the whim of the weather though, so we may need to stay out here longer than expected. Keep you posted!

  5. Congratulations to you both taking the leap and for the flight in progress! You’re totally right – anything new freaks us, as human beings, out. It’s the taking a leap that helps us learn, grow and continue, but I don’t think fear will ever go away.
    Emily recently posted..Terrific TeotihuacanMy Profile

  6. Sarah, I visited your blog tonight looking for a post that inspired inspired me on a day I really needed inspiration,The Kindness of Strangers. Traveling the way you do, perpetually,has got to cause self doubt from time to time. You are living your dream and so many people never do, never give themselves the chance. So many things hold people back from fulfillment, thank you for pushing through your self doubt to show the world that people, everyday good people can live life on their terms.
    Tracey recently posted..The Countdown BeginsMy Profile

    • Thank you Tracey, I think it’s really important to show the whole process. The fear and doubt as well as the joy and elation. Before I published this post things had already turned around 180 degrees. Seeing him take off on his first flight made everything worthwhile. Such a cool moment. That’s the thing about leaping into the unknown and pushing through fear, the rewards are so much sweeter.

  7. I think that being anxious about traveling to new places/setting out on new things happens to nearly everyone, no matter how long you have been traveling. I get the same feeling of nervous/anxious/scared/excited every time we have been somewhere for a few weeks then move on to a new place. The feeling doesn’t change, it just becomes more familiar and therefore easier to handle.

    Have fun in San Francisco!
    Brian recently posted..Crossing Paths With a GifthorseMy Profile

  8. It’s so true. We’ve already jumped, yet every new step feels so big and intimidating at times. You’d think it would be easy by now with all this practice, but I still tense up a little.

    We definitely get quite a few questioning looks at times when we tell people what we’re doing. We were at a dinner hosted by our home stay the other night in Hoi An and when I started telling someone about our travels so far and what we have planned, the entire table of 14 stopped talking and turned to listen. It was a little weird and everyone seems genuinely interested, but definitely jealous or curious how we could do such a thing.
    Carmel recently posted..KUANG SI FALLS AND BEAR SANCTUARYMy Profile