When Your Fears Come True – My Return to Australia

I’ve recently landed in Australia after a beautiful, revealing, connecting time of retreat and travel in Bali. We had an amazing experience together breathing, laughing, crying, eating, swimming, praying and DANCING in a peaceful, remote part of ‘the island of the Gods.’

Bali retreat dance 2016

It’s the first time I’ve been back to Australia in three and a half years, so needless to say I’m due for a visit.

It’s winter here and many of my friends forewarned me about the ‘Nordic’ temperatures, but after experiencing winter in Colorado and Montana in 2014/15, this is nothing.

Sarah Chamberlain Perth

This is the riverbank a short walk from my Mum’s house – the place I envisage when I think about Perth. The other day, after a lovely coffee date in the Swan Valley, we came here for a pate, cheese and kombucha picnic.

It was so peaceful and I’m so happy my Mum lives in such a lovely spot which is both close to the city and a nature reserve.

Perth is lovely. It’s clean, well-maintained, organised and pretty. It has changed a bit in the last few years with a lot more cafes and restaurants, a newly renovated airport and a fantastic stadium for events where I was lucky enough to attend the Cure concert on my second night in town.

It was an awesome show on every level and I’m so glad Perth finally has a world class venue to host world class acts. Plus, Robert Smith still sounds absolutely INCREDIBLE.

The Cure Perth

We drove past my old apartment the other day. The one I sold to allow me the freedom to travel. It’s a great place in a lovely inner city area, but driving past it didn’t pull any heart strings (the new funky donut store on the corner kinda did though).

In fact, I had the same feeling I had while I was living there, like maybe it should have made me happier than it did.

There hasn’t been a single moment of regret over selling it, or about any part of my journey, actually, which makes me want to time travel back to my four-and-a-half-years-ago-self and say, “There is really nothing to fear!”

Before we left on this adventure in February 2012, my biggest fears were that I would end up single, broke and homeless.

And some of those fears came true. I’m single and kinda homeless, but while the bank account is definitely lighter than it was, I’m not broke.

I’m staying at my Mum’s house in the same room I spent my late teens and early twenties, but it is a treat to be tucked into bed every night rather than a drag.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m far from immune to my cultural programming about the definition of success and this does trip up my self-esteem every now and again. But that is my work to do; to let go more and more of what ‘they’ supposedly think about my life and ask the more important question:

“What do I think about my life?”

My answer is that I love it.

I wasn’t able to say that before we left four and a half years ago.

I haven’t done or achieved many of the things that I wanted to in the early stages of the journey. I didn’t become a professional writer or publish a book or create passive income online. And I’m glad, because life has taken me in a different direction and I know it’s the right one.

I don’t have a plan or set goals or a grand vision, which I know goes against so much advice about success. But I have discovered a path of success that is working for me because it’s levered me out of addiction, depression and disconnection to a place of inner happiness I never thought I’d experience in this life.

And the greatest gift of that success is that I have served and helped some people along the way.

Today, my only goal is to serve my soul and in turn serve others, by living my dharma, my true path.

Just don’t ask me what the details of that path are, because I don’t know yet, I just know it involves sharing, connecting, dancing and yes, teaching.

I had such a great catch up with the beautiful Karyn of The Lost Lemurian on my last night in Bali and as we were sharing about our respective journeys she refreshingly stated, “I do not know what the fuck I am doing!”

I laughed so hard at the recognition of this because when you make the courageous leap from the head to the heart, it feels very much like not knowing what the fuck you’re doing. And that is one element of this journey that has not changed. What has changed is getting used to that feeling as an almost constant companion.

Coming ‘home’ has amplified it all again for me but I am LOVING seeing my family and friends and am reminded of all the amazing people I am surrounded with wherever I go. While I stumble over the question, “So, what are you doing?” (because, like I said, I don’t really know),  I do know I did the right thing by taking the risk to change my life and that the ‘more’ I was looking for actually does exist.

Things are pretty good in Australia and I’m so happy for my friends building wonderful lives here. My soul just needs different things in order to sing. This I know, more than ever, and that is such a gift.

The other gift is being reminded, yet again, that the voice of fear is bullshit, life is short (and so, so precious) and the only Right Way is the way our heart leads us.

I hope you are following yours.

Bali retreat temple

Sarah dream quote

Sarah xxx

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When Your Fears Come True – My Return to Australia — 12 Comments

  1. I love this post, Sarah, and I’m so excited to see where your path takes you. I believe it happens to most everyone – we get bogged down in the business of day-to-day living – we forget to give ourselves permission to follow those dreams, for practical reasons. It’s not that the day-to-day is a bad thing, quite often it’s all good, but is it what really tugs at our heart? I’ve always been someone who craved and embraced change. I always thought maybe there was something not quite right about me and my need to not be complacent. But now, over the past 5 years we’ve made several big bold moves and along the way I’ve come to recognize and embrace all the good in what was my need to bring about change every few years because look where it got me (and hubby). And look where it got you. So proud of you for taking that first leap of faith!
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    • Hi dear Patti, it’s funny how we think there is something wrong with us because of that desire for more, but this desire births so many beautiful experiences for us and those around us. I think about the wonderful people such as yourself that I’ve been blessed to connect with, either through travel, or the blog or dancing or retreats and and I realize that I would never have met them if I didn’t listen to that voice telling me there was more. Keep listening! I’m proud of you too!! Much love to you and Abi xxxx

  2. Fantastic my friend! I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing either but am truly living the journey. Love to you.

    • Yeehaaa!!! SO happy for your guys!!! I hope yours brings you to the Yucatan after November when I am there and we can not know what the fuck we are doing together in paradise :-)

  3. How liberating is it to have some of your fears come true and realise they are not nearly as frightening as you imagined them to be…and then they cease to become fears at all, and instead they are doorways.

    And on not knowing what the fuck we are doing…lol, I’m glad that stuck with you! I think that’s the great secret of adulting – that none of us knows what we are doing, the liberty comes in admitting that to ourselves! I was going to say when we were hanging out but I think the conversation went in a different direction – it kind of reminds me of the Fool card in the Tarot. It’s the 0 card, meaning it’s the very first of the major arcana which means its the very very first lesson, the very beginning of something. It comes up when people are beginning a new lesson or a new metamorphosis. Because in order to learn anything, in order to get any wisdom, we have to realise that we know NOTHING. Realising how clueless we are, and embracing that and loving that and going with it anyway, it’s a hugely powerful thing!
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    • Karyn, I love this on EVERY level – you are very wise, my friend!!! And I LOVE getting the fool card these days, because I so relate to that feeling of blindly leaping from my ego to my true self. It always feels like falling, but always results in flying. So much love to you xxxx

  4. Sarah my friend you ARE a success and a beautiful writer. I so enjoyed sharing part of your journey with you in Bali. I realized (or maybe you did) that I was your age 36 years old when I quit my job and sold my house and traveled around the world for a year in search of something….in 1990 we called it “finding yourself”. Then I went back to the “real” world. Since I retired a couple years ago I have been searching for something and I’m not even sure what that is. THANK YOU for reminding me that it’s OK to not know what the fuck you’re doing!!! And it’s just fine to trust the process knowing you’ll be guided to where you’re supposed to be and go.(my friends here in Denver think I’m crazy and have no purpose in life).
    Safe travels on your next journey and can’t wait to give you a big hug in Playa!

    • You were a trail blazer my dear friend!!! I am so happy you are continuing to take risks and find more and more of yourself. It’s truly a noble and courageous journey that is only understood by those who are on a similar path. That’s why it’s important for me to share mine – so we can all realize that there is nothing wrong with us!!! I’m blessed to be able share the share the journey with you on two different continents now!! Dare I say we are ‘smashing the fuck out of it?” 😉 😉

  5. This is quite brave, actually. As someone who is terrified of returning to Australia (for various reasons, but among them, the themes that you discuss here), I really appreciated your article. I have to go back in December for a few months, and I’m already dreading it… but reading this encourages me a little. Perth still looks lovely, by the way – I haven’t been there for years. And of course you look gorgeous!

    • Hello my friend! Oh I feel you! It is certainly challenging to return ‘home’ when you have discovered home within another culture/country! All I can say is be very, very kind and compassionate to yourself. It is all part of the journey of self realization; of healing and of growth. I’m going to be in Northern India (Punjab) after my yoga training in late October… any chance you will be around there? xxx

  6. This really struck a chord with me as I recently returned ‘home’ to the UK to visit friends and family before heading back to Thailand, this time to live for at least the next 6 months. I’m happy with my decision to be in Asia but visiting the UK and feeling the pressure to conform and the confusion from family about my life path did get to me; I find this the hardest part of living a nomadic life. I too feel like I have no real idea what the fuck I’m doing, but hey, I’m happy enough and that’s all that counts!

    • Dear Amy, breaking the mold of normal societal expectations is challenging! People have a basic idea of what people do in life and when someone wants something different, it can be difficult for them to relate. I just keep reminding myself that I have one life to live and it’s mine. I don’t expect anyone to live like me but want everyone to follow their heart because I truly believe it’s the only path to peace and happiness. I am so happy you are following yours xxxx